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The Best Independent Shops for Womenswear in Philadelphia

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

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Find chic boho designs at Meadowsweet Mercantile
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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.

01

Joan Shepp

Bringing the runway to Philly for more than four decades

Joan Shepp Joan Shepp
— Photo courtesy of Joan Shepp

Philadelphia staple Joan Shepp serves as a reckoning force for avant-garde, eminently wearable women’s clothing, accessories and shoes by Maison Margiela, Urban Zen, Vetements, Yohji Yamamoto, Marni, Sonia Rykiel, Ann Demeulemeester and others.

Where: 1811 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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02

Shop Sixty Five

Shop Sixty Five Shop Sixty Five
— Photo courtesy Shop Sixty Five

Bucks County émigré Shop Sixty Five serves up cosmopolitan denim, knitwear, dresses, bags and jewelry via labels such as Mason by Michelle Mason, Burning Torch, Elizabeth & James, Haute Hippie and more.

Where: 128 South 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA

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03

Skirt

Skirt Skirt
— Photo courtesy Skirt

Main Line mainstay Skirt brought a battalion of personal stylists to Rittenhouse Square to better meet Philly’s demand for Tibi, Missoni, Milly, Splendid, DVF, on-point denim, office and cocktail wear.

Where: 212 S 17th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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04

Sophy Curson

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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.

Where: 1907 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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05

Boyds

Offering designer threads for more than 75 years

Boyds Philadelphia Boyds Philadelphia
Find top shoe designers at Boyds Philadelphia. — Boyds Philadelphia

Esteemed circa 1940 clothier Boyds carries everything from Alexander McQueen to Ermenegildo Zegna in topline men’s and women’s fashion. Four polished floors display Trussini, Kiton, Paul Smith, Escada, Jil Sander, Brioni and more alongside in-house tailors, custom valet parking and personal shoppers.

Where: 1818 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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06

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.

Where: 162 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA

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07

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.

Where: 37 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

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08

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.

Where: 47 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106

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09

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.

Where: 754 S. 4th Street Philadelphia, PA 19147

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10

Charlie’s Jeans

At this one-stop shop for designer men’s and women’s denim, the employees are fit experts. It’s also the exclusive carrier of the owner’s U.S.A.-made Sebastian McCall jeans.

Where: 233 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

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11

Sugarcube

Pairing perfect vintage with the latest styles

Sugarcube Sugarcube
— J. Smith for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

This Old City stalwart is known for its thoughtful collection of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, especially U.S.A.-sewn denim, American-milled socks, vintage finds and after-dark styles.

Where: 124 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

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12

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.

Where: Multiple locations including, 205 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

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13

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.

Where: 700 South 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

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14

M Concept Shop

M Concept Shop M Concept Shop
— Photo courtesy M Concept Shop

This gallery-like retailer of local design-makers, including Damiano Collection, West Oak Design, and M Concept X by Ethan Nguyen, fosters slow, stylish shopping.

Where: 1540 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146

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15

Egan Day

Egan Day Egan Day
— Photo courtesy Egan Day

Kate Egan’s inimitable gallery of ethereal wearable and displayable art is a must-see and must-shop in Center City Philadelphia.

Where: 260 South 16th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

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16

Bus Stop

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

Where: 727 South 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

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17

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.

Where: 126 South 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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18

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.

Where: 241 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

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19

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.

Where: 716 South 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

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20

Verde

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

Where: 108 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

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21

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.

Where: Multiple locations including, 1700 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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22

Craiger Drake

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

Where: 1701 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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23

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.

Where: 1329 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

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24

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.

Where: Multiple locations along Sansom St & S 7th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

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25

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.

Where: 819 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

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26

LAGOS

This fine jewelry shop offers enduring jewelry created in Philadelphia by founder and master jeweler Steven Lagos. Perfect for the Philly-proud, the Heart of Philadelphia pendant incorporates architectural elements from City Hall, Independence Hall, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Where: LAGOS, 1735 Walnut Street

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Joan Shepp
Shop Sixty Five
Skirt
Sophy Curson
Boyds
Erdon
Vagabond
Meadowsweet Mercantile
Moon + Arrow
Charlie’s Jeans
Sugarcube
United By Blue (UBB)
Bario-Neal
M Concept Shop
Egan Day
Bus Stop
Head Start Shoes
Scarlett Alley
Yowie
Verde
Bella Turka
Craiger Drake
Halloween
Jewelers' Row
Ritual Ritual
LAGOS
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