Practical Makes Perfect: Housewares and Gifts from Michelle Willey in the South End

Hover/click for details. (Photograph by Michael Piazza. Styling by Jenny Wilson/Anchor Artists.)

File under oldies but goodies: Michelle Willey’s eponymous South End housewares and gifts boutique may have opened an economic climate or two ago (2005), but it’s one of those age-defying outliers that still feels as fresh and relevant as the first time we fell for its eclectic wares. Truthfully, we’d probably keep the airy shop on regular rotation even if it never branched out from the Pillivuyt vases and Matouk towels we’ve been stocking up on for years (color us obsessed with the Libeco linens). But a 2010 expansion gave Willey room to boost her clothing and accessories offerings—see: the gorgeous sharkskin bags and oh-so-hot Illesteva sunglasses—and weave in quirkier finds. “They’re simple things that can work in a variety of settings,” says Willey of her merchandise. More to the point: “They’re things you can use.”

8 Union Park St., Boston, 617-424-6700,