Michelle Shannon is the VP of Marketing for Center City District (CCD) but fashion is her passion. Over the past eight years, she’s been at the helm of a retail attraction campaign for the district and since 2013, over 40 national retailers have opened up shop there. But that’s only part of the story.
“What makes us stand out from the suburbs is a really strong mix of local, one-of a-kind boutiques where you can get something you’re not going to see anywhere else,” she says.
Shannon gives us the scoop on a few of her favorite under-the-radar retail gems in Center City, covering everything from accessories to evening gowns to menswear.
108 S. 13th St.
This adorable boutique on 13th Street is owned by Valerie Safran and Chef Marcie Turney, the restaurateurs behind Philly staples like Barbuzzo and Lolita. “The kind of brand there is quirky and comfy. If it’s not handmade, it feels handmade,” says Shannon. If you’re looking for cute hats, socks and jewelry, this is your place. There’s also a chocolate shop onsite in case you need a sugar fix.
113 S. 13th St.
Suffer from constant wanderlust? A visit to Bella Turka will take you around the world through jewelry — no passport required. Their stock changes constantly. Shannon notes, “They have an incredible selection from talented young designers. The pieces are handmade and inspired by ancient designs from Greece and Turkey.
Lapstone and Hammer
1106 Chestnut St.
Let’s hear it for the boys — because they need some style love, too. For contemporary menswear, Lapstone and Hammer on Chestnut St. carries a mix of national and local brands, including Common Project, Diadora and Divine Lorraine Hotel. “They opened in 2015 with an emphasis on quality, innovation and craftsmanship,” Shannon adds. From sneakers to leather jackets, their showroom style store is an experience in itself.
123 S. 16th St.
If you’re looking for clothes for the office or even special occasions, Kimberly Boutique is a must-try for women’s fashion. “She has been my go-to boutique for many years,” confesses Shannon. “It’s the kind of service you don’t see in regular stores.” Offering brands like Alice and Olivia, the collection is updated regularly.
122 S. 19th St.
Sophistication, quality and superb customer service have kept Sophy Curson a Philly staple since 1929. The high-end boutique carries designers from all over the world, including Didier Ludot from France and Dusan from Italy. From evening wear to hats to coats, expect to find it here.