{clockwise: jm drygoods, spartan, tesoros, nannie inez}

After the success of Camille’s restaurant guide we published last spring, requests started coming in for a guide to Austin shopping as well. As with the restaurant guide, we weren’t able to include all of our favorites here… there are simply too many great locally owned shops in Austin! Instead we’ve focused on creating a list tailored for first-time visitors to our friendly city. Fellow Austinites, feel free to weigh in with your favorites in the comments section as well. And out-of-towners, if you’re looking to soak up a little of the capitol city’s renowned cool, here are a few great places to start:

HOME GOODS + DECOR

JM Drygoods. We love the bright and beautiful handmade textiles selected by owner Michelle Teague on her travels around the globe. Colorful caftans, rugs, pillows, and linens are common from her frequent trips to Oaxaca, Mexico. But her itenerary extends elsewhere as well — we’ve even picked up a few Turkish bath towels from this favorite shop.

Spartan. The sister space to JM Drygoods, this small gift shop has charmed us for years. Minimalist, rustic, and curated to perfection, it’s hard not to leave without one or two gifts for our hippest friends… and a few for ourselves!

Nannie Inez. We fell in love with this colorful little shop on South First when we first visited a few months ago. Curated with whimsy, this boutique features smartly designed modern objects from around the world.

Tesoros. An old standby of South Congress, Tesoros Trading Company is the place to buy Mexican folk arts and crafts imports in Austin. Dia de los Muertos, Loteria, classic Spanish movie posters… they’ve got it all, in addition to imports from over 20 different countries. Prepare to be overwhelmed.

Take Heart. A perfectly curated collection of jewelry, paper goods and housewares. We interviewed the owner Nina (and shared some gorgeous images of her space) in this feature.

{clockwise: by george, stag, billy reid, kick pleat}

CLOTHING

By George. This reliable boutique has grown up with us — from our college days back on The Drag to our exciting years as a growing city. With an increasingly sophisticated selection, By George now has two locations: one on Lamar and the other on South Congress. While we love the flagship Lamar location for inspiration, the women’s store on South Congress store fits our age range (and pocketbooks!) much better.

Stag. If you don’t already have a bearded boyfriend who builds custom furniture, Stag will make you want one to find one. This super cool men’s shop is the perfect place to buy him a handmade leather wallet, vintage playboy magazine, or pair of Birdwell original 301 boardshorts. With antique pocketknives, American flags, and old school shaving kits, Stag will delight your inner boy scout. Attention readers of The Selvedge Yard: you will love this store.

Kick Pleat. If you have an incredibly cool older cousin living in Austin, she probably shops at Kick Pleat. Featuring under-the-radar brands like Mother Denim, Rachel Comey, VPL and Jesse Kamm, this small women’s boutique is our most direct connection to trends coming out of Brooklyn and LA. And should we mention we’re a wee bit obsessed with the shoe collection?

Billy Reid. Austin is lucky enough to be on the short list of cities boasting one of the Alabama-based designer’s storefronts, and it’s local employees (with their “cultured Southern dandyism”) have practically reached celebrity status since the store opened in 2012. We like the womenswear, but what we really want is to dress our boyfriends in one of Billy’s smart tweed suits.

Estilo. Camille’s friend Stephanie opened this boutique on Second Street before it was the hot spot it is today, and Estilo is still the place to scoop up sleek ensembles and sparkly dresses for a night on the town.

{clockwise: feathers, uncommon objects, south congress books, room service}

ANTIQUES + VINTAGE

Feathers Boutique Vintage. If you want to move to Austin and start dating musicians, the first step is shopping at Feathers. This tiny boutique is a lot like being inside of a Free People catalog — except that everything here is truly vintage. From foxtail vests to knee-high lace up boots, this has simply GOT to be one of the best vintage boutiques in the world. Don’t believe us? Check out their blog.

Uncommon Objects. The name really does say it all. Whatever you do while you’re in Austin, don’t miss this incredible antique store on South Congress. The space is shared by several different specializing vendors who create some of the coolest vignettes you’ll ever see: everything from apothecary/school house vintage to mid-century modern. Oh, and weird old french circus masks, too. Something for everyone!

Room Service Vintage. This attic-like, densely packed space is a treasure chest of mid-century kitsch. Looking for a vintage drum-shade lamp? A solid brass ashtray? A velvet Elvis? Room Service has you covered.

South Congress Books. Specializing in art, photography, fiction, music, and pop culture, this little used book store is chock full of antiquarian treasures. Be sure and check out the rare and collectible books as well — we’ve even spotted an early edition of Robert Frank’s The Americans in the window!

{clockwise: hijo, big top, breakaway records, i luv video}

UNIQUELY AUSTIN

Jardineros Nursery + Hijo. Recently opened on the East Side, Jardineros Nursery was created by our friends over at Mark Word Design. We adore the succulent collection (as well as Michelle Teague’s attached “Marfi-can” garden shop, Hijo.)

Big Top Candy Shop. This is the candy shop you dreamed about as a kid. And maybe even as an adult. Complete with vintage circus theme, Big Top is an authentic old-time candy store with classic gifts and treats. Enjoy the old-fashioned soda fountain, over 300 different varieties of bulk candy and a whopping 2,000 kinds of wrapped candy!

I Luv Video. This is the video store for people who love video stores. Even if you’ve long-since sold your dvd player, you’ll love browsing the aisles of this Austin institution — if only for the hilarious movie reviews created by store employees scattered throughout the shelves. When I first moved to Austin I Luv Video would give you a discounted membership if you gave them your Blockbuster card, which they would then cut into pieces and add to a giant mosaic they were building on the wall behind the cash wrap. No other place quite captures the independent spirit of Austin for me like I Luv Video does. It is truly a Museum of Cool.

Breakaway Records. Relatively new to the vinyl scene in Austin, Breakaway has earned a loyal following by specializing in 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s records with a heavy focus on soul and motown. Whether you collect records or not, you will become instantly cooler just by walking in the door of this store.

19 comments
  1. 1
    diane smith | April 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Great post jennifer! Makes me want to head to Austin & shop!
    May have to put the Uniquely Austin shops at the top of my list.
    Those antique shops look wonderful as well! Hope to check them
    all out soon! D

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | April 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks, D! Yes, you definitely need to check out the new nursery in town!

      Reply
  2. 2
    FripperyVintage | April 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Love Austin, you mentioned a lot of my favorites.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | April 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      Cool. Glad we’re on the same page!

      Reply
  3. 3
    Quinn Cooper | April 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I have been to Austin twice before. I went to Feathers both times and scored, they have such an amazing curated selection of vintage goodies.
    Uncommon objets is just so cool to walk through, they have the craziest, weirdest stuff there.

    Next time I’m in Austin I’ll be sure to hit up your other recommendations.
    xo Quinn

    http://www.quinncooperstyle.com/2013/04/green-jeans-a-blue-blazer/

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | April 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Awesome, Quinn. It’s great to hear our selections reaffirmed.

      Reply
  4. 4
    Ashley @ Any Lovely Thing | April 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Favoriting this post! I have a feeling this guide will become indispensable after our move this June.

    xo,
    Ashley

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | April 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Great, Ashley! Hope it helps you start exploring this great town… I think you’re gonna like it here.

      Reply
  5. 5
    Lindsay {Everistta} | April 22, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    This is awesome! I need to make a trip to Austin ASAP!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | April 22, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Yes! Summer is the best time to come — you can hit Barton Springs (a favorite swimming hole).

      Reply
  6. 6
    Nannie Inez | April 23, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Awe, thanks so much for including us! Come back and visit us again soon!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | April 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      Of course! We can’t wait!!! Camille has been raving about the store.

      Reply
  7. 7
    brittany | April 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    i recently stumbled across your page, and i’m so glad that i did! this post was absolutely perfect for someone like myself (and about 100 others a day, i guess) who are relocating to austin. i’ll be moving out there in sept, maybe jobless but keeping my fingers crossed, as i’ll be leaving behind my job and life in LA… in hopes of something, more “real” if that makes sense. i love the city, the people, the culture… i can’t wait for sept! i’ll be out there visiting in a few weeks, and will definitely have to use your recommendations.

    xx, brittany
    @ gypsythatiam.blogspot.com

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | April 26, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Brittany, thank you so much for your comment. It feels great to think that we are helping readers with posts like this one. I think you’ll find this is an exciting time to be in Austin. It almost has a “Wild West” feel to me these days, with so many people (like yourself) moving here to seek a better life. We will welcome you with live music, limited parking, and delicious barbeque.

      Reply
  8. 8
    Sarah C | April 25, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    I’m surprised Moss didn’t make the list!! Ladies, if you aren’t already familiar: there is a designer consignment shop on South Lamar that is to die for! Vintage Chanel and Prada that makes it hard to believe that anybody ever let it leave their wardrobe.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | April 26, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Yes! Great addition to the list, Sarah. Thank you. We love Moss!

      Reply
  9. 9
    Creede Fitch | February 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Great list! I moved to Austin last summer and I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way!) with all the great stores we have here. Another great one to add to your list for clothing is Olive (http://www.oliveaustin.com) They carry some great local and national designers. You can see some of my other favorites here: http://creedefitch.com/blog/?category=Design

    Reply
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *