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Julia's Slice of Life: Go Local and Shop at these NWI Clothing Boutiques

For several years now, Southlake Mall has been one of Northwest Indiana’s most popular destinations, particularly for anyone on a clothes shopping spree. More recently, however, an influx of locally owned clothing boutiques has entered the scene, allowing more options—and a chance to buy local—for consumers. Here is a breakdown of just some of the many local boutiques available for men, women and children.

Most of the local clothing boutiques in this area are for women, not surprisingly. While I could write a long list, here are some of my favorites:

Beyond Pink, Valparaiso: This store has been around for a while, but its inventory continues to include forward-thinking fashions hand-picked by its scrupulous owner Lorri Zimmer. Like its name suggests, there is more to women’s clothing than feminine colors and lace, and Beyond Pink was one of the first to successfully bring this notion to Northwest Indiana.

Chelle’s, Chesterton: Those who are passionate about environmental responsibility will be happy to know that Chelle’s shares that passion and makes its buying decisions accordingly. All items are either handmade by artisans or come from manufacturers who practice sustainability. The clothing here has a boho beach vibe, a perfect complement to the shop’s quaint downtown nestled near the Dunes.

Ivy Boutique, Valparaiso: “A mini Anthropolgie” is how a friend once described Ivy Boutique to me. One step inside and I couldn’t have agreed more. Beautiful, quality, creative clothing fills the racks at this boutique, which recently relocated to a new space on Jefferson Street. In addition to apparel, there is a variety of delightful home and gift items as well.

Luxe Boutique, Michigan City: Situated in Michigan City’s thriving Uptown Arts District, this shop offers an impressive selection of business casual and dressy fashions at refreshingly affordable prices. This is the perfect stop for a woman who wants to treat herself to a special outfit without breaking the bank.

Mink/Est. 1964, Crown Point: This boutique is a delight for the eyes, as it features both clothing and home décor displayed beautifully by mother-daughter creative duo Kristen La Rocca and MJ Poracky. The affordably-priced clothing brings street style to Northwest Indiana, with distressed denim, funky flats and witty-worded shirts featuring prominently. For the less adventurous, there are plenty of trend-setting classics (like dresses and rompers) as well.

Younique Boutique, LaPorte: This boutique is aptly named because its inventory is truly set apart from others in the area. The offerings are vintage-inspired and made primarily of lace, but not in an eye-rolling way. Think Downton Abbey meets bohemian—pretty, flowing, comfortable clothing that looks and feels just right.

Locally-owned men’s clothing stores are still hard to come by here, unfortunately, but there is one community staple, plus a couple of newcomers that offer apparel for both men and women.

The Annex, Highland: The creative forces behind WoodenJacket and Mrs. Funkenstein collaborated to open this brand-new shop, which features art-inspired fashion that is truly one of a kind. The men’s selection includes nostalgic graphic tees and conversation-starting accessories, all at remarkably affordable prices.

Green Garage, Chesterton: This store is located right next to Chelle’s (mentioned above) and is owned by the same owner’s father. While most of the store contains incredibly cool finds for the home, it also hosts a clothing section featuring sustainably-made casual wear for both men and women.

Zandstra’s, Highland: Zandstra’s is the longest-standing men’s clothing store in the area, known for its classic menswear and old-school customer service. The large showroom offers a wide variety of suits, dress shirts, slacks, casual wear and accessories, along with custom tailoring services for its customers.

We can’t forget about the kids! Here are a couple of stores whose inventory is dedicated solely to our little tikes.

Bella’s Girls’ Apparel, Dyer: In addition to girls’ clothing in sizes newborn to 16, Bella’s has stations where kids can make their own lotions, lip gloss, sugar scrubs, and other such goodies. There are also matching doll-and-me outfits, dance and gymnastics wear, and gift items.

Piper Boutique, Valparaiso: For more than 30 years, Piper has offered adorable, one-of-a-kind clothing for babies and kids. These are selections you won’t find at the big box stores, so your child won’t share the same outfit with all of their friends. Piper is also known for its selection of fun hair bows and accessories, to the delight of little girls everywhere.

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