Arguably Boston's most famously chic store—host to lush lines like Dries van Noten and Balenciaga—Louis Boston occupies the corner mansion on Newbury Street that used to house the Museum of Natural History. Current owner Debi Greenberg's great-grandfather launched the business in 1929, and people still flock from all over the country for the gigantic sales.
234 Berkeley St., Back Bay, 617-262-6100
Sari Brown—who used to work for famed '60s designer Oleg Cassini—launched luxcouture.com in 2006 as an online-only venture exclusively devoted to handbags. A sleek bricks-and-mortar outpost debuted this September in Newton Highlands, an appropriately airy repository for the selection of pearl-dusted Natalia Brilli clutches and black patent leather Pauric Sweeney totes.
21 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, 617-969-5600
Though it has a long tradition of stocking indie greats like Nicholas K and Modern Amusement, this source also has fledgling labels, like an area-exclusive on Dustin Trust, a former designer at St. John, who recently moved to Boston to create his own collection of exquisitely constructed pieces.
1248 Washington St., South End, 617-521-9005
This jeweler—America's oldest—got its start in 1796, in a workshop across from Paul Revere's home. Now in an impressively appointed flagship, it sells a wide range of jewelry, from multicarat diamond earrings to stunning watches, along with home goods like delicately painted china.
440 Boylston St., Back Bay, 617-267-9100
Tucked away down a flight of stairs in a reworked 1900s horse stable, this unfussy four-year-old shop looks more like a chill basement hangout than a store. Guided by three retail veterans—Tina Burgos and Dave Nauyokas are Louis Boston alums, while Jon Callahan worked for Ermenegildo Zegna—the selection focuses on one-of-a-kind-feeling pieces. Ribbon-festooned Lizzie Fortunato necklaces, woven L.D. Tuttle flats, and smock tops from A.P.C. are all winning options.
334 Newbury St., Back Bay, 617-262-3348, stelsinc.com
One of the first Boston-based stores to embrace nascent lines, Storey Hauck's below-ground haunt has the city's deepest array of newcomers. There are C. Lin's carefully tailored blouses along with silk dresses from Argentinean-born Daniela Corte, who is perhaps the city's most well-known fashion import.
619 Tremont St., South End, 617-266-2610
Thousands and thousands of costume-jewelry pieces populate the cabinets at this subterranean Charles Street space. Collectible Chanel earrings and Miriam Haskell pins are here, but the real draws are the neatly labeled trays of coral necklaces, engraved lockets, and pearl studs. Don't miss the bins of $10 steals.
73 Charles St., Beacon Hill, 617-742-1031
Lucky's favorite stores in Boston's Cambridge & Somerville neighborhoods! (Updated October 2008)
Owned by a furniture designer and a Houston Museum of Fine Art veteran, this 10-year-old institution is exactly what a great midcentury-modern home store should be: There are burnished walnut coffee tables and Danish consoles, but they're really just a backdrop for the winning selection of finishing touches: Carved '60s nesting bowls and ceramic coffeepots share the shelves with new picks, like Iittala mugs and flatware.
1731 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-497-0137
Just across the street from the Cambridgeside Galleria mall, this antique market—located in a rickety 18th-century building—sprawls across five floors, housing more than 150 vendors. The inventory is widely varied, from costume jewelry to huge oil paintings to furniture from the early 1900s. There's enough to hunt for here to keep you busy for days.
201 Msgr. O'Brien Hwy., East Cambridge, 617-868-9655