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Contributed by Amy Gabriel

In the market for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience at some of the country's most eclectic and eccentric boutiques? Consider Austin the most deserving digs to lay down your hard-earned retail dollars.

If you stopped someone carrying a shopping bag along the boutique-lined sidewalk in the 2nd Street District and asked which store the bag came from, you're more likely to hear an unfamiliar calling card than a standard chain, along with an enthusiastic story about the cool owner of the shop from whence the tote (most likely eco-friendly) came.

A retail destination to many (what better way to combat the sweltering summer temps than browsing apparel in an air conditioned heat retreat?), Austin's own embrace national brands as economic anchors, as found mixed amongst the 700,000 square feet of shops at The Domain, but this Texas mecca is stacked high and wide with independent designers, making our "go local" mentality as widely recognized as our "live music capital of the world" mantra.

The retail scene in a city that considers cowboy boots a black tie option runs the gamut, from established and newly minted designer labels at ByGeorge and modernly outfitted man cave STAG, to purse string friendly finds revived from the past at Amelia's Retro-Vogue & Relics. We are notoriously under the spotlight for our stellar consignment selection, thanks to beloved South Lamar locale MOSS and other shops, where you'll unearth classic labels at a fraction of the cost. And it takes but a quick glance around the carefully appointed merchandise that indie-spirited shop owners include in their highly-curated flagships, like fashion and lifestyle destination Luxe Apothetique where you'll be outfitted to perfection, south side décor shop Aviary, which doubles as a wine bar for purchases paired with conversational glasses of Pinot and South Congress accessory and art focused alternative shop Parts & Labour.

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