Charleston, South Carolina is a town full of college hoodies, colorful polo shirts, and khakis, so Hampden Clothing boutique can seem a little out of place. The racks are lined with Simone Rocha, Ulla Johnson, and Sacai, with new arrivals coming in from Paris and Milan regularly. Since opening in 2007 on King Street, it's become a unlikely fashion destination in the southern city. But of course, it's not the only reason to visit. Here, Hampden Clothing owner Stacy Smallwood shares her guide to Charleston.
Describe your neighborhood:
Quaint, cozy, and charming could be used to describe just about every neighborhood in Charleston but especially the Old Village in Mt. Pleasant, where my husband and I live.
Describe the aesthetic of your childhood home in three words:
Spacious, vintage, and animalistic—seriously (my dad had animals from his adventures hanging from the walls).
Best place to take a visitor for drinks or dinner:
167 Raw. Truly the best oysters in town, delicious fish tacos, and the boys behind the counter aren’t bad to look at, either.
Charleston food staple or restaurant dish you can’t live without:
The gnocchi bolognese from Fig. Not what you expect from a town with the best seafood, but the gnocchi literally melts in your mouth. Now, if I could only get them to put my favorite frisée salad back on the menu I might eat there every night. It is my favorite restaurant in Charleston!
Favorite date night restaurant: Chez Nous. I love that it is in an old house with dark wood furniture and candlelight to create the perfect intimate spot. Plus, you never know what to expect with their menu because it changes every day.
When going for a late, late night, you go to… The Belmont, for the best vodka grapefruit in town. The Warehouse, to dance with friends. And finally Butcher and Bee for a little late night snack.
The Gibbes Art Museum just went through a year-long renovation and is more beautiful than ever.
Most unexpected place to see great art:
No matter where you turn in Charleston, whether down Tradd Street to walk on the cobblestones or to look out over the ocean at Fort Sumter from the Battery, there is beauty and art in every moment you walk around the city.
Worthwhile, Open Door Shop, Sugar Snap Pea, The Commons, and Croghan’s Jewel Box.
Most essential local gallery:
The George Gallery. Totally off the beaten path and incredibly charming.
Best spa or salon:
The Belmond Charleston Place Spa.
Local motto you live by:
Work to live instead of living to work.