Seasons be damned. Even when you're resourcefully recycling summer's tube tops into miniskirts over thick tights, or cherishing your favorite muscle T-shirt even if no one else can see it under your other three layers, Portland winters are long, making your cold weather uniform feel as monotonous as it is wet. But even if the skies seem to look similar for eternity, the landscape of local clothing shopping is as full of change as ever—and after clearing out their inventories with post-holiday sales, even the old shops are looking new again. And a little retail therapy never hurt a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
As you may have noticed, Portland experienced a bit of a boom lately, with boutiques sprouting up like dandelions, mostly along the cracks of East Burnside. Moxie (2400 E Burnside) made a splash with its offerings of cute, simple separates and jewelry, as well as a vintage stash. The Ivy Studio (800 E Burnside, theivystudio.com) opened up in the Jupiter/Doug Fir complex, which is quickly becoming its own self-sustaining universe, complete with cool sunglasses. Giovanna, who was formerly a familiar face at Alberta Street's Tumbleweed boutique, opened up Una, right off of East Burnside on 2802 SE Ankeny, offering gorgeous (if extravagantly priced) clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Meanwhile, longtime denizen of local and handmade gear in the 'hood, Fix changed its name to Denwave (811 E Burnside), and YES moved up the street into a neighboring suite at the same address, alongside Moshi Moshi, a shop offering eclectic goodies from Japan. North of Burnside, a vibrant fabric store, Bolt Neighborhood Fabric Boutique (2136 NE Alberta) has set up, catering to the younger, more contemporary crowd of bourgeoning designers and DIY enthusiasts.
Over on the Westside, the Red Light expanded by adding a second PDX location, taking over the old Django Records at 1111 SW Stark. For (much) more formal occasions, The English Dept. (724 NW 23rd) recently started carrying sophisticated, un-frilly bridal wear that's unbelievably affordable. Closer to the river, changes are afoot at Lit (214 SW 8th, 1623 NE 15th). While the opening of the Eastside location is still a new-ish development in itself, Lit main-man Kenny Wujek confided to me in the wine aisle of Fred Meyer that we can expect something even newer (and separate) in the downtown location, and a reopening of the Eastside spot, most likely under a different name. Check back here for details as they develop. The new face in streetwear is Hecklewood (2431 NW Thurman, hecklewood.com), featuring urban, graphic designs for men and women, as well as revolving artwork.
Also coming up is the Mercury's Second Annual Fashion Show, slated for April 9. Last year's was a huge success, and this year's should shape up to be even bigger and better. Go to Blogtown, USA on portlandmercury.com and click on the "Fashionista" forum to weigh in with your ideas for this year's showcase, as well as anything else pertaining to shopping, fashion, celebrity shit-talking, and Kate Moss' forthcoming autobiography.
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