What began as a small operation out of founder Jennifer Velarde’s studio apartment is now a celebrated handbag business with three stores in two cities, an online boutique, and a slew of media accolades from magazines such as InStyle, Good Housekeeping, and Real Simple. The business owes its proliferation to Velarde’s touted lineup of custom-designed shoulder bags, bridal clutches, and totes. The creative trendsetter also provides her customers with a bevy of fabric swatches and styles so they can create their own designs during in-store or at-home handbag parties.
Boston CityWalks’ owner, Alan Maltzman, loves to show his passion and knowledge for his city. At Boston CityWalks, he and his coterie of guides lead six different tours that roam the city’s historic cobblestones, highlighting areas such as Harvard Square, the waterfront, Beacon Hill, and various Jewish cultural sites. He can also design a custom tour for any occasion such as family vacations, engagements, birthdays, reunions, and business meetings.
The friendly staff will answer any and all questions with a professional demeanor that makes unmentionables comfortably mentionable. They are also masters of measurements, so take advantage while in the store. A properly fitting bra can reduce back strain and annoying fractal imprints left behind from too-tight undergarments. Pick up a throng of the comfortable Hanky Panky thongs ($18 apiece), or splurge on an Aubade bra ($127) that feels more like an extension of your body than an article of clothing. Wrap up inside a luxurious Mary Green kimono silk robe ($90), or take this Groupon to bed with an Eberjey pajama set ($110). Tell your girlfriends to grab today's deal so you can take your time browsing for your next favorite pair of underwear with the ladies.
Voted Best Cigar Shop in the 2010 Boston A-List contest, Cigar Masters houses a fragrant collection of fine cigars and smoking accessories in a sophisticated setting. The shop maintains an aromatic armory of over 50 brands of chic cigars, from time-tested classics like Romeo y Julieta ($10), to specialty smokecicles such as La Flor Dominicana ($13). Refined unwinders can send each other sophisticated smoke signals with the smoldering bouquet of Liga Privadas ($16 each) or replace their signature Slim Jim with a more dignified Don Pepin Garcia ($10). The knowledgeable staff receives ongoing education, keeping them keen on the latest lighters, cigar cases, and stylish smoking bibs. A luxurious, urbane lounge creates an ideal haven for aficionados who wish to bask in the glow of varnished wood and leather seats amidst an aura of refined conversation and stuffed trophy scotches. The lounge offers a full selection of libations and requires proper evening attire after seven. Cigar Masters supports a variety of local charities, including the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Back Bay Association.
Discerning shoppers head to Copley Place when they’re looking for upscale goods, like jewelry from Tiffany & Co. and clothing from Barneys. But for shoe lovers, there’s only one place to go: Jimmy Choo. The small boutique outpost of this internationally renowned retailer is a gleaming beacon of success and fashion in the Copley Place luxury shopping area, complete with gleaming chandeliers, discreet seating areas and perfectly lit display cases. Inside are the expensive accoutrements of any truly wealthy woman, from signature shoes to high-end sunglasses and designer handbags. Celebrities may have made the brand a household name, but the attentive staff makes sure every shopper feels as if they’re red-carpet worthy. With the name recognition, the design aesthetic and the upscale Copley Place location, it’s no wonder Jimmy Choo retails their shoes at $500 or more.
L.A.-based hipster brand American Apparel is not for the faint of taste. Depending on the season you can find barely there gold bathing suits or a skirt that looks like it was made out of a space-age fabric. The selection of gloves, scarves and T-shirts in a groovy array of colors are the first thing that greets shoppers at this trendy Newbury Street clothing store. Splashes of color and texture in the form of skirts, sweaters and pants are complemented by accessories such as nail polish, umbrellas and backpacks. Small and extra small sizes are plentiful here, which can be frustrating for folks sized M or L. Don't forget to check out the fun lingerie department in the back of the store. American Apparel is sweatshop free, supports fair trade wages, and everything in the store in made in the USA.