By Shayna Mace
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
From big-city stops to resort destinations, here’s where to go to find the best in high-end shopping throughout the state.
Madison: A Chic Capital
Our state capital makes its name as an affordable luxury destination. Chock-full of boutiques that offer covetable clothing, home goods and gift items, Madison is an easy shopping access point for those who want a touch of luxury in incredibly approachable, friendly shops.
The newly revamped Hilldale Shopping Center boasts 40-plus shops, about half of which are brand new, such as Michael Kors, kate spade new york, Madewell and Sur La Table. Shoe-lovers will appreciate Morgan’s, a locally owned boutique with high-end European and American brands like Red Wing, Birkenstock, Hunter, Frye and Dansko.
Twigs is a standout womenswear boutique with lust-worthy handbags by Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, JW Hulme and Mackage. The owners handpick clothing from designers such as Citizens of Humanity, rag & bone, Vince and up-and-coming Italian brand Otto D’Ame.
Eyewear enthusiasts must stop at Ulla Eyewear, where they’ll find glasses and sunglasses from Vuarnet, Tom Davies, SALT, and Mykita.
Downtown there are some luxe options, too. Guys should stop by Context on King Street, a carefully curated menswear shop that carries American heritage brands like Thorogood shoes and Japanese selvedge denim by The Hill-Side and Momotaro. A bit down the road stop into Rubin’s, an amazing contemporary furniture store located in a historic warehouse overlooking Lake Monona.
Near State Street, HYART is a hybrid art gallery/jewelry boutique founded by a UW-Madison metalsmithing fellow with amazing, artistic pieces. And shoo on State Street has beautiful men’s and women’s kicks that showcase standout quality.
Milwaukee: Urban Sophisticate
Milwaukee’s Third Ward is well-known for its colorful historic past—formerly a warehouse/industrial district, it’s now home to a mixed-use residential and retail neighborhood brimming with restaurants, shops and service businesses.
It’s also home to luxury shops, like Stephanie Horne, a fantastic womenswear boutique in an airy loft space with go-to brands like Trina Turk and Citizens of Humanity. Across the street is Embelezar, which is Portugese for “to embellish and adorn.” Find global furnishings and home décor items in an exotic, worldly setting. (In the same building as Embelezar, also find the original location of shoo, mentioned above!)
One block down is Denim Bar Milwaukee, a shop that boasts the largest denim selection in Wisconsin with 1,000 pairs of premium designer jeans—Henry & Belle, Hudson, J Brand and more can all be had. Right near Denim Bar is Lela Boutique, one of the Third Ward’s original high-end residents that has a wonderful selection of carefully edited vintage and new designer collections. A few blocks over in the Ward, Five Hearts is a comfortable women’s boutique that carries Ella Moss, James Jeans and Greylin apparel.
Two shops with locations in both Brookfield and Mequon are Faye’s, a longtime Milwaukee favorite that has Vince, Tory Burch and Nicole Miller clothing and shoes, among others; and Allure Intimate Apparel, a bra-fitting boutique with high-end European intimates.
George Watts & Son is a downtown treasure that not only has a stunning collection of luxury tableware and entertaining necessities, but a fabulous little tea shop, too.
Lake Geneva: A Gift Getaway
Lake Geneva is known for its gorgeous lakefront properties and idyllic setting, but you don’t have to own a lakefront home to enjoy what their quaint downtown has to offer. Many of their best boutiques are located right on—where else?—Main Street as well as Broad Street.
Set in a beautiful 1900s house, Brick & Mortar Home makes shopping a delight showcasing their furniture, home décor, tableware and gift items in charming vignettes throughout the space. Nearby, their sister space, Brick & Mortar Home & Outdoor, offers an expanded selection of indoor and outdoor furniture and design services.
Bloomingbyrds and E Street Denim are sister stores carrying apparel and denim for teenagers and women. Jayne has a curated mix of work and weekend wear by brands like Free People and Kut From the Kloth as well as a covetable collection of shoes and boots by Hunter, Pikolinos and Minnetonka.
On the same block is Clearwater Outdoor, a boutique specializing in apparel, gear and rentals for indoor and outdoor active endeavors like kayaking, cross-county skiing and stand-up paddleboarding. Apparel skews more high-end with a generous selection of brands like Sorel, Keen and Prana yogawear.
Door County: An Artful Destination
This peninsula getaway may be known as a great resort destination, but the area offers excellent shopping year-round with an enviable collection of galleries and fine gift shops.
The Blue Dolphin House and BDH Studio in Ephraim is housed in an 1860s farmhouse. Find tabletop, kitchenware, accessories and garden décor in the boutique, and a wonderful collection of art and photography by artists from around the U.S. in the Studio. The Hide Side Corner Store in Fish Creek has a Northwoods look and feel and specializes in eclectic home and garden décor as well as leather goods and fur coats—hence the store name.
J. Jeffrey Taylor is a jewelry/fine art boutique featuring glass, photography and mixed media art. Co-owner Jeff also handcrafts stunning fine jewelry made with traditional stones (diamonds, topaz) and funky materials like agate and druzy.
Monticello on Jefferson in Sturgeon Bay prides itself on having comfortable, stylish clothing and accessories that pop by contemporary designers like Alexis Bittar and IRO scarves and handbags. Wilkins & Olander is a longtime area favorite and has wildly popular brands Vera Bradley, Dansko, Pandora and Brighton, to name a few.
For art glass enthusiasts, a stop at Popelka-Trenchard Glass is in order. Husband-wife duo Jeremy Popelka and Stephanie Trenchard sell their own work and are known nationally in the art glass scene, but at this cozy shop/studio, you can see their work up close and personal.
The fun doesn’t stop there. Read on for ten small towns with big shopping appeal.