Head to Toe
Best of 2008
The Closet 1213 State St., Ste. L, 963-8083
Now celebrating its fifth year in business, The Closet (which should not be confused with the thrift store chain Out of the Closet) operates on a well-worn principle. Mainly, the stock is previously owned clothes that are still in the focus of fashion, though they do buy vintage wearables when the offering is too good to pass up. Considering the relativity of fashion in a planet traveling at the speed of light, this means high style for the masses minus the high prices.
Jesse’s Shoes and Repair 5915 Calle Real #D, Goleta, 964-3414
Half a century ago, Jesse Holder first picked up a tacking hammer and scissors and began repairing shoes and other clothing implements constructed of cowhide. Today his shop is again (annually for at least a decade now) recognized by the readers as the place to put body and sole back together. If the shoe fits, as Jesse might say, repair it.
Step-N-Out Instant Shoe Repair
Nordstrom 17 W. Canon Perdido St., 564-8770
Nordies’ deals are well-known, but what sets the store apart is that old, almost forgotten allure of the department store: variety. More than 200 brands of shoes are on sale right now, from Adidas (and Adidas by Stella McCartney) to Yumi Kim, Yves Saint Laurent, and Zodiac. Boots with leather fringes are big now for the neo-hippie gals, while men get their usual desultory footwear: casual, dress, and sneakers. Despite the plethora of shoe shops around, the readers vote Nordstrom a shoe-in for all time.
Danny’s Custom Styling 3337 State St., 687-7915
We were lucky to catch Danny Ramirez-who likes to pretend that the Dodger homerun hitter is his son-at work the other day, since he only cuts hair part-time since selling the biz to Sam Huerta a few years back. The cool clip joint continues to win awards and draw faithful customers as it has since Danny started the place on the same day John F. Kennedy was elected president, November 2, 1960. “After 48 years in the same place, you see some changes,” said Danny, who recalls an A&P grocery store anchored the mall where Gelson’s now draws Hope Ranch shoppers in for foie gras and asparagus. “But you got to come in and see the new place; it’s going to be beautiful after the shopping mall finishes its facelift,” he said. “I guess we’re still doing something right.”
Walter Claudio Salon Spa 11 W. Figueroa St., 963-7579
Perennial winners, Walter Claudio believes in the overall picture-perfect you. Featuring Aveda products wielded by a staff constantly re-learning their craft, Walter Claudio also believes in participating in charitable outreaches like the Locks of Love program. Nice downtown rooms and intensive care for the gestalt of you.
Aqua Nail Bar & Boutique 143 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta, 964-0282; 3455 State St., 687-8483
After just three years in the business, owner Claudia Papa is blissed out to win. “We’re so excited,” she said. “Mostly I think it’s just hard work that got us here. A great team that really works hard.”
Artistic Nails & Spa
Avia Spa 350 Chapala St., Ste. 101, 730-7303
“It’s so exciting to win, and we’re very happy because we’ve just come out with new treatments and new menus,” said owner Suzanne Gore. “We hope we can always continue to improve our status as the day spa people remember.”
Bacara Resort & Spa
Place to Get a Facial
Beauty Products Store
Skin Deep 3405 State St., 687-9497
Tina Hasche is rejoicing. Co-owner of Skin Deep-the beauty product store that’s almost more of a local hangout than a place to put on your face-Hasche and company have managed to take these honors consistently for at least the last decade. Even after 27 years in business, the Skin Deep family is touched at the continuing support of their friends. “We’re just very proud to get this acknowledgement from the same people who have been supporting us all these years. It makes us very happy,” she said.
Place to Get a Facial: Avia Spa
Beauty Products Store: Aveda Lifestyle Store
Women’s Clothing Boutique
Blue Bee 911 1/2 State St., 882-2468
“I think the reason people like us is because we are extremely passionate about our business,” said Marty Bebout, who co-owns the six stores that make up this town-wide phenomenon with his partner John Doucette. (It started out with cool blue jeans and then conquered the world.) “We pride ourselves on customer service, great fashions that fit well, great fashion events, and fantastic style. We really appreciate the award and we are very grateful.”
Place to Get Men’s Clothing
Banana Republic 101 Paseo Nuevo, 966-5553
There are certain phrases that used to have pejorative implication: it used to be classless to be a playboy or beneath dignity to be a pimp. Somehow the universal lifting of all boats has made the term Banana Republic, which used to mean flimsy Third World dictatorship, into a great place to buy everything from polo shirts to dress slacks. Twice enshrined in our Best Of readers’ polls, this subsidiary of the Gap Inc. appeals to the informal chic that rules most of this town, playboy and pimps notwithstanding.
Place to Buy a Hat
Green & Yellow Basket Shop 911 State St., 965-7722
“One reason I think people like us is because we have a lot of product,” said owner Ed Dougherty. “We have every style of hat from all the makers including Stetson, Bailey, and Tilley. According to the people who sell us hats, we have the best-stocked store between San Francisco and Los Angeles. We are very happy to have won.”
Michaels Arts & Crafts 187 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta, 967-7119
Begun in Texas, this gigantic warehouse of crafty items from painting supplies and paper to scrapbooking materials went public in 1984 and expanded mercilessly across the country to the delight of folk who like to make cool things at affordable prices. The company essentially merged with itself and brought the Michaels stores back into private ownership-though nowadays they are the same chain that owns Aaron Brothers (another Independent Best Of perennial winner for frames). All you need to know, though, is that the fuzzy felt, Styrofoam sheet, or construction paper you need will always be there.
Alpha Thrift Store 5624 Hollister Ave., Goleta, 964-1123; 5949 Hollister Ave., Goleta, 964-1123
The Alpha Thrift stores in Goleta have been the King and Queen of thrift for several years. Supporting a great organization, they have a wide and consistent base of donors for interesting and usable goods. Seasonal items are saved all year for special racks, and the options for costumes and decorations are many. While the “post” items are at times pricey, the specials and colored tags that change weekly make the possibility of finding that perfect piece probable. Toys, glassware, tools, and furniture abound as well as clothing. Always worth a look and walk through.
Yellowstone Clothing Inc. 527 State St., 963-9609
Take our word for it: back in the day, Members Only clothing was about as declasse as you could get in an era of designer jeans-even Jordache was hipper. “Right now, they’re hot, hot, hot,” said Yellowstone co-owner Stephanie Haugen, “I can sell anything from Members Only.” The vintage market is strong with clothes from the big 1980s, beginning with T-shirts from rock concerts to Lacoste sweaters. It’s a funhouse mirror for those of us who lived through those eras-fun and scary, that is. “We want to thank our customers very much for voting for us,” said Haugen on behalf of the store that predates its own stock, founded in Isla Vista in 1974.
Ablitt’s Fine Cleaners & Launderers 14 W. Gutierrez St., 963-6677
Making a clean sweep has been made possible for this second-generation family-owned biz started by parents and now run by a business-school graduate daughter for two main reasons: a great location at the bottom of State Street and complimentary pick-up and drop-off for every single order. The fact that they pride themselves on care and perfect cleaning leaves their competitors looking all wet.
Justo The Tailor & Cleaners 3009 State St., 682-6633
Ana Cubilla Khamo owns the store now, the one that has become so synonymous with refitting your duds that one would swear Father Serra sent his robes to Justo. Not a gigantic hive of worker bees, yet this humble and beloved store is all about quality and speed. Not only do they keep up, but if brought in early enough, they can do same-day service. That is sew cool.
Occhiali Fine Eyewear 7 W. Canon Perdido St., 963-5760; 1046 Coast Village Rd., Ste. H, 565-3415
“Thank you very much,” said owner Irwin Eve. “It’s our 20th year; we’re beginning our 21st in January, and we just appreciate so much all our customers. We particularly enjoy our relationship with them; it’s so important to us to find the best look for each person.”
Santa Barbara Eyeglass Factory
Solstice Sunglass Boutique 3815 State St., 563-4648; 713 Paseo Nuevo, 564-2930
Getting made in the shades department: It’s probably not a great idea to come in here looking for a ZZ Top fantasy of killer fashion in cheap sunglasses. These are the real things-more than 30 designers’ products ranging from about $90 to about $650. Fashionable ways to keep your peepers protected.
Occhiali Fine Eyewear
Spa Medicus 18 E. Canon Perdido St., 966-4772
Spa Medicus, the Skin Solution Spa & Medicus Skin Enhancement, A Medical Corporation is the full name, and it’s important to realize that this is a hybrid spa and medical office completely authorized to perform less invasive procedures like Botox cosmetics, intense pulse light photo facials, microdermabrasion, and laser hair removal, among other treatments. Yet, it’s a relaxing atmosphere, a soothing environment conveniently located right off State Street on Canon Perdido Street.
Evolutions Medical Spa