Shopping hot spots: Where to find fashion and furnishings on Broadway in Denver
Independent boutiques offer what you can’t typically find in a mall store — a ’60s dress in mint condition, racks of locally designed and produced clothing, a garden under glass, a Danish modern dining room table.
The boutiques along Broadway in the Baker neighborhood offer such merchandise and are alternately praised and panned for it. Fashion lovers like the improved selection and trendier styles. Less pleased are those who say prices have shot up, particularly in used, vintage or recycled goods.
Fancy Tiger Crafts, which recently celebrated six years in business in the location, can be credited with helping spur the area’s retail renaissance. The growth of the DIY- fueled crafts movement has made the store a destination for creative types. The big Goodwill store at 21 S. Broadway keeps things real for recyclers and restylers, while Buffalo Exchange is a place to buy or sell of-the-moment merchandise as well as some vintage.
The shopping district is also the place to find clothing and accessories made by Denver-based fashion creators. “We were hoping we could bring more locally designed clothing to the neighborhood,” says Kirsten Coplans, co-owner of Sewn, which opened in February. Coplans says she feels like part of a growing community. “We’re always sending people to other stores, and they do the same for us.”
Cynthia Wright agrees. She’s been in the neighborhood for 14 of the 30 years she’s been dealing in vintage apparel as the co-owner of Boss. “When we first moved the shop down here it was still a little sketchy,” Wright says. “But there are not as many homeless people here now, and there are some great restaurants and bars.”
She welcomes the competition from other stores and says it lends fashion heft to the neighborhood. “There are so many great shops and buildings being renovated. It has made the area nicer and more appealing.”
Check out these fashion and home décor stores:
With $15 earrings and enough clutches to carry quite a few concert tickets and tubes of lipstick, Starlet is a purveyor of ’70s themes and bold-patterned accessories. Owner Kristi Walstra said she does her shopping for the store on monthly trips to L.A. “I wouldn’t buy it unless I would have it in my own closet,” she said. She never buys the same thing twice, either. She tries to focus on trends, not short-lived fads, so while you’ll find plenty of bright colors in stock, Walstra said she has avoided the neon look some were so taken with this season. A colorful cross-body shoulder bag in the shape of a wide-eyed owl and a rack of vibrant summer scarves were among recent pickings. 26 Broadway, 720-389-6051; shopstarlet.com
Prince Charmings and diamonds aside, shoes might just be a girl’s one true love, and it’s easy to see why with the patterned flats and colorful heels at this boutique. Shoppers might find themselves falling for more than one pair of bright kicks. Owner Sarah Ray says in addition to the grown-up styles, the store also offers flats (with dazzling beads) and rhinestone high heels for tiny tots’ feet. All shoes ring in at $38 or less; currently, all sandals and wedges are 30 percent off. Pro tip: wedges are the ideal medium between cute and comfy for all things concerts. (The slight height advantage is often desired.) Plus, stop by on the first Friday every month for free champagne and sales. 42 Broadway, 303-860-8783; trueloveshoes.com
Cynthia and Ron Wright have been dealing in vintage clothing for more than three decades and have had their Boss vintage store on Broadway for 14 years. They’re known for high-quality goods for men and women and regularly see international visitors as well as local shoppers. Wright has garments dry-cleaned before putting them on the floor and styles and sections are well-marked. She said recent visitors included buyers from Marc Jacobs’ retail division who bought vintage motorcycle jacket patches. Boss always stocks items from the 1930s to the ’60s, but Wright says she’s been seeing a lot of interest in 1970s and ’80s looks as well. “I tend to keep customers,” she says. “They start in high school, and their interest grows from there. I have one woman who must be in her late 50s who buys a lot of vintage for evening. She is into the uniqueness and says it’s more affordable, too.” Wright also outfits customers for theme parties. “One day last year we sold 50 Christmas sweaters in one day,” she said. 10 S. Broadway, 303-871-0373; bossvintage.com
Two Denver designers joined forces in opening this boutique in February. Jil Cappuccio’s artful fabric mixes and sharp tailoring enliven her men’s, women’s and children’s sportswear. Kirsten Coplans, who has a fine-arts background, is an avid recycler and restyler who teaches old clothing fashionable new tricks. Her line, Pearl clothing, is named after her dog (and the store’s mascot). Shoppers will find vintage items as well as a wide assortment of merchandise from local designers, including silver jewelry by Phryne Metal, handcrafted soap and custom notebooks by Sara Blette of makemynotebook.com. Perfect for events like the Underground Music Showcase are skirts and tops by Dandy Social Club, which uses recycled concert T-shirts in its garments. 18 S. Broadway; 303-832-1493; sewndenver.com
HOME DECOR SHOPS
Like stepping into an elegant 1890s English novel, Ironwood holds a whimsical, eccentric charm. Planters, pots and plants grace the shelves. Glass terrariums, like little art sculptures, are from Fort Collins, underscoring the owners’ commitment to locally produced goods. The shop also displays natural history books, jewelry, shadowboxes and artwork. Framed, pinned butterflies adorn one wall. Plants are also plentiful, some as low as $10. Store employee Jacqueline Cordova said she loves the “found-object” feel, and all of the trinkets work well together in a space that’s even hard for her to categorize. “We just try to bring together beautiful things of the natural world,” she said. Don’t be put off if the store looks different since you last visited — even the tables are for sale, so once they go, Cordova said, it’s a clean slate. 14 S. Broadway, 720-458-0015; ironwoodcollection.com
The store name comes from owner Jenna Miles’ great-great aunts, who were from a generation “where things were made to last,” Miles said. Most of what they bought “was high quality, so you never had to buy it again.” So, Hazel & Dewey stocks local and imported goods — tags tell you the origin — but whether it’s a French flatware set, hand-printed tea towels, a maple rolling pin or a white camel-shaped teapot, the kitchen and home goods are built to last, with an artistic flair to boot. A chalkboard sign over the counter encourages use of the store’s gift registry as well. If you’re starting with a first apartment, getting married or just on a redecorating spree, Miles says, “if you live with it, you should love it.” 70 S. Broadway, 303-777-1500; hazel-dewey.com
For a true vintage feel, you can’t get more authentic than a 1975 Better Homes and Gardens decorating book. Lee Alex had two at last look, along with a shelf of similar titles. The mod, bold lines, color blocking, wallpapers and chrome highlights all hit close to home with modern decorating schemes. Shoppers will find couches, chairs and great accessories such as a pink 1960s suitcase or a vintage pet carrier. Printed pillows, rugs, plates and cabinets abound. Not looking for furniture? The record bin up front has albums from Zeppelin to Journey for $10-20 — plus, the covers make for instant artwork. 24 Broadway, Suite 104, 303-777-0862; leealexdecor.com
By Suzanne S. Brown and Kelsey Fowler
The Denver Post