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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Monday through Saturday: 9:30am-6pm
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
Monday through Saturday: 11am-6pm
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.
“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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Monday through Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: Noon to 6pm
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!