At The Art of Style, the look is chic, cosmopolitan, and modern, with a monochromatic palette that would please even the most fashion-forward urban dwellers. The store carries men’s and women’s clothes by a slate of distinctive designer brandsfamiliar names like Kenneth Cole along with N.C. brands like Wilmington’s Forge & Foundry, hip footwear from BED|STÜ, and specialty items like heavenly socks made in Italy by Punto. Look here for that cool item your closet is lacking. 19 West Hargett Street, Raleigh, 919-755-3333,


This home décor center on Durham’s Parrish Street offers a carefully curated, eclectic selection of gifts and artifacts by top designers, from high-end furniture to lamps, wallpaper, and prints. Founded by the people behind Parker & Otis, it’s also a down-to-earth purveyor of charming doodads of every sort: trinkets, barware, soap, globes, thermoses, and nature paintings. The store features more men-centric items (think beard-maintenance tools) than your average upscale gift emporium. 118 West Parrish Street, Durham, 919-683-3201,


This home furnishings company features the work of a bevy of talented local artists and artisans, so its merchandise is not what you’ll find elsewhere. In a pleasantly cluttered atmosphere of fun and discovery, it’s easy to lose yourself in the aisles of quirkkids’ books and greeting cards, refrigerator magnets, mugs, and jewelryand the store’s relaxed vibe encourages laid-back browsing. 19 West Hargett Street, #108, Raleigh, 919-828-5484,


Beginning humbly in 2002, with owner Jessie Williams selling handmade clothing accessories out of a tiny space in Wilmington, Edge of Urge’s Raleigh location is now a vibrant presence on Franklin Street, offering the work of innovative designers of uncommon itemswomen’s clothing, jewelry, and accessories, baby clothes, or art for your home. The store also keeps a lively schedule of workshops and special events, but above all, the minds behind this emporium know that finding the perfect item brings a visceral thrill, and they strive to deliver that frisson to their customers. 215 East Franklin Street, #110, Raleigh, 919-827-4000,


Exotique has flourished for a decade on Durham’s West Main Street, with a focus on jewelry, art, and clothing made by an international creative community. It’s a gift store, boutique, and gallery with a distinct sensibility and a commitment to community. Come for handbags from Guatemala in dazzling hues, Ghanaian shirts for men, fabrics from many nations, soaps and lotions, and a range of jewelry and objets d’art to fit a range of budgets. 319 West Main Street, Durham, 919-688-5747,


Quite adamantly, Gypsy Jule doesn’t want to be called a boutique”It’s too froufrou for what we do,” the website explains. The preferred term: Misfit Mercantile. What does that mean? Rugged and adventurous. Urban and rustic. Unconventionally bohemian. Everything from fashionable boots to glassware, skirts to jeans. 207 West Davie Street, Raleigh, 919-753-7444,


This sun-filled space in downtown Raleigh is a furniture store, an arts gallery, and an interior design firm as well as a showcase for the work of local artisans, potters, and craftspeople. It’s also an agora where you’ll come upon an alluring stream of rarified objects and curiosities curated with a sharp and appreciative eye: vintage items, like coffee mugs and glassware, along with contemporary goods ranging from animal skulls to African mud cloths. 612 West South Street, Raleigh,


Magpie prides itself on offering women’s clothing and accessories you won’t find elsewhere, in styles that are versatile and can be worn both for a day at the office and an evening cocktail party. Located in Durham’s West Village, Magpie stocks dresses, tops, skirts, and jeans that are all eminently fashionable and sure to turn heads wherever you go. 601 West Main Street, Suite D, Durham,


The carefully curated selection in this home furnishings store reflects an aesthetic honed by the owners over decades, surveying the world for the simplest, most practical, and pleasing home essentials. Elegant lines and a clean look pervade the collection, from clocks and tables to vases and charging cables designed to simplify your digital clutter. This is a can’t-miss place for a cool wedding gift, and affordable enough to buy yourself something, too. 416 South McDowell Street, Raleigh, 984-221-8008,


This small independent women’s clothing emporium reflects its owner’s quarter-century in the business with a look that’s bold and feminine, but also comfortable and seemingly effortless. Tunic-style tops are matched with dresses in light, often diaphanous fabrics, all in a range of natural fibers reflecting the spirit of ease and positivity the store aims to foster. Possibilities also carries an interesting assortment of handcrafted jewelry and a range of accessories tailor-made to complement the store’s vision of style. 1247 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, 919-460-1852,


Recycling makes good sense, especially when it comes to purchasing upscale clothes at prices that are affordable to the average man and woman. Revolver has offered a blend of modern and vintage, designer and retro clothes for more than a decade, and it has earned a reputation as a place where you can shop in a pleasant, unhurried, well-organized environment and leave with at least one cool-as-eff item you just can’t live without. 122 Glenwood Avenue South, Raleigh, 919-834-3053,


Shopping at a quality thrift store is one of the most satisfying and cost-effective ways to make your fashion discoveries. Opened in 2013, Rumors has quickly become a well-loved source for delivering that elusive thrill of the find with its carefully selected range of vintage and modern styles. Denim, fur, or leather, designer label or a classic cartoon sweatshirt, New Year’s Eve or Halloweenwe hear Rumors has the goods. 106 North Graham Street, Chapel Hill, 919-942-2335,


This screen-printing company has been plying its trade since 1977, long before the T-shirt ascended to its current status as a laid-back style staple and ubiquitous promotional giveaway. The firm revamped itself according to a green business model in the early nineties, a strategy that has kept it at the forefront of its industry, offering high-quality, sustainable apparel made of 100 percent North Carolina-grown cotton. 2053 Willow Springs Lane, Burlington, 336-229-6426,


With its discerning collection of contemporary brands—including Rachel Comey, No. 6, and Black Crane for women, and Culturata, Raleigh Denim Workshop, and Billy Reid for men—Vert & Vogue caters to those who value high-quality clothing in a sophisticated modern style. Well-cut dresses, shirting, denim, and jackets are the key items, and the focus is on natural fiber textiles and American-made goods. The store also purveys a range of lifestyle products, home goods, and cool gifts. Now almost a decade old, Vert & Vogue has earned a reputation for the quality of its offerings and its knowledgeable, attentive staff. 353 West Main Street, Durham, 919-797-2767,

Correction: Owing to an editorial error, the Vert & Vogue listing was published incorrectly. It has been updated here.


Earlier this year, N.C. State grad Kayla Brewer opened Voda, a boutique on the bottom floor of a new apartment building on Tucker Street that offers everything from casual to trendy, night-on-the-town fashions, clutches to booties, jeans to sweaters. 725 Tucker Street. Raleigh, 919- 706-5783,



This experienced family-run screen-printing company finds inspiration in the natural world, coming up with designs for its mostly women’s apparel in its backyard workshop and selling them throughout the country in high-end stores as well as internationally. All of its garmentsdresses, tunics, scarvesare designed and made by hand.


This maker of classy, practical bags and accessories has a distinctive style based on a color palette derived from retro items. A slew of merchandise, from handbags and messenger bags to diaper bags and wallets, are emblazoned with a pleasing geometry of chevrons, diagonals, and dot grids, or simple shapes like anchors or the state of North Carolina, providing a distinct sensibility to these wares. 20 East Hargett Street, Raleigh, 919-833-8770,


This homegrown clothier offers men’s and gender-neutral clothingchinos, work shirts, button-downs, and the likein light, durable fabrics in a classic unfussy style, all of them made in America, many from North Carolina. Also shoes, grooming stuff, bags, and accessories. Besides the sure touch of the goods selection, part of the attraction comes from the store’s personable, customer-friendly atmosphere, which makes shopping for quality clothes far more enjoyable than it often is. 215-120 East Franklin Street, Raleigh, 919-977-0130,


The distinctive T-shirts and letterman jackets designed by Nyla Elise have earned a lot of street cred from being worn by big names like Kevin Hart and Kerry Washington, but Rick Moore, the store’s owner, says his locally sourced clothing is for everyone. Emblazoned with slogans like “Film Is My Ammo,” these tees and tanks have an urban verve all their own.


Raleigh Denim succeeded wonderfully well in achieving its initial goal of creating authentic, handcrafted jeans sourced exclusively from the finest local textile makers, made cloth by area designers, pattern makers, and fabricators. Ten years later, its wares have expanded to a full range of apparel and accessories, all of equally discerning quality. This is the place for pricey, indestructible selvage jeans with local pride. 319 West Martin Street, Raleigh, 919-917-8969,


With its super-popular “Durm” shirts, hoodies, hats, and stickers, Runaway embraces a style that’s synonymous with its city. But its owners aim for something far beyond high regard in the clothing business: an urban lifestyle brand. The folks behind Runaway are crazy for art, DJ culture, and skateboarding, and those loves are reflected in its lumberjack hats, ball caps, T-shirts, tank tops, and accessories for women, men, and kids. 212 West Main Street, #102, Durham, 919-213-1081,