One of the most gratifying things about traveling is getting to shop cool, small boutiques in a city that’s not your own. The sense of excitement, and above all else, the fun that comes from browsing a totally new retail scene and discovering labels you’ve never seen before, is reason enough to board a plane.
But in some cases, you don’t have to. While many of these special little shops don’t operate web stores, a handful of them do it so well that online fans might not even realize they’re anchored by brick-and-mortar operations.
We’ve pulled together a list of the very best — some you may already know, and several you’ve probably never heard of — to shake up your online shopping routine.
Alexis Mosij’s Tucson shop brings together the perfect mix of handpicked vintage, indie clothing, antique furniture, and handmade jewelry. Similarly, Avenue’s web shop gives you all the right puzzle pieces, plus the inspiration on how to put them together — though even if you blindly picked out clothing and accessories here, they’d look like they were meant to be worn together thanks to the shop’s tight vision.
Baby & Company: Seattle
Seattle’s Baby & Company, located just a few blocks off Pike Place Market, will introduce shoppers to US and overseas designers that are just under the radar — labels like Simon Miller, Album di Famiglia, and Laura Urbinati — and making modern, dressy, but totally wearable clothing. For inspiration on how to pull it all together, check out the site’s editorials and mood board. Save 25 percent this weekend with code SHOPSMALL.
One of Brooklyn’s OG indie fashion boutiques, Bird has been keeping Park Slope and Williamsburg residents dressed in designers like Acne, Rachel Comey, and Ulla Johnson since 1999. The shop’s great website stocks the same extensive list of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories while also providing plenty of inspiration and reading material under the site’s journal section. This weekend, Bird is offering 15 percent off all shoes with code SHOES15.
Bodega has been the spot to shop for streetwear and sneakers in Boston since it opened 10 years ago. Like the brick-and-mortar shop — which is accessed through a secret door in an actual, working bodega — the web store stocks big hitters plus lesser-known labels, including the store’s own line. Head to the “upcoming” tab for a look at high-profile drops that will be carried by the store.
Bona Drag: Milwaukee
Bona Drag has anyone with bohemian-leaning taste covered for basics, plus quirky-cool statement and special occasion pieces from brands like Mara Hoffman, Zimmermann, Rodebjer, and Maryam Nassir Zadeh. The super extensive jewelry selection is a particular highlight, and the online sale section almost always yields killer finds. For Black Friday weekend, the site is offering 20 percent off all black styles and donating 10 percent of sales to a charity of your choice: Use code JANE to donate to the Jane Goodall Institute, or use code ISTANDWITHPP to donate to Planned Parenthood.
Drama Club: Brooklyn
A tiny boutique in residential Greenpoint that opened up in the spring of 2017, Drama Club offers simple, preppy-meets-street-type styles from labels like Samuji, Sunspel, Wrk Shp, and Chimala, as well as home goods and gifts as varied as Tivoli Audio speakers and Woolrich blankets. Don’t miss the delicate jewelry or the body section, which is stocked with some interesting unisex scents. Right now, take 25 percent off everything on the site with code ROCKWELL.
Fivestory: New York
With a preorder service to rival e-comm powerhouse Moda Operandi and an impressive roster of designers both established and up-and-coming, Fivestory’s website is a clutch addition to your bookmarks folder. Like the Upper East Side townhouse where the IRL boutique is housed, the site feels as luxe as the goods on offer. But don’t rule it out if you’re on a budget; there are some under-$200 purchases to be made here, too. For Black Friday weekend, take 20 percent off sitewide with code ENJOY20 through November 27th — and that’s on top of up to 40 percent off in the fall sale section.
Frances May: Portland, OR
Frances May stocks men’s and women’s clothes you’ll want to wear every day, plus a small selection of books, kids’ clothes, and gifts for the home. There’s a lot to discover here, but even when presenting brands you may already be familiar with (Ilana Kohn, Samuji, Nomia, Henrik Vibskov) Frances May styles them in such a way that they feel new, and fit into a very particular vision you’ll want to buy into. This past fall, the shop pushed that vision even further by launching a line of pretty, swingy dresses. For 25 percent off, enter code BOOKENDS at checkout through November 27th.
General Store: San Francisco
General Store opened up in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset in 2009 and expanded with a second shop in Venice, LA, in 2012. Its website does an awesome job of replicating the in-store experience at both locations: a seemingly endless spread of cute, rustic-chic home goods, apparel, kids’ items, perfumes and other apothecary goods, and jewelry. The “found” section, featuring vintage clothes and homewares, is a highlight for one-of-a-kind scores.
Imogene + Willie: Nashville
This Nashville-based, American-made denim brand offers up its awesome men’s and women’s jeans, jackets, and T-shirts alongside a great selection of home products, vintage, and collaborations with other brands. While the jeans are great, the one-of-a-kind section the most fun to browse — you’ll find vintage band tees, antique jewelry, engraved lighters, home textiles, and even vintage motorcycle gear. Take 20 percent off everything through Monday at midnight with code WTFBF.
Las Cruxes: Austin
Music and art are as important as the clothes, beauty, and accessories sold at this small Texas community space/boutique/art gallery, curated by founder Veronica Ortuño. Expect very cool labels like Shaina Mote, Issey Miyake, and Eckhaus Latta, as well as an amazing selection of vintage. Use code OPALINEDREAMS for a discount at checkout through November 27th.
Run by Austin transplant Michelle Leblanc, Mille stocks the dream wardrobe for anybody who appreciates independent designers. Expect super of-the-moment labels like Ganni and Jesse Kamm as well as some you probably have never heard of, like Kamperett and Anaak, and don’t forget to browse the home section while you’re at it. Take 30 percent off anything from fall/winter 2017 with code BLACKFRIDAY2017.
Mohawk General Store: Los Angeles
While Mohawk may have the range of products to qualify as a general store, it leaves the whole urban pioneer cliché behind. Instead, this LA-based shop stocks high-end apparel for men and women from designers like Dries Van Noten, Sandy Liang, Isabel Marant, and others. The art objects, vintage textiles, and fancy perfumes available under the home section aren’t super extensive but are worth checking out, as is the “holiday market” for gift ideas. This weekend, take 25 percent off apparel and shoes with code BLACKFRI17.
Need Supply Co.: Richmond
Like the Carytown shop in Richmond, which got its start selling vintage Levi’s, the NSCO site is an awesome source for everyday men’s and women’s pieces from independent designers. There’s also really spot-on blog content, which includes travel guides, dining features, and designer profiles. After the brand launched a home category and its own clothing line earlier this year, the website became even more of a destination. This weekend, take 20 percent off with code SHOP20.
Nonna: Los Angeles
Tucked away in Highland Park and a little off the beaten retail path on York Avenue, Nonna definitely qualifies as one of LA’s hidden gems. Run by a former stylist and costume designer, this pastel, Miami-esque boutique stocks a dreamy mix of designers like J. Hannah, Baserange, and A Détacher; you can also shop a small selection of home textiles, candles, apothecary items, and indie mags. For the rest of the week, take 20 percent off with code THANKSGIVING2017.
Easy-wearing women’s staples from labels like Just Female, Lacausa, and Whit; statement as well as understated jewelry; shoes in of-the-moment shapes and a range of prices; gifts for the home — Olive has pretty much everything you want in a favorite boutique. Add a consistently solid sale section and models in slightly more relatable shapes and sizes, and this Austin favorite seals the deal. Take 20 percent off everything right now with code SMALLBIZ17.
Portland Dry Goods: Portland, ME
If you’re looking to build a perfect, modern New England wardrobe, look no further. Portland Dry Goods carries best-in-class men’s and women’s basics from tried-and-true preppy (but not too preppy — there’s no Vineyard Vines or Lily Pulitzer here) brands. Instead, expect labels like A.P.C., Barbour, Rancourt, and Wings and Horns.
Rosewood Clothing Co.: Richmond
A small shop in downtown Richmond stocking vintage women’s clothing in addition to new pieces, cool ceramics and other home products, plus bath and beauty goods, Rosewood’s site is as bright and sunny as the boutique, and gives you the same sense of discovery that makes shopping for vintage so fun.
Sincerely, Tommy: Brooklyn
Located on a quiet block in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Kai Avent-deLeon’s concept shop carries cutting-edge emerging designers alongside mint-condition vintage pieces, sculptural jewelry, and the shop’s own line of souped-up basics. With products shot on models that look like real people (albeit really cool ones), the site is a great place to go for outfit inspiration too, whether or not you end up making a purchase. Use code FALL for 35 percent off your order at checkout right now.
After moving from Melrose to Miami, this boutique still offers the same playful mix of apparel and accessories it became famous for in LA, but with a slightly artier bent. In addition to ready-to-wear, the shop stocks well-designed gifts, home goods, art, and books; the site’s blog also runs unexpected interviews with interesting artists, designers, and other creatives.
The Webster: Miami
With its signature, slightly quirky point of view, The Webster is a must-visit stop in South Beach. The vibe is very Miami, in a fun way: You’ll find items like pineapple-print bathing suits, pearlescent Edie Parker clutches, Saint Laurent leopard print, and more. You’ll also find plenty of wearable designer items amid the special occasion stuff, and a nice selection for men, too. Shop the “exclusives” section for things you won’t find anywhere else. Enjoy up to 50 percent off this weekend for Black Friday.
If you don’t already know about this avant-garde men’s and women’s shop (and its in-house line), you need to check out its website ASAP. While not technically small anymore — Totokaelo now has a flagship in NYC in addition to the original location in Seattle — every item here is a dream, from Rick Owens to Dries. As a bonus online, the editorials are as inspiring as the goods are tempting — and today you can shop items at up to 50 percent off.