The holiday shopping season is upon us, and with it comes stress: so many choices, so little time, so much to do. Where do we start? We sought out Lydia Santangelo, one of the East Coast’s top stylists, who shared her best holiday shopping advice.
Santangelo, founder of TESstylist (617-212-0755, www.tesstylist.com), has worked with a slew of famous fashion names, including Yves Saint Laurent, Cartier, Chanel, Vera Wang, Tommy Hilfiger, Zac Posen, Badgley Mischka, Rachel Roy, Giorgio Armani, and others. Her top advice for finding a bargain: “Shop often and enjoy the hunt,” she says. “Also, get to know boutique owners so they can tap into your style preferences and alert you to upcoming sales.”
Santangelo encourages people to give gifts of meaning and longevity. For example, “Buy a gift from Gateway Arts,” she suggests. “It’s feel-good giving.” Gateway Arts (60-62 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-734-1577, www.gatewayarts.org) is a vocational rehabilitation center helping adults with disabilities who have talent in fine handcrafts and art. She also likes giving first editions from Brattle Book Shop (9 West St., 617-542-0210, www.brattlebookshop.com), or recommends a customized necklace from Boston-based designer Ripegoods (www.ripegoods.com). “Personalize it with a secret inscription,” she suggests.
Following are more of her favorite go-to shops. Happy hunting.
All about shoes
Check out The Tannery (39 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-491-1811, www.thetannery.com). “It’s one-stop shopping for the high-low fashion maven,” Santangelo says. “There are some fabulous men’s and women’s collections with urban highlights in the Concepts location in Harvard Square.” She also likes Cynthia Rowley for unique finds (164 Newbury St., 617-587-5240, www.cynthiarowley.com). “Her shoe collections are notable and certainly not trampling the city streets of Boston en mass.” Also, Neiman Marcus (5 Copley Place, 617-536-3660, www.neimanmarcus.com) has juiced up its shoe collections to include less expected designers like Tom Ford, Charlotte Olympia, and Lanvin.
The Ruby Door (15 Charles St., 617-720-2001, www.therubydoor.com) is a personal favorite of Santangelo’s, offering reworked vintage accessories and a mix of modern jewelry and heirloom estate pieces. Good (133 Charles St., 617-722-9200, www.shopatgood.com), an intimate boutique on Beacon Hill, has unique contemporary collections, and “is best for a bold statement,” says Santangelo. “The bangle collection and earrings are always exceptional.” She also likes Litter (found at Urban Outfitters, 361 Newbury St., 617-236-0088, www.urbanoutfitters.com), where “flea market chains are reworked into body armor, garters, and vests for one-of-a-kind pieces of art.”
Make a statement
If you’re looking for something unique to wear to that holiday party, Santangelo suggests Vira (107 Charles St., 617-367-0305, www.shopvira.com), featuring emerging talent from around the world, Sault (577 Tremont St., 857-239-9434, www.saultne.com) for out-of-the-box men’s fashions and accessories, and Alan Bilzerian (34 Newbury St., 617-536-1001, www.alanbilzerian.com) for splurge-worthy investment pieces.
Follow the trends
LuxCouture (9 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, 617-969-5600, www.luxcouture.com) is well known for nurturing the Boston client, with underground labels to standouts from Paris Fashion Week, and Crush Boutique (131 Charles St., 617-720-0010, and 264 Newbury St., 617-424-0010, www.shopcrushboutique.com) is “jam-packed with up-to-the-minute trends at affordable price points.”
Best bargain shopping
Head to Bobby From Boston (19 Thayer St., 617-423-9299) for the city’s best men’s vintage apparel: $10 pocket squares, $15 belt buckles and retro frames. “I own a pair of Foster Grants from here,” Santangelo says. This is also where she picked up one of her all-time favorite bargains: a vintage Harley Davidson biker jacket. “Bobby’s is a great place for gift-giving on a budget,” she says. She also likes Poor Little Rich Girl (121 Hampshire St., 617-873-0809, www.shoppoorlittlerichgirl.com), where you can shop the decades, from Roaring ’20s to ’90s grunge fashions.
Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.