Detroit shoppers are lucky to have unique shops with handpicked goods that let the personalities of our shop owners shine through. (Please remember this the next time a friend tells you how much they spent at Target on stuff handpicked by the corporate balance sheet.) So this year, in the spirit of well-curated store shelves and one-of-a-kind finds, we bring you a list of five gems from our growing roster of city retailers. Yoga wear at Vera Jane
Re-opened just a few short weeks ago in the Fisher Building, this boutique for the gal on the go sells everything from high-end lingerie to vintage-y, yet modern handbags and jackets. But what instantly caught our eye there was the Alternative Earth line. Made from 100% organic cotton, you'll swear by their yoga pants and tees as you zen out during the holidays. The store is open Tuesday through Saturday, so stop by to see what other funky stuff Vera Jane thinks is the bee's knees. 3011 W. Grand Blvd. in the Fisher Building'McSweeney's Journal' at Leopold's Books
Leopold's in the Park Shelton has a selective selection: from design mags to R. Crumb's latest cartoon tome, plus some classics, too. Owner Greg Lenhoff isn't just squeezing books on shelves -- he's treating them like objets d'art and appreciation. Look no further than the back issues of McSweeney's that line a few shelves. It's part literary journal and part culture lab where Dave Eggers curates the musings of today's kookiest minds. Totally rad stuff, 'specially if you like a little looney with your literature. Check out what other great reads are in the Leopold's collection Tuesday through Sunday. 15 E. Kirby in the Park Shelton., 313-875-4677Paris of the Midwest line at Bureau of Urban Living
Last time we checked, some guy name Cadillac founded our city. So what better way to pay homage to the place he called "Le Detroit" than with a nod to the glory days when the world saw us through very different eyes. This private label from Bureau features scented luminaries made by Motor City Candle Works
and organic beans from Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co.
Also coming soon: coffee mugs and greeting cards. They're all super simple executions of super great thinking. You know, the kind of mindset that helps bring a deeper sense of sophistication to Detroit that some people keep forgetting we've actually always had. Bureau is open Tuesday through Saturday and sits right next to City Bird, the newest, cool-kid design shop on the block. 460 West Canfield, 313-833-9336Wimpy Kids Series at Ladels Children's Book Boutique
Reading is fundamental and all that jazz, but so is the actual shopping for your reading material. If you've got a toddler or a teenager, Ladel's thoughtfully picked titles are sure to be the gifts that keep on giving this year. Case in point, the "Wimpy Kid" series by Jeff Kinney. These fun, illustrated novels are perfect for boys or girls and teach lessons of individuality you're not gonna be finding on the pages of the "Twilight Saga." Visit Ladel's Tuesday through Sunday to flip through their display of Christmas and Kwanzaa books. 1413 Brooklyn St., 313-963-8550Detroit Track Jackets at Pure Detroit
Yeah, yeah. We know two stores from the Pure family made our list. But there's good reason, so calm down. With the awesome slew of new kids coming into retail space here, we don't want folks to forget about one of the original retail/curators in town. In each and every Pure Detroit store, you'll find books, tees, even Detroit premium hot sauce that will bring a tear to those who've moved away or reinvigorate the pride in hard-core Detroiters. This year, it's all about the Detroit track jackets, though. Available in black or grey, the jackets have white piping with a "Detroit City" logo on the back. Pair it with a Pontiac or Mustang seatbelt belt and love for the D is will instantly be all around. The list goes on
OK, we picked five, but we know we could go on. Detroit Artist Market
, Spiral Collective
, Little Black Dress
, the museums' gift shops, the new City Bird
shop, etc. Two good events to check out some of the city's best boutiques: Noel Night
-- a holiday open house at museums and galleries in Midtown Dec. 5 -- and Detroit Synergy's Shop Detroit Dec. 12. The sixth annual Shop Detroit
features giveaways, demonstrations, shuttle transportation, and gift wrapping station, plus many discounts at participating retailers. Jennifer Andrews is a freelance writer who lives in Midtown. Send feedback here.