Give some style

The mall is full of the same, so hit up a Midtown boutique for something unique

Santa is in Justice for the day at Atelier (1617 16th Street, (916) 442-1800, <a href=""></a>). Only $20 for the leather jacket!

Santa is in Justice for the day at Atelier (1617 16th Street, (916) 442-1800, Only $20 for the leather jacket!

Photo by Shoka

Don’t you hate it when you show up to work, school or a party and someone else is wearing your outfit? Well, that’s what you get: Shopping at big-box retailers and chain stores means everyone’s buying similar styles. So, this holiday season, why not give your loved ones clothes that their neighbor or best friend won’t have in the closet. How to do this? Well, start by perusing fashions at the many local indie-boutique gems here in town. We’ve picked out five independently owned clothing stores, all based in the Midtown and downtown, so that you can conveniently jam as much holiday shopping into one afternoon (and without ever having to go the mall).

This boutique lives up to its name: “Atelier” refers to an artist’s studio and, sure enough, this retail shop doubles as a co-op where local fashion designers can create. The shop was founded by Melissa Hemmens (Threaded Heart), Amy Hemmens (Naik Fur) and Lindsay Rickman, and you can find their original designs—blouses, dresses, pantsuits—at the shop, along with jewelry crafted by independent artists and some quality vintage goods. 1617 16th Street, (916) 442-1800,

Cuffs Urban Apparel
You can almost feel the passion for fashion when you walk through the doors to this small Midtown boutique. Cuffs Urban Apparel sells recycled wares, vintage goods, new looks and other items, some of which are designed by owner Lacadia Olsen, who’s known for being a talented scout of vintage finds and an all-around nice person. Hit up the store to find boots, sunglasses, jewelry and fashions that reflect an indie, metropolitan look. Even the second-hand, born-again and vintage clothing is in excellent condition. If you’re not sure what styles suit you best, the friendly staff can help. The absolute best time to shop, though, is during Second Saturday, when Cuffs puts on some great live-music. 2523 J Street, (916) 443-2881,

Sugar Shack Boutique
You can’t miss this J Street boutique: Just look for a vibrant candy-cane house and brown-haired beauty painted on the side of the shop. But instead of gawking at the tasty-looking treats on the facade, go inside for the real thing. Sugar Shack has been going strong for five years, carrying a selection of sexy urban clothing, including those designed locally by 28-year-old Noelle Tavares, whose line, Faedrah Clothing Co., is inspired by hip-hop and urban life. The boutique and its sister store, Krazy Mary Boutique, also host the occasional fashion show, featuring styles by up-and-coming designers. 2425 J Street, (916) 447-4435,

United State
The vinyl records and CDs are fun, but United State carries clothes, too, primarily T-shirts, bags and hats, all reasonably priced. This deejay and clothing boutique has been in business for three years and features some designs by local artists. Every month, the shop opens its doors for Second Saturday festivities, too. 1014 24th Street, (916) 444-7230,

Bows and Arrows
Bows and Arrows recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, but the shop’s such a part of the Midtown cabal that it feels like it’s been here for decades. Bows’ cool vintage clothing, furniture and housewares have transformed the space into a hub for young, fashionable Sacramentans. Co-owners Olivia Coelho and Trisha Rhomberg stock old and new clothing, and some stuff in-between, notably original pieces by Rhomberg, who, when she isn’t running the shop, transforms vintage goods into hip fashions for her label, Pretty Trashy. 1712 L Street (916) 444-3606,