2009 BOB Awards: Shopping

Shopping

Place to Buy …

Vintage Clothing

Sometimes shopping for vintage means rummaging through smelly racks and crossing your fingers for a good find. Not so at Central Avenue star Hong Kong Vintage. Fanciful skirts, dresses, jackets, pumps, and baubles from decades past are a treat for the eye (and the wallet) in all their organized, color-coded glory while shelves are neatly stacked with heaps of worn-in denim. Plus, Hong Kong makes going vintage a stylish cinch — so easy, in fact, that you can do it from your couch on its eBay store.
2005 Central Ave., 704-334-0538

Your Next Bag

At Capitol, expect to find the city’s best selection of couture goods. (Dress $12,525; jacket, $4,190; belt, $1,255, all by Balmain; earrings by Andrew Gn, $410; shoes by Givenchy, $840. All at Capitol.)

At Capitol, expect to find the city’s best selection of couture goods. (Dress $12,525; jacket, $4,190; belt, $1,255, all by Balmain; earrings by Andrew Gn, $410; shoes by Givenchy, $840. All at Capitol.)

You may have to wait for your next raise before you can even think about coveting a new bag from Kooba, Marc Jacobs, or Elliott Lucca, but when that time comes (if it comes) you can go straight to the handbag department at Nordstrom. In fact, that is what we love most about buying bags at Nordstrom — totes, hobos, and clutches of all sizes and labels are displayed within easy reach so you can touch, feel, and see exactly why you’re about to pay so much for a purse. (If your pockets don’t run deep, be sure to stop by the juniors department on the second floor, where you can score trendy bags that may lack a big-name label but, with prices under $50, won’t drain your bank account.)
SouthPark, 704-442-6000

Yoga Apparel

Looking stylish in the downward dog position is no easy task, but with thirty-five different lines of functional, fashion-forward active wear, Asana makes it nearly effortless. Bestsellers include the fabulously funky bright patchwork styles from Margarita; Earth-friendly, batik-inspired printed items made from sustainable and recycled materials by Prana; and simple, sporty designs from Rese. You can also grab yoga gear like mats, bags, and Jo-Sha wipes infused with botanical oils to freshen up with after you work up a sweat.
Shops at Morrison, 3920 Sharon Rd. 704-366-8020

Nightlife Attire

If you ask us, the goal when choosing nightlife attire is to find an outfit that will turn every head in the room. That’s no easy goal, which is why we love getting our "going out" clothes at spunky Ballantyne boutique Coco Fleur, which specializes in fun, femme looks from lines like Nanette Lepore, Bailey 44, and Eva Franco. Social ladies from several generations can find something fabulous to wear out on the town: a slouchy gold bag from Coco’s house label, statement shoes from Loeffler Randall, a flirty top by Hale Bob, or even a dance-floor-ready dress from Lewis Cho.
8145 Ardrey Kell Rd., Ste. 102, 704-321-2626

Pet Boutique

If you’ve ever tried to give Sparky a sudsy once-over in the bathtub (or sink, or inflatable kiddie pool) and then endured the hassle of cleaning up afterward, then you can understand that while we love Pet Essentials for its selection of holistic dog food, tasty homemade biscuits, and USDA-approved beefy treats, we’re bark-raving mad for its DIY doggie spa. Pet Essentials provides the water, shampoo, grooming tools, and a giant room with rubber floors and a drain so you get to go home with a clean, happy pooch and leave the mess behind.
7510 Pineville Matthews Rd., 704-341-9936

Denim

We all know the odds of locating that Holy Grail pair of jeans that fit you perfectly is next to impossible. That’s why we adore the scope of Black & Blue‘s collection of denim for men and women that contains labels you aren’t likely to find anywhere else in the city. Helpful staff will pull blues in all cuts, rises, and styles until they find the denim pair you’re destined for. Will they be edgy, accessorized blues from Taverniti? Super-soft, Western-inspired boot cuts by Stitches? Dressy trouser jeans from Kasil? New, practically unknown lines (all of which carry price tags in the $150-$200 range) get added each season.
Shops at Morrison, 720 Governor Morrison St., Ste. 180, 704-366-9339

Bridal Boutique

Hayden Olivia has been open less than a year and we’re already wondering how the brides of Charlotte ever lived without it. The elegant, loftlike space overlooking Tryon Street is a perfect, intimate setting for betrothed ladies to zip themselves into gowns by Ulla Majia, Modern Trousseau, Kenneth Pool, and Reverie by Melissa Sweet. This spring, owner Heather Batt is adding Jenny Packham and Ines Di Santo to her ranks, making this a one-stop dream shop for brides searching for a once-in-a-lifetime dress and an intimate shopping experience.
221 S. Tryon St., 704-333-0377

Everyday Jewelry at Everyday Prices

We love how a few new pieces of trendy jewelry can freshen up an ordinary outfit in a snap. What we don’t love is spending a bundle on baubles only to have them be ousted by a new trend one season later. That’s why we adore the accessory offerings at the cozy Dilworth boutique sticki rice. We’re talking exotic earrings, funky necklaces, and bangle bracelets, all for less than $30. (Plus, the store runs frequent sales with all jewelry priced at $10.) Adorn yourself in as many trends as you like — your recession-era consumer conscience can rest easy while your wardrobe reaps the rewards.
1222 East Blvd., 704-644-5363

Cocktail Dresses

Every time we step foot inside The Pink Hanger to look for a party dress, we feel as though we’re raiding the closet of an accommodating friend who is infinitely more stylish than we are. Perhaps that’s because owner Whitney Avishar welcomes each client like she is a lifelong gal pal, or perhaps it’s the selection of trendy (but still wearable), designer (but still affordable), and oh-so-enviable cocktail frocks she handpicks for her store including looks from Akiko, Amanda Uprichard, Yumi Kim, and Wink.
2935 Providence Rd., 704-366-7272

Sunglasses

The right pair of designer frames can accessorize your face for decades if you invest wisely, and there’s no better place to do that than the newly opened Michael Kors boutique in SouthPark mall, where you can choose from classic metallic aviators (Mr. Kors himself names these as a favorite); Wayfarer-inspired "Santa Barbara" frames in brown, black, or white; hexagonal "Madison" shades, which have been spotted on Angelina and Eva Longoria. And guess what? Many of them are under $100.
SouthPark, 704-362-7000

Stylish Gifts

Be it wedding, house warming, grad party, birthday, or new baby, you’d better map out the driving route to the next event on your social calendar so that it takes you down East Boulevard and past the purveyor of "The Perfect Gift," Paper Skyscraper. We keep coming back for its well-thought-out selection of art, architecture, and special-interest books, vintage-inspired toys and novelties, huge selection of striking bar ware, beautiful stationery (like the renewable cotton notes made by Waste Not Paper), and of course its wall of unique cards, and single-sheet wrapping paper.
330 East Blvd., 704-333-7130

Lingerie

Call us crazy, but we like our lingerie to make us feel sophisticated. Sure, there might be a certain novelty to having an underwear drawer that looks like a Jelly Belly sampler pack, but true sexiness exists in the curve of a gossamer demi-cup, the texture of a night slip, and the confidence that comes from knowing you’re getting an expert fit from knowledgeable sales associates. The high-quality selection at I. C. London includes flirty lines such as Huit and Cosabella, miraculous workhorse brands Le Mysterie and Simon Perele, and silky-soft nightgowns and sleep sets from fleur’t and Mary Green.
1419 East Blvd., Ste. F, 704-377-7955
Ballantyne Village, 14825 John J. Delaney Dr. Ste. 135, 704-369-5210

Bookstore

We usually shy away from big chains because they feel overcrowded, overstuffed, and generally uninviting, but the brand-new Barnes & Noble in Morrison has changed our minds. Spacious shelves of new releases invite browsing just inside the front doors, bargain books get their own area to dominate instead of crowding the checkout counter, and the second floor (accessible by escalator) is home to an area filled with squishy armchairs as well as a charming — and enormous — children’s section. A wide selection of DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, and CDs in the downstairs media center is reasonably priced and includes lots of collector box sets.
Shops at Morrison, 4020 Sharon Rd. 704-364-0626

Maternity Shop

If there is one time in life when you can guarantee that everyone you pass on the street is checking out your outfit, it’s when you’re pregnant. Might as well dress to impress, which is a cinch if you shop at mommy-to-be boutique Beaux Belly. It carries James Jeans (a favorite of celeb moms); soft, colorful tees by Shade; silky, flattering dresses in fun prints from Everly Grey; and enviable diaper bags from OiOi and Skip* Hop. And it just got easier to look great for all nine months without blowing through baby’s college tuition savings fund: Beaux Belly now offers buy-and-sell consignment services, which means you can buy hip stuff on the cheap or sell some of your maternity wear back now that your body has returned to its bumpless shape.
Specialty Shops on the Park, 6401 Morrison Blvd. Ste. 4A, 704-366-9007

Women’s Shoes

A good shoe store carries one or two of the hottest trends for each season, but a great shoe store takes those trends and carries them through to all aspects of footwear style, from fashion-forward lines with designer labels on the sole to affordable household names you might not expect to see on the shelves. For spring and summer ’09, Step by Sloan is chock-full of steep wedges from Michael Kors, Modern Vintage, and Jean Michelle Cazbat, metallic gladiator flats from Vicini, bold platforms from Guiseppe Zanotti, and plenty of show-stopping styles from others like Luciano Padovan, Bettye Muller, Cole Haan, and Anne Klein.
1419 East Blvd., Ste. M, 704-376-1275

Consignment Shop

In an alternate universe we would open our closets each morning to find them filled with Chloe and Gucci and Milly and Tibi — live to dream, right? Well, wake up, because the dream is real and it’s happening at the immaculately organized consignment shop J. T. Posh, where only the labels you love are allowed on the racks, and all the clothes are in excellent condition and just waiting to be given a second life in your wardrobe rotation. Chanel, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Theory, and Tahari are all welcome and frequent offerings among J. T. Posh’s racks.
2400 Park Rd., Ste. A2, 704-375-1334

Babies’ and Children’s Shop

With elegant cribs, upholstered rockers, organic baby bedding, knock-out diaper bags, expert interior-design service, and a resident Yorkie who greets you, tail wagging, at the door, it’s no surprise that nesting continues to be a must-go destination for precious preggies, new moms, cool aunts, and doting grandparents. The store feathered its nest even more fabulously this year by bringing in luxury linens and bassinets from Lulla Smith; exclusive, custom, handmade jewelry by Heather Moore; and handmade stuffed animals from French company Moncalin.
Specialty Shops on the Park, 6401 Morrison Blvd. Ste. 16A, 704-366-3787

Couture Clothing

Couture isn’t just clothing — it’s a transcendent, toe-tingling, heart-fluttering, credit card-exhausting experience. And here in the Queen City, there is no better place to experience that than Capitol, especially since it opened its new location at the Shops at Morrison last fall. You can browse through the latest from labels including Stella McCartney, Chris Benz, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Richard Chai, Marc Jacobs, Thankoon, and others.
Shops at Morrison, 4010 Sharon Rd., 704-366-0388

Reader Picks

  • Women’s boutique: The Pink Hanger
  • Men’s fashion: Nordstrom
  • Women’s shoes: Nordstrom
  • Men’s shoes: Nordstrom
  • Vintage clothing: Hong Kong Vintage
  • Maternity clothing: Belly Elan
  • Bridal wear: Nitsa’s Apparel
  • Evening gowns: Nitsa’s Apparel
  • Place to buy lingerie: IC London
  • Store to buy jeans: Nordstrom
  • Jewelry: Handpicked
  • Stylish gifts: Paper Skyscraper
  • Antiques: Sleepy Poet
  • Home accessories: Blacklion
  • Furniture: IKEA
  • Hardware store: Blackhawk
  • Bike shop/repair: Bicycle Sport
  • Garden shop: Pike Family Nurseries
  • Pet store: PetSmart
  • Bookstore: Barnes & Noble
  • Meat: The Fresh Market
  • Fresh fish: The Fresh Market
  • Cheese: Dean & DeLuca
  • Fresh produce: Farmers Market
  • Organic foods: Earth Fare
  • Bakery: Nova’s Bakery