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Urban Indigo (3339 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, 510-419-0451), a kitschy-cool shop, is crammed with unique treasures — jewelry, toys, stationery, candles, wallets, bags, hand towels, cards, candles — with surprisingly reasonable price tags.
Jewelry, Shoes, & Accessories
The 14 Karats (2910 College Ave. Berkeley, 510-644-1640, 14Karats.com), an Elmwood institution for thirty years, is an independent, pretense-free shop specializing in setting conflict-free diamonds and other precious gemstones in unique gold, palladium, and platinum settings.
A Step Forward (4018 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, 510-339-0500) sets the bar for independent shoe shops with a stellar selection featuring brands including Aerosoles, Born, Diesel, Simple, Wanted, and Dansko.
Adidas Originals Concept Store (2333 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510-704-1934) offers limited-edition and vintage-comeback shoes, sportswear, hats, watches, and other accessories.
Berkeley Hat Company (2510 Telegraph Ave. Berkeley, 510-549-2955, BerkeleyHat.com) has fedoras, Panama hats, Stetsons, fancy felt church hats, Kangol caps, hats especially for big heads, and more.
Bows & Arrows (2513 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510-649-6683, BowsandArrowsBerkeley.com) is akin to a MOMA gift shop filled with sneakers.
Deliciouz (1354 North Main St., Walnut Creek, 925-933-7489, Deliciouz.com) has fabulous flats and heels by European and domestic designers that you won't find anywhere else.
District (2332 Alameda Ave., Alameda, 510-865-1640, DistrictFootwear.com) is a specialty sneaker boutique housed in a gorgeous old building next to the Alameda Museum.
Dr. Harlan Wong's (1928 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-843-4030) will give you a thorough exam and help you pick the ideal frames for your look as well as your pocketbook — styles start at $42 and stop at, well, Moschino.
Elmwood Village Shoes (2915 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-845-4054) has a small yet refined selection of stylish comfortable shoes — and incredibly attentive customer service to boot.
Footcandy (1365 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, 925-937-3668, FootcandyShoes.com) is a sumptuous shoe and handbag boutique that specializes in high-end labels like Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Valentino, and Alexander McQueen.
Forever 21 (426 Sun Valley Mall, Concord, 925-691-6011) is an alterna-cheap chain that makes tweens, teens, and unabashed twentysomethings drool in their sleep the night before a shopping excursion.
Hat Guys (1764 Broadway, Oakland, 510-834-6868, HatGuys.com) is another superstore where you can pick from hundreds of styles, including a particularly vast array of dress hats.
Labels Luxury Consignment (1367 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, 925-952-4566) is one of the few spots around that can guarantee an always-fabulous selection of gently used Louis Vuitton bags and Jimmy Choos for those of us without a trust fund.
Lunettes du Monde (1799E Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-559-8181) combs the globe for distinctive, flattering frames made from the lightest, thinnest, most flexible materials.
M. Lowe & Co. (1519 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. 510-486-0613) carries a vast array of beautiful beads and baubles that range from not-so-pricey Indian silver to diamond necklaces that cost as much as a nice new car.
Moderne Eye Optometry (5802 College Ave., Oakland, 510-653-4242) may be pricey, but it boasts over-the-top customer service that's something of a local legend.
Pavé Fine Jewelry (5496 College Ave., Oakland, 510-547-7000; 1778 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-528-7300, PaveFineJewelry.com) has a crisp and shiny decor à la your typical high-end gem shop, but the affable employees are prone to grin at you rather than glare — and they'll help you find (or design) the jewels of your dreams.
Rabat Shoes (1825 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-549-9195, RabatShoes.com) has hundreds of styles for men and women, ranging from European labels such as Camper, Repetto, and Robert Clergerie to California-born brands like exquisitely handcrafted Cydwok.
Skechers USA Outlet (5815 Cutting Blvd, El Cerrito, 510-235-1123) has cute, comfy kicks for everyone in the family.
Sunglass Hut (5608 Bay St., Emeryville, 510-658-8627) features a wide array of the latest designer styles and unparalleled customer service.
UC Berkeley Optometry Clinic (2222 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, 510-643-2020, CalEyeCare.org) offers tests by (supervised) eye-docs-in-training, plus cheap glasses and chic frames.
Upper Playground (2509 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510- 649-0740, UpperPlayground.com) specializes in brilliantly illustrated urban street wear with a hip-hop flair, designed by artists near and far.
The Walk Shop (2120 Vine St., Berkeley, 510-849-3628, WalkShop.com) has pioneered the comfort shoe revolution since 1978, with labels including Josef Seibel, Stonefly, Wolky, and Pikolinos.
Bay Street (5616 Bay St., Emeryville, 510-655-4002, BayStreetEmeryville.com) includes Old Navy, Sephora, J. Jill, Pottery Barn, the Apple Store, and Barnes & Noble; restaurants run the gamut from P.F. Chang's to Zao Noodle Bar; and incredible cupcakes and cookies can be found at locally owned Teacake Bake Shop.
Bayfair Center (15555 E. 14th St., San Leandro, 510-357-6000) features tons of shoe stores and a refreshingly diverse clientele.
Broadway Plaza (S. Main St. & Mount Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, 925-939-7600, BroadwayPlaza.com) encompasses familiar mid- to high-end chains — from Tiffany to H&M to Crate and Barrel — anchored by Nordstrom's and Macy's, with adjacent shop-filled streets stretching as far as the eye can see.
Hilltop Mall (2200 Hilltop Mall Rd., Richmond, 510-223-1933, ShopHilltop.com) is for the urban teen looking for the hottest new tennis shoes and cell-phone accessories, the Wal-Mart aficionado seeking a fix, or the retail sociologist seeking that old-school mall atmosphere (think lots of loitering high schoolers and Orange Julius).
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