Austin is known as the pinnacle of hipness, one of the best places in the country to live, and an oasis for live music. It also happens to be home to the Hideaway Report’s corporate offices. As Austin continues to grow as a travel destination, we thought it appropriate to guide you through one of the city’s less talked about strong points: its ever-growing number of upscale boutiques.
True to the independent spirit of Texas, Austin purveyors often focus on relevant, up-and-coming designers who create unique pieces following eco-friendly practices. So whether you’re looking for fine estate jewelry, luxury fashion or the perfect pair of cowboy boots, our list of favorite shops around town will send you home with your bags full.
Owner Wendi Koletar has joked that her personal style is “luxury pajamas,” so it’s no surprise that Kick Pleat reflects her appreciation of sophisticated comfort. Wide-legged trousers, easy-to-wear slides and understated jewelry are offered from independent designers like impeccably tailored Apiece Apart and Paris-based Lemaire. Though the apparel may be simple, the sumptuous fabrics and classic shapes can take the pieces from office hours to cocktail hour.
Any item from Raven + Lily would make a perfect conversation starter. Not only are the clothes, bags, jewelry and home goods gorgeous and eco-friendly, but they also help fight poverty around the world. All items are handmade by at-risk female artisans, mostly in developing countries, who are paid a fair wage in a safe environment. For example, one woman in India whose husband left her for not having a male child, used her wages from the design studio to resume the education of her five daughters and provide them with a brighter future.
This adorable boutique on the trendy east side of town has clothing and accessories from independent designers as well as a small market of apothecary and home goods. When visiting the thoughtfully designed space (inspired by the colors of Mexico City), pay particular attention to the shoe offerings: Olive carries playful styles from Intentionally Blank, Miista and NYC staple Maryam Nassir Zadeh. (Olive now has a store in Brooklyn, New York, as well.)
Located in the ultra-hip South Congress Hotel, Sunroom’s West Coast aesthetic means effortless, breezy apparel and swimwear that pops. Owner Lucy Jolis takes a personal approach to selecting designers for her light-drenched space, like the “high priestess of swimwear” Lisa Marie Fernandez or Brooklyn-based, silk-loving Electric Feathers.
Straight off the pages of an editorial spread (or from your favorite celebrity’s Instagram), Valentines curates a wearable collection of clothing, shoes and accessories. Find an ensemble for any occasion, from casual (Tom Ford sunglasses, Rag & Bone denim) to glam (party dresses by A.L.C. and Tibi). Both locations — one in Westlake and one in central Austin — are known for a relaxed atmosphere and friendly, dedicated staff to help you find the perfect pieces.
Stag is perfect for the red-blooded man who still wants to be fashionable. The store carries clothing from top brands (RRL, Rogue Territory) as well as one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that work for a day hike or a night on the town. Other man-cave essentials like classic vinyl, vintage furniture, artwork and taxidermy are on display throughout the shop’s decidedly rugged interior.
Another gem in the South Congress Hotel, Revival Cycles has quite a different aesthetic than Sunroom. The passion project of a mechanical engineer and a designer, Revival Cycles is a “cultural center for motorcyclists,” providing lifestyle essentials from books to leather jackets (a separate workshop services vintage models and constructs custom projects). As well as being the exclusive U.S. carrier of Hedon Helmets, Revival Cycles features apparel by Dutch company REV’IT! and handmade adventure-ready luggage from Bleu de Chauffe.
Austin’s original high-end boutique, By George has been outfitting the city’s elite since 1979. Sip Champagne and let the expert staff assist you in perusing the newest collections from Céline, Chloé and many more. The Men’s Shop, located next door to the North Lamar flagship, stocks brands ranging from elegant menswear (Brunello Cucinelli) to everyday favorites (Levi’s Vintage Collection). Another location on trendy South Congress offers an eclectic mix of gifts, books and clothing from emerging designers.
Austin’s most famous boot shop has, yes, rows and rows of every kind of cowboy boot imaginable: from intricately embroidered Old Gringos to “rugged and refined” Luccheses for thousands of dollars. But the store also carries other Texan must-haves, like belt buckles, Stetson hats and pearl-snap shirts. Even if you’re not in the market for boots, Allens is a must-visit Austin icon, and you never know — once you slip on a pair and find your Texas mosey, you may change your mind.
Looking for a statement piece that’s one of a kind? This little gem of a shop contains an enviable assortment of antique jewelry, with an emphasis on the 18th and 19th century. (Think: a Georgian-era mourning ring or an art deco Tiffany & Co. ring with a 1.5-carat emerald.) Bell & Bird can also create custom pieces from its heritage jewels. Checking the website for updated hours is advisable, as the adventurous shopkeepers are occasionally out traveling in search of new treasures.
Premier downtown jewelry destination Eliza Page carries timeless pieces to be passed down for generations. About half of the designers are local to Austin (like sculptor-turned-jeweler Shaesby and planet-inspired Elizabeth Crandall), but others come from afar, like ring-maker Kataoka out of Tokyo. Eliza Page also creates custom pieces using ethically sourced gems and metals.
Austin is famous for embracing its weirdness, and this is certainly clear while combing through the oddities at Uncommon Objects. The eclectic South Congress antiques emporium is the perfect place to find a quirky souvenir, acquire whimsical jewelry or just browse in wonder among the myriad curiosities.
Create your dream dinner party with artisan wares from Kettle & Brine. Specializing in heirloom-quality kitchen and tableware, this shop in Central Austin seeks out products that meet a high standard of function, design and sustainability, like hand-thrown stoneware or reclaimed wood cutting boards. To further a chef’s fantasies, Kettle & Brine also carries a variety of novel pantry items, such as Jacobsen’s flavored salts, specialty teas and spicy maple syrup.
This article has been updated from the original, which was published February 28, 2017.