On days when a big city feels like too much for me to handle, I fantasize about living in Santa Barbara. For a small town, it seems to have everything, and there’s very few places that compare in terms of beauty. In order for my fantasy to ring true, I needed to make sure there was plenty of good local shopping to cure any cravings, and I’m happy to report there’s more than enough to tide me over (at least until my als0-make-believe seasonal trips to LA)! While tried-and-true Saks Fifth Avenue is located in the heart of downtown when all else fails, there are a number of exceptional boutiques offering a unique shopping experience, for those that want to live like a local. Here are my favorites:
Dressed: This shop on East Coast Village Road in Montecito has merged from two separate stores (a designer boutique and a contemporary shop) into one large space that has all your luxe basics covered. I picked up a Belstaff blouse, 3.1 Philip Lim sweatshirt and new California designer Laveer’s blazer (all on sale!), but the boutique was seriously bursting with beloved brands like Clover Canyon, Yigal Azrouel, Equipment, Kenzo and The Row, mixed in with some lesser-known names and cool accessories.
Julianne: I am beyond obsessed with this carefully-curated designer shop, and almost fell out of my chair to learn that their original location is in Port Washington, NY, just a 30-minute drive from where I live. Stocked with gorgeous evening dresses, killer heels and a number of special pieces from Rick Owens, Balenciaga, Jason Wu and the likes, this store is a must-visit. Even my husband — who hates when I drag him shopping — loved all the eye candy (and the plush couches) at this little gem.
Jenni Kayne & Jenni Kayne Home: These adjacent boutiques offer a double whammy — home and fashion goodies for the discerning shopper. Beyond her own line of clothing and still-cool d’Orsay flats (which I happen to love), Kayne also stocks items from brands like Elder Statesman and Tom Binns at the clothing shop, which is airy and easy to shop. And I was completely charmed by the beachy home store, which carries gorgeous ceramics and tableware, but also easy one-off items that add a little something extra to a bookshelf or room.
Diani: Situated in downtown Santa Barbara but slightly off the beaten path, Diani carries flirty, casual clothes that make up the building blocks of your wardrobe. Racks are filled with denim, tees, knitwear and sweats, all of which are trendy and cool. If my luggage was lost, this would be the first place I ran to replenish. I also thought their pretty selection of lingerie was well worth checking out!
Kitson: Though Kitson is totally kitschy and a bit overstuffed for my taste, I see its value when it comes to easy souvenirs. Their selection of odds and ends is always up-to-par, and I found a cute “California” table that had a nice array of books, coasters and fun mementos.