Whether you’re into formalwear like the Count or you’re just looking for a pair of jeans to fit your Big Bird body, chances are you will want at some point during your college career to hit the local clothing stores. With that in mind, here are the ABCs of shopping in and around Santa Barbara, because once you master these tips you will be well on your way to looking like the most beautiful Muppet in the neighborhood – or at least the best-dressed one.
A is for affordable and, now that you are a broke college student, it is a good idea to learn to love this category of clothing. Luckily for local fashionistas, there are plenty of places to shop in SB that will let you load up on clothes and accessories without overloading your credit card. If you’re looking to take a trip down State Street – a shopping Mecca for locals and tourists alike – make sure you check out Reference Clothing at 807 State St. for cheap, trendy threads that are perfect for the girl looking to add some up-to-the-minute looks to her wardrobe without breaking the bank.
The sale racks at Gossip, located at 629 State St., and Angl – which has stores at the Paseo Nuevo shopping center on State Street and at the conveniently-located Camino Real Shopping Center in Goleta – are also perfect for bargain-hunters looking to literally take a page out of Vogue. For cheap accessories and those inevitable nights when a theme party is just hours away and you have nothing that screams jungle/80’s/beach party to wear, check out the local thrift stores. There are a few of them along Hollister Avenue, including Alpha Thrift Store at 5624 Hollister Ave. – as well as Kmart at 6865 Hollister Ave. – and Scavenge at 418 State St.
B is for basics, and this group includes all the vital apparel you will need to fit in here at UCSB – jeans, T-shirts, tanks, swimsuits and sandals. All of the most well-known national chains can be found on State Street, including Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, The Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Express, Urban Outfitters and many more. A more recent addition to the shopping on State Street is American Apparel, located at 1019 State St. – a Los Angeles-based company specializing in high-quality basics produced in the company’s own factories by workers that are paid the highest wages in the garment industry.
For a more mall-like experience, check out the outdoor shopping center at La Cumbre Plaza, where staples like Express, Pacific Sunwear and Claire’s Boutique are located. For swimwear, surf gear and killer sandals, make sure to check out the local surf shops, which also carry adorable apparel by national companies like Billabong, Roxy and Quicksilver, as well as local clothing manufacturers. Isla Vista Surf Company at 901 Embarcadero del Norte and Sundance Beach at the Camino Real Shopping Center in Goleta are two of the best picks for beach basics, as well as T-shirts, tanks and trunks.
C is for chic and, when it comes to high style, Santa Barbara is the place to be. One of the country’s very first Juicy Couture boutiques recently opened up at 803 State St., right down the road from Coach, Michael Stars and Nordstroms – all of which are located on State Street. Santa Barbara also has its own local boutiques, including Blue Bee, Blue Bee Shoes and Blue Bee Jeans. These stores, which are all located around 923 State St. carry clothes and jeans from designers like D&G, Sass & Bide, Joe’s Jeans, C&C California and more. Rumor has it that Blue Bee is planning to hold its huge annual sale sometime in early September, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that as well.
All right, kids, those are the ABCs of local shopping. Just make sure to keep your friends close and your credit cards closer, and if all else fails, there is always a wide selection of tees, tanks, shorts and sweatshirts at both the UCSB Bookstore and the Isla Vista Bookstore.