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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shopping Guide: South Congress aka SoCo in Austin

For anyone in Austin who loves fashion and shopping as much as myself, the SoCo shopping area has some of the best shopping and eateries in Austin. The area begins on South Congress from the 1400 to about the 2500 block. The SoCo shopping area can best be characterized as funky, fun, and eclectic. My absolute favorite store was Lucy In Disguise With Diamonds, perhaps the best costume shop I've ever visited. I browsed through well-organized racks of flapper dresses, fairy tale dresses, laced corsets, glittery tops, funky 1970s bell bottoms, go-go dresses, faux fur tops, masks, and so much more. In the end, I found a great pair of bloomers with black lace trim (pictured below) and a fabulous black and white go-go dress. Much of the merchandise can be rented or purchased. The store is located at 1506 S. Congress Ave.

At Uncommon Objects, there is a vast selection of antiques and unique Texas memorabilia. I also spied a rack filled with great vintage clothing and hats. It is located at 1512 S. Congress Ave.

If you work up an appetite while shopping, Güero's Taco Bar serves up delicious Mexican fare and has sweet margaritas to quench your thirst. They have the Oak Garden nearby where you can order drinks and listen to live bands. It's located at 1412 S. Congress Ave.

Around the corner is Eco-Wise, where they sell eco-friendly clothing, cards, flooring, paint, and much more. It's located at 110 W. Elizabeth.

At Parts & Labour, you'll find a small selection of unique T-shirts, handmade accessories, and great gifts made by local artists. I bought a darling Naughty Secretary Club necklace with a Texas pendant. Located at 1604 S. Congress Ave.
If it's shoes, bags, or trendy and inexpensive apparel you desire, I recommend Goodie Two Shoes at 1111 S. Congress. I picked up a star print tote and some white scrunchy boots all for under $30.

Above: Go-go dress from Lucy In Disguise With Diamonds and boots from Goodie Two Shoes.

At Therapy, you'll find higher end designs and a display with yummy chocolates. I did not find the merchandise to be very trend-forward or impressive. Unlike all of the other stores I visited, the customer service was severely lacking in this store, so I didn't bother to browse very long. Located at 1113 S. Congress Ave.

At By George, I browsed through racks of Ella Moss tops, FCUK dresses, and See by Chloé tops. I had read several girls raving about this store on online message boards, but I wasn't overly impressed. I saw a few things I liked but ended up buying an Eat Shop Los Angeles guide. Located at 524 N. Lamar and 1400 S. Congress Ave.

At New Bohemia, I wandered amongst racks of vintage T-shirts, Western shirts, dresses, and shoes. Prices were higher than I was expecting, but the selection was extensive. I left empty-handed. Located at 1606 S. Congress Ave.

Maya, located at 1508 S. Congress Ave., was one of my favorite boutiques. I lusted after a colorful painted flask for $40 and a quirky printed business card holder. There were many other great gifts, stationery, and unique items that caught my eye. On the way out I noticed a cozy couch at the front of the store, perfect for boyfriends and husbands to lounge upon while the ladies shop.

Tesoro Trading Company carried Mexican folk art, jewelry, and unique items from all over the world. I noticed lots of religious-themed merchandise, and not surprisingly, left without buying anything. Located at 1500 S. Congress Ave.

For ice cream, Amy's is a must. I had the refreshing mint flavor with graham crackers crushed in. There's sure to be a line on hot sunny days, but you can amuse yourself by people-watching while you're waiting. I saw a man walking a little pot-bellied pig and it was amusing to see how people and their dogs reacted to it. SoCo seemed to be full of people out walking their dogs. Amy's is located at 1301 S. Congress Ave. There are other locations, including one at the airport.

Above are the window displays at Lucy In Disguise With Diamonds.

Window display at Uncommon Objects