Pandemic or not, virtual design is having a moment — and no one does it quite like Christina Wikman. Dreaming up fresh and colorful looks from her Woburn studio, the interiors whiz can reimagine your lackluster bedroom or dated kitchen without ever walking through your front door. Just tell Wikman what you’re looking for via a thorough design questionnaire, and you’ll get a revamped floorplan, a mockup featuring the pro’s furniture and finish recommendations, and a detailed shopping list to make ordering your new showpieces a breeze. christinawikmaninteriors.com.
We love a tote bag as much as the next person, but after a while, the GBH and New Yorker ones start to pile up. WERS, Emerson College’s radio station, not only plays some of the best eclectic music around town — from singer-songwriters, rock, and R&B to show tunes and a cappella — its live-music swag also beats all. Baseball caps, T-shirts, hoodies, and coffee mugs all blare your allegiance to Boston’s best college radio station and make you look younger and hipper than you actually are. 120 Boylston St., Theater District, MA 02116, wers.org.
In an era when there’s a boutique fitness studio for every day of the week and personality type, local mini chain Fit Revolution manages to offer one-stop sweating without the feel of a bland big-box club. Sure, there’s the latest equipment for gym rats and the now-standard hyper-luxe locker rooms. But there’s also boot camp, indoor cycling, yoga, barre, boxing, and personal trainers at the ready. Owner Michelle O’Connor even offers a program for would-be fit kids. Multiple locations. 23 Concord St., North Reading, MA 01864, fit-rev.com.
After one look at our tired tresses, bubbly owner Kerry Zirpolo proposed an action plan (permanent dye, low-maintenance lob) that made us feel understood, not pushed. She even gave us a nook to peck away at our laptop while waiting for the color to kick in. We left refreshed, renewed, and feeling like we'd just met a new friend. Even better? Weeks later, our hair still held its style, and our chestnut-brown touchup looked bold, not brassy. 691 Belmont St., Belmont, MA 2478, moxiebelmont.com.
Guaranteed you will eye at least one article of clothing at Kodomo and wonder if there is any amount of tailoring that could make it adult size. The selection of apparel—think flowy striped jump suits for girls and oh-so-cool printed sweatshirts for boys—appeals to any age with relaxed, contemporary silhouettes and muted colors and patterns that feel more joyful than cutesy. Bonus: The shops' featured designers all practice ethical manufacturing. 579 Tremont St., Boston, 617-936-3808; 45 River St., Boston, 617-530-1140; kodomoboston.com. 579 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02118, kodomoboston.com.
You've kept the same old clothes in your wardrobe for years while blowing money on discount finds that don't quite fit or flatter. Take a time-out and call Alisa Neely. She arrives with the demeanor of an old friend, which makes it that much easier to open your closet, pour your heart out, and fill bags with stuff you know you're never going to wear. "Let's release this one back into the wild," she likes to say, referring to that frock you bought in high school. After the great purge, her designer and shop recommendations are spot-on, fully tailored to your look, body, and lifestyle. stylescout.net.
If you need another excuse to get married, look no further than Soul Cake’s Instagram. A casual scroll reveals masterpiece after masterpiece, thanks to pastry chef Gayoung Kim’s myriad textures and toppings: monstera leaf plastered to a pink-marble surface, blue watercolor fondant interrupted by flashes of gold, and sugar peonies placed by the bucketful. But of course, looks alone do not a wedding cake make—not only are Kim’s creations gorgeous, they’re also can’t-put-it-down good. Why double-tap when you could order one IRL? Woburn, MA 01801, soulcakeshop.com.
As long as Boston’s stylish men never lose their taste for leather-scented candles and pants held up with twists of nautical rope, Sault will continue to be indispensable. A new women’s section appears not to have affected the store’s emphasis on laid-back yet fashionable accents for the fellas, from killer railroad-spike-inspired bracelets from metal jeweler Giles & Brother to leather bi-folds from Todder. And lest men be excluded from the self-care trend, the shop also offers an assortment of high-end grooming products, including beard oils and one very preppy whale-shaped nail brush. 577 Tremont St., Boston, MA saultne.com.
With the opening of the Street and Chestnut Hill Square, the western ’burbs have experienced a retail renaissance of late. Yet nothing compares to the experience at the always-darling Clementine, in Wellesley. Owner Judi Rizley selects the most exclusive designers and styles for her boutique, from Piazza Sempione’s fitted fall jackets and Repetto’s luxe ballet flats to elegant dresses from Harvey Faircloth. One stop here practically guarantees you’ll never show up at a soiree in the same brandlet alone the same outfitas someone else. 445 Worcester St., Wellesley, MA 2481, ourclementine.com.
The downside of an hour of someone expertly kneading every ounce of stress and tension out of your body? Knowing that as soon as it’s over, you’ll have to check your Zenlike state at the door, only to hop on the T (or, worse, contend with Boston drivers). But here, after one of nearly a dozen massage options (for straight-up relaxation, we like the signature "Flow" style), you can stave off the inevitable in the complimentary Turkish bath, stacked with sleek surfaces, cool washcloths, and mood lighting to keep the post-treatment buzz going. 2 Battery Wharf, Boston, MA 2109, boston.exhalespa.com.
The swish crowd shed tears when Dress bid adieu to Newbury Street in May 2012. Thankfully, owners Martha Pickett and Jane Schlueter reopened their girly-cool boutique on Beacon Hill last August, and in addition to stocking the designers that defined the store’s first iterationVanessa Bruno, Loeffler Randallthey’re introducing fresh lines like A.P.C. and Ulla Johnson. Mix in small-batch fragrances, statement jewelry, and curated housewares, and it’s a one-stop shop for the city’s pretty young things. 70 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, dressboston.com.
Yeah, we know it's a chain. But it's got all the accessories a starving artist—or, at least, an aspiring one—could ever need. And in this case, bigger is better. The warehouse-like space is stocked with brushes, paints, pens, easels, sketchpads, and practically every doodad imaginable. From acrylics to oils, origami to crafts, most of the inventory is organized supermarket-fashion and is reasonably easy to find. Even if you're not a budding artist, there are plenty of other goodies to tempt the creative shopper: photo albums, notebooks, colorful bins, design books. Who knows? You might even find some inspiration. 401 Park Dr., Landmark Center, Boston, MA .
One step inside and your willpower begins to fade. After three steps, you're fixated on a lustrous, lacy negligee. Soon you're too weak-kneed to take any more steps. And here's why: set after set of bras, underwear, corsets, and simply sublime undergarments so beautiful, they'd make Roseanne Barr feel like Cameron Diaz. Far from tacky, these are quality labels like Cosabella and La Perla—all pricey, all worth splurging. How will you ever decide? With the help of the friendly and efficient staff, of course. 5 Copley Place, Boston, MA neimanmarcus.com/.
Next time you need a hard-to-find imported baking pan, follow your inner Escoffier to Kitchen Arts. From culinary esoterica (a one-inch funnel or a rolling mincer) to basics (need your knives sharpened?), these kitchen wizards have it all, including five lines of high-performance cookware. There are good old American brands alongside fancy European makes, and no fewer than 20 types of coffeemakers (stovetop percolators, French presses, and filter drips). Don't worry if your cooking skills extend little beyond boiling water. The employees know of what they speak and want you to enjoy the time you spend in your kitchen. 161 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
If you're like 99 percent of the female population, chances are you've got some sort of phobia about swimsuit shopping. Bloomie's helps set insecurities aside with flattering lighting, confidence-building mirrors, and a massive selection of demure one-pieces, teeny bikinis, and everything in between. Helpful (but not pushy) salespeople are available when you want a real-world opinion on that Juicy Couture two-piece. And if you'd like, they're ready to show more suitable alternatives from the likes of Vix, Shoshanna, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and more. The Mall at Chestnut Hill, Chestnut Hill, MA 2467, bloomingdales.com.