AFTER A FASHION
Drive across America and you'll see a whole lot of the same. Big-box stores, malls, and corporate outlets dot the shopping landscape from coast to coast. But the country's true fashionistas know that bigger isn't always better, and it's still possible to shop at small, locally owned indie shops with offerings you won't find anywhere else. Here's where to find the best boutique in every state, most of which you can shop online.
ALABAMA: NELLIE MAE BOUTIQUE
In 2011, cousins Courtney Thompson and Meagan Richardson launched a boutique shop in historic downtown Tuscumbia, and they named it after their great-grandmother. Head to Nellie Mae not only for the brand's Signature and Statement tee collections, but also for category offerings like Curvy Girl and Raw & Rebellious.
Although it's located in Alaska, Infusion traces its roots to the Los Angeles garment district, where the shop's founder worked, learned, and took her inspiration before returning to Alaska. There, she opened Infusion, which lives up to its mission statement of providing "trendy fashion mixed with great basics for a variety of people."
ARIZONA: BUNKY BOUTIQUE
Bunky has been going strong for a decade -- and the independent shop is all about local flavor. Neighborhood designers are the foundation of the distinct Phoenix style that draws both tourists and residents alike. Don't worry, you don't have to actually go there to shop there -- and if you spend $75 online, shipping is free.
City: Little Rock
Beige is all about minimalism -- and it shows in the merchandise as well as the shop's sleek interior in downtown Little Rock. The store's clothing and lifestyle products are all carefully chosen from established brands, local artists, and emerging designers alike.
CALIFORNIA: WHISKEY + LEATHER
City: Santa Barbara
When someone mentions Santa Barbara, Whiskey+Leather probably aren't the first words that pop into your mind. But the quaint and coastal boutique doesn't stand out in the SoCal fashion world only because of its name. The nature-loving, tom-boy duo that started it all pride themselves of taking their loyal customers on a fashion journey beyond the standard beach-town offerings.
COLORADO: NOD & ROSE
Nod and Rose is based in Boulder, but its offerings come from a journey of artistic experimentation that spanned from Austin, Texas, to Athens, Georgia. The boutique's owners scoured the country looking for the perfect place to set down roots and open up shop. Among the categories worth browsing are Life After Denim and Amuse Society.
CONNECTICUT: MORNEAULT'S STACKPOLE MOORE TRYON
If you dress well and live in Hartford, chances are good you probably know Morneault's Stackpole Moore Tryon. The high-end custom boutique has been a favorite of the area's elites for more than a century, and to this day, the Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut upper crust continue to journey there for custom-tailored business attire for both men and women.
DELAWARE: DESIGNER CONSIGNER
City: Rehoboth Beach
If you're in Rehoboth Beach -- or anywhere in the world with an internet connection -- and you're looking for a great deal on designer threads, check out Designer Consigner. High-end designer collections are offered up at consignment prices, and special events like the Oscar Party and Bag Sale make your dollars go even further.
FLORIDA: FLORIDA JEAN COMPANY
City: St. Petersburg
Family-owned and known for charming customer service, Florida Jean Company keeps locals of both genders coming back. For women, there are one-of-a-kind silk dresses, maxi dresses, and foldable sun hats. The men's collection is irresistible to guys who love good-looking but functional outdoor gear.
GEORGIA: DYNAMITE CLOTHING
Fun and fashionable, Dynamite is located in trendy Downtown Athens, right near the historic UGA Arch. It's brimming with one-of-a-kind apparel and accessories, but boutique price tags are hard to find. Even better, Dynamite boasts a surprisingly strong selection of custom jewelry and a nice range of boots and shoes.
HAWAII: JADE FASHION
Jade Fashion is 100 percent Hawaiian through and through. Jade specializes in Hawaiian wedding dresses, Hawaiian gifts, and aloha wear. In fact, it's been the go-to boutique for everything from grass skirts to fresh leis since 1989.
IDAHO: AVA RAE
Billed as "affordable and adorable," Ava Rae is located in the heart of downtown Boise. Unlike so many bricks-and-mortar boutiques that later went digital, Ava Rae had enough online success over the first three years that the website could justify a venture into physical retail. Shop under categories like Date Night Inspo, Style Inspo, and Winter Wardrobe Refresh.
Futurgarb has moved -- but only two-doors down from the location that made it famous. Both men and women can shop by season or by collection -- and both genders can revel in accessories like Decay wallets, treasure belt buckles and newsboy caps.
INDIANA: BOUTIQUE ELISE
Located in a tiny town about half way between Indianapolis and Louisville, Kentucky, Boutique Elise is where locals flock for everything from kimonos for springtime layering to faux suede dresses. Embellished lace tops, floral dresses and tailored men's tops are all part of the experience. If you buy online, shipping is free on orders of $50 or more.
City: Cedar Falls
The name says it all. Purse-n-Ality has been a Main Street staple since 2004. More than 100 new affordable and unique handbags arrive every week, and with a $10 gift card for every $100 spent, it's easy to keep your style fresh without going broke.
KANSAS: APRICOT LANE BOUTIQUE
Chain retailers are the opposite of everything the boutique spirit represents, right? Not at Apricot Lane, which was franchised out by a pair of Kansas natives who fell in love with the store's Little Rock, Arkansas, location. The Apricot Lane philosophy is to drive trends by moving small quantities of merchandise to scattered locations. The end result is that even though it's a chain, you won't see anyone else wearing the things you buy at Apricot.
KENTUCKY: MORTON JAMES
Morton James is an edgy, casual-chic clothing shop that stands out, to say the least, in the traditional Southern city of Lexington. The shop's owner, who drew much of her inspiration from the fashion scene in Nashville, Tennessee, where she previously lived, describes the boutique's hybrid style as edgy "boho."
LOUISIANA: FAVORITE SISTERS
Bliss claims to be not only one of the hottest boutiques in Maine, but in all of New England, and it's offerings might just live up to the boast. Stop in or shop online for 360 Cashmere and New Scotland sweaters, and Chan Luu and Mois Mont artisan-made scarves. Looking for "the softest tops you can imagine"? Velvet, CP Shades, and Tee Lab are just a few of the selections.
In you're ever in Baltimore searching for the perfect boutique, look on the Brightside. That's where you'll find not just a unique selection of clothing, but super-cool drinkware, journals and notebooks, candles, bath and body goodies and, of course, plenty of merchandise bearing the Brightside label.
MASSACHUSETTS: THIRTY PETALS BOUTIQUE
City: Belmont Center
From the casual to the elegant, you can score solid deals on one-of-a kind finds at Thirty Petals. The staff is friendly, so don't be shy to ask for help finding the perfectly flattering piece of jewelry, clothing, or accessories you came for. If you've got a special cause you love, the boutique encourages its customers to hold fundraisers there.
City: Ann Arbor
Billing itself as "Ann Arbor's local boutique," Verbena keeps fashionistas coming back with its wide selection of dresses, rompers, jumpsuits, and off-shoulder tops. It also beckons those looking for great deals on chic swimwear and intimates.
Cliche vows that every single item hand selected for purchase in the shop is some combination of "easy," "interesting," and "beautiful." That mantra applies to the shop's simple sundresses, attention-grabbing patterned blouses, soft cotton tees, and snug-fitting denim.
MISSISSIPPI: SWANKY B.
Chic and upscale, Swanky B. wows shoppers with a sweet line of tops, bottoms, dresses, and shoes. To keep things from going stale, there's always a steady trickle of new arrivals. Right now that trickle includes adjustable cami maxi dresses and floral rompers.
MISSOURI: THE GARMENT DISTRICT
City: Kansas City
The Garment District is K.C. chic all the way. Not only is the Power & Light District shop filled with one-of-a-kind selections from local Kansas City boutiques, but it offers its own collection, as well -- oh, and you can sip a cocktail while you shop.
MONTANA: TWISTED BLISS
If you're in the city of Helena, be sure to stop in Twisted Bliss, which has already launched its 40 percent summer sale. Tops, bottoms, shoes and accessories are just a few of the reasons to bypass the department stores and shop at this small, locally owned boutique.
Founded in 2005 by two sisters, Beyourself is obsessed with promoting self-esteem through attire. The shop developed a colored-dot system to replace traditional, number-based sizing, which the sister-owners believe isn't a consistent or personal system. Although there's also a store in Lincoln, both shops maintain offerings that are unique to that specific boutique.
NEVADA: SAVVY BOUTIQUE
Savvy offers small-brand items you won't find anywhere else. From tees, tanks and jeans to formal dresses, Savvy showcases brands like Young, Fabulous and Broke, Michael Stars and Ella Moss.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: INSIDE OUT
Stop into Inside Out, and you'll find not only choice selections for men and women, but also items for "kiddos," "critters," and "craft cocktails." The boutique's small-label brand selection are designed to set trends at parties, at work, during cocktail hour, in your kid's bedroom, and even in the doghouse.
NEW JERSEY: COLETTE
NEW MEXICO: SOCK MAGIC
City: Santa Fe
Plenty of boutiques dabble in socks — but how many specialize in them? Sock Magic, located one block from the city plaza, extends their passion for socks from dressy to casual, stylish to pajama comfy. Socks for men, socks for women, socks for children, knee-highs — you name it, Sock Magic has it.
NEW YORK: IF SOHO
City: New York
Founded in 1978 by three sisters, IF has been a Soho staple for 40 years, making it literally one of the oldest boutique shops in one of the most celebrated boutique shop neighborhoods in the world. Surrounded by art galleries, IF was a darling of legendary artist Andy Warhol, so much so that Warhol advertised the boutique for free. IF introduced some of the top NYC designers of the '80s and then survived the '90s, even as most of its contemporaries were gentrified out of the once-gritty neighborhood.
NORTH CAROLINA: KANNON'S CLOTHING
With more than a century of history dating back to 1916, Kannon's Clothing claims to be among the oldest continuously family owned clothing stores in America and the very oldest off its kind in the state of North Carolina. The original owner's philosophy was "I'd rather you leave empty-handed than with a garment that is not right for you." Today, that spirit remains alive, and the store is known for its customer service as much as its clothing.
NORTH DAKOTA: EXPOSURE
Located in downtown Bismarck, Exposure is the flagship location of the locally famous Burleigh Beard Company. Doubling as both a portrait studio and a fashion boutique, Exposure offers extended styles for both men and women, as well as the full line of Burleigh Beard Company products.
Krush was launched as a boutique in 2004. With roots in urban fashion, skateboarding culture, and street art, Krush "embraces all American pop-culture with no cultural barriers."
Although it was booted out of its original location thanks to the arrival of Trader Joe's, Stash is still the hippest shop in Tulsa. Check the bins for sale items and other deep discounts, whether you're shopping for him, her, or even for a baby.
OREGON: BRIDGE & BURN
Bridge & Burn is the brainchild of a computer coder turned designer. The West Coast outerwear offerings found within are the result of a long evolution that blended hip-hop fashion with coastal casual wear and the La Merde line, which was billed as "streetwear for the library."
PENNSYLVANIA: KIKI HUGHES
Brimming with one-of-a-kind picks hand-selected by Kiki herself, Kiki Hughes is a favorite of locals in the city's hip Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. The jewelry is as original as the clothing, both of which can't be bought anywhere else in Philly. Call ahead to make an appointment.
RHODE ISLAND: MILAN
Milan is on a quest to break the cookie-cutter mold when it comes to upscale attire for men and women. Not only does the boutique offer ready-to-wear garments, but you can even design your own custom-fit, private-label items. You pick the fabrics, the cut, and the made-to-measure style, and in a few weeks, your new look will be ready to wear.
SOUTH CAROLINA: MOSA
Nestled right in the center of Charleston's bustling King Street, MOSA is named for both the ornamental mimosa tree local to the area and the famous brunch drink of the same name, and that vibe follows shoppers inside. The in-store bar serves up cocktails to customers who browse the boutique's fashionable offerings while lounging and chatting up the locals about their own fashion favorites.
SOUTH DAKOTA: BLUSH BOUTIQUE
Blush Boutique promises "boutique style at affordable prices." Shop online or in store for the perfect shoes, clothing, accessories, and more. The rewards program pays back loyal shoppers with points every time they make a purchase.
TENNESSEE: ALEXIS AND BOLT
A&B, as it's known to locals, offers trendy picks like "extreme shredding" vintage distressed jeans, ankle-length "instaslim" denim and the Scotch & Soda BYOBeach line. Some of their favorite brands are MollyJogger and Skull Cashmere.
TEXAS: GUNS AND ROSES
Stroll through the heart of Dallas and you'll find Guns and Roses. Part art gallery, part entertainment venue, and fully dedicated to "retail therapy," Guns and Roses serves up drinks at an in-house bar and provides ambiance via celebrity and local DJs. The clothing is chic and hip, but the atmosphere is even more so.
City: Salt Lake City
The philosophy of Unhinged is "let go and be free." In-store events and special promotions are standard for in-store shoppers, but locally made clothes and gifts are what keeps customers coming back, whether they browse in person or shop online.
VERMONT: GREEN ENVY
Green Envy is teeming with both small labels and bigger brands. The boutique boasts an eclectic mix of shoes, outerwear, apparel and denim, and a steady stream of new arrivals keep the selections fresh. There's also plenty of bags, accessories and sale items.
VIRGINIA: BOUTIQUE BOUTIQUE AND THE SHOE STORE NEXT DOOR
Although they didn't stray too far off theme when it came to naming their shop, the combined BOUTIQUE and SHOE STORE makes sure the products are 100 percent unique. Many of the shoes are European, most of the clothes are American-made, but either way, the owners work with small brands to make sure that when you buy something there, you won't see it anywhere else.
Brands like Kareem, Mara Hoffman, Older Brother, and YMC lure women into Glasswing, and for men, it's brands like Orslow, Folk, and Kapital. The boutique is famous not just for its unique clothing, but also for its selection of not-to-be-found-elsewhere home goods.
WEST VIRGINIA: OOH LA LUCY
Although Ooh La Lucy is headquartered in Charleston, you don't have to go to the capital city of West Virginia to shop there — let the state's first mobile boutique come to you. You can find the trademark pink truck parked around town, or you can call it to your home or office when you're having a party. If you like, just pick something out on social media and have the truck deliver it to you.
WISCONSIN: THE SOPHISTICATED MAN
From tailored suits, pants and shirts to top coats, sweaters and hats, The Sophisticated Man is a traditional, upscale men's boutique. Serving the most dapper men in Milwaukee for more than 40 years, the boutique is so posh that it's worth a mention even though it's gender exclusive.
WYOMING: WYOMING OUTFITTERS
Located in the Jackson Hole area, Wyoming Outfitters has been a locally owned and operated staple in the town since 1910. With more than a century of history, the shop blends traditional Western attire with a hip, modern twist. There's a section for men, a section for women and, of course, an entire section dedicated to boots.