Savvy Shopper: January Start the new year off right!

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SLIM PICKINGS
Joshua Lohr, founder of slimTECH, is an exemplar of the power of perseverance. The 30-year-old designer first created his signature carbon fiber wallet more than five years ago after dropping out of college. He launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project and went into business for a few years, until deciding to shut the company down “to build it back up with the right people and the right product.” Now, slimTech is back and better than ever, with sleek, RFID-blocking minimalist wallets in carbon fiber, wood and aluminum (and a number of new products to come). “[The wallets] were borne purely out of function,” Lohr says. “I was carrying my credit cards around with a rubber band. I realized it was something everyone needed and carried. It works, it looks different and it has a lifetime warranty.” What more could one want? slimtechgear.com

PUT A SOCK IN IT
Everybody knows that Savvy loves shoes, but it’s a lesser-known fact that she also adores socks. (After all, even the most stylish of us need a little whimsy now and then!) When she learned that one of her favorite footwear stores, Ma Petite Shoe, had opened an adjoining store called The Sock Shop, she couldn’t have been more thrilled. The small shop offers just what it says it does: Wall-to-wall socks in every imaginable pattern. Think: crew socks portraying everything from aliens to animals dressed as astronauts; knee-high socks featuring Ouija boards or manatees, or Savvy’s personal favorite, the Tacosaurs (a stegosaurus/taco hybrid); chic compression socks from Lily Trotters, designed by Baltimorean Susan Costa-Walston; and the crème de la crème, imported tights from French company Fil de Jour. Oh la la! 830 West 36th St., 410-235-3442, mapetiteshoe.com/sock-shop

 

LA VIE BELLE
Savvy adores a good housewares store, and Belle Patri is no exception. But she can’t say she’s not relieved that she no longer must make the trek to Jarrettsville to get her fill of rustic-chic furniture. The store’s new Columbia location is tucked into a strip of stores adjoining one of many of the city’s business parks, but stepping into its massive space was like throwing open a pair of weathered barn doors. The floor is full of aged wood tables, antique-looking bureaus,  and plenty of couches and chairs in muted tones and textured fabrics, not to mention the endless variety of shabby-chic housewares. (Savvy, a magpie at heart, was particularly fond of a pair of glitter-covered antlers.) Interestingly, the new spot also offers consignment options for both furniture and accessories … and though Savvy herself shies from used things of any kind, she supposes the lower prices are rather nice. 8895 McGraw Rd., Suite F, Columbia, 410-401-4115

STUDIO AUDIENCE
Artisan crafts have always pleased Savvy immensely, particularly because she can’t so much as replace a button on her beau’s Brooks Brothers button-down. Even better than enjoying the final product? Watching the artists at work, as she can at the new Local By Design at the Gallery. Recently opened to the public, the huge warehouse space hosts 13 in-house artists with talents from furniture painting to watercolors to pop art, each of whom has his or her own studio. There, shoppers and art-lovers alike can watch the local artisans make their magic, buy completed pieces or commission work. Some vendors offer classes, as well. Maybe Savvy will try her hand at a craft or two. There’s a first for everything, right? 1818 Margaret Avenue, Annapolis, localbydesignannapolis.com

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