1800 Camden Road, Suite 105
Charlotte, NC 28203
This shop in South End founded by Nicole Blackmon and Harold Jordan has “Be The Cool” as its motto, so you can expect to find a definite fashion-forward emphasis inside. Many of the items, including leather wallets and denim pants, are made in the U.S.A., and some, such as bow ties and other accessories, are made at a North Carolina factory for the Blank Canvas private label. Much of the clothing here is for guys, but there are plenty of fun things for girls too, including cufflinks made of Scrabble and Lego pieces, the Legends collection of Cazal glasses frames and Herschel’s line of backpacks, bags and fleece-lined iPad sleeves. Both owners are self-confessed sneaker enthusiasts, so the shop carries plenty of stylish PF Flyers in canvas and leather, as well as colored laces and soles to customize your kicks.
1214 Thomas Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205
Style central for the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood, this unique shop is the spot to score your hipster fashion and accessories, from boots and hats to shades and jewelry. Boris & Natasha carries many designer lines of clothing for both men and women not found in other stores, with lots of one-of-a-kind items guaranteed to grab attention. Owned by Charlotte singer-songwriter Hope Nicholls, the vibe here is very cool with indie rock setting the mood. Prices are all over the place, depending on the label, but you’ll find the most cutting-edge fashions here, and you can always check out the sales racks.
1721 Kenilworth Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28203
Located just off East Boulevard in the heart of Dilworth, Handpicked offers a wide selection of handcrafted jewelry, gifts and monogrammed items, most priced under $50. Owner Melanie Mauldin fell in love with the sterling silver jewelry of Mexico during her childhood and began Handpicked to market original pieces created by artisan families she met there. Since then, she has branched out, opening several locations in the Carolinas and working with artisans in Turkey, India and Thailand, while her offerings have expanded to include wallets and handbags, pashminas and home décor. Many of the monogrammed items make perfect Valentine’s gifts for a man, including silver-plated pocket knives and money clips, sterling signet rings and cufflinks. Additional Handpicked locations can be found in the Blakeney Greens shopping center and in the Arboretum Shopping Center.
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9844 Rea Road, Suite B
Charlotte, NC 28277
A family-owned business with locations in Charlotte’s Blakeney Shopping Center and on Hilton Head Island, Le Cookery is the perfect spot to shop for a Valentine’s gift for those who are passionate about food. Owners Laurel and Chuck Greif stock the top lines of kitchen and tabletop accessories, from small appliances to stemware, cookware and cutlery. The selection of cooking tools and gadgets will have you thinking of new dishes to try and Le Cookery stocks a variety of cookbooks to get you started. If romance and the kitchen intersect in your relationship, consider signing up for a cooking class, available only at the Charlotte location, to get the home fires burning.
920 Central Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28204
This is the top shopping spot for Charlotte’s LBGT community, but people of all sexual persuasions enjoy a trip to the White Rabbit. The Plaza-Midwood store is chock full of colorful home décor and accessories, along with adult novelties, gag gifts, jewelry and humorous cards. This is a particularly good spot to shop for men’s swimsuits and underwear, especially if you are looking for something a little different. Be sure to check out the LGBT mural, painted in rainbow hues, on the outside of the store as you drive up Central Avenue.
With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.