Welcome to the first of our Shop Local Series, where we share our favorite local shops for every category on your shopping list. With fall just around the corner, we knew that the first category had to be clothes. Whether you’re doing some last-minute shopping before returning to school or just updating your wardrobe for fall, Hartford is full of hidden clothing shop gems that you won’t want to miss.
Hartford’s cutest store needs no introduction. While you might only know Hartford Prints! as a stationery and home decor shop, we’re here to tell you one important thing: do not sleep on their apparel section! The store always has a variety of super-soft hoodies, t-shirts, and hats with different city logos, skylines, and team names.
A lot of the apparel is designed by the same artists that create the store’s cards, providing a much cuter alternative to repping our city than a sports jersey. Hartford Prints! also hosts many pop-up events with small businesses throughout the state. Check out their upcoming event calendar before you stop by to see if you can coordinate your Pratt Street visit with a pop-up from a thrift store or local boutique!\
If you find yourself searching for high-quality, long-lasting, timeless looks, search no further than Pratt Street’s own Morneault’s Stackpole Moore Tryon. This upscale boutique has been a staple of the Hartford community for 115 years and has always been family-owned and operated. The store is currently owned and run by Jody and Ron Morneault, both advocates for their Downtown Hartford community. This retail gem carries curated products that you won’t find at the mall. All of their merchandise is coordinated and follows the term “continuity of buying.” This means that if you’ve been a customer from 2, 5, or 10 years ago, all the clothing you’ve ever purchased will continue to match with another item years after. Their number one concern is carrying quality items—these are wardrobe staples you will have for years and years to come.
Around the corner from Hartford Prints! is Track 23, a regional chain apparel store with locations throughout New England. The store focuses on contemporary streetwear fashion and offers a solid combination of cute basics alongside more daring and colorful options. However, what makes Track 23 unique is its views on accessibility.
To ensure that “an aesthetic or identity isn’t reserved for the privileged few,” the store is highly affordable. When writing this article, the most expensive clothing pieces in their store were $45 for men and only $25 for women, with most items costing under $15. We love Track 23’s commitment to making street fashion accessible and are going to use all the money we saved to buy even more from their creative fashion line.
Tucked away in the south Green area is Haute'Couture Boutique. There, owner Londeena Londeenag offers a variety of women’s apparel from staple wardrobe pieces and classic silhouettes to trendy jeans two-piece sets. No matter the item, Londeena always adds her stylish flare – usually in the form of bright colors, extreme ruffles or fringe, or the addition of different fabrics, textures, and adornments.
Culture by People is a small apparel brand with big hearts and beautifully created t-shirts. The brand was conceptualized as a “roots and culture apparel brand with influence from Jamaican Rastafarian Roots.” The cultural influence is undeniable in the apparel, which is made with a combination of illustrations, paintings, and photography.
The Rastafarian value of natural living is also found in the company’s production standards. Culture by People uses recycled, eco-friendly materials as well as supporting fair trade and fair labor organizations.
Hip Stop Clothing is the area's premier destination for urban apparel. From sneakers and hats to outerwear and masks, Hip Stop carries the latest styles in a variety of options, as well as brand names like Champion, Nike, and more. You can also find Hartford gear and team apparel from the major league teams and our Yard Goats.
This past spring, Hip Stop moved to a larger retail space in their home community of Frog Hollow. The store is a core part of the area’s Latino community and has hosted or sponsored many community events and celebrations in the past.
As our fashion tour of Hartford comes to an end, we hope that you were able to find a local clothing shop that matched your budget and style. While these are just a few of our favorite retailers, we know that the city is full of many more that we didn’t include. If your favorite store didn’t make the cut, feel free to DM us on Instagram or Facebook so we can give them shoutout on our profiles!