Best Shopping in Boston 2012

Children's

2012 Best Baby Gear

No one demystifies the buying process like Isis, where the “Stroller School” guarantees you’ll choose the perfect wheels. Unsure about the Bugaboo Donkey’s double-seat configurations or the difference between the...

Winner

Advertisement

Children's

2012 Best Children's Clothing

The atmosphere at this Newbury Street store is more gallery than Gymboree. The precious collection of baby- and kidswear is set against a backdrop of chandeliers and hardwood floors. The...

Winner

Children's

2012 Best Toy Store

What you won’t find here: Bratz dolls, shoot-’em-up Xbox games, and Disney Princess overload. What you will find: instruments, fantastical costumes, and puzzles you’ll be tinkering with long after the...

Winner

General Shopping

2012 Best Makeup

We have only one rule when shopping at this cavernous cosmetics shop: Bring cash. How else to limit ourselves while stuffing our basket with lotions, powders, polishes, and liners? Oh,...

Winner

Advertisement

General Shopping

2012 Best Sunglasses

What do Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s have in common? Killer shades, of course. Get your own movie-star-worthy lenses at Vizio,...

Winner

General Shopping

2012 Best Watches

This Newbury Street store has everything you’d expect: an owner—Albert Ganjei—personally answering customer questions and expert staffers tuning up timepieces. It’s also got a great website with a deep inventory...

Winner

General Shopping

2012 Best Art Supplies

This Central Square shop is an underground playground for arts and crafts aficionados. Beautiful pastels and oil paints, sculpting supplies, and surprises for the kids crowd the shelves, and the...

Winner

General Shopping

2012 Best Bike Shop

Roll your bike into a fix-it shop with a flat, and within seconds, some sneering mechanic is bound to make you feel hopelessly stupid. Fortunately, there are no snobby gearheads...

Winner

General Shopping

2012 Best Bookstore

With independent bookstores (and even national chains) falling by the digital wayside, it’s all the more impressive that this classic soldiers on. The four-story Harvard Square behemoth peddles both bestsellers...

Winner

General Shopping

2012 Best Luggage

The problem with wanderlust is that you never know exactly how you’ll need to pack for your next expedition. Fortunately, Leather World has a bag for every journey, including a...

Winner

General Shopping

2012 Best Fragrances

While other department-store counters seem to hawk the same 10 perfumers, Barneys focuses on rich, exotic scents from lines like Frédéric Malle, Serge Lutens, Acqua di Parma, and Rodin. With...

Winner

General Shopping

2012 Best Ski Shop

Powderhounds, rejoice: Suiting up for winter sports is as easy at East Coast Alpine as making turns in rockered skis. And while the gear’s great, we also swing by for...

Winner

General Shopping

2012 Best Vintage Clothing

Not everyone who shops at vintage spots wants to resemble a ’50s pinup gal—including us. We’d rather comb through the brilliantly stocked, sensibly priced racks at Artifaktori for cozy fisherman’s...

Winner

Advertisement

General Shopping

2012 Best Gifts, West

Some jewelry stores know only engagement rings and wedding bands. Others have eyes just for luxury timepieces. Long’s is the rare shop that specializes in both, from custom-designed sparklers to...

Winner

General Shopping

2012 Best Gifts

Unveiled as part of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s new wing in January, this shop’s jewelry, housewares, books, and children’s items are crafted by artists from all over the world....

Winner

Houseware

2012 Best Hardware Store

This Harvard Square institution is 50 years old, and thankfully still has creaky floors, ancient fluorescent lights, and friendly handy types who’ll steer you to that can of paint, snow...

Winner

Houseware

2012 Best Home Theater

Put down the Consumer Reports and delete the electronics in your Amazon cart. No one’s going to be impressed by the shoddy home-theater system you’re trying to jury-rig. Instead, go...

Winner

Advertisement

Houseware

2012 Best Antiques

The Swedish and Danish pieces at this Beacon Hill shop tend to be smaller, lighter, and more modern in spirit than much of the 19th-century stuff you find elsewhere. And...

Winner

Houseware

2012 Best Bath and Body Products

Here’s where you’ll find the perfect impromptu pick-me-up between spa visits. All of Lush’s products are handmade with earth-friendly ingredients—think: organic bananas, avocados, and ground almonds—so you can fully relax...

Winner

Houseware

2012 Best Bedding

There are plenty of things out there preventing us from sleeping, but only a few that actually help us catch some ZZZs. One, of course, is a quality mattress. The...

Winner

Houseware

2012 Best Garden Supplies

While Winston is best known for gorgeous cut flowers, the petal pusher also has an impressive garden store at its Newton location, where three greenhouses are bursting with hardy succulents,...

Winner

Men's

2012 Best Men's Clothing, Fitness

Whatever your passion—volleyball, basketball, yoga, even bocce—City Sports has the gear you need, including high-performance pieces from its in-house CS line. Ask one of the sporty employees to help you...

Winner

Advertisement

Men's

2012 Best Men's Clothing, Casual

A memo to all men: Enough with the cargo shorts and polos, already. This South End shop offers a mix of well-known men’s brands (Ben Sherman) and smaller, fashionable lines...

Winner

Men's

2012 Best Men's Shoes

With more leather than an S&M shop, the Tannery has everything you need to shod your feet, including boat shoes, wingtips, and sandals, many displayed like high-end fashion pieces. If...

Winner

Women's

2012 Best Lingerie

The Italian scanties here are certain to up the ooh-la-la of your lingerie drawer. The internationally coveted line has been cherished since the ’50s for its handmade lace and embroidered...

Winner

Women's

2012 Best Women's Shoes

Whether you’re looking for cobblestone-tough flats from See by Chloé or sexy date-night stilettos from B by Brian Atwood, you’ll find them at Karen Fabbri’s newly renovated Beacon Hill boutique...

Winner

Advertisement

Women's

2012 Best Fine Jewelry

Just when we thought the first block of Newbury Street couldn’t get any more luxurious, Shreve, Crump & Low opened a shiny new three-level flagship store in a renovated brownstone...

Winner

Women's

2012 Best Jewelry, Costume

When we want affordable, knock-’em-out baubles to complement a party getup or snazzy work ensemble, we hit High Gear, a welcoming space loaded with exciting costume and semiprecious jewelry. And...

Winner

Women's

2012 Best Jewelry, Estate

Don’t let the buzzer-rigged vestibule deter you from exploring the wonders inside this 73-year-old trove. Brodney offers an array of glittering engagement rings and wedding bands, of course, but we’re...

Winner

Women's

2012 Best Women's Clothing, Fitness

There’s more to women’s fitness than sun salutations, and this yoga powerhouse’s new Newbury Street store excels in outfitting workout junkies of all sorts. Cyclists, tennis aces, and kickboxers alike...

Winner

Women's

2012 Best Women's Clothing, Casual

We feel pretty—and fizzy and funny and fine—every time we enter Brooke Garber and Stephanie Nist’s boutiques. They stock the fete-ready dresses we’ve come to expect, plus pieces from favorite...

Winner