The Ultimate Insider's Guide to Shopping the SMU Neighborhood

The SMU neighborhood sits smack-dab in the center of some of Dallas' best shopping areas, but not many are as charming as Snider Plaza, a three-block shopping strip that has been serving area locals for nearly a century.

Here is where you'll find a slew of upscale boutiques peddling designer duds and fashion finds for prices not as high as you would think. In fact, you may be surprised at some of the shopping deals the area offers.  

Studio Sebastion is not only one of the best places in town for high-end apparel, accessories and shoes, it's also the place to score big time when there's a sale. At Luxury Garage Sale you will find both new and gently used designer threads, many priced at 50% or more off retail. An impressive array of moderately priced fashions can also be found at Cotton Island.    

The Gemma Collection houses an eye-catching collection of contemporary jewelry, most of which can be had for under $200. And if you're looking for one-of-a-kind apparel and jewelry, be sure to check out Allie-Coosh.

For mini fashionistas, there's BabyBliss, a one-stop-shop for the latest and greatest in kids apparel, baby gifts and mommy must-haves.

If you feel like refueling with a sweet treat or want to pick up a gift for your favorite foodie, make a beeline to Creme de la Cookie. If after refueling you feel the urge to get in some extra exercise, head over to Bicycles Plus where you'll find a fleet of cool bikes for rent and for sale.

The options in this neighborhood are endless for retail fun, so be sure to put these 10Best stops are on your shopping itinerary.


Luke's Locker
Photo courtesy of Luke's Locker

For over thirty-five years Luke's Locker has been an essential stop for both hardened fitness fanatics and anyone looking to go the distance with the right workout gear. The shop offers a full range of clothing, accessories and footwear-- from specialist brands like Saucony, Newton and Mizuno as well as the major brands such as Adidas and Nike. More than just a place to purchase your workout wear, Luke's specializes in customer service, the staff is interested in making make sure you get exactly what you need for what sport. And when it comes to footwear, they'll go the distance to help you put your best foot forward-- from assessing your running style on a treadmill to giving you the opportunity to test out the efficiency of each model you try on. In addition to sponsoring and assisting with thousands of sports-related events, the store hosts free weekly workouts, social runs and training programs.

Recommended for Southern Methodist University's Best Shopping because: Luke's Locker is one of the only fitness gear shops in Dallas that is run by true specialists.

Ilene's expert tip: Follow Luke's social media to find out about incredible sales and sports-related events.

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When locals want a treat, they head to this sweet boutique to scoop up Toni Rivard's OMG chocolate chip cookies (Forbes Traveler declared them one of the nation's best). And not only will you find a wide selection of cookies, Rivard also whips up everything from custom cakes, cakeballs and whoopie pies to cinnamon rolls, brownies and French pastries. In addition to the bakery range, the shop boasts an impressive stock of French gourmet products, including olive wood bread baskets and herb mills from Berard; jams, candies and honey from L'Ami Provencal, and various spreads from L'epicurien. They go all out at Easter and Christmas, so keep an eye out for seasonal goodies.

Recommended for Southern Methodist University's Best Shopping because: Creme de la Cookie is one of the best places in town to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Ilene's expert tip: Don't miss the melt-in-you-mouth macarons, they're terrific.

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Bicycles Plus
Photo courtesy of Bicycles Plus Facebook

With a stockist of high-end road, mountain and cyclocross bikes from manufacturers such as Trek, Cannondale and BMC, Bicycles Plus is a dream shop for the serious cyclist. But the store isn't only for die-hard cycling enthusiasts, it offers plenty of choices for casual riders as well. You'll find everything from Electra cruisers and hybrid bikes (fitness, dual sport, urban, electric and comfort) to a terrific lineup of cool bikes for kids. In addition to bikes, the shop carries all the premium brands of apparel and accessories. And not only does Bicycles Plus provide free lifetime brake and gear adjustments with the purchase of any bike, it's also the place to go for all your bike repair needs. Want to get peddling without having to purchase a new bike? Not a problem: Bicycles Plus rents hybrids, cruisers, carbon road bikes, and mountain bikes starting from $25 a day.

Recommended for Southern Methodist University's Best Shopping because: Bicycles Plus has a terrific selection of bikes at competitive prices. And it's the only place in the area offering bike rentals.

Ilene's expert tip: Bicycles Plus hosts free group rides for beginners and advanced cyclists on Monday and Thursday evenings.

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Photo courtesy of BabyBliss

Looking for the latest-and-greatest baby gifts and mommy must-haves? That would be found at BabyBliss, which caters to chic moms and their trendy little ones who want nothing less than the best. Owner Carrie Barnard has an instinct for what parents want to buy – and more importantly – what kids actually want to wear. And her shop offers virtually everything any well-to-do tot could ever dream for--ranging from apparel and accessories to toys, furniture, bedding and state-of-the-art baby gear from the likes of Pink Chicken, Tea Collection, Aden + Anais, Flink Living and more. Since it's never too early to be fashion-forward, there's also an adjoining sister store-- miniME, which caters to toddlers and kids with an illustrious line-up of stylish garb as well as bedding furniture, luggage, books and a highly original range of toys.

Recommended for Southern Methodist University's Best Shopping because: BabyBliss is one of Dallas' top boutiques for babies, and its sister store miniMe is equally awesome for older kids.

Ilene's expert tip: Follow BabyBliss and mimMe on Facebook to stay informed about special sales and great bargain finds.

Read more about BabyBliss →

Photo courtesy of Allie-Coosh Facebook

For over twenty years, this welcoming boutique has been catering to style conscious women in search of sophisticated, flattering fashion. With an emphasis on timeless elegance, the store showcases proprietor and designer Paulette Martsolf's own stunning collection of ready-to-wear apparel and accessories. All of Martsolf's creations, which cover everything from casual daywear to workplace and evening attire, are made out of custom dyed silk, cashmere, cotton, and linen. If you fancy something more unique, the shop offers the option of having something specifically designed to your liking. Equally as captivating is the exquisite line of jewelry that Martsolf designs to coordinate with the palette of the season. Influenced by her paleontologist husband and her worldly travels, many of Martsolf's pieces incorporate unique elements like raw amber, carnelian and fossilized bones. For further inspiration, don't miss the handbags made out of sheepskin and alpaca.

Recommended for Southern Methodist University's Best Shopping because: Allie-Coosh offers some of the most unique womenwear and jewelry in Dallas.

Ilene's expert tip: Be sure to check the website and Twitter for sales and store events.

Read more about Allie-Coosh →

Gemma Collection
Photo courtesy of Gemma Collection Instagram

Lovers of costume jewelry will find an eye-popping collection of delightfully inexpensive trinkets and baubles at this gem of a boutique. Owner Adriane Sack has a magpie's eye for good design, which makes for wonderful browsing through the varied assortment of necklaces, bracelets and earrings. You'll find everything from chandelier and teardrop earrings, to druzy pendant necklaces, agate bracelets and bejeweled "x" rings with just the right amount of bling. The shop also rules when it comes to personalized jewelry, with options ranging from monogrammed bangles and cuffs to colorful acrylic studs and 14kt gold necklaces with initials encrusted in diamonds. The best part is that most everything in the shop is priced between $50 and $200.

Recommended for Southern Methodist University's Best Shopping because: The Gemma Collection offers an incredible selection of costume jewelry at an equally incredible price.

Ilene's expert tip: Be sure to check out the sale section on the website for even more amazing steals.

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Blues Jean Bar
Photo courtesy of Blues Jean Bar Instagram

Not only does this pub-style jean emporium serve up men's and women's designer denim in a variety of washes and treatments, but it also employs a crew of dedicated denim specialists 'jeantenders' to help identify your size and style preferences. Catering for a range of budgets, the store offers over twenty brands to choose from, some of which include Citizens of Humanity, 7 For All Mankind and Taverniti. Along with jeans, Blues Jean Bar stocks everything from sunglasses and belts to jewelry and hats. If you can't find a pair of jeans you like here, then it's time to stick to skirts or dresses--they've got those too.

Recommended for Southern Methodist University's Best Shopping because: Blues Jean Bar is the best place in Dallas to find the perfect fitting pair of jeans.

Ilene's expert tip: Look out for occasional coupons and promo codes on sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.

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Luxury Garage Sale
Photo courtesy of Luxury Garage Sale Instagram

When it comes to finding designer duds for a deal, Dallas' fashion-savvy ladies hit Luxury Garage Sale, a Chicago-based consignment boutique filled with a treasure trove of new, gently used and vintage clothing and accessories. The bountiful loot on offer, (discounted at 50% to 90% off retail)--includes a slew of items hailing from the likes of Chanel, Hermès, Prada and Armani. A recent find turned up a two piece, pink tweed Chanel suit, the same one that was worn by Lady Gaga on the September 2014 issue of Harper's Bazaar. On the hunt for a Hermes "Birkin" bag? Look no further-- LGS has several priced from $5,995. There's also a brand new suede leather fringe skirt by Saint Laurent going for $850 which retails for $2,390. Sure, some of these high-end gems aren't exactly wallet-friendly, but the store does carry a range of items to suit several types of budgets.

Recommended for Southern Methodist University's Best Shopping because: Luxury Garage Sale has the best inventory of new and used designer fashions.

Ilene's expert tip: Join the mailing list to access a first look at our fabulous finds and find out about fabulous clearance sales.

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Cotton Island
Photo courtesy of Cotton Island

For over three decades this womenswear boutique has been furnishing stylish locals and SMU coeds with flattering threads at purse-friendly prices. Head here for trendy items like colorful tees, linen tunics, faux shearling vests, flare jeans and paisley mini dresses from the likes of Free People, Rails, J Brand and more. Along with perfectly-picked casual wear, you'll find a good selection of accessories including sexy undergarments, scarves, handbags and sunglasses. The impressive array of moderately priced jewelry warrants a visit here on its own, as do the shoes. Don't miss the Kai body products and Reminiscence Paris patchouli spray--both make great gifts.

Recommended for Southern Methodist University's Best Shopping because: Cotton Island offers a terrific selection of casual wear at purse-friendly prices.

Ilene's expert tip: Check Cotton Island's social media to find out about sales and discounted items.

Read more about Cotton Island →

Studio Sebastian
Photo courtesy of Studio Sebastian

Studio Sebastian has long been a favorite of style-conscious locals when it comes to getting the ultimate fashion fix of apparel, accessories and shoes. The swank 3,000 square foot boutique stays well-stocked with a glittering collective of new labels and well-known designer brands like Missoni, Chloé and Alexander Wang. Recent hits include coats from Jordana Warmflash's Novis collection, edgy tops by Rachel Comey and dyed out dresses by Gilda Midani. Even more tempting than the apparel are the shoes by designers such as Charlotte Olympia, Paul Andrew and Pedro Garcia.

Recommended for Southern Methodist University's Best Shopping because: Studio Sebastian is one of Dallas' trendiest boutiques, offering a collection of shoes and apparel that you probably won't find anywhere else in town.

Ilene's expert tip: If you're watching your purse strings, hit this place at the end of the season when you can snag shoes, clothes and handbags at 70% off.

Read more about Studio Sebastian →


Meet Ilene Jacobs

As a perpetual wanderer, foodie freak and wannabe chef, Ilene is always on the lookout for the best places to see, eat, drink and sleep. When she's not writing about the latest happenings in...  More About Ilene