clock menu more-arrow no yes

Explore Boston's Best Indie Retail at These 38 Shops

View as Map

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Today we update our signature Indie 38 guide—those 38 boutiques born right here in Boston that go above and beyond.

Some additions to the list include Beacon Hill favorites like North River Outfitter and Dress, South Enders including Follain and December Thieves, and menswear specialists Uniform and Caramelo Clothing Co. Per usual, we've arranged the stores in no particular ranked order but rather, geographically.


Read More

1. Magpie

Copy Link
416 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 623-3330
Visit Website
Magpie is known for an eclectic mix of regionally-made merchandise, including Erica Weiner's recycled jewelry, all-natural beauty products from Fat and the Moon, and even find eco-friendly toys at its sister shop Magpie Kids down the block. [Photo]

2. Nomad

Copy Link
1741 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140
(617) 497-6677
Visit Website
Handpicked items like Mexican folk art (Day of the Dead pieces abound) and African instruments sit alongside equally unique clothing and jewelry at Nomad. Bolivian blankets, Swahili baskets, and Indian lanterns are just some of the global buys at this Porter Square shop. [Photo]

3. Mint Julep

Copy Link
6 Church Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 576-6468
Visit Website
Mint Julep has built a reputation for the perfect casual-meets-party assortment of premium denim, Nanette Lepore and Milly dresses, Ella Moss separates, and Adia Kibur baubles. The Brookline storefront came first, but the Harvard Square setup speaks to students and twenty-somethings alike, bringing plenty of feminine flair to the Cambridge side of the Charles. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

4. Black Ink

Copy Link
5 Brattle Street, The Atrium Shopping Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 497-1221
Visit Website
The hodgepodge of trinkets at Black Ink is kind of like an in-person Fab.com. It's pegged as a "one stop design shop," and it certainly has found a home in Harvard Square. Clever goods, including a bounty of paper items and "kawaii" kitchen supplies, are appreciated in this intellectual crowd. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

5. Forty Winks

Copy Link
56 JF Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 492-9100
Visit Website
On the outer edge of Harvard Square sits the loveliest little intimates boutique, run by lingerie aficionados Rachel Wentworth and Meredith Donaldson. The duo manages to find an outstanding range of undies, convincing ladies on both sides of the Charles to start caring about what to wear under the rest of their wardrobe. They also stock extras from The Laundress, Spanx, legwear, and garter accessories. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

6. Xylem

Copy Link
287 Third St
Cambridge, MA 02142
(617) 494-9953
Visit Website
Xylem speaks to its Kendall Square spot with home goods and gifts for brainy folks. The name itself is a horticulture term, and the distinctive wall design feels scientific, displaying cheeky kitchen tools and more. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

7. in-jean-ius

Copy Link
441 Hanover Street
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 523-5326
Visit Website
Alison Barnard is looking out for your bottom half with a store dedicated to denim. Explore styles from most major premium denim lines—Citizens of Humanity, Hudson, Red Engine, and Genetic Denim among them. Jean shopping is longer a chore once you step into the North End boutique. Plus match tops from 525, Bailey 44, and Free People while you're there. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

8. Twilight

Copy Link
12 Fleet Street
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 523-8008
Visit Website
Sister shop to denim specialist in-jean-ius, Alison Barnard's Twilight is a haven for dresses. In addition to a variety of print-heavy Clover Canyon, elegant Tracy Reese, and flirty Parker on its racks, you'll also scoop up finishing touches to complete any party look, including Alex and Ani bracelets and Jo Jo earrings. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

9. Luke Aaron Boston

Copy Link
38A Fleet Street
Boston, MA 02113
(857) 288-9375
Visit Website
This young designer has won multiple awards locally for draped frocks and elegant gowns, all made in this North End atelier. Following a Tufts education, he worked in costume design, giving much of his work a heavy hit of drama. He also specializes in bridal, with designs that are romantic and straddle the line between traditional and contemporary. [Photo]

10. OFFICINA 189

Copy Link
189 North Street
Boston, MA 02113
(857) 233-4300
Visit Website
A lot of things in the North End come from Italy—pasta, espresso, gelato—but Officina 189 can guarantee that no one else is stocking its Italian imports. Owner Fabrizio Di Rienzo came from Milan to introduce niche products including custom bikes, silver jewelry, and obscure fragrances. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

11. Shake the Tree

Copy Link
67 Salem Street
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 742-0484
Visit Website
One-stop shopping is the most satisfying for an on-the-go gal, and the North End boutique Shake the Tree keeps us on our toes with home trinkets, scents, books, accessories, and clothes galore. Designers' trunk shows are often held here, so watch the calendar for dates. [Photo]

12. Crush Boutique

Copy Link
131 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 720-0010
Visit Website
Shoppers step in to Crush—Beacon Hill is the original location, with a secondary Newbury Street outpost—for a blend of contemporary favorites including Alice + Olivia, Shoshanna, and Amanda Uprichard alongside accessible jewelry, scarves, and bags. What keeps 'em coming back is the styling-centric service (they even host private parties) and freshly updated goods. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

13. Good

Copy Link
133 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 722-9200
Visit Website
Good has harbored unique buys for over a decade, upgrading to this space (four times bigger than its original Charles Street location) last year. Come here to seek out collected items ranging from regional home goods designers to transcontinental inspired jewelry and leather bags. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

14. North River Outfitter

Copy Link
122 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 742-0089
Visit Website
NRO serves New England's preppy community dutifully, stocking the latest wide variety of goods from Boston-loved lines like Milly, Alden, Barbour, Vineyard Vines, and dozens more. Last year, it expanded to a kids store directly next door and a sport store across Charles Street. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

15. Dress

Copy Link
70 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 248-9910
Visit Website
Former Newbury Street boutique Dress reopened in Beacon Hill last fall, reviving an edited mix of labels like Vanessa Bruno, Dannijo, and Sea NY. With a clean Charles Street space styled by interior designer Nina Farmer, co-owners Jane Schlueter and Martha Pickett have definitely settled into their new home. [Photo]

16. Wish

Copy Link
49 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 227-4441
Visit Website
Wish has been a mainstay for Beacon Hill women and beyond for more than a decade, delivering a seasonally changing mix of Joie, Rebecca Taylor, Ella Moss, Trina Turk, and Cynthia Steffe. Plan a girls' night out here for your closest ten friends and benefit from styling assistance. [Photo]

17. Moxie

Copy Link
51 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 557-9991
Visit Website
Moxie focuses on adornments for your extremities: shoes in every silhouette and plenty of arm candy (in bling and bag form). Shoppers here swoon over a curated mix between classic and trendy footwear and accessories from Rebecca Minkoff, Foley + Corinna, and Loeffler Randall while its Wellesley location stocks apparel. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

18. Holiday Boutique

Copy Link
53 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 973-9730
Visit Website
Holiday is the epitome of girly with its "Pretty Little Sister" private line, feminine frocks made in Massachusetts, a signature cashmere collection, and designers like SF-based Kirribilla, Bell by Alicia Bell and Erin Fetherston. Also find knick knacks for your abode and jewelry box throughout the vintage-inspired store. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

19. Ball And Buck

Copy Link
144 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 262-1776
Visit Website
Guys love this camo-clad habitat for Americana-inspired threads, kicks, and accessories, usually part of limited edition collabs and all of which are made in the USA. It has increasingly built up its own private line, complementing goods from Wolverine, Dickies, and New Balance seamlessly. With a commitment to domestic jobs, the team also keeps customers looking fresh at the in-store barbershop. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

20. Daniela Corte

Copy Link
211 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 608-4778
Visit Website
With a garden level storefront and her studio upstairs, designer Daniela Corte is taking over more than just a Newbury brownstone. Lovers of Corte's impeccable separates and signature legging bar are well known in the upper echelons of Boston fashion, but the crisp white and wood space also allows the general public intimate access to her beautiful clothing season after season. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

21. Bodega

Copy Link
6 Clearway Street
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 421-1550
Visit Website
The secret Snapple entrance is a rite of passage to many streetwear enthusiasts far and wide—no surprise given its close proximity to the universities. Since the secret is already out, we won't keep mum on the killer selection of all the sneaker favorites, jackets from Schott and Dr. Romanelli, Super and even vintage Cazal eyewear. And if you want a snack, the literal bodega is open too. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

22. Uniform

Copy Link
511 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 247-2360
Visit Website
Uniform is the spot for stylish casual gear with more character than the mall stores. No Gucci or GPPR here—this inventory is not street nor is it high fashion—just good ol' RVCA, Levi's, lots of denim, Will Leather Goods, and plaid buttondowns galore from Ben Sherman, GANT, and Penguin. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

23. Follain

Copy Link
53 Dartmouth Street
Boston, MA 02116
(857) 284-7078
Visit Website
This boutique has caught nationwide attention for its blend of American-made, all natural beauty inventory. Pick up some regionally sourced castile soap, Gwyneth Paltrow-approved skincare, beeswax lip balm, and chemical-free cosmetics—owner Tara Foley will happily walk you through each product. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

24. Twelve Chairs

Copy Link
581 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 982-6136
Visit Website
Having formerly occupied a gigantic lofty Fort Point Channel space, the duo behind Twelve Chairs joins a vibrant creative community on Tremont Street with a newly opened second floor studio chock full of their same quirky home goods selection to warm up any abode.

25. Sault

Copy Link
577 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02118
(857) 239-9434
Visit Website
Owner Philip Saul knows how to speak to a Massachusetts man's sensibilities with items from New England Shirt Co., accessories from Jack Spade, and toiletries from Beer Soap Co. Everything here is a classic wardrobe addition. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

26. Flock

Copy Link
274 Shawmut Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 391-0222
Visit Website
Dani McDonald nails the laid-back Cali vibe with this eclectic shop for indie brands and Boston-bred labels. The boutique is cozy and inviting, with whimsical decor setting the tone for offbeat designers like Lauren Moffat, Line & Dot, Alkemie jewelry, and Wildfox. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

27. Bobby From Boston

Copy Link
19 Thayer Place
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 423-9299
People claim this is the best men's vintage shopping around, and a small women's selection is available too. Amazing bags, preppy wears of yesteryear, and a totally cool ambiance are the attraction here. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

28. SoWa Vintage and SoWa Open Markets

Copy Link
460 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
(800) 403-8305
Visit Website
For the past decade, Bostonians have been strolling SoWa's markets on Sundays in search of clever trinkets, unusual decor, locally crafted items, and a cluster of vintage and antique vendors. Indoors you'll find the year-round Vintage Market, with May through October adding on an outdoor farmer's market, food and fashion truck gatherings, and tent upon tent of distinctive buys. Come fall, artisans prep for the notorious Holiday Market. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

29. December Thieves

Copy Link
524 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 375-7879
Visit Website
December Thieves is owner Lana Barakat's collection of fashion and household items from both international travels and obscure makers around the country. Check out leather bags from Collina Strada, all natural soap from Tay Skincare, reclaimed leather goods and unisex wool scarves from Brooklyn, painted wood jewelry from California, and bracelets from Barcelona-based brand Numero 3. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

30. Olives & Grace

Copy Link
623 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 236-4536
Visit Website
This growing boutique a champion of the local movement, supplying South Enders with regionally-sourced gifts, trinkets, and food stuffs. This is the place to pick up holiday, birthday, and housewarming gift boxes.

31. Michelle Willey Boutique

Copy Link
8 Union Park
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 424-6700
Visit Website
Michelle Willey is a South End mainstay with all sorts of easy, sophisticated pieces. Chinese porcelain, Tibetan pillows, and handmade subway sign wall art are all must-haves. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

32. Hudson

Copy Link
12 Union Park Street
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 292-0900
Visit Website
Clean comfort defines the Hudson look, which is very reminiscent of a perfectly worn-in Cape house from a design magazine. Vintage furniture and preppy textiles mix with organic motifs in vases, storage knick knacks, and lighting. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

33. Patch NYC

Copy Link
46 Waltham Street
Boston, MA 02118
(917) 292-2640
Visit Website
Given their worldwide fame as artists and collaborators with Target and Anthropologie, we dig that the creative pair behind this design dynasty still calls a little South End courtyard home. The headquarters and shop are a warm setting for striking jewelry and home goods, many of which are private label and all of which are keepers.

34. M. Flynn Accessories

Copy Link
40 Waltham Street
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 292-0079
Visit Website
The sparkle at M. Flynn Accessories lures you in with a shabby chic interior and endless displays of Alexis Bittar, Lulu Frost, Erickson Beamon, in-house collections including a fine jewelry branch of the business, and plenty of bridal and engagement gems. Clare Vivier clutches and a slew of other darling add-ons round out the experience here. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

35. Viola Lovely

Copy Link
1409 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118
(857) 277-0746
Visit Website
Viola Lovely has always been on the cutting edge of fashion, fostering relationships with now well-known brands like Veronica Beard and Leigh & Luca in their infancy and continuously pursing new designers for its collection of boutiques. Owner Lisa Cancelli opened the first Boston location last fall, bringing her curated selection (including Golden Goose, Yigal Azrouël, and Giada Forte) from the suburbs to the South End. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

36. Ku De Ta

Copy Link
663 East Broadway
Boston, MA 02127
(617) 269-0008
Visit Website
This Southie boutique not only dresses you for the best night out without breaking the bank, but they also host "Girls Night Out" for discounts and vino. Uber girly brands like MINKPINK, Lucca Couture, and Aryn K are displayed with cute jewelry from Samantha Faye and Alex and Ani. [Photo]

37. Caramelo Clothing Company

Copy Link
606 Centre Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 942-8127
Visit Website
Caramelo has become a staple for gents in JP and beyond, boasting a brand mix including somewhat obscure labels like Osmium, Forage and Jeremy Argyle neckwear, Fall River-based New England Shirt Co., and Penguin. In additional to a polished selection of apparel, the store also stocks wallets, bags, belts, and shaving goods. Hey, there's no denying the proliferation of bearded guys in this neighborhood. [Photo by Flagship Photo]

38. Salmagundi

Copy Link
765 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-5047
Visit Website
With roughly 9000 hats, we think this shop can consider itself Boston's millinery expert. The JP boutique is owned by a husband and wife team that works with independent milliners for a wide selection of headwear, fit for varied tastes and price points. [Photo]

Loading comments...

1. Magpie

416 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144
Magpie is known for an eclectic mix of regionally-made merchandise, including Erica Weiner's recycled jewelry, all-natural beauty products from Fat and the Moon, and even find eco-friendly toys at its sister shop Magpie Kids down the block. [Photo]
416 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144

2. Nomad

1741 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
Handpicked items like Mexican folk art (Day of the Dead pieces abound) and African instruments sit alongside equally unique clothing and jewelry at Nomad. Bolivian blankets, Swahili baskets, and Indian lanterns are just some of the global buys at this Porter Square shop. [Photo]
1741 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140

3. Mint Julep

6 Church Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Mint Julep has built a reputation for the perfect casual-meets-party assortment of premium denim, Nanette Lepore and Milly dresses, Ella Moss separates, and Adia Kibur baubles. The Brookline storefront came first, but the Harvard Square setup speaks to students and twenty-somethings alike, bringing plenty of feminine flair to the Cambridge side of the Charles. [Photo by Flagship Photo]
6 Church Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

4. Black Ink

5 Brattle Street, The Atrium Shopping Center, Cambridge, MA 02138
The hodgepodge of trinkets at Black Ink is kind of like an in-person Fab.com. It's pegged as a "one stop design shop," and it certainly has found a home in Harvard Square. Clever goods, including a bounty of paper items and "kawaii" kitchen supplies, are appreciated in this intellectual crowd. [Photo by Flagship Photo]
5 Brattle Street, The Atrium Shopping Center
Cambridge, MA 02138

5. Forty Winks

56 JF Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
On the outer edge of Harvard Square sits the loveliest little intimates boutique, run by lingerie aficionados Rachel Wentworth and Meredith Donaldson. The duo manages to find an outstanding range of undies, convincing ladies on both sides of the Charles to start caring about what to wear under the rest of their wardrobe. They also stock extras from The Laundress, Spanx, legwear, and garter accessories. [Photo by Flagship Photo]
56 JF Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

6. Xylem

287 Third St, Cambridge, MA 02142
Xylem speaks to its Kendall Square spot with home goods and gifts for brainy folks. The name itself is a horticulture term, and the distinctive wall design feels scientific, displaying cheeky kitchen tools and more. [Photo by Flagship Photo]
287 Third St
Cambridge, MA 02142

7. in-jean-ius

441 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113