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Top 10 Shopping Destinations in Downtown Iowa City

24 Oct

NOTE: These are in alphabetical order and are not rated individually because they all offer something unique!  Click here to go to the map and find out where each store is located in relation to each other.

Active Endeavors: located at 138 S Clinton Street. This store is targeted to the outdoor enthusiast, selling winter apparel, hiking boots, sleeping bags, etc.  They carry brands such as Patagonia and The North Face.  (Don’t know which brand one to buy?  Check back in a couple days for my next post comparing Patagonia and TNF jackets.)

InBox: located at 114 S Clinton Street.  The owner buys some of her apparrel from U.K. brands–you know what that means, they are always on top of trends!  Don’t be afraid to try on a fringey shirt or holey leggings, you may surprise yourself and will be ahead of the pack in terms of fashion.

Iowa Book: located at 8 S Clinton Street, right across for the Old Capitol building. Haven’t you heard the commercial?  “Iowa Book… It’s a one of a kind book store.”  Yes, yes it is–tons of Hawkeye gear including the Victoria’s Secret line.

Catherine’s: located at 7 S Dubuque Street.  Catherine’s is a bit more pricey than the rest of these stores so I’d only go here for nice quality designer jean–they carry 7 For All Mankind, J Brand and Hudson Jeans.

Cheap & Chic: located at 105 S Dubuque Street.  This store is actually owned by the same people who run Catherine’s just down the block.  Always check this place before Catherine’s as they sell some of the same things here…FOR LESS!  Definitely a place to go for a reasonably priced cute shirt.

Dulcinea: located at 2 S. Dubuque Street.  This corner store always has a variety of dresses in stock.  If you’re looking for anything from a babydoll dress to a floor length dress check here.

Lorenz 2.0: located at 109 S. Linn Street. Two words: Shoes galore.

Raygun: located in the pedestrian mall at 103 East College Street, this funky shop makes funny T-shirts featuring Iowa.  For example a popular one is: “Iowa City: all of the creativity went into its name.  You can also have them print your own designs.

Silver Spider: located in the Old Capitol Mall at 201 S Clinton Street #154.  JEWELRY JEWELRY JEWELRY! This place has it ALL.  No joke, anything you could want is at this place.  And don’t forget to add an inappropriate magnet to your bag when you go to check out.

Textiles: located in the Pedestrian Mall at 109 S Dubuque Street. This store targets a bit of an older crowed i.e. not college students, more like college students’ moms.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pop in to check out their Hobo International handbags and belts, they also always have a huge stock of scarves!


Tote bag: Vera Bradley vs. Longchamp

12 Oct

Vera Bradley and Longchamp produce two of the most popular tote bags among college aged women. I decided to compare the two brands after seeing countless ladies on the Iowa campus with one or the other:

Longchamp is known for its traditional classic style.  You will always find a leather strap, gold button, small inner pocket and zipper for their signature line–Le Pliage.  This bag is waterproof and comes in a variety of colors.  They are mostly solid colors but sometimes stray to a simple design.  Size is approximately: 12″ x 12″ x 7.5″  Cost: $145

Vera Bradley has branded its bags with bold, recognizable prints.  They are cotton quilted which gives an appealing texture.  The tote is equipped with six pockets and a toggle closure. Rough size dimensions: 19″ x 15″ x 6″ with an 11″ strap  Cost: $80

Although the Vera Bradley tote costs less, I think you get a bigger bang for you buck with Longchamp.  Because Longchamp has a waterproof aspect, this is more ideal for every day wear and tear, and its easily cleaned inside and out with a wet washcloth.  Also a huge plus to the bag is that it folds up into a tiny, relatively flat package so it’s great to take on vacation.  And of course, I’m a big fan of Longchamp’s simple, elegant style.  Their totes never go out of fashion and they match with more outfits as they are solid colors.

I would recommend Vera Bradley for travel luggage–they would be extremely easy to spot at the airport!