Local boutiques offer glitzy, weird, and downright Austin-y items
By Rivers Wright,
4:30PM, Tue. Jun. 14, 2016
Austin's been around long enough to be self-aware of how weird it is, and the stores that now call this city home reflect that. South Congress (“cutely” abbreviated to SoCo) is a gem of a place to shop and a condensed if somewhat Disneyfied Austin experience. Here are a list of stores that are worth stopping by.
Quintessential to the South Congress experience is this quirky little store that boasts handmade art, jewelry, and T-shirts from Texas-only artists. The clothing often features Austin inside jokes and the jewelry is something out of a Pinterest addict’s wet dream. The helpful staff can answer any questions or even strike up a conversation about the store's one-of-a-kind treasures. Bring home something uniquely Austin for loved ones or treat yourself to a Lone Star State specialty to be the envy of all your friends when your time in Austin comes to an end.
Hand-picked by the South Congress Hotel, this upscale women’s boutique caters to anyone who has ever dreamt about going to Coachella. Music-festival vibes fill the stark, white walls that make you feel like you walked into the closet of Urban Outfitters’ cooler older sister with the expensive taste to match. If you’re really into looking like a “One Love” woman, be prepared to spend a pretty penny. However, the flowy skirts, wide-brimmed hats, and personable staff help you shine as bright as the sun in the Sunroom.
Sunroom’s rugged yet refined counterpart will take you from the music festival to the wide-open spaces. Originally a custom motorcycle shop on the East side of town with an online-only clothing store now has a brick-and-mortar location that sells clothing and accessories essential to the manliest of men. The modern leather jackets (that probably won’t be used in Texas heat, but look good regardless) and helmets from England that are sold exclusively at Revival in the states line the walls of this effortlessly cool store. It's enough to make you buy a motorcycle and ride off into the night.
Known worldwide, this landmark with the big, red boot outside will make you look, or at least feel, like a true Texan. Regardless of how much of a city slicker someone claims to be, there is a pair of boots for everyone with more than 4,000 pairs to choose from, and if none of those work out, there is a custom boot service to fill every desire. Walk in and be welcomed with the strong scent of leather, and let yourself be carried down the aisles bursting with styles and colors that are sure to catch the eye. While you’re there, grab a cowboy hat, and you’ll be ready for the rodeo.
While this store is small, it is bursting with unique and quirky clothing. This men and women’s clothing store sells vintage Western shirts (that will look good with your new boots) with bizarre embroidered embellishments on the chest and back. Sticking to the “Keep Austin Weird” theme, these shirts feature everything from roses framed with expletives to unicorns stabbing fairies with their horns. If snap shirts aren’t your thing, there are T-shirts that showcase the best Austin has to offer. You can even get candles that will help you worship Houston's own Queen B.
Disclaimer: Only enter if you have a copious amount of time and money to spend. You'll want to buy a house to decorate with items purchased at this antique store. Texas is known for its vast collection of relics from the past, and a good portion of those relics can be found here. You'll find it hard to walk out of the store empty-handed. It may seem small and unassuming, but the long and jam-packed store will make you feel like you fell down the rabbit hole with little hopes of your wallet coming out unscathed. Fans of YouTube celebrity Graveyard Girl will recognize the large jackalope that adorns the sign out front.
This store's musical namesake could disguise herself in this expansive and delightfully outre costume store. Be warned every inch of real estate is packed to the ceiling and it's a sight to see. This store has every costume you can think of and then some. Take a trip to different lands and universes and mix-and-match your favorite characters. Before you know it you’ve lost two hours in just one section of the store.
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