After moving from London to Philadelphia, Elena Brennan needed a way to fulfill her desire for hard-to-find designer shoes without hopping a transatlantic flight back home. In 2007, she stashed away her aviation goggles in favor of opening Bus Stop, a boutique specializing in stylish kicks and women's apparel. The quirky spot carries lesser-known brands, such as Jeffrey Campbell, J Shoes, and FarylRobin, as well as fashionable favorites from Toms and Fluevog.
White walls outfitted with monochromatic shelves pull shoppers' attention towards a collection of shoes so eclectic it helped Bus Stop win an award for best women's shoe store in 2008 from Philadelphia magazine. Antique wooden tables heave under the weight of handmade accessories and apparel from local and national designers and wayward elephants that thought they smelled peanuts. This Fabric Row boutique also holds monthly events that showcase the work of emerging artists and local fashionistas.
For more than 80 years, the retailers at Robinson Luggage have packed their showroom with functional and stylish luggage, business cases, and bags from brands such as Kenneth Cole, Johnston & Murphy, and Kipling. Today, more than 60 brands of luggage, computer cases, and backpacks line the shelves waiting for somebody to entrust them with their clothes, business documents, or treasured slinky collections. A close-knit family, the staff averages 12 years of experience, with many team members having been a part of the store for more than 20 years. They welcomely combine their expertise to aid shoppers searching for pieces that fit ideal factors such as budget, aesthetic, or function.
Tucked away in the historic Curtis Center, Philadelphia Diamond Company’s jewelers hone design aesthetics, helping students craft blueprints for unique neckwear, tinkling bangles, and sparkly finger baubles. From casting wax molds to figuring out which diamonds are ready to hatch, the jewel-savvy staff illuminates every step of the jewelry-making process. After drawing up plans for fresh finery or redesigning well-worn accessories, students munch on continental-breakfast nibbles while waiting for custom molds to emerge. Students hungry to turn their designs into reality benefit from a 20% discount on required materials, letting designers cast personalized wedding bands or dreamy amulets without the hassle of prospecting for precious metals or melting down old debate-club lavalieres.
Andrew’s Ties USA’s seasoned haberdashers ensconce torsos in Italian-made ties, shirts, and fine accessories. The Collection tie’s ($69) heavy silk cuts a resplendent blaze across dark-hued formalwear, and the Pari Pari's ($49) woven diagonal stripes bespeak classic elegance while offering advance camouflage on battlefields filled with barber poles. Pants stay obediently hip-bound courtesy of striped or polka-dot suspenders ($59), the flashier twin cousins of more business-minded leather belts ($69). A black check dress shirt ($99) lends gravitas no matter the occasion, and a crisp silk bow tie ($55) adds aplomb to tuxedos and football uniforms alike.