How much is that baggie in the window? Merchandise on display at Bella James in Willow Glen.
10. Bella James, San Jose
Ella Moss, Free People, Big Buddha and BB Dakota. Bella James’ stock is perfectly varied, like a Macy’s in miniature. Bella James also offers private shopping parties, so you can close the store for yourself and some friends and feel like a San Jose celebrity.
9. Pink Stripes, San Jose
As much as we try not to promote gender stereotypes, we gotta admit – Pink Stripes rocks. Pink Stripes’ atmosphere is unapologetically pink and frilly, and their merch leans toward curve-hugging, ultra-feminine styles, as well as anything with Hello Kitty on it. And if that weren’t enough, they also stock cookies and candy. Just keep them away from the clothes.
8. She She Shoes, Los Gatos
It’s often said that shopaholics are one of two things: a handbag person or a shoe person. For shoe people, there’s She She Shoes on Santa Cruz Avenue in Los Gatos. She She carries a range of popular designers, from Kate Spade to Seychelles, at prices that are practical for all kinds of budgets.
7. Bombshell Boutique, Campbell
Campbell Avenue is nothing but boutiques, but if you’re looking for one with a younger outlook than some of the surrounding options, stop by Bombshell Boutique. Girls flock to Bombshell for fun dresses, accessories, and lingerie, and friendly owner Brooke is just as much of an attraction as the merch.
6. Ibiss, San Jose
Already a popular boutique from its Santa Clara location, the Lincoln Avenue Ibiss store carries everything that closets are made to hold – clothing, shoes, bags and jewelry, all at super-reasonable prices.
5. Simply Smashing, Campbell
Simply Smashing has been around for a good long while on Campbell Avenue, where boutiques come and go. Simply Smashing carries brands like Cosabella, Rock Revival, or whatever Deb feels like stocking this month. Locals recommend stopping at Simply Smashing’s surprisingly well-stocked sale rack before moving into the actual store.
4. Park Place, San Jose
Opened long ago in 1983, Park Place is almost vintage in and of itself. For the last 28 years, Park Place has been stepping in where other boutiques stumble, providing vintage and new clothing from indie designers steeped in retro style. They also offer furniture, accessories, and an entire back room of costume rentals for Halloween (or any other) season.
3. Kitsch Couture, Los Gatos
The reviews for Kitsch Couture online have lots of exclamation points. According to shoppers, their merchandise isn’t so much kitsch as it is cute. Vintage jewelry, pricing that beats many a mall store, and a sale rack full of treasures are among Kitsch’s selling points.
2. A Little Secret, Palo Alto
Not many retail shops can say they have a great story behind their establishment: owner of the tailor’s shop down the street, who once worked in the Korean fashion industry realizes her dream of opening a clothing boutique that’s fast becoming the talk of fashion-conscious Palo Alto. The clothing has an Asian edge to it as an homage to owner Sep’s heritage.
1. It’s A Girl Thing, San Jose
It’s a Girl Thing’s outlook on retail is actually pretty brilliant: A consignment shop filled with high-end handbags and accessories. Why didn’t anybody think of this sooner? Owner Cindy knows her stuff and is selective about her wares, and her fans take to the Internet to brag about their finds.