10 Portland Stores on Our Radar Screens Right Now
Is it just us, or does it seem as though Portland is feeling itself again? We’re out and about, seeing and being seen, making the most of summer before it slips away. So it's time for a check-in on the city’s retail scene, which is, like the rest of us, suddenly preening.
New favorites on beloved shopping stretches are popping up, established brands are getting makeovers or new locations, and under-the-radar spots that softly opened during the uncertainties of recent times are more than worthy of your to-check-out lists.
The newest of the stores on our watch list opened on Alberta late last month. Its female, AAPI owners are helping to cement Alberta’s reputation as one of the best places in the city to go when all you want to wear are dresses (see also: Tumbleweed, Amelia, and Frock). Lady Mae’s aesthetic seems to be a little bit Hill House, a little bit elevated Uniqlo, all at a reasonable price point. Almost everything is under $100, even the denim—the exception is a handful of wedding-guest-appropriate summer dresses, which top out at around $150. Bonus points for an unexpected cache of berets for Emily in Paris enthusiasts ($18). 2136 NE Alberta St
A handful of local designers, ceramicists, candlemakers and jewelers are sharing space at CR Hollis, which opened this spring on N Williams. It’s the brainchild of Portland artist CR Hollis, who sells her own original designs and reimagined vintage pieces in the snug, sunny storefront. There’s both an edge and an ease to the clothes on display—you’ll need some swag to pull off a pair of Hollis’s crushed velvet ruffle pants ($165), or relax into the one-size-fits-all patchwork tie-front dress in black and cream from Ersa. Open Fridays and Saturdays only, but keep an eye on the IG account (@cr.hollis) for regular pop-ups from Portland favorites like Garden Party and MakMakHandmade. 3714 N Williams Ave
The English Dept
For years, first under Portland fashion scene fairy godmother Elizabeth Dye and then via second owner Liz Gross of Xtabay, the English Dept was the city's favorite place to shop for bridal gowns that broke out of the mold. Last month, the salon moved out of its longtime space on SE Clinton and into a much bigger one on SE Hawthorne, overseen now by Amelia Bellows. The store bills itself as being for the “antibride” and its dresses—fringed, one-shouldered, short, pearl-studded, midriff-baring, two pieced and more—live up to it, though if you’re looking for romantic, sweeping, and feminine, you’ll find that here, too (as well as Dye’s own bridal line, and Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall’s). 1845 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Folly & Pacific Holiday
Perhaps, like us, you, too, have found some perfect wear-them-anywhere dresses at Sarah Bibb’s Folly over the years, and felt a little crestfallen when her Northwest Portland storefront closed in early 2022 after nearly 14 years? Bibb bounced right back with an all-new space in the oft-underrated Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood, which opened in February. Eighty percent of what she sells are her own designs, and lovers of tiny florals and smart prints will feel right at home here. We’re eyeing the super-comfy-looking Allegra balloon pants ($188), a welcome modern spin on that classic MC Hammer style. Don’t sleep on the rest of this stretch of Fremont, too—up the road from Folly, Pacific Holiday has been open since 2019, and fills the super-curated, modern consignment gap left by the closure of Arbor Lodge’s dearly departed Button. 4100 NE Fremont St & 4443 NE Fremont St
New Space, Who Dis?
Gone West PDX
We’ve already noted that you can’t go more than a block or two in certain parts of Portland without running into a gift store that sells succulents, candles and letter-pressed greeting cards. The trick is to find the more unexpected items also on offer. Take Gone West PDX, which moved in July up the road to a new, larger space on SE Division. Pop in and seek out their well-stocked section devoted to self-care products, including more choices in Korean sheet masks than we thought possible. 3542 SE Division St
After closing for renovation earlier this year, this Kenton shop reopened in March with a whole new vibe. It’s a good go-to for crystals, tarot cards and gifts for the more mystically inclined people in your life. 8124 N Denver Ave, woopdx.com
Rabbit Hole Market and Sweets
The former Hungry Heart bakery space transmogrified itself in Rabbit Hole Market and Sweets in mid-April. Ordinarily, this might not merit inclusion in a shopping roundup, but the storefront has an extra-charming selection of plants and ceramic planters that might prompt you to leave with more than just their signature Dole whip soft serve in hand. 414 SE 80th Ave
This very literary Slabtown bookstore, a rare book lover's paradise that has been a Portland presence since the 2000s when it alighted in the basement of the Falcon Art Community, moved from its previous location near the Oregon Convention Center in early 2022 and is open “by appointment or by chance.” (Patti Smith aficionados will recall that this is the shop where looters stole a first-edition book signed by the rocker in early 2020, along with a host of other irreplaceable volumes; Smith heard about what had happened and donated a boxful of signed first editions to help the store get back on its feet.) 1801 NW Upshur St, Suite 660
Pendleton Woolen Mill Store
In March, the Pendleton flagship store near Sellwood unveiled its full renovation, complete with a “customization station” where you can choose a monogram, its color and its location on a traditional Pendleton print blanket or towel, zero in on hard-to-find prints or just browse through bins overflowing with odds and ends of leftover fabrics, packaged in tempting grab bags. 8500 SE McLoughlin Blvd