San Diego's Top Clothing Boutiques
By definition a boutique is a small store that sells fashionable clothing and gifts. It's usually independantly owned, and the perfect alternative shopping experience for people who feel pangs of anxiety when entering a mall. A good boutique is one that stocks the store with items that fit the shoppers who spend there, and where the sales people are attentive and helpful. I’ve shopped at and written about almost every boutique in San Diego County, and people ask me all the time what stores are my favorites. This is not an easy question to answer.
If someone gives me their budget and what specifically they’re looking for, I can direct them. In general though, I find myself sending readers and friends to the same stores again and again. The reasons are either because the stores have phenomenal customer service, amazing designers and unique items, or competitive prices.
Pink Lagoon: Located in Solana Beach and most recently La Jolla, PL is owned by Jenny Livits. This store has some of the most helpful sales associates around. Having built a strong client base, shopping here is like shopping with a stylist on hand. The very accomplished group of women who work here are fantastic at not selling people clothing they don’t need, but figuring out what will add to their existing wardrobes—this keeps the ladies coming back for more. 143 South Cedros Ave.
Vocabulary: This store has something for every occasion and a variety of prices. Owner Cecelia Church, who has a background in theater set design also has a very sharp eye when it comes to styling and supporting local designers. So, a piece from this store is usually one that is unique and often locally made. Church has been running this small boutique in Little Italy successfully for sometime now, and has become the go-to place for the young workingwomen who live downtown. 414 West Cedar St.
Lissila: This is the store to shop in when there is no budget and you’re adding “investment pieces” to your wardrobe. Located upstairs on the very chi-chi Prospect Street in La Jolla, this under-the-radar boutique has been around for over 15 years. The owner travels to all the shows in Europe and offers some of the most cutting edge designers around. The shoes, the bags, the clothing oh my…a true fashionista’s paradise. 5727 La Jolla Blvd.
Capricorn: Located in Bird Rock, this store is run by two best friends Krissy Heinz and Lisa Ovadia, they work together to offer the women and men of this provincial hamlet, fashion that’s comfortable enough to wear all day. Always affordable with a dash of trend, this store is difficult to walk out of without purchasing. Not a huge selection, so not too overwhelming, this is one of the gems of San Diego. 5544 La Jolla Blvd. Suite B
Blends: Maybe not for everyone, but for the true believers in owning the hottest kicks, this store has the best selection of fashion forward sneakers around. Japanese owners, Mike Toe and Tak Kato, adhere to the cultural aesthetic of minimalism, the store located downtown in the East Village, When sneaker heads come to Blends, they speak the lingo—great sneakers are known as sick kicks, heaters, neck breakers, jewels, exclusives, and of course, dope-ass sneakers. 726 Market St.
Hunt & Gather: The shop is owned by couple Zoe Crenshaw and Lee Reynolds. Reynolds is a Brit from Oxford and a retired professional BMX bike rider turned street-wear and graphic designer. Crenshaw, a Pacific Beach native, is a successful clothing designer, most recently working for Callaway, Marika and Body Glove. Moved and expanded to North Park recently, this is the shop to find the trendiest styles today—anything vintage. 2871 University Ave
Ensemble: Located in Oceanside, it’s not exactly close…but it has some of the most unique and wearable clothing you’ll find anywhere. The layout of the store is pleasant and facing the Oceanside pier and down the block from Harney Sushi, it’s a fun jaunt up the coast to shop for great clothing, eat great food, and enjoy the view. 301 Mission Ave #105