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Curated by the Tannery

Cambridge institution the Tannery has been quietly selling nothing but sensible walking shoes since the early '80s. Then, this past year, its owners decided to spin off two wildly different and fashion-forward ventures. One is Concepts, a rare sneaker emporium, and the other is Curated by the Tannery, which has flooded a cavernous 10,000-square-foot space with an insanely comprehensive selection of independent talent, from names like Pencey, Society for Rational Dress, and Sea. Beyond the impressive depth of cool clothes on offer, it also has one of the largest denim walls we've seen in a stand-alone boutique.
39 Brattle St., Harvard Square, 617-491-1811

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The Garment District

This famous Cambridge vintage warehouse is broken down into several departments, but to our mind there are only two that matter. Those who like a good dig should hit the ground floor's Dollar-a-Pound (where the owners estimate they sell several million pounds of apparel a year) before heading upstairs to the women's section, where a trove of about 40,000 pieces awaits. They're all neatly sorted by color and style, which makes it easier to take in the sheer mass of offerings. And almost everything is under $15.
200 Broadway, Cambridge, 617-876-5230

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Grand

Occupying a palatial former auto garage in up-and-coming Somerville, this newcomer is owned by three record-label veterans who were all born within four days of each other. Maybe this bit of fortuitousness explains why their tastes are so uncannily similar: Cleverly designed finds abound, like doorstops cast after roller skates, molded plastic lamps, and Tobias Wong's sun jars.
374 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617‑623-2429, grandthestore.com

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Gray Mist

This Cambridge jewel box of a shop—owned by Japanese couple Ken Kimura and Etsuko Yashiro—specializes in beautifully contemporary iterations of Nantucket baskets, which you can learn how to make yourself in one of their in-store classes. There are also tiny carved-ivory whales, rust red rain boots, and striped hand towels, which all look like they'd belong in the most elegant seaside cottage on the planet.
360 Huron Ave. Huron Village, 617-868-8868

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Magpie

A handful of small artists consign their one-offs at this eensy spot in Somerville's Davis Square. Delicately worked earrings, mini embroidered pillows, and a particularly strong range of modern stationery are good reasons for seeking it out.
416 Highland Ave., Sommerville, 617-623-3330

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Marimekko

This mother-and-son-owned undertaking (the first of only four Marimekko concept stores to have opened in the U.S.) carries all of the iconic line's punchy basics, plus loads from the up-and-coming textile artisans who now collaborate with the brand. There are rolls of chicly illustrated fabric, throw pillows, coin purses, and racks and racks of minidresses and simple cotton tops.
350 Huron Ave., Huron Village, 617-354-2800

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Nomad

Nomad got its start on Newbury Street in 1990 before migrating to Cambridge in 1998, where it occupies a space that used to house a witchcraft supply store (seriously). It has the feel of a well-curated global bazaar—a perfect mix of eclectic bohemianism and full-on luxury. There are gorgeous antique gold necklaces, Melissa Joy Manning opal stacking rings, and flawlessly embellished labels like Matta and Gary Graham.
1741 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-497-6677, nomadcambridge.com

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Passport

As its name suggests, this brand-new Harvard Square addition, owned by a recent business-school grad, is committed to all things travel. The essentials are here—cashmere wraps from White + Warren, Hayden-Harnett weekenders, itsy packs of stain remover from the Laundress—but what makes Passport so brilliant is the clothing. There are multitasking, wrinkleproof staples from Love Ya-Ya and Twinkle by Wenlan that truly streamline the packing process.
43 Brattle St., Harvard Square, 617-576-0900

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Stil

The Chestnut Hill mall is home to a just-opened Cusp (the wildly popular offshoot of Neiman Marcus), the best area Barneys New York, and the largest location of Stil, a local chainlet. Owner Betty Riaz hunts through Scandinavia to fill her racks, loading up on established names like Camilla Staerk, as well as nascent talents such as Heartmade and Rützou. It's all mixed in with separates from a handful of other, more familiar-to-the-States lines, like Ports 1961 and Maloles.
199 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-527-7845; plus other locations

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Concord

Lucky's favorite stores in Boston's Concord neighborhood! (Updated October 2008)

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