Best Buys

The Houston shops for those in-the-know

Want to know where the locals shop?  Read on for Houston's most-loved go-to retailers for clothing, gifts and one-of-a-kind gear.

The Asher Gallery, located within the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, serves as a retail showcase for the work of internationally acclaimed and emerging craft artists, giving visitors an opportunity to touch, handle and own objects created by artists featured in HCCC's exhibitions. Expect an exceptional variety of gifts, including unique jewelry, pottery, baskets, home décor, handbags and clothing.
Still owned by the family that started the business in 1883, Hamilton specializes in bespoke and made-to-measure shirts of the highest quality. Hand cut from double-ply Italian and Swiss fabrics, the shirts are made at the Richmond Avenue store by trained specialists who have been with the company for years. You can watch them work through a picture window in the store and see marvel at their artistry. Shirts made with such care and detail are investments, but you're worth it. (An added bonus: 10 percent of profits are donated to charity.)
One of Houston's best and most diverse shopping spots is Kuhl-Linscomb, a must-see five-building complex that holds whimsical and luxurious surprises around every corner. Owners Dan Linscomb and Pam Kuhl-Linscomb have culled the world and brought back treasures for every kind of person and personality. Jewelry junkies will appreciate the array of pieces in various metals, stones and price ranges. Chefs and cocktail connoisseurs will revel in the accessories and gorgeous books just for them. Pet lovers can lavish their four-legged friends with unique collars and special shampoos. Kuhl-Linscomb's apothecary is well-stocked spot with hard to find bath and beauty products for both sexes. Venture through the other building and discover modern and transitional furniture, lighting, rugs, linens and home accessories. Searching for something? Just ask. Customer service is top notch.

Opened just before the Super Bowl near the Convention Center Downtown, LAUNCH showcases Houston's growing fashion and design community. Here you'll find a rotating assortment of jewelers, fashion designers, accessory and home goods makers. This is the ideal place to find the right Houston-centric gift for someone special. 

Modern western wear has come a long way from rhinestones and Rocky Mountains. Pinto Ranch exemplifies the changes with its array of clothing, boots, jewelry and yes, even saddles, at its Post Oak store. Throughout the year, serious cowboys and cowgirls shop at Pinto Ranch for the store's high quality and exclusive boot lines. Socialites abound stocking up on the latest cowgirl gear before each annual Cattle Baron's Ball, and when the Big Show gallops into Houston each spring, rodeo-goers have plenty of options there, too. The jewelry cases are not to be missed no matter what season because of the amazing hand-crafted turquoise, coral, ruby and citrine pieces.

Set in the trendy West Ave., Rye51 offers casual options from the likes of Diesel, Earnest Sewn and John Varvatos -- oh and did we mention a whiskey bar? Next door, Rye51's sister shop, Q Custom Clothier, offers high-end, made to measure shirts and suits created from hundreds of fabric options, assembled in custom shops in Europe and shipped direct.
Even an everyday Joe can shop here for greeting cards. Beyond the amazing selection of cards, there are gifts like a set of red leather boxes, so soft, supple and striking. Also in store: the rubber-soled Prada footwear collection, toiletries and decorative housewares. Discover custom jewelry, engraving, anniversary rings and gold. Perfume brands include: Agraria, Alora Ambience, Mariage Freres, Molton Brown, Ulrich Lang New York and other designers.
Owned and operated by the same Houston family since 1962, Spec's is a true destination shopping experience. Stores located all over Houston offer the best selections of wines, spirits, beers, liqueurs, cigars and fine gourmet foods. The Warehouse Store is the crown jewel of the 28-store operation. With over 40,000 labels of wines, spirits, liqueurs, beers, and finer foods, Spec's indeed fills all 80,000 square feet of selling space. The walk-in cigar humidor offers over 900 cigars--more than many tobacconist stores. The deli also offers the finest in deli meats, pates, domestic and imported cheeses, fresh caviar, and a complete assortment of domestic and imported smoked fish and salmon.

Written by: A.J. Mistretta