Boston gal Lisa Jean-Francois longed for a place where she could share her love of beauty and fashion from her viewpoint as a black feminist—so she created one, launching her website to dish on pop culture, natural hair, and Beyoncé as well as post photos of her head-to-toe outfits. Almost seven years and 35,000-plus Instagram followers later, Francoise is a full-time content creator who’s served as an official influencer for companies such as Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson. N/A, .
With two decades at the company, designer Jodi Robbins combines a deep admiration for the beauty of high-quality wood with a keen consideration for each client’s unique style and vision. The result? Expertly designed, one-of-a-kind pieces—such as a sleek walnut dining table with stainless steel accents and a cherry-and-walnut storage bed—individually bench-made by New England craftspeople to last a lifetime. halfcrowndesign.com.
Overflowing with the region’s best aged and fresh curds, Formaggio is a bona fide turophile’s haven. But even those without extensive cheese knowledge will enjoy popping into one of the three Hub-area outposts, where sample-dispensing staffers serve as ace guides for navigating cases stocked with bloomy hills of chèvre and Camembert; nutty, crystalline hunks of aged Parmesan; and fat wedges of blue cheese. 244 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA formaggiokitchen.com.
Everyone knows ladies wear suits, so why is it still so difficult to find one that fits properly? Samantha Shih, of 9Tailors, is out to change that. In March of this year, she launched a collection of suiting designed especially for the female form. Choose the right look and fabric during an individual style consultation to customize a suit that’s as powerful as you are. 132 Lincoln St., Boston, MA 9tailors.com.
Settle into Eastern Standard's plush, cozy bar and let Cannon welcome you with an easy grin and quick, imaginative recommendations: an old-school cocktail he's revived (such as his signature Jack Rose), or maybe a little-known bottling. His obsession with fresh ingredients makes Cannon a true bar artist, though one mercifully free of snobbery—which means if you're looking to throw back something a touch more pedestrian, he'll pour that light beer and serve it with a smile. Eastern Standard, Hotel Commonwealth, 528 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA easternstandardboston.com.
Can't stomach another trip to Gymboree? This sibling-owned store will outfit your little ones in classic style from the time they're born through their preteens. You'll find an excellent array of formalwear, along with well-priced everyday gear and adorable accessories. No kiddie high heels, though — sorry, Suri. 93 Central St., Wellesley, MA 2482, abigails.com.
Calling a restaurant "very New York" may not be a politically correct compliment in these parts. And yet, the label fits. With its sleek design, sake sommelier, and mind-blowing food (we've heard at least one diner, upon sampling the foie gras nigiri with balsamic chocolate kabayaki, wish out loud that "sex could be this good"), O Ya outshines all the stunning additions to the city's dining scene this year—not to mention anything we've tasted you-know-where. 9 East St., Boston, MA .
Boston's interior designers don't want you to know about Webster & Company: It's their secret trove of the classic American furnishings that picky New Englanders crave. David Webster and his son Peter have the area's exclusives on labels like Holly Hunt, Dakota Jackson, and Vaughan. One caveat: They only sell to the trade, so you'll need to hire an interior designer to get the goods. One Design Center Place-Suite 242, Boston, MA 2210, webstercompany.com.
This North End gem promises replicas of "world-famous celebrity jewelry," and it delivers better than a stunt double. Filthy Rich of Boston has more than 100 authorized exact copies of classic pieces owned and worn by legends like Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy, as well as look-alikes from current stars such as Halle Berry and Nicole Kidman. You may not be an Oscar winner, but you can accessorize like one. Boston, MA 2113,
In a highly competitive retail environment, Stel's refuses to play it safe. Instead, it cultivates an always cutting-edge cast of emerging and indie designers (most of them found only here): Alexander Wang, Rachel Comey, Society for Rational Dress. The spot-on buying ensures that one stop will produce all your staples (tees from Coven, denim by Rogan) as well as that truly standout item (like a Gary Graham leather vest). 334 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2115, .
No two diamonds are alike—and yet so much jewelry looks exactly like what she's wearing, dammit! Uncover flashes of originality at Cohasset Jewelers, a family business well into its third decade. Bench jeweler Don Cirone (who co-owns the store with brother Mark) crafts most of the highly covetable wares on-site, as well as made-to-order custom pieces. For guaranteed one-off wonders, plunder the strong estate section or hit its annual blowout sale in August. 790 Chief Justice Cushing Hwy, Cohasset, MA 2025, cohassetjewelers.com.
Finding enough time to work out can be hard enough, never mind locating the right clothing to do it in. City Sports is a one-stop shop offering every major athletic apparel brand—from Nike to Under Armour, Brooks, and Mizuno. Employees, meanwhile, will get you geared up quickly, so you can get back to the gym, track, or pool. 480 Boylston St., Boston, MA citysports.com.
For lovers of serious french wines, Brookline Liquor Mart is one of the best stores in the country. True, if you are looking for widely available wines, you may find cheaper places elsewhere. But because the store is owned by Classic Wines Imports, it boasts an absolutely extraordinary selection of French wines— many at bargain prices. Brookline's strong suit— older, mature Burgundies— are not just incredibly well priced for their age and provenance; they are also almost impossible to find elsewhere. A friendly, well-informed staff will hlp you find the real treasures. 1354 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, MA .
Shopping for an earth-mother-to-be? Consider feel-good products that actually feel good—like the ones at three-year-old Hatched, whose soft cotton diapers, soothing all-natural lotions, and cloudlike merino wool blankets prove "environmentally friendly" needn't equal "rough-hewn." For those with a more playful bent, there are Kinderkram wooden cars and trucks, finished with only natural oils and dyes, and vibrant Kruse baby toys made of organic cotton. 5 Green St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, hatchedboston.com.
The trash bin at the Shawmut-Milford intersection brims with the other kind of doggie bag, the calling cards of tail-wagging patrons who find plenty of reasons to stop here: two floors of homemade treats (tuna cookies for crunching, pig ears for gnawing), fancy leashes, and bright, squeaky toys just waiting to be slobbered over. The variety satisfies even two-legged shoppers—which, let's be honest, are the only critical ones on the premises. 256 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA 2118, polkadog.com.