Whether you're looking for a gift or for your own personal use, no other store is more fun to browse in for writing, wrapping, and special occasion papers. Rugg Road carries an unusual and beautiful selection— sold by the sheet or by the box— that is a nice departure from the ubiquitous Crane's stationary, and great for customized invitations. Its heavy stock writing paper is email's most valiant enemy. 105 Charles St., Boston, MA .
After starting her stylish housewares store, F.kia, Ned Hand launched a second store stocked with chic furniture. But mixed in are some smart choices for gifts. Look for the stainless steel kitchen accouterments, beautiful glass items, tablewear, and linens. The bedding and hand painted pillows can't be beat. Here's your chance to give a housewarming gift that will get you invited back. 58 Clarendon St., Boston, MA .
You can't walk by without looking twice. The cascade of color beckons from the pavement, and spontaneity pays. For the romantic gesture of the moment, or a few blooms to grace your dinner table, pick a few posies by the stem or grab a tiny basket of flowering plants and vines. The whole shopfront reeks of romance and fresh beauty from the wrought-iron filigree to the lush sidewalk display. 164 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Yes, we know: We look cute today. We looked cute yesterday, too. But really, we can't take all the credit. We had help from best-friend team Kelly DiNisco and Nilda Martin, who stock pleasingly anti-prep clothes and accessories out of New York and L.A.: Porridge wrap dresses, Nicholas K. trenches, and in-demand Tag Jeans among them. Prettying your pals? Why, that's what friends are for. 1248 Washington St., Boston, MA 2134, .
Parents, face the facts: Bics and Trapper Keepers are way over; your kids wouldn't be caught dead with them. Today's junior scholars want Cross's ultracool chrome-plated Tech3 pens, vividly colored goatskin envelopes, and canvas totes in groovy blue-wave, pink-swirl, or neutral-flower patterns. The bright side: The last two items at least still hold a lot of homework assignments. Zero Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 2138, cross.com.
This is a shop for guys who hate to shop. In fact, Mr. Sid's has more amenities than some hotels. While their Zegna suits are being custom-altered, pampered shoppers can play pool, get their hair trimmed by an in-house barber, have a drink at the bar, or knock back espressos. The staff even tries to help the old-school faction of its clientele understand "Casual Friday." 1211 Centre Street, Newton Centre, MA mrsid.com/.
Two things make an optical shop great: a wide selection of frames, and an attentive staff. All three locations of Opticians 3 offer both. Designer frames range from classic Giorgio Armani to modern Prada to funky Jean-Paul Gaultier. The staff knows its inventory well and can help you find something that fits you perfectly. Few bargains here, but hey, this is your face we're talking about! The Mall at Chestnut Hill, Chestnut Hill, MA opticians3.com.
Determined to strike out against the WASP uniform of rumpled khakis, polo shirts, and sensible shoes, Debi Greenberg and dad Murray Pearlstein have revolutionized the way Bostonians dress. Their modern approach to fashion eschews mainstream labels for smaller, innovative designers, earning Louis Boston an international reputation as the store to watch—and copy. This store has the goods. And for your entertainment, deejays spin on the ground level Saturday afternoons. Does it get any cooler? Not in Boston. 234 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA louisboston.com/.
It's tough making an entrance, especially when the party season is in full swing. Young bohos in search of funky outfits are those into more serious chic might want to check out the gauzy, filmy numbers by designers whose names trip over your tongue: Demeulemeeseter, Galliano, Yamamoto. The store also has all the party accouterments, from cashmere cardigans and jewelry to hairpieces and Sergio Rossi shoes. 34 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Smaller boutiques deserve snaps for cleverness and class, but no one touches Neiman's when it comes to sheer selection. Sole searchers here can browse through zebra-print Manolos, steel-heeled Kors slingbacks, Marc Jacobs espadrilles, and bejeweled Christian Lacroix sandals. And with plenty of stock and attentive service, it's that much easier to walk out with your best foot forward. Copley Place, Boston, MA neimanmarcus.com/.
Optical issues are somber enough, so we love a spectacles shop that doesn't take itself too seriously. Such is the case at Q Optical, where visitors are greeted by whimsical, four-eyed steel sculptures and treated to fun and fancy frames by Gucci, Oliver Peoples, Paul Smith, and Paul Frank. Need some snow and sun protection, too? Also on hand are ready-to-ride ski goggles and stylish shades. 287 Newbury St., Boston, MA qoptical.com/.
From its creative workshops and tattooed employees to the epic collection of papers, every inch of the Art Store inspires creativity. The meticulously organized setting is the perfect place to lose track of time as you meander through wide aisles neatly packed with everything from standard paints, brushes, canvases, frames, journals, gifts, scrapbooks, and wrapping paper. Whether you're in the market for professional art supplies, a photo album, or rainy day children's games, the Art Store is the place to find your inner Degas. 401 Park Dr., Boston, MA .
Boasting a crackerjack stable of labels and styles, the Tannery exists to serve the active male's foot: Will it be Clarks Wallabies for a stroll through the Back Bay or $220 Scarpa hikers for the Everest expedition? Johnston & Murphy loafers for the board meeting or Birkenstocks for the weekend on the Vineyard? An accommodating staff and two spacious locations ensure superb fitting and extensive inventory. Whatever the function, rest assured your well-shod feet will lead you there in style and comfort. 11A Brattle St., Cambridge, MA thetannery.com/.
Searching for an obscure miniseries by Brit playwright Dennis Potter? Or is Japanimation more your taste? You've come to the right place if you're looking for those unrated, non-blockbuster, hard-to-find videos. And if the store doesn't have that special something in stock, it will order it for you—or give you an informed recommendation for a similar flick. 1740 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA .
Mystery Train in Gloucester houses perhaps the most eclectic assemblage of music and tchotchkes in eastern Massachusetts. A Gustav Mahler postcard here, a Charlie's Angelslunch box there—now that's culture. Looking for Arthur Miller reading from The Crucible and Death of a Salesman? How about Patsy Cline on Decca vinyl? You've come to the right place. 306 Newbury St., Boston, MA .