With its numerous neighborhoods and eclectic boutiques, Portland is a great town to visit when the shopping bug hits. There’s the Pearl District, brimming with one-of-a-kind stores, cafés, and restaurants (making it perhaps the premier spot), plus Nob Hill and downtown — retail havens in their own right. Toss in the statewide bonus of zero sales tax, and a day of shopping in the Rose City becomes even more appealing.
If you’re looking for unique gifts, head to Relish (www.relishstyle.com), a funky housewares shop selling all manner of modern designs from around the globe. You’ll find place mats made of woven vinyl from New York, sleek porcelain condiment sets from Japan, patterned bedding from Finland, and block-shaped resin lighting fixtures by Portland designers.
Guys flock to Nolita (www.nolitaonline.com) in the Pearl for James Perse T-shirts, Fred Perry track jackets, and polo shirts, while women scoop up Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B line (it’s the only boutique in Portland to carry it). But one of the main draws is the shop’s denim department — there are more than 80 brands to choose from, including Rock & Republic, Stitch’s, True Religion, and Citizens of Humanity.
Oblation Papers & Press (www.oblationpapers.com), a European-style paper boutique in the Pearl District, is known for its handmade paper created out of recycled cotton (there’s a small paper mill and antique letterpress on the premises). There’s also a fine selection of French wax seals, Italian decorative stationery, leather-bound journals, and greeting cards from local artists.
Women in search of a special-occasion dress make a beeline to Lena Medoyeff Studio (503-227-0011) in Nob Hill, which features Portland-born Lynn Medoff’s own designs. Her brightly colored dresses in classic styles are handwoven from Indian silk, and detailing might include glass beading, silk embroidery, and hand-painted flowers. Her brand-new bridal shop (Lena Medoyeff Bridal, 503-223-4929) is located a block away.
Downtown near Pioneer Square is Mario’s (www.marios.com), a sophisticated unisex clothing emporium owned by Portland native Mario Bisio, who has been in the retail business for more than 33 years. Designer brands for men include Prada, Paul Smith, and Hugo Boss, while women will find labels such as Vera Wang and Jil Sander upstairs — not to mention Jimmy Choo shoes.