Best of Honolulu 2019: The Best of Shopping on O‘ahu

The 19 editorial and reader picks for the chic-est shopping in the city.

Editor Picks


Best Fabric Planters

plant sax
Photo: kenna reed


You know you’re a next-level plant parent when you shop more for your green babies than yourself. And who do we blame for our growing plant wares addiction? Plant Sax owner Jessica Heiman (watch her in the video below!) of course. We can’t get enough of her stylish planter covers made from vintage and remnant fabrics. This past year, Heiman teamed up with handbag designer Jana Lam to create a vibrant tropical collection and turned her green thumb blue, whipping up indigo shibori styles. Up next? Keep an eye out for cheery covers for your cleaning wipes containers.Brie Thalmann


SEE ALSO: Best of Honolulu 2019: The Best Food and Drink on O‘ahu


Best Lightweight Accessory

Photo: aaron k. yoshino


Earrings are having a revival right now. And most will weigh down your ears and lighten your wallets. That’s why we love’s handcrafted earrings made by Bayebette Lacar. Her lightweight materials won’t make your lobes hang low. Collections have included marbled graphic shapes made out of polymer clay, woven styles with clay circles, and drop earrings composed of wood, clay and quartz. One fashion editor, who owns three pairs, claims they weigh as much as “a cloud of cotton candy.”Stacey Makiya


Best Local Card Game

Cards 808
Photo: aaron k. yoshino


Cards for 808 is a local-kine version of Apples to Apples. One player pulls from cards with incomplete sentences: “No take ________ over da Pali.” Or “His ‘aumakua is a ________.” The other players select phrases to fill in the blanks, such as stink eye, bag of kālua pig, that one uncle who calls you bebe and Hawaiian sovereignty. It has socially conscious local wit but is still fun for group play. ‘I‘ini Kahakalau, 25, says the game comes out of Kū-A-Kanaka, her family’s Native Hawaiian social enterprise with the motto: “When natives thrive everyone benefits.”Robbie Dingeman

(808) 464-5005,


SEE ALSO: We Want Ulus 2 Ulus! 5 Reasons to Back the Hawai‘i Version of Apples to Apples


Local Old-School Specialty Shoe Store

local shoes
Photo: david croxford


Mention Uyeda Shoe Store to people who’ve been there and you’ll likely hear stories about how owner Claire Takashima found them the perfect shoe for walking all over Europe, to wear to a wedding or for a new job. “You want them to be happy—stylish, comfortable,” she says. About half of her customers are referred by doctors or friends. But don’t expect only geriatric footwear. Takashima studies trends “to see if I can stay half a step ahead of what’s going on.” Service doesn’t end with a sale. She often takes new shoes in the back to stretch or pound them just a little for a more custom fit. With longtime customers, sometimes she’s blunt: “You can buy for your eyes or your body.” The family-run store opened in 1915. Today, Takashima says people are looking more for things they can wear outdoors. “They have more of a need to be out in nature to balance the craziness that’s out there.” She’s got a shoe for that, too.RD

931 University Ave., Suite 105, (808) 941-1331


SEE ALSO: Best of Honolulu 2019: The Best of Fitness and Outdoor on O‘ahu


Best Locally Designed Sunglasses

Photo: courtesy of mohala eyewear


When the women on our team had the opportunity to try on Mohala Eyewear’s current Asian-fit sunglasses with high nose bridges, we loved what we saw: sunnies that didn’t slip, dip or lift when we smiled. We also crushed on the new selection of fresh-yet-forever frames that appealed to our very different styles. Mohala now carries 19 styles in mirrored, polarized and gradient lens options. Another spec-tacular reason we voted it the best? A portion of the proceeds go to Room to Read, a national nonprofit dedicated to educating girls in Asia and Africa.SM


SEE ALSO: Hawai‘i Brand Mohala Eyewear Creates New Sunglasses For Asian Women


Best Locally Made Figurines

Photo: david croxford


Mariko Merritt’s beachcake ceramic cuties always stir up “awwws” at our office. Her collection of Hawai‘i- inspired magnets—pastel rainbows, papayas, slippahs, shave ice—already caught our eyes. So when her line of tiny dog and cat sculptures popped up on retail shelves and Instagram, we gushed. Her ability to bring out the fur-realness of corgis, terriers and haku-wearing pōpoki is next-level talent.SM


Best Multipurpose Bags for An Active Lifestyle

waterproof bags
Photo: aaron k. yoshino


Yes, Aloha Collection’s splashproof bags are great for ocean escapes. But, c’mon, who’s sunbathing all day long? Fortunately, these accessories are more than a beachin’ staple. The durable, lightweight and stylish carryalls come in a variety of sizes and can handle a busy schedule. The fanny pack is great for a Diamond Head morning jog; the zipper tote holds everything from work folders to farmers market finds; the duffels and pouches are clutch for overnight-stay supplies. Look to Aloha Collection’s collaborations with other local companies—Samudra, Kealopiko and Jack Johnson and his Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation—for tropi-cool designs that are totes amazing.SM


SEE ALSO: What It’s Like Taking a Stand-Up Paddleboard Class from Paddle Core Fitness


Best New Local Way to Protect Your Tabletops

Photo: courtesy of workshop 28


Us: “got a trivet?” You: “What-a-what?” If you don’t know what a trivet is, you’re not alone. But, thanks to Workshop 28, more people are finding out. Scroll through the local company’s Insta and you’ll see island-inspired housewares including pineapple and monstera-shaped felt pads—aka trivets—which are used as a buffer between your table and hot plates and cookware. Workshop 28’s unique version doesn’t only do its job, it also adds tropical charm to your tablescape.SM


Best Place to Buy a Matching Outfit For You and Your Dog

Photo: aaron k. yoshino


Parents and their human children shouldn’t have all the fun: Roberta Oaks in Chinatown offers snazzy bandanas for pups, literally cut from the same cloth as your favorite aloha shirt. The stylish store stocks its own menswear and womenswear lines along with locally made jewelry, art, accessories and beauty products. The local brand crafts a perfect slim fit for both men’s and women’s shirts, all of which can be matched with your doggo’s duds.Katie Kenny

19 N. Pauahi St., (808) 526-1111,


SEE ALSO: The Most Dog-Friendly Bars and Restaurants on O‘ahu


Best Locally Owned Place to Buy Sneakers

Photo: aaron k. yoshino


We looooove shoes. Including sneakers. And, after we did some footwork, we found Runners Route ‘aiea is the best place to buy your next pair of kicks. Next to Pancakes and Waffles, the skinny space packs a lot of name-brand options. Asics, Saucony, Brooks, Hoka and Nike shoes are openly displayed on two walls. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly—they don’t crowd you and race to make a sale. They ask a few general questions about your running routine and guide you to a few pairs that fit your answers. However, the biggest reason we love it here? SALES! When we visited, more than half of the shoes were marked down. Check out @runnersroutehawaii on Instagram, where deals and sales are posted often. “Some are last season’s, others are a bit older,” says the worker we spoke to. That didn’t bother us. The runways we hit, no one cares if your shoes are so two summers ago.SM

Waimalu Plaza Shopping Center, ‘Aiea, (808) 487-3111,


Best Vintage Store

Photo: james ramsey


You need look no further than the current ’90s revival to know that when it comes to style, everything new is old. And for the best fashion-forward throwbacks we turn to Downtown boutique Barrio Vintage. Owners Bradley Rhea and Jonathan Saupe have a knack for tracking down the coolest clothing and accessories from eras past. “We get to see garments that we never would have imagined existed,” says Rhea. “We’ve had wild hand-painted denim, immensely oversized ’80s jewelry and jumpsuits with legs flared wider than we knew was possible.” Scoop up finds thrifted from across the U.S. Mainland then dive into their extensive collection of Hawai‘i- made pieces.BT

1161 Nu‘uanu Ave., (808) 674-7156


Best Women’s Aloha Shirts

jams world
Photo: courtesy of jams world


The folks at Jams World must be psychic: Somehow they’ve homed in on exactly what we want in a woman’s aloha shirt. And let’s be real, that’s no easy feat—too boxy and you’re channeling SpongeBob; too conservative and you’ll look straight out of customer service. Jams World gets it just right with a flattering neckline that opens up mid- décolletage, breezy side slits that let the garment move with you and roomy sleeves that can easily be coaxed into cool-kid rolls. Add to that painterly prints and a soft rayon fabric that drapes in all the right places and you’ve got yourself the top of the tops.BT

multiple locations,


Reader Picks


Best Aloha Attire

aloha shirt
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Go pretty much anywhere on O‘ahu and you’re bound to run into a Reyn Spooner aloha shirt. Wedding on the North Shore? Check. Baby lū‘au in Mililani? Check. Check. Business meeting Downtown? That’s too many checks to count. The alohawear label continues to be a local sartorial staple thanks to its sharp tailoring and great Island-inspired prints. Lately, we’ve been thrilled to see the label extending its womenswear range—just this spring it dropped a 58-piece women’s capsule collection replete with tropical-chic dresses, tunics, blouses and swimwear.—BT

Multiple locations,


Best Department Store


1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 2950, (808) 953-6100,


Best Furniture Store


Multiple locations,


Best Jewelry Store

Nā Hōkū

Multiple locations,


Best Place for Home Accessories

Ross Dress For Less

Multiple locations,


Best Place to Go Shoe Shopping


1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 2950, (808) 953-6100,


Best Place to Purchase Art

HiSAM Museum Gallery Shop x Mori

250 S. Hotel St., (808) 566-6615,