Highfalutin' Utah - I Forgot My Mantra
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coach play store sac

Highfalutin’ Utah

No longer a fashion desert, Salt Lake makes shopping fun with its trendy and one-of-a-kind retailers.

In truth, Salt Lake City was a bit of a shopping desert when I moved here from the East Coast 30 years ago. There were just a few department stores or one-off shops to visit back then—places like Mervyn’s, ZCMI, Contempo Casuals, Chalk Garden and Nordstrom (at the original Main Street location).

Salt Lake City has since grown into a mid-size city, with high demand for new designers and out-of-state retailers. I’m happy to report that Salt Lake City is blossoming into a fertile oasis of retail stores and city style that I’d always hoped for. Here are some of my favorite haunts:

The perfect gift at O.C. Tanner Jewelers

oc tanner Salt Lake City

Founder Obert C. Tanner wanted to create the most beautiful jewelry store in all of America, and this downtown flagship fulfilled his desires. O.C. Tanner’s 1904 landmark building was the city’s first public library and later became the Hansen Planetarium. The classic Beaux Arts building has a breathtaking spiral staircase with a 26.4 foot chandelier with over 4,000 fiber optic strands. No need to be a bride-to-be to shop here, although let me mention their heritage brands, including Kwiat, Messika, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling, Cartier and Omega. The real gems are on the third floor in the home and lifestyle department. Qlocktwo timepieces that spell out the time, Baccarat crystal, alpaca throws, picture frames from L’Objet and Reed & Barton and Italian pottery from Rina Menardi. This is the place for gifts to mark the special occasions of your life—weddings, births, retirements as well as hostess and client gifts. Or simply find ways to zhuzh up your own personal space. 15 S. State, SLC, 801-532-3222, octannerjewelers.com

Ah! Cashmere at Zenzee Boutique

Zenzee boutique sac

A Maven District clothing boutique featuring signature ultra-soft cashmere sets in the prettiest pastels. Small-batch clothing made by a team of female designers and sewists at their Park City workshop. Functional women’s wear (think sets) that are comfy yet luxurious. Hand-dyed cashmere, deadstock fabrics, deconstructed and embellished crewnecks, tie-dye beanies and socks, supercool pool slides emblazoned with a peace sign and heart. When you wear Zenzee, you wear an original design crafted in Utah. Enjoy being unique! 156 E. 900 South, Ste. 101, SLC, 425-985-2777, shopzenzee.com

Manly and modern: Curriculum

curriculum sec

If a San Francisco lifestyle boutique hooked up with a Brooklyn men’s store and had a love child, Curriculum would be the offspring! Located in the 9th & 9th district, Curriculum is moody and sultry and, if it had a signature scent, it would smell like vetiver, moss and wood. The vibe is industrial and masculine with a touch of modern home goods: socks and beanies from RoToTo, Samuel Zelig embroidered sweatshirts, Lowercase sunglasses and Taion Japanese utility clothing. The men’s jewelry, watches and leather goods ooze sex appeal. You won’t find a selection of candles of this magnitude anywhere in the city. The standouts are D. S. & Durga, Sydney Hale and Mad et Len from France. You’ll find accouterments for your home bars, like cocktail glasses, brass trays, shakers, bitters, incense holders, coffee table books, arty playing cards, and Oxford Pennants. There’s a barbershop inside, too! 865 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-200-8747, curriculum.shop

Spice things up at the Colombian Marketplace

columbian marketplace dress

It’s endless summer at this apparel boutique in The Gateway. Owner Andrea Zambrano shows off her Colombian pride with her country’s beachy fashions. You’ll find floral bathing suits, Waimari lace cover ups, tassel and fringe bucket bags, light and flowy skirts and tops in vibrant colors. This store shares space with eight Latina vendors under the umbrella W.O.S.B. (women-owned small business) Collective. Here, your shopping experience connects you with brands from around the world, with lots of stories to tell. Artist Paula Rojas makes exceptional crochet items like gold handbags, tops and coverups. At Cempoala, you’ll find colorful hats from Mexico with beaded bands that evokes the spirit of Frida Kahlo. Jewelry, shoes, local handcrafted art and more. The Gateway, 136 S. Rio Grande St., SLC, 786-603-8838, thecolombianmarketplace.com

Classic style at Coach Play Store

coach play store sac

This NYC-based leather-goods company was founded in 1941, and recently opened their second concept “play store” in the nation (the first is in Chicago) in Salt Lake City. The “play area” affords an interactive experience with the customer and lets you customize your Coach bag with monogramming, interchangeable straps, patches and charms to reflect your personal style. With a recent rebrand, Coach is making a comeback while still selling its archival silhouettes that look authentically American. The neon sign in the window beckons and was made locally by Brimley Neon. City Creek Center, 50 S. Main, Ste. 261, SLC, 801-532-3836, coach.com

Trendy, sleek fashion at Alo

alo yoga salt lake

Alo Yoga started as an e-commerce store in Beverly Hills and grew quickly to 60+ stores with a new one at the City Creek Center. Men’s and women’s lifestyle clothing in monochromatic elevated styles with new drops by color every two weeks that regulars anticipate. This “studio to street brand” is always ahead of the curve, setting trends that are guaranteed to sell out quickly. Their hoodies, leggings, trousers, biker shorts, tanks and more are designed to make you look gorgeous whether you’re taking a Lagree class or brunching. And don’t overlook their yoga accessories, sneakers and a clean skin-care system. City Creek Center, 50 S. Main, Ste. 178, SLC, 385-339-0399, aloyoga.com

Get your hat on at Gigi Pip

hat store slc

A premier women’s hat brand founded and designed in Salt Lake City. Each hat goes through 70+ quality steps while remaining affordable for a custom. Many silhouettes to choose from fedora, rancher, pencil and wide brim, western and Panama straw in beautiful neutral colors. Available at retailers, but why not visit this downtown store and to get the right fit. Customize your hat at the Band Bar with embellishments like bandanas, beads, feathers and leather. Women wear many hats in life, and Gigi Pip can fulfill all the iterations of your authentic self. Now, the gentlemen of the world can also have a finely crafted hat with Gigi’s new hat company for men called Two Roads. Showroom: 360 W. 300 South, SLC, 801-203-0903; HQ: 571 Deseret Drive, Kaysville; gigipip.com

Boot scoot on over to Tecovas

tecovas boots salt lake

A Western wear company headquartered in Austin, Texas, that started as an e-commerce brand has opened in City Creek Center, and now you can get your Yellowstone vibe dialed in. The cowboy boots are affordable, and the designs are a perfect balance between cowboy and fashion, not too pointy and not too trendy. Designed in Austin and handmade in Leon, Mexico, the leather capital of the world. There are leather accessories like wallets and belts and bags, Western denim snap shirts, cowboy hats that are customizable and rugged denim jeans for men and women. There is even a leather polishing station where team members will polish any boot in any type of leather. Tecovas wants the boot fit to be right, and they go out of their way to help. City Creek Center, 50 S. Main, Ste. 170, SLC, 307-269-9533, tecovas.com

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