Olives & Grace
If you’re looking for Red Sox mugs or Revolutionary War gimcrackery, look elsewhere: Paul Revere is not here. Trust that you will find thoughtfully arranged displays and artisanal goods that this garden-level shop’s loyal legion of Instagram followers—more than 30,000 strong—simply crave. Whether shipping a present to the happy couple whose wedding you couldn’t attend or treating yourself to a locally made treasure, purchasing a gift from Olives & Grace comes with the added joy of plugging into your community. 623 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02118, olivesandgrace.com.
We’re all spending more time outside these days, which means a good pair of shades is practically required. Thank goodness, then, for this local chainlet, which celebrates two decades in business this year. The sleek optical shops, including a recently opened outpost in Chestnut Hill, are stocked with hard-to-find statement sunnies (pictured) from the likes of Chrome Hearts and Jacques Marie Mage, with the option to add prescription lenses so you don’t have to sacrifice sight for style. 121 High St., Boston, MA 02110, lunetteoptic.com.
Sinesia Karol’s playful yet sophisticated bikinis, one-pieces (pictured), and cover-ups were born out of her desire to help buttoned-up New Englanders feel as comfortable and confident in swimwear as the women she knew growing up in her native Brazil. Her eponymous brand’s signature style? Artful prints and unexpected cutouts guaranteed to have you strutting in the sand like it’s your personal runway. sinesiakarol.com.
Who knew that Boston’s newest fashion superstar would be a retired telephone repairman? After years of dreaming about designing shoes, last year Chris Donovan officially took the plunge and launched his eponymous brand of footwear—and we’re so glad he did. Made in one of Italy’s most famous luxury shoe factories, Donovan’s bold, sculptural boots (pictured) and chic heels are investment-quality pieces that stand the test of time. chrisdonovanfootwear.com.
Found fabrics, spice and vegetable dyes, upcycled materials, and a zero-waste approach—this Project Runway alumna and proud Framingham native isn’t just envisioning a more sustainable future for fashion, she’s making it a reality. Each piece sold through her website is made to order, so while it might take a few weeks to reach your doorstep, the pretty dresses, statement coats, and patchwork denim jeans are absolutely worth waiting for. nathaliajmag.com.
You get a CSA box from your local farm and you’re on a first-name basis with your butcher, but what about the plates and bowls you set the table with every day? A worthy addition to any Boston cabinet, potter Jeremy Ogusky’s durable, unpretentious pieces can be purchased on Etsy; biannual open-studio days at his J.P. workspace, meanwhile, welcome all to come learn the art of pottery. claycrocks.com.
Lisa Jean-Francois, @lisaalamode
Few lifestyle influencers approach their craft with the same joie de vivre as Lisa Jean-Francois, whose posts strike the perfect balance between aspirational and relatable. This mother of two’s feed is packed with shots of her adorable family, envy-inducing outfits, creative beauty tutorials, and—as she puts it on her blog—“a sprinkle of petty every now and again.” Now that’s a lifestyle we can get behind. lisaalamode.com.
Nouveau Fashion Gallery
Wallflowers need not apply: Made from materials such as Lucite and even recycled paper, the bold, chunky necklaces at this Copley Place boutique owned by the ultra-stylish Ophelia Bakon and her sisters are conversation pieces that can turn even the simplest outfit into a showstopper. Throw one on with a pair of jeans and a T-shirt or your favorite LBD, and you’ll be hearing “Where did you get that?” all day long. Copley Place, Boston, MA 02116, stylenu.com.
French + Italian
Just because your couch is now your office doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. The well-curated selection of soft, wearable tops at this Beacon Hill boutique includes colorful knit tees from Marni, flowy organic-cotton blouses from Apiece Apart, and collared button-downs from Acne Studios that look just as good on your Monday-morning Slack call as they do on your favorite restaurant patio come the weekend. 119 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114, frenchitalian.com.
Looking to bolster your collection of anti-racist literature and books about the Black experience? This Nubian Square mainstay has you covered. But what makes owners Leonard and Clarrissa Egerton’s shop an irreplaceable part of Boston’s literary scene is its role as a hub for book groups and social gatherings where both authors and readers of color can feel welcome and be celebrated. Bostonians across the city are vowing to finally listen to Black voices—Frugal has been amplifying them for 12 years and counting. 57 Warren St., Roxbury, MA 02119, frugalbookstore.net.
While the rainbows of yarn and yards of pretty-patterned fabric at Gather Here have kept Cantabrigians crafting since 2011, the hybrid sewing studio/fiber-arts supply store became particularly valuable to the community this year. Case in point: When face coverings became a required part of daily life, the shop posted simple DIY tutorials, assembled mask-making kits, and even rallied their dedicated customers to make thousands of masks for healthcare workers. If that’s not neighborly, we don’t know what is. 1343 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02139, gatherhereonline.com.
Founder Samantha Shih is out to prove that custom suits (not to mention shirts and blazers) are an attainable—and necessary!—luxury for men and women of all shapes and sizes. It all starts with a painless one-hour consultation at 9Tailors’ Leather District studio or via video chat, during which time you’ll choose design details and materials ranging from rich velvet to Glen plaid. By the time your made-to-measure masterpiece arrives five to seven weeks later, you’re guaranteed to have come up with more than a few places to wear it. 132 Lincoln St. , Boston, MA 02111, 9tailors.com.
Time and again, this Beacon Hill concept shop delivers on its reputation for stocking the city’s most exciting selection of high-end shoes thanks to founder Lana Barakat, who scours the globe for handmade, unique footwear from around the world. Whether you’re looking for a gravity-defying platform bootie, the perfect metallic fringe sneaker, or an ultra-mod leather sandal, one thing’s for sure: These kicks are designed for some seriously fancy footwork. 51 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114, decemberthieves.com.
Despite having to temporarily close due to COVID-19 just two weeks after opening its doors, Boston’s very first pot shop has already begun building a loyal customer base. And for good reason: Thanks to the knowledgeable, friendly budtenders; the wide selection of gummies, flower, pens, and joints; and the always stress-free shopping experience, you’ll find yourself chilling out before you’ve even made a purchase. 430 Blue Hill Ave., Boston, MA 02121, mypureoasis.com.
Where else in town can you score cult faves from hard-to-find lines such as Augustinus Bader, Supergoop!, and Lilah B., not to mention free facials, makeup consultations, and basically all things trending in beauty? It’s Neiman all the way. The department store’s curated high-end cosmetics selection, as well as tools and accessories, can always be found online, but we’re looking forward to making our way through the Copley Place outpost’s recently redesigned beauty department ASAP. Copley Place, Boston, MA 02116, neimanmarcus.com.
Handsome, flirty, and extremely supportive: No, we’re not talking about our latest flame, we’re talking about the underpinnings from this one-stop Cambridge shop. Situated outside the store, Forty Winks’ new walk-up bra bar is an easy, safe way to upgrade your lingerie drawer—or opt for a gratis 30-minute virtual fitting and browsing session with a sales associate and pick up curbside. 56 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge, MA 02138, shopfortywinks.com.