Shopping Seattle’s “Indies on 1st”

On a blustery November Wednesday, I met up with Amy Tipton, the owner of Sassafras, one of my favorite Seattle boutiques. We shopped six independently owned stores along First Avenue in our neighborhood of Belltown. We nicknamed the group the Indies on 1st.

Maggie from Blue Hour Photography joined us for the day. She captured all the details. In fact, all the photos pictured here are her work.

Belltown Seattle Shopping
Amy and I got the goods on our shopping day! Photo by Blue Hour Photography.

Going into our day together, my thought was to test how shopping these stores measures up to the convenience of shopping at a mall and, more relevant to me, whether what they offer outweighs the convenience of online shopping. By the end of our day, I was a brick-and-mortar convert.

We discovered so many great things and Maggie took so many amazing pics that I’ve decided to break this post into a multi-day event. Below is a summary of our day with some of the details for each place we visited. Over the coming week I’ll share more about the outfits and goodies we came across, many of which we purchased!

And speaking of purchases, please know that I was not paid to write these articles. Every word of it comes straight from the heart. I did receive a discount at the Federal Army Navy Surplus and at Sassafras, but other than that I received no compensation to write these posts.

My Brick-and-Mortar Conversion

It didn’t take long for me to decide that shopping these boutiques is no less convenient than shopping a mall. Although I can walk to shop in Belltown, if I drove, I’d simply park my car at one of the many nearby lots and walk around as I do at the mall. There are eateries and cafes along the route for when I need a break. It’s a very mall-like experience that way.

The real challenge for me is to overcome the temptation to shop online. In my day shopping with Amy I discovered that there are some real advantages to shopping the Indies on 1st. Apart from finding unique items I can’t get anywhere else–which by itself is a major benefit–I made real, personal connections. Shopping these businesses rooted me into my community, gave me ownership and purpose in my hometown, and made me feel like I belong somewhere really special. That’s something I can’t get online.

Parisian style outfits at Endless Knot in Seattle.
Diana at Endless Knot is a dynamic stylist there. She put together the outfit I’m wearing and gave me the best hug! Photo by Blue Hour Photography.

In addition to the personal connections I made, it’s fair to say I won’t bump into someone else sporting an outfit I got in Belltown. In fact, some of the shops we visited have one-of-a-kind and bespoke items that can’t be found anywhere else.

Federal Army Navy Surplus

Our journey started at the Federal Army Navy Surplus store. When I walked in, I noticed the linoleum floors and the flags and mannequin paratroopers dropping down from the open-beam ceiling. Not long after I arrived, another customer came in and asked where they could find the ammo. Clearly, this is not your average, girly boutique. But WOW did what they have to offer surprise and delight!

Paratrooper mannequins at the Federal Army Navy Surplus store in Seattle.
Paratrooping mannequins drop from the ceiling, creating a surreal vibe unlike anywhere else I’ve shopped. Photo by Blue Hour Photography.

Federal Army Navy Surplus has been around since 1955. It’s run by three generations of the same family who opened it way back then. When we visited, I picked up on a real feeling of family between the owners and the staff members. Even though Seattle is a big city and the store itself is massive, it had the feel of a small-town shop. It didn’t take long for me to feel very much at home.

Puppy kisses while trying on boots at Federal Army Navy Surplus in Seattle.
Another advantage to visiting a real shop as opposed to shopping online–puppy kisses from the owner’s dog! Photo by Blue Hour Photography.

Camping’s the Fashion

As you might imagine, they mostly cater to folks looking for camping, hiking, survival, and emergency supplies. What I didn’t realize until I shopped there was just how much of the camping/hiking aesthetic permeates fashion. Take a look at the photo below:

Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

There are graphic tees to layer under satiny bomber jackets. Brightly colored flannel to warm up an outfit for fall and winter. Rubber boots for gardening. Comfy army boots for kicking about town. Long johns for keeping warm. Cool scarves, fun messenger bags, and other accessories to make an outfit unique.

Colorful bandanas, warm winter beanies, cool army caps at the Federal Army Navy Surplus store in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

On nearly every aisle of the Federal Army Navy Surplus there was something special to see and try. Amy and I both walked away with must-have purchases. My post tomorrow will share even more of the goodies we discovered there.

Layered outfit for a rainy day, complete with rain jacket, beret, messenger bag, long johns, skinny jeans, and army boots.
One of the many outfits Amy and I put together at Federal Army Navy Surplus. Photo by Blue Hour Photography.

Federal Army Navy Surplus is located at 2112 1st Ave in Seattle. If you like what you see on my blog but live far away or if you simply can’t make it downtown, head over to their website. They have a large selection of items available online, including gift certificates. They can also be reached by phone at 206-443-1818 or 888-276-9689.

Store Hours:
Monday through Saturday: 9:30am-6pm
Sunday: 11am-5pm

Sell Your Sole Consignment

Sell Your Sole is tucked down a hallway behind a coffee shop in an inviting loft space. The floors are honeyed hardwood and the walls are exposed brick painted white. The owner, Natalia, has added a soft rug, cozy couch, and stylish poofs to welcome guests and make them feel at home.

The stars of the show line the walls and the loft steps. Natalia curates a collection of consigned designer name clothes and shoes. We’re talking Chanel, Gucci, Christian Louboutin–the works.

Jewelry, handbags, sunglasses, scarves, wraps, and jackets available at Sell Your Sole Consignment in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

It’s true that all the items at Sell Your Sole were previously owned, but Natalia only accepts the best of the best. Everything we tried on appeared brand new. What’s better–they’re priced at a fraction of the cost compared to what I’d pay new off the rack.

For consignees, she offers a 50/50 split of the sale of most brands she carries, but there are some special names, like Chanel and Lanvin, that she offers 70%.

Leather jackets, shoes, fur, winter jackets available at Sell Your Sole Consignment in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

Designer Focus and Personal Stylist Set ‘Sell Your Sole’ Apart

Sell Your Sole is the only consignment shop in Seattle with this designer brand focus. It’s also the only consignment shop with a personal stylist ready to help you curate your own fabulous closet at home.

Shoes and boots available at Sell Your Sole Consignment in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

Stay tuned for my in-depth post about Sell Your Sole. These photos–all by Blue Hour Photography–are just a sampling of the goodies we discovered at Natalia’s shop.

Ooing and awing over a designer dress at Sell Your Sole Consignment in Seattle.
Just wait until you see Amy sporting this fabulous dress! Coming soon! Photo by Blue Hour Photography.

Sell Your Sole is located at 2121 1st Ave #101, Seattle. Visit their website for more information or call Natalia at 206-443-2616 to set up a private stylist appointment with Nicole. You can also book a shopping party with your favorite shopping buddies. Some items are available through their eBay store and gift certificates are available as well.

Find them on Instagram here. Facebook here. Twitter here.

Store Hours:
Monday through Saturday: 11am-6pm
Closed Sunday

Endless Knot

Endless Knot started as a spot for Anne, the owner, to sell her own clothing brand by the same name. Although she no longer produces that line today, Anne supports those whose shoes she once walked in. A lot of the clothes, accessories, and jewelry at Endless Knot are made in America by women owned businesses. It’s an eclectic mix that offers everything from timeless basics to on-trend patterns and fabrics.

Fall fashions at Endless Knot in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

“Best Tights Ever”

When we visited, the racks and shelves were stacked with cold-weather goods. We tried on cozy sweaters and fun knit hats. There were lots of gloves and scarves and, according to Amy, Endless Knot has the best tights ever.

Cold-weather gear at Endless Knot in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

A lot of the jewelry–if not all of it–is hand crafted. Many of the handbags are vegan. It was clear when I shopped there that Anne and the team at Endless Knot have a real mindfulness toward artists and designers. They also understand the art of finding “that perfect piece.” I’ll explain more about that in another post in a few days.

Handbags, jewelry, hats, and socks at Endless Knot in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

Endless Knot is located at 2300 1st Avenue in Seattle. They have an online store where you can purchase from a collection of what they offer in the store. To chat with Anne or any of her incredibly competent team members, call 206-448-0355 or email

Instagram. Facebook. Pinterest.

Store Hours:
Sunday 10am – 6pm
Monday – Saturday 10am – 7pm


In the two years of writing this blog and searching for my signature style, one thing I have become clear on is my love of tailored, quality pieces. Add the word plaid to tailored for fall and winter and I’m there. So, when I walked into Kuhlman with Amy and Maggie, I felt completely at home.

Plaid blazer, dress shirts, jeans at Kuhlman in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

Something for Everyone and Made to Fit

Much of what Scott Kuhlman and his team offer caters to the men in our lives. That right there is another reason to shop there–so many good ideas for birthday and Christmas gifts, such as watches, ties, overnight bags, etc.

They also have a nice selection of beautiful women’s clothing and accessories and Scott said he wants to expand that to an even greater selection. They’re adding new lines all the time.

What’s more, if something doesn’t fit quite right–even if it’s something you didn’t buy at Kuhlman–chances are, they can alter it for you and make it fight just right. 

Sharing a giggle in a sweater dress and green sweater outfit at Kuhlman in Seattle.
Amy and I share a giggle together under the neon “K” at Kuhlman. More about our outfits soon! Photo by Blue Hour Photography.

In fact, altering clothes isn’t the only tailoring they do. Team Kuhlman can create bespoke suits, coats, pants, vests, and shirts for both men and women. The process takes about six to eight weeks and it involves several fittings, but imagine–a coat made just for you.

Hats, luggage, ties, watches, sunglasses, socks available at Kuhlman in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

This little summary shows only a smattering of what Amy and I discovered at Kuhlman. Stay tuned for my more in-depth post, including photos of the sweater Amy bought that we all drooled over.

Kuhlman is located at 2419 1st Avenue in Seattle. They have an online store with quite a bit of their inventory. If you need to reach them by phone, their number is 206-441-1999.

Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest.

Store Hours:
Monday through Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: Noon to 6pm

Reclaim Decor

Reclaim Decor is the only place we visited that isn’t dedicated to fashion. They are, however, dedicated to quality products built by people paid living wages, made of materials that are least harmful to the environment. If that weren’t enough, they offer their customers a level of service that has become rare.

Sofas, beds, art, lamps, chairs, furniture available at Reclaim Decor in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

Catherine and Leland are the mother and son team who own and operate Reclaim Decor. They are experts in their field and are eager to help customers find pieces that express their unique tastes and which last 10 to 20 years. Many of their items are customizable and built in North America, so lead times are shorter than stores with products built overseas.

Reclaim Decor also offers a nice selection of locally made body products, kitchen tools, and home accents.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

Reclaim Decor also offers a nice selection of locally made body products, kitchen tools, and home accents. These smaller items make perfect Christmas and birthday gifts. They also have a fantastic selection of art by Seattle artists and smaller home accessories, such as the rhino planter pictured below.

Art, home decor, blankets, and furnishings available at Reclaim Decor in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

Reclaim Decor is located at 2123 1st Avenue in Seattle. Their website is both an excellent resource on the items they carry and they offer an online shop there. To contact them by phone, dial 206-632-3636.

Instagram. Facebook. Google+. Yelp.

Store Hours:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: 12pm to 6pm


After a morning of finding treasures up and down First Avenue, more treasure awaited at Amy’s shop. There’s always treasure at Sassafras. Sassafras sells the work of 60 designers, all local to the Pacific Northwest, all of whom craft their clothes, accessories, jewelry, and art by hand.

Long-time readers will recognize the name Sassafras. I write about this special place quite often.

Read past posts on Sassafras here, here, herehere, here, here, and here.
Yes. I have written about Sassafras that many times!

Handmade sweaters, scarves, hats, handbags, purses, and jewelry at Sassafras in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

Wearable Art

There are so many reasons why Sassafras is special. Each purse, each piece of jewelry, each item of clothing–everything has the touch of the person who designed and created it. These are unique works of art–art that is often wearable and comfortable. It expresses the personal style of the person who made it as well as the person who wears it.

Handmade jewelry at Sassafras in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

Sassafras grew out of Amy’s drive and skill at creating community. Not only did she want to have a place where she could sell her own creations, she wanted bring designers together as a collective. Together, the artists are stronger because they are supportive and encouraging to one another. For the customer, it means we have access to all this great talent in one place.

Handmade art, notecards, body products, and nail polish at Sassafras in Seattle.
Photos by Blue Hour Photography.

Sassafras is located at 2307 First Avenue in Seattle. You can also purchase some of the curated treasures at their online store. To reach Amy or one of the other designers by phone, call 206-420-7057 or email

Instagram. Facebook. Twitter.

Store Hours:
Monday through Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Second Fridays Artwalk: 12pm to 9pm

Indies on 1st Set the Gold Standard

They say they don’t make ’em like they used to. And in a lot of cases, that’s true. But when it comes to a variety of high-quality (often handmade) goods, personal customer service, and door-to-door convenience, the Indies on 1st in the Seattle neighborhood of Belltown set a gold standard. As a result, the convenience of shopping online has lost a lot of its luster.

Stay tuned this week for more details about each shop, along with more photos of the outfits Amy and I tried on at the Indies on 1st.

Affiliate Link Disclaimer: Although I received a discount for my purchases at Federal Army Navy and Sassafras, I was not paid by any of the shops in this article. Nor will I receive compensation from them if you shop there. There are, however, advertising links embedded in my blog that could garner me commission if you purchase something from those advertisers. The money I make from these commissions helps me do what I do here at Petite Over 40. If you make such a purchase, thank you for your support!

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  • That looks like such a fun day – I enjoyed the experience vicariously. You and Amy are both carrying so many bags in that first photo – oooh, what did you take home from these great shops?! And it must have been a treat to have Maggie along to take photos so you could concentrate on scouting the stores. She got some great shots. I look forward to the next posts!

    • Melanie, I thought about you and the other gals as we went from store to store. I think you would have the most fun at the Federal Army Navy Surplus because it has so many fun things that can be turned into high style.

      Stay tuned for more of the goodies I brought home! I’ll share a new post each day with those details. 🙂

      And thank you for stopping in and saying hello! I miss you all and hope to return to the emailing/blogging once my writing class is over.


  • What an incredible day, Sherry!!
    And you really bring up a great point about the personal part of shopping brick and mortar!!
    There’s always a pro and con to each method, but that’s one of the issues we were just talking about with millennials—-not being as social at times. Bad?? Not always, but it’s different…..
    I totally can’t wait to see your goodies from your incredible day!

  • What a great job you did of highlighting all of these independent shops.

    It is wonderful to support local business. Can’t wait to see what you bought!


  • In so many ways reading this post felt like revisiting our “stompin grounds” from the meet-up and a proverbial walk down memory lane. I know that many of the businesses featured were NOT on our itinerary so it was also fun to see your endless and expanding options for mindful shopping adventures. You very generously gave the time, energy, enthusiasm and love that I think your becoming well known for around your beloved town Sherry!

    • Thank you, Jude! I hope to provide even more tugs down memory lane for you over the next week. And I’d still like to do a post about our meet-up, even though it’s already been over a month. My writing class has taken up almost all my other brain space, but I hope to be back over the holidays with a look back to October.

      I hope you are well and settled in!