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Ready-to-wear in Portland

October 22, 2006|Tam Leach

PORTLANDERS love homegrown. Farmers' markets sprout across the city, and restaurants promise regional fare. But out-of-towners should step fashion forward into neighborhood boutiques if they want to take home something nouvelle Northwest.

Nob Hill is home to airy Seaplane, champion of Portland's fashionistas. More than 40 have been represented on its racks. Currently on the boys' rack: muted shirts and tailored jackets from Adam Arnold and A Broken Spoke. Girls float in vintage-inspired dresses from Frocky Jack or the modern street wear from Liza Rietz. Kathryn Towers and Holly Stalder, who run the place, contribute their striking collections.

827 N.W. 23rd Ave.; (503) 234-2409,

Tumbleweed is one of half a dozen boutiques on thriving Alberta Street that champions local designers, but it's the only one we found with an affiliated kids' shop. Hip mamas peruse the romantic florals of owner Kara Larson-Koenig, while two doors down at Grasshopper kids run around in her Wild Carrot smocks or toddler shoes from See Kai Run.

Tumbleweed, 1804 N.E. Alberta St.; (503) 335-3100, Grasshopper, 1816 N.E. Alberta St.; (503) 335-3131,

A super-cute addition to the up-and-coming Mississippi neighborhood, Pin Me Apparel specializes in clothes to fit all. Indie lines are sourced from all over the country, with Portland-based retro-style Midgewear a 0 to 16 stalwart. Delicate necklaces and earrings from Anna Jewelry are the bestsellers of an accessory collection dominated by local designers.

3705 N. Mississippi Ave.; (503) 281-1572,

Not your average hotel gift shop, the Ivy Studio is in the Jupiter Hotel, Lower Burnside's boutique inn of choice for musicians headlining at the neighboring Doug Fir Lounge. Among the clothing, kitsch accessories and music posters are dashing dress shirts and hand-printed handbags from owners Luke and Erika Smalley. It's open late on the weekends for browsing between sets.

800 E. Burnside St.; (503) 231-7400,

Farther out along Burnside is Moxie, baby of designers Sandra Loewe and Dee Bell, who started out in Portland at Adidas and downsized to embrace the city's D.I.Y. aesthetic. Around half of the very wearable clothing and jewelry lines are produced locally, including lovingly recycled jackets and tops from Bella Sisters and Gesundheit. It's a bit of a trek, but with low prices part of their mission statement, there's a souvenir to suit most budgets, from $10 to more than $200.

2400 E. Burnside St.; (503) 296-6943,

-- Tam Leach

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