The Central Coast is a jewel located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. San Luis Obispo is a charming town filled with a diversity of dining experiences and the world-famous pink-adorned Madonna Inn. The Central Coast wine region is growing increasingly impressive, with some of the finest vineyards in the world, nurtured by a mild Mediterranean climate. It’s a great place to raise a family, go to college, be an artist, live a healthy lifestyle, or just be!
Gorgeous as the Central Coast is, it has its drawbacks. One of the drawbacks is the small number of stores, and in particular, clothing stores. Because my business is all about helping women find clothes that work for them, I have scoured the region in search of the best clothing boutiques. Here’s my list of favs:
Finders Keepers, 1124 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo
You wouldn’t guess that this delightfully chic boutique is actually a consignment store. All the designer clothes are meticulously arranged by color (which makes my job so much easier!) and the owner, Debra Fogg, and her staff are attentive to your every need. Whenever I need a special occasion outfit, or just need a shopping “fix” I head to Finders Keepers, and I almost ALWAYS find a unique treasure for a very reasonable price. Debra is very particular about the consignment clothing she accepts, so you can be sure the clothes are flawless and no older than three years. I highly recommend a visit to this store.
Change of A Dress, 1116 Morro Street, San Luis Obispo
This small consignment store is packed with clothes, shoes, jackets, purses, jewelry and houseware items. It still amazes me how much the owners fit into the space. And I always find something beautiful to wear, at very affordable prices. It is a chic, comfortable environment, and the owners are very helpful.
Ann’s Contemporary Clothing, 895 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo
A women’s new clothing boutique with sophisticated, yet relaxed fashions for women. Geared to women, not teenagers or even 20-somethings, many of my clients like the head-to-toe, coordinated inventory of clothing and coordinated accessories. Excellent service, a wonderful place to shop for that put-together look.
Romp Fine Italian Shoes, 714 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo
As you walk into Karen English’s chic store the rich smell of leather transforms you to another place — Italy perhaps? Don’t be afraid of the prices. The prices are completely reasonable for the is top-notch craftmanship and the comfort that envelopes your feet. It is well worth the few extra dollars. I’m all about CPW (Cost Per Wear) — the calculation that divides the price of the shoes by the number of times you will wear them. Romp’s shoes will cost you pennies because you will want to wear them every day! Check it out and just try on a pair of Everybody shoes — you will fall in love.
Goodwill, 15 S. Higuera, San Luis Obispo
This is the best thrift store for finding clothing treasures on the Central Coast. I found a full length mohair wool coat, Made in Paris, for $7. Clothes are organized by color, and they have two dressing rooms so you can try it on to make sure it fits. The only negative is limited parking.
Hospice Partner’s Hope Chest, 445 Higuera, San Luis Obispo
This is one of my new thrift store discoveries, offering a huge space filled with gently-used clothing, jewelry, shoes, furniture and household goods. It’s fun just to look around, and they take great care displaying the items. It also features a small boutique filled with designer, higher-end clothing and shoes. I have found some great treasures here and I feel good about supporting our local hospice organization. They also take donations.
Curio, 570 Higuera, San Luis Obispo
Located in the Creamery, this small shop is packed with cute, fun clothing at really low prices. You can find cute tops, dresses, pants, scarves, and shoes.
Retrofit, 956 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo
I wandered into this new boutique after seeing great looking outfits in the window thinking this would be very high priced, only to find that this is actually a vintage clothing store with the best of the eighties thru now fashions, some brand new, many designer labels and all at low prices! You’ll find gently worn dresses, sweaters, vests, skirts plus a great selection of shoes, belts, bags, jewelry and accessories. Great service. Caters to younger customers, but I have found jewelry and clothes to buy.
ActII Boutique, 1045 E Grand Ave, Arroyo Grande
This is another delightfully chic consignment boutique located on busy Grande Avenue, near the theatre. The owner, Carol Dee, stocks her store with a cornucopia of treasures, everything from stylish tops, jackets, skirts, pants, shoes, evening dresses, fun dresses, jewelry, and even infant clothing. Everything is neatly organized, and Carol’s sense of style is evident in the way she stages put-together outfits throughout the store. You’ll have fun and save loads of money!
Marshalls, 1128 W Branch Street, Arroyo Grande
There is a lot to sort through, but if you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can find some fashionable, inexpensive clothing and shoes here. Go often, as the inventory is renewed frequently. Not for beginners!
Upscale Resale, 590 S. Main Street, Templeton
In the cute town of Templeton, this consignment store has a treasure trove of high-quality women’s clothing, shoes, and jewelry. The coffee is hot, the owner very friendly, and she has created a relaxing, fun environment in which to shop.
New with Tags, 585 12th Street, Paso Robles
The latest women’s consignment shop to open on the Central Coast is in a fantastic location across from the city park, and looks like it’s filled with beautiful almost-new clothes, jewelry, and accessories to delight women of all ages. Welcome!
Please send in comments about your own favorite shops so we can all share in the joy!