Around New Year's Day, Netflix released a show called "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo," the author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." In typical HGTV-inspired fashion, spritely Kondo enters a new family's home each episode and teaches them how to tidy. She encourages them to go through every item in their home, thank each item for its service, then decide if it's worth keeping.
One result is that many people throw out a lot of their clothes.
The familiar American dilemma is summed up and then solved. We want to own less things, but then we go shopping for more things. The solution is to filter what you have and fall back in love with the items you've paid for. But if you're following trends at the mall, or shelling out for short-lived fast-fashion pieces, you're likely to tire of them sooner rather than later. Then return for more.
Boutique shopping is different. For one, the items are generally more expensive, or at least, less on sale. You'll be hard-pressed to find "entire store 40 percent off" sales monthly at a mom-and-pop. But the items are curated, often made better or handmade, and might even "spark joy," as Kondo says, more.
As a part of our "According to Bloggers" series, we asked local bloggers and Instagrammers where they shop. Here are some answers.
"Indie Twenty. The most perfect place to buy handmade boho jewelry & to buy one of a kind outfits. Also, the owner is the sweetest person ever!" Ismail said.
"As a Northtowns gal who now lives in the Southtowns, I recently discovered the village of Hamburg. I was blown away by their offerings and shops down there. Lately, I'm loving the new T Boutique!" Koch said.
If Hamburg wasn't on your small-business shopping circuit before, it should be. The village has seen an uptick in commerce in recent years. Women's boutiques opened left and right, from Molly + Kate, a clothing, accessories and gift shop that looks like it stalks your Pinterest boards for new items, to Indie Twenty, jewelry designer Rachel Sweeney's sole brick-and-mortar. Shop for kitschy ironic tees, chunky knits and candles -- the kinds that you can only buy at boutiques -- at T Boutique.
Recommended by: Lindsay Robson, blogger at Nickel City Pretty and founder of the Buffalo Blogging Network, Katharine Phillips, travel blogger and photographer at The Roaming Buffalo and Caitie Newman, photographer and Instagrammer.
"I love shopping for clothes at local boutiques because you can find some super unique pieces that you won't find at chain stores. My Elmwood Ave. favorites are Village Designs, Blush, Anna Grace and Half & Half," Robson said.
"I don't know about you, but I'm the kind of person that's always buying something new to make my apartment feel homier. That's why I absolutely love spots like Ró on Elmwood- they always have the cutest home accessories or a unique coffee table book to really add some personality to your abode," Phillips said.
"I love all the small, local shops where I can find unique and one of a kind pieces," Newman said.
You probably already know about Elmwood's boutique prowess. Shops stretch along the long avenue, broken up by coffee shops and restaurants. On a budget? Bargain shop consignment racks at Second Chic, Scoop Shop and My Cuzin Vintage. Seeking a last-minute birthday gift? Thin Ice sells unique Buffalo-centric goods including a butter lamb knit beanie, which I dare you to find at a big box store. Shoefly has quality shoes you'll actually want to walk in.
"We do a lot of shopping on Main Street Medina. Prior to dinner parties and even birthdays, we stop by several of the shops. Beyond that, we love local farmers markets. From the Canal Village to the Elmwood Village Farmers Market, we love them all (especially in the fall)," Scott and Alix said.
Throughout Buffalo, shopping is scattered. Between neighborhoods and corridors, you don't just visit one place for boutiques, but several. Small towns do it differently. You have one street -- possibly a side street or two -- that holds all the commerce. You can get fresh-baked bread, books and quality clothing on the same street, along with a haircut and your prescriptions. Main Street introduces you to new shops, diners and high-brow restaurants that might be on your to-try list such as Mile 303, the adventurous small plates place with a bar crafted to resemble the Erie Canal, and Zambistro, an Italian-meets-American fusion restaurant with lush comfort food.
Recommended by: Beau and Lindsay Riggs, bloggers who write about things to do for couples and families at Buffalovebirds.
"We have been obsessing over [it] for that perfect modern farmhouse style! A 'Fixer Upper' dream come true!" Beau and Lindsay said.
Beau and Lindsay are referring to Nigh Road Farmhouse, a home decor shop selling refinished vintage furniture -- usually painted rustic white -- a la Chip and Joanna Gaines-style. The white farmhouse is beautifully curated and might even fool you into thinking it is someone's home. Shop there for farmhouse or shabby chic styles, or to have your home emulate a Better Homes and Gardens magazine's cover story.
East Aurora's shopping reflects the village itself: traditional, timeless and indulgent. Shop for things you never knew you needed -- including bizarre-flavored sodas -- at Vidler's 5 & 10. You'll find one-of-a-kind shoes, accessories and modish clothes at Head Over Heels In Love With Shoes. Four Honey Bees Cottage boasts maximalist-style home decor, from colorful, patterned tea kettles (with matching table settings) to gift-worthy trinkets and more big-ticket items such as leather furniture.
"Any thrift store. I'm not really a fan of the mall, so I prefer the smaller boutiques with good deals! I'm all about vintage and finding stuff that you can't find in the mall," Nkay said.
The true fashion-obsessed (and cash-strapped) understand thrift shopping, which you can do in practically any neighborhood. Thrifting is for everyone, but especially for those whose brains double as glossaries of the fashion industry, or those who simply know a good outfit when they see one, or those who would do anything to not look like someone else. No one is going to have the decades-old vintage sweater you purchased. Or the no-name long floral skirt from the era that stores are currently attempting to mimic.
There's always the big names to shop: Salvation Army, AMVETS and Goodwill. But nearly every town has one and city has several smaller, locally owned consignment shops to buy and sell clothing. Each visit presents a new grab bag of goods, with varying luck, but it's usually always cheaper and more thrilling than a trip to the mall.