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.
There are perhaps no greater late-night food cravings than for French fries or macaroni and cheese. Fortunately for Boston barhoppers, Silvertone serves mean versions of both in its soothingly dark subterranean bar and lounge. Slip down the stairs and settle into a booth to order from a menu filled with a mix of comfort food and gourmet dishes, served quickly and efficiently by the casual, friendly staff. The full bar means that those who still have the aptitude for one last tipple can wash down their BLTs with an ice-cold draft. What's more, the location (smack-dab in the middle of the newly trendy Ladder District) makes Silvertone an easy addiction to indulge. 69 Bromfield St., Boston, MA silvertonedowntown.com/.
One hundred seventeen pages long, with upwards of 32,800 bottles, the Federalist's wine list is a tome to be reckoned with—if not downright feared. But as inaccessible as the list may seem, sommelier James Flynn navigates it with cool confidence and a breadth of knowledge underscored by a sincere affection for wine and food. He can select a single perfect wine for a table filled with even the most difficult of entrée combinations—say, aged beef sirloin cooked rare, roasted scallops, and poussin—and serve the resulting (and invariably delicious) bottle promptly and at the ideal temperature with barely a bat of his eye. 15 Beacon St., Boston, MA .
Boston chef Ed Gannon maintains Aujourd'Hui's reputation as one of the finest hotel dining rooms in the city. No, we're not swayed by the view. Okay, maybe a little. The unpretentious menu is flawlessly presented and prepared, and despite the formal china it succeeds in bridging the gap between over-the-top fine dining and the kind of food that people prefer to eat these days. Chef Gannon's creatively presented dishes are simultaneously hearty and light and they reach the table in a timely fashion. The chef gets extra credit for his friendly way of coming around to the tables, and for so willingly sharing his kitchen with visiting chefs for themed dinners. Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
As if P-Town wasn't otherworldly enough, along comes Silk & Feathers, where between the lacy, sequined Rozae Nichols dresses and the handcrafted shoes, you might as well be shopping in Santa Monica or SoHo. Just try to resist the supple lime-green biker jackets or the Mille K wrinkled pink-satin dresses. Ache over the Casch polka dot tops and Cosabella lingerie. And when you break down and buy one of the bright tangerine Furstenberg skirts, you'll know that in a store (and town) this hip and flamboyant, you're doing the right thing. 377 Commercial St., Provincetown, MA silkandfeathers.com/.
Though this polished 114,000-square-foot gym and spa is every bit the haven for fully grown and well-paid adults, it seems there's room here for younger fitness fans to get in on the action, too. Besides Family Day every Sunday and a grab bag of special classes held throughout the year, one of the star attractions is the weekly kids' yoga workout led by Cambridge pro Claire Carroll. Under her gentle guidance, youngsters ages three to five learn ancient—and surprisingly fun—exercises (stretch like a dog! bend like a cobra!) designed to help increase flexibility, coordination, and strength. 4 Avery St., Boston, MA 2111, .