Dear readers, I have an admission to make. I like to think of myself as a non-discriminatory shopper: high designer/discount store, West End/South Side, boutique/big box—my unwavering dedication to style knows no boundaries. But—and here is the big, dark secret—I’ve been leaving one area out: the downtown corridor. It’s not that I don’t believe there are quality finds to be had here. I just live in the Museum District and work in Goochland and as a result I’m rarely in this part of town during regular business hours. Luckily I’ve had the opportunity to do a little exploring over the past few weeks and I’ve found three boutiques that definitely make it worth planning a trip down this way on a Saturday or Sunday. As an added bonus, there are options for a variety of budgets and style preferences.
My friend Seo gets the credit for reminding me why I need to hit this neighborhood more frequently. She won a gift card to Mod & Soul at a shopping event hosted by another style obsessed Megan—Megan Wilson of Sweet Sauce Blog—and asked me to help her make use of it.
This boutique opened in April as a brick-and-mortar expansion of an online shop that launched in 2015 (Shop the online store at your own risk. There’s a tempting summer clearance sale taking place, but don’t forget online clearance purchases are final sale). The Broad Street store offers a selection of apparel and accessories with a focus on prices under $100, making for a nice opportunity to shop at a local boutique without breaking the bank. The cute selection of clothing has appeal across age ranges, but do keep in mind that with the more affordable pricing, the sizing skews toward juniors. As in, while I found plenty of cute shirt and dress options that fit just right, there were also several that weren’t going over my hips no way, no how, not ever. But with the low prices, it’s worth the time to go in and try on every cute item you like—and I suspect you’ll find plenty that catches your eye—until you find just the right one.
Along with clothing, there’s a selection of purses, locally made bath products and candles, and even some local jewelry. Seo took home two adorable dresses. A personal trainer who’s expanding her business to include life coaching, she was looking for a few pieces to upstyle her normally sporty look without taking her too far outside her comfort zone. She selected an adorable slouchy, off white shift dress that could be thrown on with flip flops for a coffee meeting or dressed up with heels and an eye-catching necklace for a more formal engagement. She also grabbed a more va-va-voom blue dress that showed off the athletic frame she often hides under less form fitting attire. And, at the last second she selected an adorable gray bag that had plenty of storage room while still looking professional. Bonus: the gray shade can coordinate with black or brown accessories.
I ended up grabbing a funky, Richmond-made Glister necklace featuring clay and copper beads. I liked how the style was a little tribal and a little modern, but still sleek and sophisticated.
The part of Broad Street where Mod & Soul is located is turning into quite a fashion area. Ledbury is moving its store and headquarters there, plus, my next shopping suggestion is just up the street.
I can’t believe this shop has been open since 2013 and I only just stopped in last week. Deborah Boschen was part owner of Carytown stalwart boutique Pink for years and when she opened Verdalina Richmond fashionistas rejoiced to find her aesthetic in the market again.
Don’t assume this shop is simply Pink round two. On a recent visit, Boschen told me that while Pink was focused on high style, fashion-forefront designers that followed current trends, Verdalina features high-end, chic, classic pieces that aren’t sold elsewhere in Richmond. The inventory is still stylish and fashion forward, but there’s a focus on classic colors, elegant cuts, and quality fabrics for pieces that last season after season and are worth a little extra investment. As someone who loved Pink, I think of Verdalina as a shop for the Pink customer who has grown up and who wants to collect elegant, standout pieces that will collect compliments for years to come.
I couldn’t leave the store without this Lacausa dress—sheer and flowy, it manages to show some shape while still being loose and comfortable. I can wear it for a casual Sunday brunch, dress it up with fancy accessories, or even throw it over a swim suit for a pool party. It’s also available in a beachy tie-dye version that I’m having trouble getting out of my head. Uh oh…
The accessories selection is also well curated, with sunglasses, Ignatius hats, necklaces and bags to add some pop to classic colors.
A little further east, you also don’t want to miss Rosewood Clothing Co. This funky little boutique blends vintage pieces, new designers and locally made accessories and bath products for a fun browsing experience.
I was really impressed with the selection by Virginia designers. In particular, I was excited to see the Richmond-made Molly Virginia Campbell hand-sewn and hand-dyed leather bags I’ve been ogling online in real life.
The selection of locally made jewelry, essential oils, candles, and beauty products also stood out, as did the streamlined selection of leather and basket-inspired vintage purses. This strikes me as one of those little shops you want to walk through every time you wander by just to see what’s new. And, to make this more convenient, the store’s hours were recently extended so you can shop until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and until 6 p.m. on Sunday.