San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is a surprisingly fashion-focused town.
Located a three hour’s drive from Mexico City, this colorful colonial town tucked into the mountains attracts creative types – there’s are several art schools, a small community of digital nomads, and a large community of former hippies who found some financial success and moved there to retire in style.
Combine that mix of people with Mexico’s rich textile and jewelry-making heritage, and the result is bevy of upscale boutiques where you can find just the perfect thing with which to adorn yourself for sipping cocktails on a roof at sunset.
PS. Here’s my packing list for San Miguel de Allende if you’re visiting during the colder months.
The options can be a little overwhelming, so I did some research and narrowed it down to only the best, most beautiful and authentic places to shop while in town.
This small shop near the main square features beautiful indigenous textiles from Oaxaca, including ponchos of all patterns and indigo dyed scarves. Out of all the options, this one is definitely the most purely authentic and local.
This beautiful store carries the type of shawls, blankets, and ponchos that you were dreaming of when you first booked your ticket to Mexico. There’s also boho-style furniture, trinkets, and jewelry. Just be careful, as mixed in with the Mexican-made artisan products by Andrea Velasco and Amandina are rayon items from at least one “artisan-inspired” brand, Johnny Was. (Here’s why rayon isn’t great.) So verify that what you’re buying is truly local and authentic.
For something truly unique, try this store for hand-painted dresses, shawls, capes, and children’s dresses. I was this close to buying a beautiful cotton crop top with a colorful Mayan-style design, but they didn’t have my size (small) in the design I wanted. Even if it’s not quite your style, it’s worth a browse just to see the art-gallery worthy designs.
Featuring several stores of Mexican designers, plus a restaurant upstairs, this is where you go for modern Mexican design that flies in the face of what you think “Mexican” design really is. Find colorful beaded New Balances, sweatshirts with “Immigrant” embroidered on them, bird skull gold pendant necklaces, lingerie that you could wear out to the club, and a lot more.
There’s a charming type of Mexican mall, in which small shops are arranged around a restaurant courtyard. Dôce 18 is one of those, with shops selling local designers (including Mexican-made cashmere and wool serapes by Recreo), decor, ceramics, and art, plus a restaurant, champagne bar, cafe, florist, and haute food court, with a boutique hotel attached.
Also known as Mercado de Artesanias, it’s a market at Plaza Lanatón stretching across several streets with stalls selling beautiful handmade artisanal crafts and gifts.