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Same name, same brands, yet somehow an exciting, fresh vibe—just one more reason to love Uber, an independent decor-and-clothing shop that opened a Carmel location this fall. The polished, gallery-like arrangement of Danish furniture, Jonathan Adler objects, and cool-again leather fanny packs is pioneering the emerging shopping scene at City Center and setting the bar stylishly high. 31 W. City Center Dr., Carmel, 564-5638
The jumble of obscure oddities at Panda(ology) covers everyone on your gift list. Pet tags from Tell Tales ($12.99) engraved with cheeky phrases, frilly polka-dot umbrellas ($32.99), and high-end bubble bath from Sympatico ($20) are just a few of the finds tucked among scented candles, embroidered satin slippers, and pretty Asian noodle bowls. 823½ E. Westfield Blvd., 722-0555
Thick, stretchy, and slightly silky, Niki Biki leggings are treated with all the respect of premium denim at Lesley Jane, which devotes an entire rack to the wardrobe staple. Each pair is clipped on a hanger—making it easy to browse the spectrum of neutrals, from ivory to light charcoal to lots of blacks, and our favorite winter hues like olive, eggplant, and mocha. 150 S. Main St., Zionsville, 873-9999
Get past the bricks and mortar of the new Lego Store in Castleton Square Mall—way past, to the back wall (above)—and you’ll find a 15-foot-high grid of globes, each filled with blocks of the same color. Kids can grab little fistfuls and stack away, trying them before their parents buy. 6020 E. 82nd St., 845-9325
The nook itself is clearly marked “Clearance Shoe Room,” but because it is obstructed from the view of most foot traffic, it feels like a secret chamber in the footwear department of Carson Pirie Scott. Usually, more than 100 pairs are untidily stacked along every wall, and even though many are outdated or simply ill-conceived, sometimes a gem will surface—and cost you perhaps 75 percent less than you expected to pay. Circle Centre, 971-6200
Looking for a fine keepsake? Robert Goodman Jewelers answers those prayers with delicate strands of handmade garnets, freshwater pearls, or onyx that the store commissions an artist in Bali to make. The cross at the end, an open shape formed by a continuous piece of sterling silver, bears witness to the artistic pedigree. 106 N. Main St., Zionsville, 733-9170
The kind of bikes that cause double-takes on the Monon are lined up in brightly colored rows just inside Matthew’s Bicycles, which stocks a big fleet of dreamy balloon-tire cruisers from Electra, Trek, and Raleigh. The shop can dress it up with a basket, bell, and other retro-cool accessories, too. 7272 Pendleton Pike, 547-3456
Do we smell a steal? Stop at the Bond No. 9 counter at Saks Fifth Avenue and walk away with samples of the New York–themed fragrances, contained in sleek glass vials and hand-wrapped in colorful foils. Some people just have a nose for these things. Fashion Mall, 816-0171__________________________
>> BEST HOLIDAY DECOR: A Corner Cottage, 895 Conner St., Noblesville, 770-7577
—Nicki Baltz, Zionsville __________________________
Bedtime can’t come soon enough for kids packing a sleeping bag from 4 Kids Books & Toys. These cuties, all of which have a built-in pillow and a fantasy design (sports, princess, a favorite animal), make that old nylon camping-trip survivor look like a sad sack. 4450 Weston Pointe Dr., Zionsville, 733-8710
Going by the name Committee of Vigilance, artist Kipp Normand, photographer DeAnne Roth, and Silver in the City manager Kristofer Bowman compulsively collect “toothsome items”—things with a past—to display in their booth at Midland Arts and Antiques. When space gets scarce, the trio sets up an artfully arranged shop for a day or two, often in Roth’s photo studio or an art gallery. These are word-on-the-street events, so check out their website or get connected on Facebook to stay in the know. theinventorialist.com
The brightly knit turtlenecks at The Choosy Pet Bakery & Boutique are handmade of purely organic wool in the northern highlands of South America by descendants of the Incas, employed per fair-trade guidelines. 25 E. Cedar St., Zionsville, 733-9911
The long limbs of the fur-vest trend have reached every corner of the mall, making it easy to forget that the biggest selection might be at a full-line furrier. And indeed, it is. At glamorous Day Furs, the selection of fox vests is particularly noteworthy. Check out the colorful crop of boleros, as well as the Golden Isle and silver fox vests that would make Rachel Zoe proud. 1361 S. Range Line Rd., Carmel, 844-8733
Wind your way through this old Carmel home hung with a shingle for The District Exchange, where we’ve seen Anthropologie tanks, pristine Nike high-tops, and Coach rain boots among the trendy kit for pre-teens and teens. 210 E. Main St., Carmel, 573-0012
The full line of handsome and easily adjustable pepper mills by Peugeot (yes, the French car-maker) at Williams-Sonoma might make the choice seem easy—brushed stainless steel, acrylic, or lacquered beechwood? But not so fast—those curvaceous designs sit next to exclusive Vic Firth mills crafted of American cherry wood and the Graviti electric models that automatically grind when inverted. Fashion Mall, 848-1431
Finding $35 for Naplab's “Neighborhoods of Indianapolis 2011” map is easy. Wall space, not so much. If you have room for the 16-square-foot poster, you’re in for a cartographical treat. Local designers Matthew Hale and Josh Anderson composed the map with the name of every area in the city (ever heard of Julietta? Maywood?) sized to represent its geographic footprint. naplab.net
Start planning your next slumber party. A new boutique called Amy’s PJs has snuggled up in Clearwater with classic cotton shirt-and-pant combos printed with roller skates, sushi, or mod swirls; dainty ensembles like a butterfly-print tank-and-capri set; and, for little ones, impossibly cute Vintage Lucy’s bloomers with Dick and Jane–style illustrations. 3961 E. 82nd St., 284-1729
While 8 Fifteen gets plenty of attention for its cutting-edge clothes, the chic boutique’s selection of fine jewelry flies under the radar. Yet it’s the only place in town to find tough-but-pretty lines like Samira 13, ila&i, A Peace Treaty, and Chan Luu (seen around Julianne Hough’s wrist in Footloose). The shop also nurtures local designers; dreamcatcher–style bracelets from Carmel-based artist Michelle Marocco’s line, Niyama, are about $100. 815 E. 65th St., 253-1234
No need to sharpen your claws—just your pencils—for the Auction Sale at The Secret Ingredient. Seasonal lines are marked down every January and July (the next one starts Jan. 3, for fall and holiday items), with progressively deeper discounts. The second week of the sale, shoppers write bids on price tags. Willing to buy that long vest at 50 percent off? If no one else buys it before the store marks it down to that price, it’s yours. 5361 N. Illinois St., 253-6632__________________________
>> BEST RESALE SHOP: Glam Designer Resale Boutique, 1001 N. State Road 135, Greenwood, 881-0200
—Sheri Kennerk, Broad Ripple __________________________
Located at the library’s midtown Services Center, the Indy Library Store opens for a few days every other month (starting Jan. 13) with thousands of used books arranged neatly by section—that is, until the Kindle resistance ravishes them for kids’ paperbacks that cost a quarter, $2 hardbacks, and dime-on-the-dollar computer manuals. Regulars take refuge from the crowds in “Miriam’s Corner” where they know they can find the best stuff, like reference tomes, heirloom cookbooks, vintage Look magazines, and rare historical texts. Don’t miss $7 bag day. 2450 N. Meridian St., 275-4043
Hayes & Taylor, a T-shirt company started by graphic designer Brian Kelly and his friend Joe Schneiders, specializes in designs that pay homage to Hoosier culture and sports teams. IndySwank and Homespun carry a few styles, but go online for the motherlode, including a tee emblazoned with “R-r-r-r-r-r-Razor” (as in Shines), a style honoring Purdue’s Big Drum (Boiler up!), and a local riff on NYC’s popular subway gear. hayesandtaylor.com
You can’t do anything about the indignities of airport security, but you can still pass through—especially in international terminals—in style. Flash a Tiffany & Co. leather accessory (available in iconic eggshell blue as well as less-conspicuous shades like cognac and burgundy with Tiffany-blue stitching, monogramming optional), and you’re guaranteed a stamp of approval. Fashion Mall, 566-8400
A Hanukkah candelabra needs to have nine branches. Other than that, anything goes for the design of the ceremonial accessory. And the Gallery of Judaica, located at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, stocks every look you can imagine, including cats, Jerusalem skylines, and abstract forms. Most decorative: the colorful, contemporary slab of glass from a Quebec art studio, a limited-edition piece. 600 W. 70th St., 475-1705
The racks of Carol Brady pantsuits just inside the entrance might momentarily put you off the scent, but anyone on the hunt for secondhand treasure will hit the jackpot at Harloh’s Vintage, a carefully curated boutique between downtown and Fountain Square. The store is laid out in a series of IKEA-like biomes, including a menswear annex with bowties and straw hats, a little den of structured lingerie from the Doris Day era fortified with powdery boudoir collectibles, and a section of well-kept furs that would rival any heiress’s closet. Most importantly, an onsite seamstress takes care of all of the necessary nips and tucks. 630 Virginia Ave., 635-5397
Fashion Mall shoppers are just the type to go gaga for the adorably miniature vehicles at the Northside Fiat of Indianapolis showroom, located inside the mall steps from Nordstrom’s shoe department. Models for test drives are parked outside. Who’s the smart car now? Fashion Mall, 844-3428
Messy stacks of folded jeans have no place in a store where cashiers politely wave a flag to signal an open register. As such, Nordstrom Rack hangs its jeans on neatly kept floor spinners, each (mostly) dedicated to one premium brand, including Hudson, Joe’s Jeans, MEK, Paige, J Brand, Vigoss, and Kut from the Kloth, with prices dipping below $50. 4036 E. 82nd St., 572-2955
Head and shoulders above the competition in the scarves-you-can-wear-indoors department, Marigold knots ’em deep. Find tie-dyed silk numbers by Naptowner Amy Gunderson, Tolani lightweight wool styles favored by celebs, ruffled and ruched lovelies by K. Gereau Textiles, and Nuno’s artful felt-and-silk combos. 6512 N. Cornell Ave., 254-9939
Among the luxe home gifts at Addendum Gallery, the ones you’ll most want to pass on to friends are the trays almost too pretty for a smoked-salmon pinwheel. Julia Knight makes dazzling use of mother-of-pearl, inlaid in both sides of a chip-and-dip bowl divided like a yin-yang symbol. Michael Aram pieces marry nature with craftsmanship, like a pebbled silver bowl in the shape of a manta ray. For your modern friends, go with John Derian’s quirky-cool images under glass—often seen in magazines. 908 E. Westfield Blvd., 253-3400
While there’s nothing cosmopolitan about the Bundy Ducks showroom, the wooden decoys made there are museum-quality. And the flock—from traditionally painted mallards to shoe-polish-black swans to psychedelically stained loons—would impress the Audubon Society. John and Valarie Bundy and their son, Jason, carve each piece to highlight the wood’s natural beauty. 16506 Strawtown Ave., Noblesville, 800-387-3831
Photography by Tony Valainis.
This article originally appeared in the December 2011 issue.
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