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Shopping. Brotherly Love. Road Trip. Green.

Posted by Better Blueprint on June 15, 2012

My Philadelphia Shopping Road Trip!

If you’re in the mood for: something ‘quick-n-dirty’ but stylishly eco-haute, drive an environmentally and wallet-friendly Malibu Eco and pray for some stealthy parking karma in Old City and City Center (made easier by the compact build of the Malibu with a rear vision camera!!) as you tap into the city’s stylish underbelly.
Route to take: Straight shot on 95 North ~ not too scenic but quick and painless
Good to know: Have your $13 in tolls available (x2 for the return) but if you don’t have enough $ make sure to use the “Cash” lanes where they’ll snap a photo (smile) of your tags, scribble your info, and give you the chance to pay the toll via snail mail. Using the “EZ-Pass” lanes means you’ll get an automatic $25 fee on top of your toll.

There are a few key facts to understand about Philadelphia (before you start shopping):

  • The streets are very narrow and parking is super tight – so have lots of coin and drive a compact car
  • Philly boutiques run the gamut from local, emerging designers to top-of-the-line
  • A one-day trip means you have to focus on bang-for-your-buck so stick to City Center and Old City shops
  • The city has a definite grittiness that is best tackled with flats, an empty stomach, and an uncomplicated outfit
Now on to the shopping….
I hit several different stores and areas of town, so sticking with Old City and City Center will allow you to get a true feel for the variety of boutiques. The boutiques listed below were my Top 5 because of value (price you’re paying for what you get), customer service (if you’re spending your money, a smile and great conversation are appreciated), and selection (you can go to a chain store for expensive and regular, you want something that is basically fab or spectacular).
  1. Kimberly Boutique (women’s new clothing, accessories) ~ it’s been in business seven years; has brands such as DL1961, Alicia & Olivia, Tarte and Weston Wear as staples; carries some accessories and jewelry by M Designs; the price point is between $150-$400 for dresses and $80-$275 for blouses; because so many of the pieces are washable (sizes 2-12), the store is perfect for the professional woman and working mom
  2. Joan Shepp (men’s & women’s new clothing, accessories, shoes) ~ it’s been written up everywhere and in spite of their philosophy “something for everyone; don’t be scared” the price points that range from $100-thousands definitely skews toward the higher end {they carry Celine handbags}; they carry Wolford, Givenchy, Rick Owens, Y-3, Balenciaga and Hardy to name a few; the vibe is high-end, fun, edgy and trendy; size ranges from 36-44 EUR (size 14 US); they’re on par with Saks
  3. UBIQ (men’s & women’s sneaker boutique with hats, tees, sunglasses) ~ the price points from $100-$250 make this fun for all including the college students and even the occasional Kanye West; they carry Vans, Jordans, Nikes, Rayban, Oakleys but cannot keep enough retro Jordans in stock; they have other locations and it definitely feel boutique-y more than sneaker store even though they are owned by a larger chain; ask Woody for the Kanye West Yeezy 2 (the most sought after pair of sneakers!)
  4. Art in the Age (limited men’s & women’s clothing, art display) ~ a rustic, deconstructed feel to this store, it’s 1/2 clothing store, 1/2 art gallery; the gallery portion has a new display monthly; they’ve only been open three years but provide their own organically distilled liquor — I tasted all of them [Root which is tea-based, Snap which is ginger-based, Rhuby which is rhubarb-based] and they’re delicious but deadly!
  5. Sugarcube (men’s & women’s new and vintage clothing, accessories, shoes)~ my hands-down favorite not only for it’s “industrial lodge” feel but for the vast number of fab finds you’ll get from belts to shoe clips to necklaces to tees; the price point goes from $40-$400+ with dresses and jeans going the fastest; they also carry Williamsburg Garment Co jeans which use selvaged denim; the size range is XS-XL and it’s the kind of store where if you don’t find something, you’ll want to come back to look again

If you can manage to hit these five stores and still have money left over, head to Wedge & Fig for tasty eats and chocolate chip brownies that are made fresh in-store….along with a few other delectables!

Posted in Stores & Sites to See, Travel

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2 Comments

  1. Sugarcube®, 2014/02/11:

    And in 2014… Old City Philadelphia is even looking better than ever. We have an Old City travel guide to lend a healing hand. http://sugarcube.us/about/visitor-information/ Stop into Sugarcube, say hello! If you go to Wedge and Fig be sure to check out their courtyard.

  2. MB_Blueprint, 2014/02/11:

    I’m on it and will do that this summer. There are always new discoveries to make in Philly!!

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