Boutique Crawl

Recently, after a visit with out-of-town guests, I realized that we don’t always take advantage of the opportunities available to us in the area we live in. I love finding a boutique that can show me the way to great style for myself and my home. So I decided it was time to expand my horizons and explore the South Sound area like a newcomer, looking for opportunities for interesting and hip shopping. Who would have imagined that the South Sound would offer so many choices!

In Tacoma, one of the areas I explored was the Proctor neighborhood. Located in the north end, this is a great little area with plenty of places to browse. Two standout women’s boutiques right next door to each other kept me busy for over an hour…. Envy, and Julia Ellen. It was interesting to find these shops next door to each other could both have a great, hand-picked selection of season-appropriate unique and colorful tops, dresses, and an amazing selection of high-end
jeans but still be so different. Envy also has a great sale rack out front and Julia Ellen also carries some shoes and a great variety of Brighton accessories and handbags. I was surprised at how much I wanted to take home from both of these shops… self control was necessary.

Other Proctor highlights included Choye Boutique. This boutique made me crave a whole new wardrobe for my daughter. Choye offers many of the upscale European children’s clothing lines that previously I thought I couldn’t find anywhere but online, such as Catimini™ and 3 Pommes™. Many other items caught my eye, such as stylish raincoats for kiddos and “accessory” slings for mom. The prints are all unusual and the colors pop. Great design is for kids too!

Next in Tacoma I headed to Rocky & Coco’s. From the moment you walk into this sleek store you get a sexy, contemporary vibe. They have a wide range of the most cutting edge jeans, tops, dresses and a few shoes. Labels include Joe’s, Seven for all Mankind, Julie King, and New Collective. I was even able to turn up my husband’s hip factor here with some good help from the sales staff. I felt an intense desire to go dancing after leaving this shop – I felt really hip and glamorous!

I will definitely be back to Dame Lola. You will also find edgy, sexy design at this well-appointed new shop. Rebecca, the owner, (very sweet) focuses on green and independent labels such as Prairie Underground, Tibby, AG and 18th Amendment. She also hand-picks local fair trade jewelry, unusual shoes by Brazilian makers, and of course the great music that gets you moving.

Further South, I decided to visit Cake in University Place. It’s more a girly-girl department store than a boutique, and that’s a good thing. This shopping adventure left me wanting to re-do my house to match my new Cake outfit, sparkly chandelier earrings included. There’s so much to see here, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.

In Olympia, I found The Archibald Sisters. Archibald Sisters is a wonderful choice for personal care products of all kinds, and a great place for gifts. I was amazed by the staggering array of fragranced body care products, and with the great customer service and the cool fragrance “bar” I am sure I will be back again.

Right nearby, Hot Toddy is another great place to spend your time (and money) in Olympia. I was so sad while shopping at Hot Toddy because I didn’t bring a shopping buddy. I sounded a little silly squealing “ooh” and “look at that” to myself at all of the interesting clothes and other unique items such as paper products, jewelry and even some adorable baby clothes. Hot Toddy really had my number.

Other great shopping in Olympia was to be had at Hoopla, a great place for hip, sexy clothes and accessories. Denim labels include William Rast and True Religion with tops from Ella Moss and Butterfly Dropout. Bella Boutique has a great selection of clothes for “real” women, which meant that I found a LOT of things that fit, that were really interesting to boot. But what really impressed me about Bella was the customer service. Oh, and the handbags. And the jewelry…

Yes, I do like to shop. And it turns out the South Sound has much more to offer than I imagined, I just had to see it all again for the first time!

Tracey Stewart