Most travelers know Charlotte for its business culture, but here's your secret: Charlotte is actually one of the most underrated fashion hubs in the East, let alone the Southeast.
Perhaps thanks the always-look-sharp mindset of the financial industry, the town has been able to support a larger fashion community than you would expect. To get a handle on the city's fashion scene, best boutiques and places to shop, we asked Whitley Adkins Hamlin, blogger of the Queen City Style and personal stylist, to weigh in with her curated list of the best shopping destinations in Charlotte. Put her short list of boutique picks and shopping stops on your Queen City must-visit list:
For the Ladies
Capitol: Capitol is locally and internationally known for offering high-quality pieces, and its haute-couture allure is unmatched on a boutique level in Charlotte. While Hamlin said the frocks at this shop will run “off the charts,” the quality and sheer span of the designers represented at Capitol—Dolce & Gabbana, Isabel Marant, Oscar de la Renta and more—are like a museum experience for fashion lovers. Tip: If you want high fashion but don't have the platinum card, come for the twice-a-year dress sale the store holds.
Poole Shop: Directly overhead, Poole Shop is the approachable, everyday-wear sister to Capitol. Jeans, t-shirts and fashion-forward pieces line the store. “It’s all about layering and being fashion-forward,” said Hamlin. “People who are fashion-forward or artistic are really going to appreciate [Poole].”
SouthPark Mall: SouthPark Mall has everything from Neiman Marcus to locally owned clothing stores like Belk. While it's expanded far and wide, Belk actually originated in Charlotte and reflects the wide array of shoppers and the community in Charlotte, according to Hamlin. Nordstrom, within SouthPark Mall, has a comprehensive shoe department with favorites like Valentino and Christian Louboutin.
KK Bloom Boutique: Attractive to younger shoppers with its accessible price points and trendy styles, KK Bloom Boutique reflects the millennial shopper's needs. “Think sequins and shorter hemlines,” said Hamlin. “There’s a lot of color and it’s a good place to go in if you just want to grab a fun top or dress for a night out when you don’t want to break your bank. Instead of going to H&M for an impulse buy, go here.” This Selwyn Avenue gem has accessories, bags, clothing and jewelry with brands like BCBGeneration, Blu Pepper, Chloe Oliver and more.
Boem: Geared toward the young and the trendy, this Morrison boutique is laid back with fun and funky vibes. If you need a romper or a statement piece for that summer music festival, this is the place you’re likely to find it.
ChezElle: Known for a unique jewelry selection and edgy vibe, ChezElle offers fashion pieces that are as on-point as they are approachable. “They have their own brand going on,” said Hamlin. “They’re not doing what everyone else is doing; it’s cutting edge.” Look for culottes, rompers—shorts and full-body—and off-the-shoulder blouses.
Sloan Boutique: Sloan is the jack-of-all-trades for women’s fashion in Charlotte, opened in 2000 by sisters Courtney Sloan and Jill Sloan Pleune. “They carry something for everyone whether you’re going to brunch, a date or a might of dancing with the girls,” said Hamlin. The vibe is laid back and fun, but the merchandise is not to be overlooked. According to Hamlin, the shoe department is vast and a designated jewelry buyer curates the jewels and baubles. Also search out tops, jeans and dresses among the store's offerings.
Denim House: On trendy Selwyn Avenue, Denim House is the place to find New York City’s East Village vibe reflected in fashion. The feel is edgy and experimental, rife with street style that’s not meant to fit in to the norm. Browse designers and labels like Adrienne Landau, Enza Costa, Tellason Denim and Levi's Made & Crafted.
Coplon’s: While Coplon’s flagship store is actually down the road in Columbia, South Carolina, you wouldn’t know it when walking into their Charlotte location. Cutting-edge fashion and designer brands—think Jason Wu and Oscar de la Renta—adorn the racks at this fashionista’s hideaway. Gowns and suits from this Phillips Place boutique pair well with black-tie events. Also browse chunky costume jewelry to go along with an impressive shoe selection from the likes of Jimmy Choo, Valentino and Alberto Fermani.
Gentlemen Who Dress to Impress
Taylor Richards & Conger: While this Phillips Place shop has a women’s line—TRC W—Hamlin says that the store really shines in the men’s department. “The brand and product is a very international style,” said Hamlin. “It’s not like a Southern mens store with bowties. This is a really well-dressed man who’s going to Italy. They have some off-the-rack brands, but almost everything gets tailored.” Jewelry and accessories like Marie Laure Chamorel are available alongside clothiers like Ledbury and Oxxford Clothes.
Abbeydale: This Uptown clothier attracts clients from Charlotte’s banking industry and beyond. While off-the-rack options are available, Abbeydale is known for custom suits and outfits. Expect to find silk ties, kid suede shoes and handmade accessories.
Bruce Julian Clothier: This Selwyn Avenue mainstay has been dressing Southern gentlemen for decades. “It’s a very comfortable place to walk into and find something for any man in your life that likes to dress like a Southern gentleman,” said Hamlin. Alongside the custom shirts in bright colors and fabrics look for trendy casual wear—Tommy Bahama, Mododoc, Ages of Wisdom—and suit accessories.
Silverfly: In Midtown, this fun-funky menswear store is known for fashion-forward pieces. "It's a very colorful, downtown dress," said Hamlin. "They'll have coated denim, floral shirts and funky shoes." Brands like Scotch & Soda, JACHS NY and more are among the boutique's roster.
Fairclough & Co.: As a quaint shop in the heart of Myers Park, Fairclough & Co. is one of the oldest and most well-known menswear stores in Charlotte. "This is a comfortable and cozy shop for men," said Hamlin. "Think about the men's room in the country club where they just go and hang out." Lacoste, Burberry, Alden of New England and more line the racks of this high-end store.
Mixing It Up: Men, Women and Home Goods
Revolution Clothiers & Co.: As a boutique for both men and women, Revolution is edgy and fashion-forward. “Think crosses and Jonathan Adler home accessories,” said Hamlin. Find the perfect leather pants and fedora combo at this Dilworth hotspot. Brands like Chelsea Flower, DS Dress, Ivan Grundahl and Raen Optics are just a few of the designers at Revolution.
CLTCH: For the bling-centric fashion maven, CLTCH is a Central Avenue boutique to peruse. Not to be left out, men’s watches, bracelets and rings are also available alongside the women’s selections. Don’t forget home goods and hostess gifts.