Best New Boutique 2018 | True | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Courtesy True

Denver retail entrepreneur Shana Colbin Dunn opened her first store, the accessory-heavy Kismet, in 2006 in Highlands Square, and it grew over the years into a three-store Denver metro empire based on good management and impeccable merchandise. But when she moved into Stanley Marketplace last year, it was with a different concept and a new name. True is all about de-stressing and simplifying life, offering clean, beautiful clothing and Colbin Dunn's greatest proven strength — well-curated accessories and jewelry — while also addressing women's wellness through pampering products, books and workshops. It's a cutting-edge business for tough emotional times, and stay tuned: A second True is opening its doors this spring in the LoHi Marketplace in Highland, with more of the same.

From the Hip Photo

Husband-and-wife retail team Stephanie Shearer and Chris Bacorn have years of retail experience between them as the Uptown proprietors of Pandora on the Hill and Soul Haus (big news: Those two stores have merged into one big Soul Haus, with cute dresses, handmade jewelry, haha-funny cards and something for everyone). But it was still a gamble for the couple when they decided to pioneer Stanley Marketplace with a new concept, Trunk Nouveau. They took their marketing know-how and applied it to the shop, tailoring it to a different clientele and the Aurora venue's people-first manifesto, with a wider range of price points and an ever-changing trunk-show theme. But don't worry: The playfulness of Pandora and Soul Haus still runs through the new store's veins.

Courtesy Velvet Wolf Facebook page

Molly Hakes first opened Velvet Wolf on Main Street in downtown Littleton, where the boutique gained a reputation for stocking good-looking (but not run-of-the-mill), affordable styles, all topping off at $100, if that, as well as accessories and a house-brand skin-care line. Hakes had no idea what would happen when she committed to moving the boutique to Stanley Marketplace last year, but the location — which impressed her enough to also open Little Wolf, a separate children's store with similar price points and smart curation — has proven good for her brand, good for Stanley and good for the mixed Stapleton/Aurora neighborhood it serves.

Courtesy Conservatrice Facebook page

As boutiques go, Conservatrice is one of those girly-girl pampering places where a gentleman might buy a gift for his lady love — or the lady herself might go for a moment's respite from the spinning world, among lace and linen, fancy perfume bottles, tinctures and lotions and, to top it all off, redolent floral arrangements perfect for prettying up a boudoir or a wedding reception. Need an all-purpose revitalizing sanctuary in your life? Head to downtown Littleton and shop till you drop.

Best Boutique for Millennials (and Their Mothers)


Courtesy Jewelius Facebook page

Deep in the heart of Highland, Jewelius goes both ways, offering millennial favorites like off-the-shoulder tops, graphic tees and holey-kneed distressed jeans, alongside smart wraps and bags for the older set. And both generations see eye to eye when it comes to the store's namesake: elegant yet affordable jewelry, from fun stacking bracelets to opulent bling-studded rings and bangles. It's the perfect place to take mom for a mother-daughter shopping spree this May.

Courtesy David Bywater

Fashion can be as high-end as couture or so low-end that it scrapes the pavement of the city streets. Station, the streetwear boutique in Five Points with a colorful culture and a playful take on street fashion and art, strikes the perfect balance in the fashion spectrum. The shop produces its own signature pieces, like sweatshirts and hats, and the resale rack is full of vintage relics by Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren as well as modern brands like Supreme and A Bathing Ape, all carefully curated by the staff.

Courtesy Sub Rosa Mercantile Facebook page

Sub Rosa brightens the Sunnyside neighborhood with an all-handcrafted inventory of jewelry, fashion and items for home and body showcasing makers from Colorado. What you'll find there might be as small as an enamel coyote pin by Eradura or a glass vial of flower water from Birchrose + Co., or as large as a handsome Mexican blanket by Gunn & Swain. It's all homey and good.

Courtesy FashioNation/Babysitter's Nightmare Facebook page

For over thirty years, FashioNation has served as the go-to spot for gothic and alternative enthusiasts in Denver. Husband-and-wife co-owners Pam and Paul Italiano opened the shop in 1987 and still keep it stocked with studs, spikes, clothing, jewelry and accessories. Dark details like black leather and mesh adorn most of the fashion, making it look so good it's scary. A wall signed by rock stars who have visited the shop deserves a gander, as do the creeper-style shoes and spooky graphic tees in sizes ranging from infant to adult, making FashioNation the perfect haunt for goths of every age.

Courtesy Modern Nomad Facebook page

Here in Denver, we're all up to date on food halls — but what about a design hall? The design warehouse Modern Nomad redefines the design-mall model for the 21st century, first by operating as an open-air collective of related businesses with a modern outlook on style, and second, by hosting pop-ups for savvy design merchants and makers from Denver and around the world. Modern Nomad has so far partnered on a permanent basis with the longtime Denver mid-century showroom Mod Livin', La Lovely Vintage and the newcomer Homefill, a retailer of eco-friendly home goods. Everything blends together in the space, much as it would in your own home, making every visit a revelatory lesson in creative, up-to-the-minute home design.

Mauricio O. Rocha

John Fluevog started designing shoes in 1970 in Vancouver, and his designs have attracted a large following ever since. For five years, his Larimer Square location has allowed Denver to indulge in the intricate leatherwork and details in every pair of these unique, costly shoes, available in a wide array of boots, loafers, wing-tips and dress-ups. While the prices might seem outrageous ($250, on average) they stick to the founder's mantra of buying better and buying less. Not carried in department stores or third-party retailers, you must go through Fluevog himself to get these shoes sent from shoe heaven.

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