A tour through these independent shops is a great way to explore the Emerald City’s diverse neighborhoods.
There is a stereotype about Seattle’s fashion sense that it’s typically geared towards athletics, rather than aesthetics. North Face fleeces, plaid flannel shirts, Birkenstocks paired with tube socks—scorn us, if you must! But aside from the booming tech industry and beguiling natural topography, the Emerald City has keyed a style all its own, a kind of relaxed chicness, heralded by indie boutiques showcasing the best of what’s locally made and vintage shops scouring for the best of the bygone. A tour through these 15 shops is a fantastic way to explore the city through the lens of its many diverse neighborhoods, each with their own unique vibe, and to scour for treasure at any price point.
Top Picks for You
Artfully curated with objects and edgy, minimalist garments, Totokaelo is where the cool kids shop on pay day. The two-story Capitol Hill shop boasts a pristinely white-walled storefront with massive windows and lots of gray space to wander through. The brands you’ll find here run the gamut from Rachel Comey to Issey Miyake, Marni to up-and-coming designers like Eckhaus Latta.
Proprietress Adria Garcia—a Native American artist, mother, and something of a local icon—is as much concerned with creating space for her community as she is with scouring for covetable thrift. Her cozy, black-walled boutique, Indian Summer, located on a sleepy corner in the city’s otherwise bustling Capitol Hill neighborhood, is always stocked to the brim with beautiful, one-of-a-kind finds at incredibly affordable prices—as in, you-can-find-something-amazing-for-$10-to-$30 affordable. She holds regular events in the space, from potlucks to art shows, including her popular, reoccurring “More Fats More Femmes Witch Market,” where she stocks the shop entirely with vintage threads sizes 12 and up.
Prior to opening her namesake boutique, owner Moorea Seal was a Pinterest phenomenon. Her shop began as an Etsy, went brick-and-mortar in Belltown in 2014, and then, in 2017, Seal moved her flagship shop downtown. There, she purveys her own line of jewelry, often geometric in shape and texture-heavy with precious stones or leathers, as well as handmade accessories and objects sourced locally and from around the globe. What’s especially lovely about her boutique is the space that Seal’s cultivated—she’s achieved a covetable blend of welcoming and stylish —and you can read all about her design ethos in her book Make Yourself at Home.
Fremont Vintage Mall
As you stroll along Fremont Avenue, the main promenade of the Fremont neighborhood known to locals as “the center of the universe,” you might walk right past this shop without batting an eye. This subterranean behemoth is nestled down a flight of stairs painted with murals of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Audrey Hepburn—cultural icons of days bygone—and it is tightly packed with vintage tsotchkes, antique furniture, records, and vintage swag hand-selected by a number of seasoned vendors. It was here that local rapper Macklemore filmed scenes for his wildly popular “Thrift Shop” music video.
Pipe and Row
Just around the corner from the Fremont Vintage Mall sits Pipe and Row, an airy boutique well-defined by its tagline, “not your average staple.” Owner Kayla Boehme named the shop after her twin niece and nephew, Piper and Rowin, and has instilled it with a cool-girl vibe, curating it with staple tees and denim, as well as trend-driven statement pieces.
Outside, Fremont boutique Les Amis (meaning “friends” in French) sits beneath cherry and wisteria trees; inside, dark wood beams are lit by an overhead chandelier. The result is an inviting, rustic atmosphere that mirrors the upscale bohemian garments, lingerie, and accessories stocked this neighborhood haunt, including such designers as Ulla Johnson, Black Crane, and Baserange.
E. Smith Mercantile
The front half of Pioneer Square’s E. Smith Mercantile boasts a range of American-made dry goods, from denim to handmade ceramics to leather bags—it’s a fantastic spot to buy artisan-made gifts for the men in your life. The back of the shop functions as a speakeasy-like craft cocktail bar, sporting seasonal infusions and small noshes to go with. What was previously a 12-seat watering hole received a sizable expansion in 2017, effectively doubling the bar area in size.
The name of this Capitol Hill gem says it all: Pretty Parlor is a small but saccharine-sweet shop decorated with bright pink walls, dolls, and mirrored vanities, attended by friendly vintage-clad associates and a chatty shop cat. A favorite of local drag queens, brides, and rockabillies alike, it is crammed to the brim with top-notch vintage dresses, accessories, and costume jewelry from the 20s to the 90s, as well as some fun contemporary pieces from owner Anna Lange’s own sustainable line, House of Pretty Parlor.
Inside this hole-in-the-wall shop in the International District just south of downtown there’s a meeting of east and west. In addition to pieces sourced by local makers, proprietress Lei Ann Shiramiza stocks Momo with a blend of garments and accessories influenced by European and Asian styles—think men’s bow ties and shibori-dyed scarves sitting side-by-side—and she’s been doing so for over a decade.
This quaint clothing and home-goods boutique is a cozy retail oasis within the Melrose Market, a bustling marketplace home to farm-to-table restaurants, specialty bars, and artisan butchers. Here you’ll find garments by Pacific Northwest designers, like Portland-based brand Older Brother, as well as a selection of brackish furniture and plants. There is a community surrounding Glasswing, as the shop plays host to a variety of workshops, like floral arranging tutorials, and frequently lends its back space as a gallery.
Kirk Albert Furnishings
Detroit-born antique expert Kirk Albert refers to his ever-changing collection of vintage furnishings as “perfect imperfections.” His gallery-like showroom in Seattle’s once-industrial, now up-and-coming Georgetown neighborhood showcases a variety of distinctive and rather eccentric found objects—think towering lamps, gutted clocks, or sculptures formed from nails. In addition to these one-of-a-kind finds, Albert designs custom pieces for commercial clients, also showcased here.
Lucky Dry Goods
For quality vintage clothing at a reasonable price, you must check out one of Lucky Dry Goods’s two outposts. The University District location is smaller and sells pieces at a slightly lower price point; at the larger Ballard location, you’ll find older pieces, many dating back to the 1800s, at a slightly higher margin. At either spot, you’re sure to uncover something unique, whether that be cowboy boots, ’80s band tees, ’50s cocktail attire, or that Mickey Mouse tank you never knew you needed.
Baby & Company
Named after founder Babette “Baby” Burstyn, the name of this downtown boutique may seem misleading—this is not a shop for babies, though perhaps it may entice cool moms from time to time. Since 1976, Baby & Co. has championed the slow fashion movement, flaunting a cool, easy aesthetic through a curation of quality and sometimes unusual European designers like Ann Demeulemeester, A Détacher, and Commune de Paris.
The designers behind jewelry brand Baleen are Bill Bartels and Leah Lawrence, a couple that met in 2008 while working in retail. In 2013, they began crafting their handmade, unpretentious jewelry line together, then went brick-and-mortar two years later. In addition to their own necklaces, rings, and bracelets, which are made in-house, they tout accessories and gifts from various other creatives, like ceramic pieces by local potter Brad Curran.
Stock & Pantry
A relative newcomer to the Seattle shopping scene, Stock & Pantry is the answer to founder Sasha Clark’s passion for Scandinavian and Japanese design. The concept shop is unabashedly modern, featuring a large center shelving unit covered with massive coffee table books from the likes of Assouline and Rizzoli, Japanese porcelain plates, and jams packaged by Clark herself. It’s lovely, and it’s Instagrammable.