Get There: Westminster Street
It used to be a strip of abandoned department stores. Now this revamped Providence thoroughfare boasts a crop of shopping options that are worth a jaunt down I-95.
1. A Call to Arms Decorative kimonos amp up the vibe at the stylish Elsa Arms (231 Westminster St., 401-383-5558), which showcases jeans by Rag & Bone and Red Engine and sweaters by Inhabit in Asian-inspired armoires. The walls are filled with cool, work-appropriate pieces like Alice + Olivia wide-leg trousers and superflattering Nili Lotan blouses. Ever conscious of potential wardrobe mishaps, Elsa Arms even sells deodorant-smudge removal kits and Hollywood Fashion Tape’s adhesive garment strips.
2. Domestic Bliss Professional decorators and home-savvy shoppers alike hit Butterfield (232 Westminster St., 401-273-3331, butterfieldprovidence.com) for Robert Abbey light fixtures and cozy couches from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Staffers can help you select just the right upholstery from a nook of fabric swatches, and are equally accommodating to browsers not in the throes of redecorating. Claiming to stock “everything beautiful,” this shabby-chic specialist also carries high-end gifts such as scented candles by Tocca and elegant stationery from Cavallini & Co.
3. Designs of the Times For those with more modern tastes in décor, Homestyle (229 Westminster St., 401-277-1159, homestyleri.com) is the destination of choice. The lofty space brims with an extensive selection of gifts and interior accents, ranging from unique (Warhol-style light-switch covers) to beyond unique (Haitian wall hangings crafted from oil drums), plus contemporary furniture including sleek Robin Bruce lounge chairs and clean-lined Elite Leather couches.
Go on to the next page to read about two more unique shops…
4. Lucking Out At Clover (233 Westminster St., 401-490-4626, clover providence.com), co-owners Patrick Lavelle and Rachel Soloff offer bold, funky clothing for men and women. Highlights in the menswear department include button-downs by Steve Alan and Seize sur Vingt, while the gals’ section features dress-’em-up, dress-’em-down options, such as breezy T-Bags dresses and Morphine Generation’s rock-and-roll tees.
5. Quirk Space A popular Rhode Island chain for 18 years, Oop (220 Westminster St., 401-270-4366, oopstuff.com) is a gift store as imagined by Pee-wee Herman: The playhouselike spot carries a house soda called Oop Juice, pirate-motif pepper mills, and jewelry made from bits of carpentry tools. The clerks at the new 2,300-square-foot Westminster location are fittingly perky and eager to make suggestions for shoppers of all ages, whether they’re in the market for bright wooden furniture or wind-up chattering teeth.