“My friend who was born and raised here attends black-tie galas in a gorgeous dress—with high tops. That’s very Philly,” says Shana Draugelis, the downtown-dwelling style blogger behind The Mom Edit (www.themomedit.com). It’s the kind of street savvy-meets-traditional look that the City of Brotherly Love—well, really, really likes. You can shop for this blend of haute, casual and made-here pieces thanks to the city’s vibrant boutique scene and local designers. “Philly has a unique way of interpreting mainstream fashions and giving them a swagger,” says Sabir M. Peele, men’s stylist and the blogger behind the website Men’s Style Pro (www.mensstylepro.com).
Fashionistas might start at iconic Sophy Curson (19th and Sansom streets, www.sophycurson.com) in Rittenhouse Square, which since 1929, has offered high-end merch to Philly society. It once sold wedding attire to guests at native girl Grace Kelly’s royal wedding; now it traffics in names like Blu Marine and Tom and Linda Platt (for strikingly simple evening wear). Draugelis loves Joan Shepp’s (1811 Chestnut St., www.joanshepp.com) combo of artful window displays and cool-girl designers (think Dries van Noten’s moody printed dresses and Norma Kamali’s knits).
Boyds Philadelphia (1818 Chestnut St., www.boydsphila.com), the classic women’s (and men’s) mini department store wins customers (and new converts) in its just-renovated digs. At Boyds, the historic building’s grand interior Corinthian columns set off a dazzling first-floor women’s department with finds like Oscar de la Renta party dresses and Veronica Beard’s tomboy-chic pants and blazers.
And on Second and Third streets in Old City, 18th- and 19th-century warehouses and storefronts hold indie faves like Vagabond (37 N. Third St., www.vagabondboutique.com) for minimalist pieces in natural fabrics, elegant Erdon (162 N. Third St., www.erdon.co) and Sugarcube (124 N. Third, www.sugarcube.us), where exposed brick walls and a vintage motorcycle set the scene for U.S. and international brands (Demy Lee sweaters, Michelle Kim’s ethereal frocks). “And my favorite spot for accessories is here, Sioux Zanne Messix (54 1⁄2 N. Third St.),” says Draugelis. “We’re talking seriously fun costume jewelry and vintage handbags. I found a bag that had been refurbished with vintage fur from an old coat.”
Guys’ fashion also shines in this city. “For traditional menswear, you can almost always find me at Moda Matters (1900 Market St., www.modamatters.com) or Commonwealth Proper (1839 Chestnut St., www.commonwealthproper.com),” says Peele. Both spots, open by appointment, specialize in custom suiting. “I have a brown, double-breasted wool topcoat from Moda Matters that I’d wear during the summer if it wasn’t a million degrees out,” jokes Peele. Dressing down? Head to Ubiq (1509 Walnut St., www.ubiqlife.com) for sneakers, Stussy Hill sweatshirts and sunglasses or P’s & Q’s (820 South St., www.psandqs.com), a bright, family-owned perch loaded with funky T-shirts, shoes and Carhart pants. “And my secret spot to pick up vintage wares like lapel pins and tie bars is Tucker’s Digs (611 S. Fourth St.),” says Peele. “The staff is laid back, and you can always find a treasure.”
In this style-conscious city, local design is also thriving. NINOBrand (showroom by appointment; 333 S. 20th St., www.ninobrand.com) deals in futuristic-yet-pretty frocks, blouses and coats in neutral shades. And Bus Stop Boutique (727 S. Fourth St., www.busstopboutique.com) sells both its own line of chic, mid-heeled women’s pumps and booties and other brands like Parisian An Hour and a Shower. Voloshin (open Fridays or by appointment; 2930 Jasper St., Suite 102, www.voloshin.us) fills a cozy showroom (peep the old-school beamed ceiling) with wife-and-husband designers Amy and Leo Voloshin’s airy, Cali-goes-Philly womenswear. The duo produces its line of dresses, blouses and more in India using fair trade practices and fabrics like dreamy block prints. “I bought a boho, drawstring waist midi dress from Voloshin last year and proceeded to wear it almost every day,” says Draugelis. “[It’s] one of those sneaky pieces I didn’t know I couldn’t live without!”