Tip from Teresa de Sequera
“Arandu is a fabulous leather place in the heart of town. They make everything from saddles, polo boots, fashion boots, belts, bags small leather goods etc… I love the boots I bought there, and the prices are reasonable.”
For authentic gaucho bombachas, visit Aux Charpentiers, an Old-World tailor shop that’s been around since 1888.
Fabien Venturino sells tailored men’s clothing including Italian voile shirts, silk jacquard ties and English alpaca jackets as well as an array of traditional alpaca and llama scarves. Both boutiques have colorful interiors meant to evoke a “dandyish” atmosphere.
Located just off calle Florida, Bettina Rizzi has been churning out leather clothing for two decades. Don’t be put off by the bland interior, fluorescent lighting and racks of uninspired ready-made furs, belts and leather goods; the shop’s skilled tailors can custom-make jackets, pants, skirts and blazers in just about any design and color you’d like—in four hours or less—at prices from $60 to $230.
Designer Gustavo Samuelian sells his hip and funky men’s designs at Bolivia. The boutique is a fun place for browsing, its walls decorated with photographs from all over the world.
Argentina’s famous sexy and comfortable lingerie brand also sells sleepwear, workout clothes, socks and stockings.
This famous custom boot shop has been in the Fagliano family since 1892 and clients include Prince Charles, King Juan Carlos of Spain and the Sultan of Brunei. They’ll ship the final products anywhere. Advance appointments necessary.
If you can get past the funny insignia, and the store’s unimpressive country-western-looking design, you’ll find some serious-quality leather handbags, belts, luggage, gloves, shoes and wallets.
BA’s most elegant socialites flock here for luxurious lizard and crocodile handbags and sumptuous rabbit and mink coats.
Two Argentine sisters founded this women’s-wear line for jet-set party girls. Known Stateside for their uniquely cut, perforated leather jackets and fun cotton beach pants (available at Intermix, Nordstrom and Henri Bendel), Charlotte Solnick’s two BA stores carry everything from slinky cocktail dresses to artsy, feminine tops.
Comme Il Faut
When in BA, it’s hard not to buy a pair of these beautiful hand-made pumps and stilettos, considered the Manolo Blahniks of tango shoes. After all, if they’re flexible and supportive enough to survive on an Argentine dance floor, you know they’ll hold up pounding the pavement back home.
Some of the women’s shoes at De Maria’s resemble perfect little sculptures. The comfy, well-made footwear walks the line between preppy and whimsical.
Widely recognized for its stylish men’s suits, casual wear and boots, this dark-wood-decorated fashion emporium now stocks a small selection of conservative staples—blouses, sweaters, jackets, shoes and accessories—for women.
Men from teens to thirty-somethings will love the hip head-to-toe rock-’n’-roll clothing at this BA-meets-Hollywood boutique.
One of the original Palermo fashion pioneers, Flavia Martini is an Argentine with great feminine flair to her designs.
Another great Argentine leather store, Guido carries men’s and women’s shoes and accessories, including great cowhide weekend bags and suede moccasins (in children’s sizes as well). The main branch is in the Recoleta, but there are now outposts all over South America.
For those who want to get a sense of the youthful and colorful fashions of Palermo Viejo without leaving the Recoleta area, you should stop into Holi. A sunny hippy style pervades the little boutique, which is just around the corner from the Park Hyatt. In summer, you will find floaty floral and ethnic patterned dresses and tunics as well as bright shorts. In winter, chunky sweaters and boiled wool bags. Piling on the patterns and colors is the way to wear the designs.
Designed by an architect, this line of reversible tote bags and butterfly-chair-inspired backpacks made of indigenous materials and metals is unmistakably Argentine.
One step into Jazmín Chebar—the quintessential BA women’s clothing store—and you’ll get a taste of what makes shopping in this city so much fun. Designed by a 34-year-old Argentine who studied at Parsons School of Design, the pieces have the kind of details that exude a lighthearted, effortless chic. Try on the well-cut jeans and winter coats.
Juana de Arco
The panties at Juana de Arco are not only sexy and comfortable but creative. Skimpy bras, lacy thongs and adorable pajamas come in bright colors with whimsical touches and combinations that make them more cheerful than sexy. It will be hard to tear yourself away from the bins of rainbow-hued underpants and bras at this women’s and kids’ shop, but don’t miss the chunky knit sweaters and pretty sundresses before you leave.
Juliana Rustici stocks unique, one-of-a-kind women’s clothing.
La Casa de las Botas
One of our favorite Argentina specialists recommends:
“For a true made-in-Argentina accessory, shop for leather riding boots at La Casa de las Botas. The best polo players and royalty have long purchased the exquisitely made boots, but they are so stylish that they can be worn with skinny jeans or leggings.”
Read more insider picks from our Buenos Aires update
The ultimate temple to Argentina’s love of polo, La Martina glorifies the game of polo and its accompanying lifestyle; the store is also the official supplier to Argentine polo teams and to the Federation of International Polo. In the flagship store and the various branches around the city, you will find rooms that are styled with the same flair that Ralph Lauren is known for in his shops. Silver trophies and bowls filled with player-signed polo balls sit atop antique wooden tables. Worn boot bags are propped next to huge leather club chairs, so you might mistake the scene for a gentleman’s club if it weren’t for all of the stacks of jeans, polo shirts and sweaters piled so seductively. In addition to all of the official team jerseys and polo equipment on display, you can create your own gear; it’s possible to design everything from personal team shirts to a custom crocodile saddle or polo boots if you like.
Other locations: Costa Rica 4677, Palermo; Santa Fe 1619, Recoleta; Arribenos 2632, Belgrano
Liliana Totaro’s custom-made pieces are made with high-quality Brazilian cottons—a rarity in Buenos Aires.
One of most respected leather shops in B.A. has been run by the same family for four generations. Established in 1897, Lopez Taibo has a few locations, including one just kitty corner to the Alvear Palace, where you can find classic leather and suede shoes, belts, bags and jackets at prices that are about a quarter of what they would cost in the U.S. or Europe. For instance, suede or leather driving shoes are 412 pesos (approximately $110), suede men’s loafers are 650 pesos (approximately $180). There are also wonderful crocodile bags and belts and suede jackets for men and women. The styles are very traditional, and the quality is excellent.
There are other locations on Posada 1402 and Avenida Corrientes 350.
Occupying a colorful two-story townhouse in Palermo, Maria Aversa sells women’s and children’s clothing for someone who likes comfort, charm and a whiff of nostalgia. You’ll find lots of knits, lace and velvet, depending on the season as well as crocheted pillows and blankets. The designs are cozy and cosseting, just like the atmosphere of the shop.
If the modern, architectural pieces of Argentine designer Min Agostini remind you of Issey Miyake you are not alone. Agostini trained as an architect and the sculptural nature of her pieces reveal a love of spatial relationships. You may find boxy shaped sweaters in wool or sinuous pleated silk jackets in electric colored silk. Her unusual designs have been shown in fashion shows in Europe and South America as well in New York in the fall of 2009. Stop by to see the work of one of the country’s most innovative and stylish designers.
Palermo location: Julian Alvarez 1419, Palermo; 54 (11) 4833-7563
This special accessories shop feels more like an art gallery than a typical boutique, and given the unique, artistic nature of the bags, belts, jewelry and shawls that you will find here that is fitting. The owner is a sculptor and architect and under her direction Argentine craftsmen mix leather and silver and semi-precious stones to create objects of beauty and creativity, whether it’s a massive agate and silver necklace, a sea-green crocodile purse embellished with malachite or a stunning woven shawl with leather fringes. Each piece is a work of art as much as it is a fashion accessory. Imagine a South American version of Lotus Arts de Vivre. Check out the sister housewares boutique just down the street.
You may not have come to Argentina to shop at Ralph Lauren but it is worth paying a visit to the store as the company has restored a beautiful historic mansion to house its outpost here. Saddles and polo mallets are artfully hung along the entranceway and the main room is surmounted by a stunning stained-glass ceiling. The grand rooms feature original molding and carved wood work so you can imagine how it looked when it was a private residence. You will pass many turn-of-the-century mansions in the city, but few have been so lovingly restored or are open to the public.
You could call Rapsodia Argentina’s version of a very bohemian GAP. The large chain sells ethnic chic tops, dresses, scarves and jackets that have a distinctly hippy style, but for visitors—especially those traveling with teenagers or twentysomethings—who want to find attractive cotton cover-ups and dresses that they will not see back in the U.S. or Europe, this is a must visit.
Other locations: Patio Bullrich and Galerias Pacifico malls.
Rossi & Caruso
Some consider this brand the Argentine equivalent of Hermès since Rossi & Caruso is as famous for its saddle-making as it is for its leather and suede fashions. There are numerous branches in the Recoleta, including this one just across from the newer entrance of the Park Hyatt. In addition to finding the finest quality saddles (prices begin at 2,400 pesos or about $750), bridles and polo boots, you can expect to be tempted by the men’s and women’s shoes, suede, leather and fur jackets as well as luscious lizard bags. They will ship everything except for exotic skins internationally.
Other locations: Avenida Santa Fe 1377, Recoleta and Galerias Pacifico, 1 Piso.
Tip from Patrizia Chen:
“BEST, BEST evening shoes (born as tango shoes, but fantastic as their high heels are perfectly balanced and will keep you on your feet forever without pain) to be found at:
Artesanal Anchorena 537 (near Corrientes); 54 (11) 4865-3713.
Neo Tango Sarmiento 1938; 54 (11) 4306-0171. www.neotangoshoes.com.
But my all time favorite and a cult store among tango ladies around the world:
Comme il Faut Arenales 1239 Disfrutenlo; 54 (11) 4815-5690.”
Designer Martin Churba sells his sexy, experimental creations at Tramando.
Jessica Trosman’s namesake boutique (located inside the Bullrich family’s mall) carries her unique, contemporary designs.