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Meadowsweet Mercantile

CREDIT: Visit Philadelphia

M Concept Shop

CREDIT: Photo courtesy M Concept Shop

Moon + Arrow

CREDIT: Photo courtesy Moon + Arrow

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The Best Independent Shops for Womenswear in Philadelphia

A guide to owner-operated retailers selling clothing and accessories in Philly

In Philadelphia, owner-operated shops are a way of life — and have been since the 17th century. Independent storefronts fit naturally into the city’s fabric; their size and spirit thrive amid similarly independent restaurants, bars and cafes in close-knit neighborhoods.

It’s perhaps no surprise that, when it comes to outfitting the ladies, Philadelphia’s indie shops are the way to go. Also not too surprising: The city’s recent surge of upscale boutiques and haberdasheries that have followed Philly’s surge of stylish residents and visitors. Certainly pleasantly surprising to shoppers: Philadelphia levies no sales tax on apparel or shoes.

Here are some standout, sought-after, Philly-proud indie womenswear and accessories shops.

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Womenswear
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Sophy Curson

Elegant Rittenhouse Square boutique Sophy Curson has serviced debutants and doyennes since 1929. Fun fact: The owners are the niece and great-nephew of the shop’s eponymous founder, who invented women’s petites. Everything from ball gowns to blue jeans is on decorous display here. Note: Shoppers make requests rather than browse racks.
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Erdon

At Erdon, recherché international designers such as Ivan Grundahl, Closed, Jerome Dreyfuss and Heyne Bogut mix in a spare space that feels right at home amid Old City’s art galleries.
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Vagabond

A pioneering Old City women’s boutique, Vagabond draws regulars for its Philly-knit sweaters and on-point, affordable-to-splurge-worthy clothing by Rachel Comey, Black Crane, Brandy Melville, Ace & Jig, plus shoes, jewelry and gifts.
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Meadowsweet Mercantile

Seekers of perfectly distressed denim, lovely vintage dresses and cool contemporary accessories should make a point to call on this gallery-like Old City space. Beyond the carefully curated vintage and designer collections, the husband-and-wife-owned shop houses the hand-loomed textiles of Cuttalossa as well as frequent collaborations and pop ups with makers that share Meadowsweet's chic boho aesthetic.
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Moon + Arrow

With tagline “Handmade + Vintage + Apothecary,” Fabric Row’s eco-conscious shop Moon + Arrow vends brass and copper jewelry, handmade leather bags, organic babywear, terrariums and more.
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United By Blue (UBB)

Eco-conscious clothier and coffee house United by Blue (UBB) serves as a flagship for sustainable men’s and women’s fashions and accessories. For every product sold, UBB removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways.
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Accessories, Shoes & Jewelry
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Bario-Neal

Bella Vista atelier Bario-Neal features a knowledgeable sales and design crew who use ethically sourced materials and progressive manufacturing processes to create custom and collection-based fine jewelry with an artisan, modern feel.
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Bus Stop

Brit-born Elena Brennan sources on-point kicks and bags at this Fabric Row shop — and she designs some of them, too.
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Head Start Shoes

This shoe haven stops many Rittenhouse passersby who peer through windows at modern marvels of leather, as fashioned for women’s feet. Coveted brands include Officine Creative, Roberto Del Carlo, Prima Base and more.
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Scarlett Alley

Old City’s pre-occasion destination stocks elegant, approachable tableware, candles, costume jewels, cozy clothing and accessories, personalized gifts, shower gifts and wedding gifts.
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Yowie

Independent thinking certainly fits the Philly vibe, and Philadelphia native Shannon Maldonado founded her lifestyle shop Yowie based on her personal aesthetic — which comes with high-design cred — and on the belief that independent design should be accessible, affordable and "a little weird." Shoppers can find Maldonado's collections online and at her jewel-box Queen Village storefront.
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Verde

Open House’s younger sister and neighbor carries colorful jewelry and accessories — and site-made Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates.
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Bella Turka

A rainbow of on-trend and fine pieces from all ends of the earth occupy this colorful store. The Rittenhouse location also carries global home goods and gifts.
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Craiger Drake

Craiger Drake, a second-generation supplier of precious gems and metals, opens the showroom by appointment for collection and custom pieces.
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Halloween

In this hidden lair, repurposed altar boxes display pearls, heirlooms and original pieces by bon vivant owner and metalsmith Henri David. An orange business card serves as signage.
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Jewelers' Row

On Jewelers' Row, some 300 wholesalers, repair shops and vendors of engagement rings, estate pieces and other glittering investments make up the nation’s oldest diamond district.
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Ritual Ritual

A rotating roster of indie artists and six in-house designers furnish and burnish the wares at this glamorously Goth Northern Liberties destination.
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