Best Boutique Shopping
Though Granite Staters have a reputation as being a flannel-loving people, there are plenty of local boutiques offering the latest in fashion. Stylist Chloe Barcelou recommends her favorites.
A note from New Hampshire Magazine: For the time being, per the governor’s stay-at-home order, nonessential businesses are closed to the public in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. In many cases, shops are offering online orders (occasionally with free shipping). Where information is available, it’s noted below. We will do our best to keep this list (and other stories from Best Places New Hampshire 2020) updated. In the meantime, we hope this may provide some vicarious (or online) retail therapy and a chance to plan ahead. Stay safe, and stay healthy!
People who like to shop (and who doesn’t?) tend to aim for big targets, like department stores, outlets for major brands or (for those places that still have them) shopping malls. And nothing can beat a great downtown for its variety of shops and other diversions. But the secret to finding the sweetest spots for the serious shopaholic is to think small — boutique small.
A great boutique is a beacon because a small store stocked with an owner-curated array of fashionable attire is almost always surrounded by other such personable shops and cafés. Find a sweet boutique and you’re pretty much assured you are on a street or in a shopping district that will offer other surprises and delights.
Based on that philosophy, we enlisted New Hampshire Magazine’s fashion editor, Chloe Barcelou, to divulge one of her own most-guarded secrets: Her list of the small shops that fuel her own fashion needs and that supply her with the couture, shoes, accessories and bargain-basement sales items that she relies on to compose her fashion features.
“Growing up, shopping with my mom was one of my favorite pastimes,” says Barcelou. “Shopping and fashion run deep in my lineage. That’s perhaps why I am a professional shopper now, and why I so deeply enjoy the feeling that comes with discovering a quaint boutique in a small town off a backroad.” She guarantees you’ll find many treasures and inspirations in the shops listed here. “I understand why big-box stores, with their convenient hours and low prices, are so popular, but they can’t hold a candle to a local shop that displays artisan finds, local and USA-made tags, knickknacks you didn’t know you needed, and staff who are kind, supportive and helpful.” Of course, she notes, an added bonus is knowing you’re supporting local communities and keeping these shops in business for the next avid shopper to find their own treasures and inspirations.
Bliss Boutiques Bliss is a high-end designer, casual retailer perfect for jean hunting, T-shirts, sweaters and daily attire. Brands include Prairie Underground, Joe’s Jeans, Citizens of Humanity, Velvet, Splendid, Hanky Panky and American Vintage. Shop online and follow Facebook for updates.
SAULT New England Carrying a wide range of high-end men’s clothing, accessories and an apothecary selection, SAULT is the go-to for a classic New England aesthetic. Brands to choose from include Patagonia, Levi’s, Alex Mill and made-in-USA selections like Raleigh. They are offering free shipping for online orders.
Lady Pickwick’s Lady Pickwick’s is a girly girl’s dream come true. With a variety of everything feminine from makeup and vintage hats to corsets and hosiery to silk pillowcases and luxury clothing, this small boutique is as enchanting as it is versatile. Lady Pickwick’s is a Portsmouth must. Curbside pickup from all Pickwick’s shops is available at Fezziwig’s Food & Fountain. See more here.
Market Square Jewelers Estate, antique, vintage, and modern jewelry and rare gems can be found at Market Square. You’ll feel as if you’re treasure hunting. Shop online. They are also disinfecting all jewelry that goes in and out of the store, and they are offering curbside pickup. Call (603) 343-2705 and visit Facebook for updates and more information.
Footnotes Since 1946 Footnotes has been a staple for footwear finds, featuring a variety of labels from Birkenstock to Stuart Wiseman and a selection ranging from wedges to muck boots. Footnotes has you covered. Or not, if you prefer sandals. Offering free shipping on orders over $200 and free returns. Shop online and see more here. Follow them on Facebook for sale updates.
Club Boutique & City Shoes Club Boutique & City Shoes share space on a quaint side street. At this two-for-one shop you can find some casual attire to mix and match, or an outfit for your next black-tie event, complete with shoes and accessories. At this time they’re temporarily closed, but are ready and stocked for when they can reopen the doors. Follow them on Facebook for updates.
Cash Only Vintage With a wide variety of vintage clothing, ranging from ’50s denim to ’80s T-shirts and sweaters, Cash Only is the go-to for retro-inspired styling. Find Champion sweatshirts from the early days in pristine condition, or well-loved leather moto jackets. The owner is friendly and knowledgeable, and the store itself is a gem to treasure hunt through. Despite the name, Cash Only does take credit cards.
Bella Funk Boutique Run by two fun, local ladies, Bella Funk stocks a variety of quality designer labels perfect for a stylish day at the office or a casual evening on the town. Brands include Johnny Was, Free People or Hudson and AJ jeans. They sell many made-in-the-USA items, as well as goods from local artisans such as Linny Kenny Leather. Shop online here. Follow them on Facebook for updates on new products, sales and more.
Blacksheep Provisions Modern Vintage This fun, richly decorated vintage store carries an array of eclectic clothing. From kimonos to Irish wool sweaters to Gunne Sax dresses, and even vintage records — you can find your next favorite piece at Blacksheep. Shop online here. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for new items and updates.
Lonesome Woods Are you looking for vintage lumberjack gear? A 1940s wool plaid? An old but pristine pair of logger boots? How about a vintage Pendleton blanket? An artisan candle in “campfire” scent? Snowshoes? Find all of the above at Lonesome Woods, located in the next town over in Bethlehem. Shop online and follow them on Instagram and Facebook for updates.
Gondwanna & Divine Clothing Co. A staple in Concord for fun, relaxed and chic clothing and gifts, Gondwanna & Divine Clothing Co. boasts a large selection and a friendly staff along with brands such as Free People and boutique jewelry brands such as Unode50. Shop online and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for information on new items and updates.
Zoë & Co. One of the only professional bra fitters in the state, Zoë & Co. helps a lady to find the most comfortable, most affordable and most stylish bras, ranging in sizes from AA to KK, with every style imaginable. Also stocking tights, crinolines and sexy lingerie in a charming and beautiful boutique setting. Temporarily closed.
Susana’s Sewing Studio Carrying a wide range of hip and artistic clothing, this studio’s inventory includes rare finds such as European labels Ewa i Walla along with locals like Krista Larson Designs. Susana herself tailors, repairs and makes from scratch everything from bloomers to prom dresses. They will be posting photos of their spring collections on Facebook. If you’d like to place an order, send them a direct message for more details and pricing.
Lilise Designer Resale Are you looking for designer labels such as Chanel, Dooney & Burke or Christian Dior at a quarter of their original price? Look no farther. Lilise Designer Resale also carries a wealthy amount of vintage and one-of-a-kind pieces full of fun and style. They will be posting items for sale on Facebook and Instagram. You can reach out via a message if you’d like to make a purchase. Check out their live stream sales Wednesdays and Saturdays at 3 p.m. and daily sales posts.
Britches of Concord Britches carries a large selection of both men’s and women’s clothing. Men will find sportswear, suits, tuxedos and ties, while women can shop for dresses, sportswear, accessories, silk scarves and more. Temporarily closed. Follow Facebook for updates.
Miranda’s On Main Miranda’s is a beautiful boutique that fills a range of needs. Anything from formal gowns to hip shoes and bags, to jewelry, hair accessories, outerwear and more. Brands include Fly London, Eileen Fisher, Adrianna Papell and Joseph Ribkoff. Shop online and follow them on Facebook to see new arrivals.
Moe-Momentum Clothing Fun and hip, Moe’s is the place to find a down-to-earth casual look for work, running errands or lounging in style. Moe’s is also appealing for young people interested in fabulous looks at a price they can manage. Shop online and follow them on Facebook for updates.
Miller Bros.-Newton Perhaps the most distinguished men’s shop in New Hampshire, Miller Bros.-Newton has a posh collection of men’s clothing, ranging from authentic Irish wool sweaters to Johnny Bahama Hawaiian shirts. With a complete inhouse atelier, you’re able to not only find the perfect suit or tuxedo, but also have it tailored to perfection by a knowledgeable and friendly staff. They are still taking and shipping orders. Follow them on Facebook for information.
Ted’s Shoe & Sport In the market for some athletic wear and sporty shoes? Ted’s is stocked with shoes for all ages from running sneakers to hiking boots and Crocs to Birkenstocks. Shop online with free shipping and find updates on Facebook and Instagram.
Alice Blue Peterborough’s beautiful two-story boutique located on a side street features artisanal designers from around the globe, as well as local makers. With couture and more casual labels in addition to jewelry, bags and accessories, Alice Blue offers lush variety and a friendly staff. Temporarily closed.
LunaChics LunaChics carries fan favorite brands such as Free People, Spanx, Nic+Zoe, Michael Stars, Lucky Brand and many more. The perfect spot to style a casual look for work or a night on the town. Shop online for delivery or curbside pickup. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates.
Denimrack One of the best places to find the perfect pair of denim, Denimrack carries a variety of brands plus couture labels. With every wash, fit and style available, it’s easy to find your next favorite pair of jeans (or jean shorts or denim jacket). Though they no longer have a physical location, visit their online store. See their Facebook page for how to place orders.
Top Drawer Top Drawer is a lovely boutique to shop for bras and lingerie. With professional fitters available to help you and a vast variety of styles, fabrics and sizes, it’s easy to see why Top Drawer has been voted best lingerie shop, year after year. Call (604) 778-2211 or order online for pickup, or to set up a virtual fitting appointment.
PuddleJumpers children’s shop An adorable little shop in downtown Exeter, Puddlejumpers has been around since 1989, carrying toys, gifts and clothing for babies and children. Shop online, and follow them on Facebook for updates and more information.
Camaraderie Boutique Two friends came together to bring Camaraderie to Nashua. A trendy boutique, Camaraderie offers fashionable finds and special touches with their personal shopper offerings. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram and send them a message if you see something you love.
Fresh of Nashua With the motto “a casual chic boutique,” Fresh of Nashua carries a variety of funky, fun and fresh designs and styles. With labels such as Desiqual, Elana Kattan, Jo Jo Loves You of Boston and many more to choose from, you’ll be feeling fresh after a trip to this delightful boutique. Shop online and follow them on Facebook for updates.
Mother & Child Clothing & Goods One of the most fun places to “treasure hunt” for your next look, Mother & Child has long been a staple in nearby Amherst. An enourmous selection of hardly worn, previously loved pieces practically ensures you’ll find your next beloved wardrobe staple. Shop online and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates.
Manchester and Bedford
Statement Boutique Statement offers just what the name promises — a wide variety of statement pieces, from chunky, colorful jewelry to fun knits, patterns and prints. At this unique shop, you’ll find a little of everything, from shoes and accessories to outerwear to business attire. For the entire month of April, they are offering a stay-at-home sale with 20% off your entire purchase. Shop online here and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates.
Alapage Boutique A wonderful spot for trendy casual finds, Alapage carries fashionable, hip brands such as Young, Fabulous and Broke, Paige denim, Velvet, Tribal Sportswear and Liverpool. Offering free shipping on orders of $25 and more. Shop online here and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates.
Arnaldo Joseph Boutique Tucked away in the charming Bedford Village Inn, this little boutique carries a variety of contemporary fashion labels and styles to choose from. Complete with accessories, stunning jewelry and select apothecary items, and a friendly and attentive staff. Shipping orders — follow on Facebook and call for information. Bedford location: (603) 296-3922 Concord location: (603) 219-0354