The Best Alternative Boutiques In Nashville
© imogene + willie, Lou Stejskal/Flickr
When you hear the word ’boutique,’ a certain type of store may come instantly to mind. However, not all boutiques are created equal. While many in Nashville offer the standard chevron-printed, monogrammed fare, if you look hard enough you can also find more than a few boutiques in Music City that break this mold and tend towards a slightly more alternative vibe. Here, a brief list of boutiques to check out in Nashville that will make you rethink your conception of the term altogether — and where you’ll be guaranteed a unique shopping experience.
Imogene + Willie
Founders Matt and Carrie Eddmenson first launched Imogene + Willie
in 2009 as an online-only service dedicated to selling the highest-quality denim for both men and women. Their email campaign was so wildly successful that in the summer of the same year, the couple opened their first brick-and-mortar store in what was once an old service station in Nashville’s 12 South neighborhood. Today, Imogene + Willie is truly a boutique unlike any other in Nashville — or quite possibly anywhere else. While the space may have once functioned as a gas station, today the boutique — filled with rustic furniture and décor with its products so organically integrated that you may find yourself wondering exactly what’s for sale and what is mere decoration — is a study in the power of raw, folksy charm. And perhaps most importantly, their denim will make you rethink the very definition of denim — the store was even featured by the likes of The New York Times
for its quality and inventiveness.
Sisters of Nature
On the corner of Gallatin and Stratford in East Nashville sits Sisters of Nature
, a women’s boutique dedicated to outfitting artists, wanderers, and free spirits. Kimberly Parker, owner and founder, named her boutique after the inspiration for both the designs of her products and the light, airy atmosphere of the storefront itself: nature and its ability to be both calming and stimulating. Parker designed each aspect of the store with care, from the music to the scent to the layout, in order to provide customers with the best possible shopping experience. Browse the online collection
to get a sense of the products sold at the brick-and-mortar store, which includes a plethora of simple, well-made pieces that are basic enough to be worn over and over but different enough to guarantee that you won’t find anything quite like them anywhere else.
In the block or so that constitutes Nashville’s popular Hillsboro neighborhood, it seems as though every other storefront is a boutique. Amidst this speciality-store saturation, however, Pangaea
stands out for its eclectic mix of products and its down-to-earth atmosphere. Offering everything from one-of-a-kind jewelry to printed tapestries and bedcovers to clothing that won’t break the bank (unless you happen to pick out a Free People item, which tend to be a bit pricier), Pangaea is a must-visit for alternative-leaning shoppers. And if you happen to be shopping for someone besides yourself, Pangaea also has you covered. Its wide selection of gifts practically guarantees that you will find something just right for anyone, regardless of the recipient’s gender or personal style.
Hey Rooster General Store
Also located in East Nashville, Hey Rooster General Store
is not your average boutique. In fact, it is arguably not a ’boutique’ in the typical sense at all; it is instead a highly specialized storefront dedicated to selling quality, handmade accessories, home décor, and artisan food. Owner Courtney Webb created the store with the intention of building a space that resurrects the sense of community found in general stores throughout history. Not only is she close friends with many of the artists and producers behind the products she sells (a good portion of which are made in Nashville), but the store itself is reminiscent of this nostalgic past — with, of course, a slightly trendier, 21st-century spin.
Located at the base of the 12 South neighborhood, Serendipity
is a mecca for funky, one-of-a-kind clothing, gifts, jewelry, and accessories. Founder Julie Lutz has been devoted to her vision of selling unique products since she was 16 years old — and operating her own brick-and-mortar retail shop inside her mother’s cosmetics store — and thus it should come as no surprise that Serendipity stands out in a town filled with small specialty shops. Julie and the rest of her team constantly revise the aesthetic of the store’s offerings in order to keep up with Nashville’s ever-changing style while staying true to the breezy vibe that the store has always maintained. Many of the products sold are also locally crafted, including a wide variety of handmade jewelry.
Abednego: both Old Testament allusion and hip Nashville boutique
. Located in Germantown, one of Nashville’s more quickly evolving neighborhoods north of downtown, this store is dedicated to providing one-of-a-kind products — namely, men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, home décor, and gifts — that won’t break the bank. Product offerings for both men and women are decidedly of the hip, free-spirited variety, and the range of price points makes shopping at this boutique a bit more accessible than many other similar stores in town. The décor and design of the storefront itself mirrors the aesthetic of its products; walk into Abednego and you will find a clean, airy, modern-industrial atmosphere that still manages to be warm and welcoming.