Confession: I rarely go shopping. But lately, when I do, I've found my tastes have moved from trendy and disposable to more classic and hopefully long-lasting. Which is another way of saying I've finally become old and boring, but never you mind. Here are some places in town to find a good coat, good boots, and jeans that actually fit well -- i.e., "investment pieces."
I'll be honest: I had to give myself a pep talk the very first time I visited By George. This is the Coco Chanel of Austin boutiques, and almost nothing here costs less than $100. But for an investment piece -- a classic coat you will wear over and over, a bag you can carry anywhere -- there is no place finer.
Denim heaven: This is THE place in Austin to find jeans that fit your body like a second skin, with an on-staff tailor who can hem pant legs for you right then and there.
East Austin's answer to the enduring fashion conundrum of not-too-fancy, not-too-casual clothing needs. Pieces here are supplied by small designers who work in small batches, and the sale rack is price-slashing city, with many pieces half off.
Plain Ivey Jane was founded on a pretty genius product principle: Overstock, high-end clothing at discount prices. The style here tends to be a young "ladies who lunch" one, with bright-colored dresses and tasteful little skirts.
"Comfort" and "attractive" are not always friendly bedfellows in the shoe department, but somehow, Stella Says Go has found the brands that deliver both. Also, their website is incredible, functioning like a mini Zappos.
Langford Market is the kind of place that, once you form a relationship with the staff, will hold brand new items just for you because they know you'll love them. It honestly took me a while to walk in the door here because the shop name sounded too catalogue-y for my tastes, but once I did, I discovered that the clothes were a lot more youthful than I was expecting, and the prices much more reasonable. A solid place for cute work-to-evening outfits.
A reliable spot for special occasion dresses, ranging from date night to cocktail party. Brands here are mid-line designers, and prices reflect that, too: It's not By George levels of wallet emptying, but the overall clothing quality and cost is above, say, Strut -- another boutique I love, but alas, purchases from there just have an expiration date.
Upscale consignment lines the walls of this bright S. Lamar outfit, where you'll find designer hand-me-downs in excellent shape: Chanel, Miu Miu, and Proenza Schouler (and not that one time Proenza Schouler designed for Target, either -- the real kind).