- Adam & Eve Clothing Co.
400 Winslow Way E., Suite A, Bainbridge Island, 206-842-7137
Who shops there: Since it’s the only clothing boutique of its kind on Bainbridge, here is where you can meet everyone from well-to-do lawyers who want the latest jeans to high-school girls who’ve saved their allowance for the latest jeans.
Vibe: Owner Robin Callahan has all the sought-after brands, including over 100 styles of jeans from all the designers you covet in your glossy fashion mags.
Fall picks for men: Softer styled shirts from Velvet, James Perse, and Diesel are wardrobe staples. If you see a Robert Graham shirt, grab it—they blow out of the shop. Cashmere sweaters with suede elbow patches are de rigueur weekend wear. For jeans—Citizens launched a new men’s line, or choose from Salt, John Paul Damage, Diesel, and others. Finish it off with a leather messenger bag by Hugo Boss.
Fall picks for women: “It” colors such as teal, brown, red, and navy. Fantastic jackets by La Roc, Nanette Leporte, Diane von Furstenberg, and True Meaning look great paired with jeans—take your pick from Taverniti, Joe’s Jeans, Diesel, True Religion, Buffalo, 575, Antik, Stitches, and more. Throw a military-inspired jacket over it and you’re good to go. The shop also has 15 shoe lines ranging from Steve Madden to Carlos Santana, from sexy heels to cowboy cool.
- Butch Blum
1408 Fifth Ave., 206-622-5760, www.butchblum.com
Who shops there: Quality-seeking, fashion-aware professionals who eschew glitzy, loud boutiques for a thoughtful selection of cutting-edge fashion.
Vibe: The somewhat traditional and understated facade of this shop belies an exciting world of fashion within. Experienced and fashion forward, owners Butch Blum and Kay Smith-Blum have an eye for labels that are both trendy and classy.
Fall picks for men: “It’s a lot of texture and atypical patterns this year,” says Smith-Blum. Anything gray or chocolate brown with accent colors in bottle and kelly green to blue and aubergine. Casual sport coats with interesting fabrication include corduroy jackets with a faint hint of iridescence by Tombolini for $550. Anything finished with an exposed seam or contrast fabrication is the new answer to the raw-edge look of the past. Shirts come in fanciful patterns typically used for suits, like chalk stripes or a Jil Sander glen plaid on cotton moleskin. Don’t miss the gorgeous cashmere sweaters in rich neutrals by Inhabit. Brightly colored wool or cashmere scarves in updated patterns make smart accessories.
Fall picks for women: Blouses, blouses, blouses—especially fitted print chiffon styles paired with shaped print sweaters for a sassy pattern-on-pattern look. You’ll find blouses by Moreno Martini for $275 and Hartford for $185. Smith-Blum promises that “women who haven’t been able to find flattering pants will find them this fall,” especially great-fitting skinny pants finished at the ankle by I-pantaloni. More? Sophisticated dresses with sleeves (imagine!) and dress-and- jacket combinations by Albert Ferretti and Gio Guerreri, light-gauge cashmere by Inhabit, and patterned skirts (they’re outselling pants, 2-1).
- David Lawrence
1318 Fourth Ave., 206-622-2544, www.davidlawrence.com
Who shops there: Fashion risk-takers and Versace aficionados with deep pockets.
Vibe: The sales staff at the spacious downtown location is knowledgeable and helpful in getting clients to think outside a narrow fashion focus. The staff will steer you to outfits that stand out— and fit. (The staff points out that “most men wear clothing that’s too big.”) And they carry just one of each size so you avoid the embarrassment of seeing your outfit in public.
Fall picks for men and women: Anything by Versace (they have an exclusive on the label in the Northwest), Dolce & Gabbana, or Roberto Cavalli.
More for men: A shimmering Cavalli tee with intricate silver design for the confident man.
More for women: Allen B. jeans, magnificently beaded with faux pearls and red coral pieces for $435.
- Encanto Barcelona
1406 First Ave., 206-621-1941
Who shops there: International types with a flair for the dramatic and a penchant for progressive styles with graphic elements.
Vibe: Cosmopolitan, sophisticated, and very European, the boutique is accented with matador-red seating and display elements. Husband and wife team Cade Pennington and Loida Carrasco (who’s originally from Barcelona) carry Spanish designed clothing, handbags, shoes, and jewelry in their shop. A women’s boutique since they opened over a year ago, they’ve expanded into men’s clothing this month.
Fall picks for men and women: Anything from the Desigual line. The trendy urban styles are bold and textured, and many look as if you’re wearing pieces of modern art. T-shirts run $70, sweaters are $120. “The brand is growing like crazy in Spain, France, Italy, and Germany,” says Carrasco. Sterling silver jewelry with leather accents for both sexes is hot, too.
More for men: Tapered shirts from basic black to basic black-and-white.
More for women: Lois jeans in a variety of styles, skirts (they’re big in Europe), knit pieces by Sita Murt that feature graduated colors and interesting shapes, and Pura Lopez Spanish leather shoes in round or pointed toes.
611 N. 35th St., 206-633-5771, www.enexile.com
Who shops there: Unconventional types or offbeat 9-to-5ers who like to express themselves through creative clothing.
Vibe: An eclectic selection of clothing and chunky silver jewelry surrounded by framed art gives the shop a funky goth- underground vibe.
Fall picks for men and women: Nature- inspired tees and hoodies by Outdoor Carrier printed with squirrels, moose, and eagles go for $30 to $70. Gama Go Japanese knitwear features characters such as Space Bat and Smoking Pigeon. Those born to be wild should check out the locally designed Testa Dura line by Shannon Koszy. She incorporates elements of rock and roll and motorcycle culture into reworked vintage pieces, jackets, and tees.
More for men: Z Brand worn-in, washed-out corduroys, just like the ones you’d pick up off your floor.
More for women: Retro-influenced A-line and pencil skirts in red satin and other unexpected fabrics.
1919 Second Ave., 206-441-4055, www.ianshop.com
Who shops there: Casual guys with a flair for style and girls who are devotees of Gwen Stefani’s LAMB line.
Vibe: On busy weekends, you might find customers gathered in the front of the shop sipping wine, hanging out, and being entertained by Marge the pug, an enormously adorable shop dog and icebreaker. “It’s not a big bar scene,” laughs co-owner Scott McEmury, “but it’s really social.” Men are comfortable in the bi-level shopping space (men’s clothing on the bottom, women’s on the top): “They don’t feel like they’re shopping in a women’s boutique,” says McElmury. Giant wooden industrial spools serve as display tables, while rough-hewn wood rafters, open beams, and concrete floors give the store an urban but warm feel.
Fall picks for men: Go for the preppy/nerdy look with narrow ties and fitted, button-down dress shirts paired with jeans. Grunge is coming back but in a cleaner way—the signature plaid flannel shirt à la Kurt Cobain has a crisper look with upscale fabrics. ian carries a great selection of screen-print tees ranging from $30 to $150. A C-note for a tee?! Yes, if it’s by Taavo or Morphine Generation—most feature artistic images such as golden skulls or flying locusts on soft organic cotton, with strategically sanded edges for that well-worn, I’ve-had-this-forever look.
Fall picks for women: Tailored pieces with details like lace-trimmed skirts in a traditional glen plaid, long sweaters that look fantastic over skinny tapered jeans, and gaucho-length dress pants. Best brands: LAMB, Martin Margiela, and Juicy Couture.
2419 First Ave., 206-441-1999
Who shops there: Artsy types, clubgoers, promoters, musicians, creative professionals from techies to consultants, and, according to owner Scott Kuhlman, “a lot of single people.”
Vibe: Very Belltown but casually hip, this small shop beneath the Ace Hotel is stuffed with the latest styles in ready-to-wear and boasts a solid wall of exclusive fabrics for custom-made clothing.
Fall picks for men: It’s got to be the tapered leg denim from Nudie and J. Lindeberg. Top them with slim-fitting woven shirts with smaller collars and basic plain soft tees by Nicole Farhi and Velvet. For more pizzazz, try a blazer (they have loads). Velvets are big, including the dapper royal and navy blue plaid velvet jacket by Seven and the red velvet PF Flyers jacket. Men with more modern than mod tendencies will like the tech-inspired blazers from Nice Collective. Off-the-rack jackets run $150 to $350. Custom-made wool pants are $325 to $600, coats are $925 to $1,500.
Fall picks for women: Tapered straight-leg jeans by Denim Birds and Earnest Sewn are at the top of Kuhlman’s list. Also, jackets from Nicholas K. in velvet and French terry cloth, Industry jackets in tweed and jacquard weaves, sweaters from Nellik and Velvet, including short wrap styles and pullovers with details such as tucks and gathers in turquoise or orange acid colors. Jackets start at $150.
- Moda Xpress
2224 First Ave., 206-728-9491
Who shops there: Friday night Belltown bar hoppers and clubgoers looking for something to wear Saturday night.
Vibe: Owner Marc Simon keeps his shop open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights so partying couples can browse for themselves or each other. “They’re fun nights to work,” says Simon. “People are in a good mood and having fun.” The shop is full of tops, dresses, shirts, and shoes that are perfect date clothes to wear at surrounding bars and eateries.
Fall picks for men: Any of the reasonably priced blazers in the shop.
Fall picks for women: Glam shoes and sexy tops.
- Nuvo Moda
1307 First Ave., 206-684-NUVO
Who shops there: The young and the beautiful, thirtysomething and trendy, men and women looking for date tops and dressy shoes.
Vibe: Contemporary and always busy, this shop has a devoted following. Owner Marc Simon eschews label chasing (though he has some standouts), focusing instead on of-the-moment styles that don’t just look good but have great fit and quality regardless of price. That means you’ll find sexy tops for $30 or $230, or jeans ranging from $70 to $285.
Fall picks for men: Blazers—in a big way. “We can’t keep them in,” says Simon. They come in velvet, with raw edges, in bottle green, in striped brocades, and in basic corduroy. Denim is no longer about “how many holes,” says Simon, but has progressed to fancy studded jeans and European styles with intricately embroidered back pockets (one pair has Mount Fuji stitched on the rear). While there are some shirts here that are slightly more sedate, most scream to be noticed in bold and fun patterns and eye-catching colors such as oranges, rust, berry, teal, and greens.
Fall picks for women: This shop has become a destination spot for cocktail dresses. They carry dozens of sexy styles in luscious colors embellished with beads, rhinestones, and sequins ranging from $150 to $400. For every slinky dress and revealing top, there’s a pair of shoes to complement them, and their selection stands up to the job nicely with lots of metallic, strappy heels, heavy on the rhinestones and beading; “skin” shoes featuring tiger, leopard, and reptilian looks; and surprisingly sexy wedges (not the big blocky kind but slender and shapely).