Best of the 'Burgh: Style & Shopping

From a boutique where it's actually fun to shop with your kids to finding champagne-taste eyewear on a beer budget –– our favorites to get the perfect 'Burgh style.

photo by laura petrilla


Best Place to Shop Stress-Free With the Kiddos

Anyone who has shopped with little kids in tow knows it’s (pretty much always) no fun. Unless, of course, your destination is Brambler Boutique.

Opened by Lawrenceville residents Andi Calcagno and Kati Fishbein in April, Brambler is filled with organic, indie brand-name clothing not typically found in the Pittsburgh area. It also has a kick-butt book section — “Tell Me a Tattoo Story” and a kid-friendly version of the life of Coco Chanel are some of the selections. You’ll also find every apparatus imaginable (wooden teething rings! Non-frumpy diaper bags!) to make the life of parent and baby easier.

Brambler boasts a play area for kids and a spacious unisex bathroom with a diaper-changing station. And no nursing-shaming here: Brambler, which was inspired by the birth of Fishbein’s son, Oliver, more than two years ago, offers a cozy nursing nook. The boutique also hosts various kid-friendly pop-up events. On the first Sunday of every month, it offers a parent party with free mimosas and chair massages. {JS}

(3609 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/682-1327,

photo by laura petrilla


Best Place to Find the Kitsch

Maybe it’s a wool- and fur-trimmed coat circa 1960 from the Joseph Horne Company or a blouse with the Kaufmann’s tag still hanging on the sleeve. It might be a piece of Pyrex to match the pattern Mom used while you were growing up. Whatever floats your boat, chances are good you’ll find treasure while perusing the shelves at Mustard & Relics. Don’t miss the vinyl records, housewares and collection of children’s toys meant to be played with and enjoyed — not locked away behind museum-grade glass. {KB}

(Mustard & Relics, 3596 Brighton Road, Brighton Heights; 412/545-3386,

photo by chancelor humphrey


Best Way to Make a Wearable Statement

Cotton Bureau wants to sell you your new favorite shirt. The Larimer-based company focuses on connecting customers and designers in what it declares is a “highly curated tee-shirt marketplace.” And while it doesn’t have exact criteria for determining which shirts will appear on its site, it does operate with the guiding principle of “Should this shirt exist in the world?” This year, Cotton Bureau hopes to launch its newest venture, Blank, which will take on the production side of the business, offering exclusive shirts with fit and fabric designed with that lofty end in mind: the perfect tee.  {CG}




Best Place to Have Fun (and Get Educated) With Your Makeup

Sephora and Target are fine, but if you’re a true makeup junkie, there’s only one place to head. Opened by professional makeup artist and esthetician Liz Quesnelle in 2015, The Gilded Girl Beauty Emporium in Lawrenceville specializes in cult-favorite and luxury indie makeup and skincare lines generally not found in western Pennsylvania.

If that sounds intimidating — or if applying makeup in general seems overwhelming — it doesn’t need to be, at least not here. Quesnelle hosts a variety of fun makeup workshops (she makes sure to serve wine), including a recent “Mad Men”-style class featuring retro makeup. She also recently paired with the Carnegie Museum of Art in an “Otherworldly Glam” makeup event in honor of the museum’s Iris van Herpen fashion exhibit.

In case you missed it, don’t worry: She plans to bring back the popular drag-makeup workshop, taught by a drag queen. Up next, Quesnelle says she plans to launch her own line of Gilded Girl makeup and skincare products.  {JS}

(5104 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/450-0578,


A post shared by Chromos Eyewear (@chromoseyewear) on

Best Champagne-Taste Eyewear on a Beer Budget

So you want those four eyes to look glam but don’t want to break the bank? Chromos Eyewear offers high-quality prescription glasses starting at $85 a pop. Durable, stylish and designed with an actual wearer in mind, the array of frames can accommodate any prescription or polarized lens. Bonus: for every pair you buy, Chromos donates free glasses to kids in need within the Pittsburgh Public Schools system as part of the company’s Chromos Cares program.  {KB}

(3 Guys Eyecare, 5166 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/772-1473,

PHOTO by laura petrilla


Best Shop to Pretend is Your (Really Awesome) Living Room

Entering Von Walter & Funk in Lawrenceville is like entering someone’s really cool, really eclectic house. Upbeat music fills the space, decadent crystal chandeliers hang from gold medallions and an old-fashioned working sink is filled with luxury soaps. Everywhere you look, something beautiful is for sale.

Customers often say the upscale home decor, vintage goods and lifestyle boutique feels more like a gorgeous living space than a store, says Shawn Aversa, who opened Von Walter & Funk with husband Jamie McAdams in 2015. Adding to the homey vibe are vintage pictures of the owners’ respective maternal grandmothers, Janet Irene Von Walter and Harriet Pauline Funk, perched behind the register. Inspired by a trip to Europe during the winter, Aversa recently overhauled the store, switching out the paint color (the walls now are pale blue and lavender) and adding new wallpaper. Also new is Von Walter & Funk’s fun flamingo-motif back patio, where Aversa is planning to host (undoubtedly chic) cocktail parties throughout the summer.  {JS}

(5210 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/784-0800,

Categories: Best of the ‘Burgh