There’s a reason Stevie Nicks was a fashion icon and not just a ’70s singer: her strategic stroll between lacey femininity and rocker chic. The Widow Den Boutique in the Arts Factory struts that line confidently, with spacious new first-floor environs and large windows facing Charleston Boulevard that display vintage-inspired women’s clothes with an edge.
The boutique’s interior features a black and pink chandelier that illuminates vintage and modern temptations, like fluttering white dresses, ’80s lace Madonna boots and plaid schoolgirl skirts. These girly-girl pieces are cleverly juxtaposed with punk-rock-inspired T-shirts and sweaters. Tops with sayings like “don’t talk to me” and “wildflowers don’t care where they grow” complement black studded purses and a $120 blazer that’s business in front and a hand-embroidered, red-and-gold Egyptian pyramid on the back. Wild Indian-print polyester skirts at $50 and local artisan jewelry from $20 make Widow Den an affordable destination for the fashion-forward Downtown woman, whether she skews leather or lace. Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd. #245, 949-293-1083, thewidowsden.net. Sunday-Monday, noon-6 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday, noon-7 p.m.
Amberjoy's Vintage Closet
Though ragtime jazz whines softly in the background, the clerk sports a 1950s dress, and the flower-embossed cat-eye glasses on display seem most emblematic of the shop’s flair. When I found out that Amber Burkhart, owner of this month-old Main Street vintage boutique, was out at a rockabilly event, I was hardly surprised. Specializing in pristine finds from the 1920s-’90s for men, women and kids, Amberjoy’s offers a wide array of styles, though the sock-hop/muscle-car aesthetic seems to have the shop’s heart. Browse formal wear and even wedding attire, like a gorgeous baby-blue gown for $525, or casual fare, like sassy beaded sandals for $35. No matter the look, everything in the store seems to be in mint condition, including cool decorative items like vintage cameras, umbrellas and hat boxes. At the register, an adorable rack of $10 bowties begs an impulse buy. Burkhart plans to release a new line of her own designs based on vintage patterns in April, so even if those real-deal polka-dot gloves aren’t your size, you’ll still be able to get the look without a time machine. 1225 S. Main St., 825-2020, amberjoysvintagecloset.com. Tuesday, noon-6 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday, noon-8 p.m.
Beatnik Clothing Boutique
After a brief closure for renovations, the Beatnik is back and better than ever. Cowhides and skulls line the shelves and walls, giving this chic Art Square emporium a hint of home. Like the leather wrist cuffs the shop vends, the West never really goes out of style, and the Beatnik is on a mission to bring out its wild side. Finds on one trip include 1970s Waylon Jennings tour tees ($48), improved by exposed white stitching, and kitschy ski caps that simply read “f*ck you.” Meanwhile, houndstooth blazers, brightly colored stripey ties and checkerboard blouses add daring twists to more basic pieces.
While the shop’s selection of men’s and women’s wear can feel a bit spartan, the Beatnik makes you think curated, not inundated. Seek it out for signature pieces, like vintage fur, studded clutches and ’70s beach hats that conspire with shelves of broken-in beautiful boots. An outfit from here will ensure eyes are on you next time you step out feeling adventurous. Art Square, 1025 S. 1st St. #155, 592-0111, facebook.com/beatnikclothingboutique. Tuesday & Wednesday, noon-6 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, noon-8 p.m. and by appointment.