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Where do country's most fashionable people shop when they're not in the New York and LA? We've asked some shopping and fashion gurus to provide their hidden retail gems—those unique stores around the country that we might not all know about. It's all about getting off the beaten bath in our new feature, Shopping Confidential.
Photos courtesy Alison Freer
Alison Freer is a Los Angeles-based, Texas-bred costume designer. Her current gig is the sitcom Wendell & Vinnie, premiering February 17th on Nick at Nite. She's also the resident Clothes Editor at xoJane.com, where she writes about her love/hate relationship with fashion, clothes, and shopping.
Alison visits her hometown of Austin, Texas at least once a month, and always makes time to stop into her favorite haunt, Callahan's General Store, where she has been shopping since they opened the doors in June of 1978. Here, she gives us the scoop on why she's been a loyal customer since her childhood.
My grandpa Don was a rancher/horseman who lived way out in the boonies, about 35 miles outside of Austin proper. My brother and I spent almost every summer of our childhoods out there with him and my grandma Lola. We entertained ourselves by climbing trees, falling off horses and learning to drive stick in an old, unregistered Ford pickup. Their property backed up to 200 acres that we were free to roam like wild maniacs, and we often didn't come back until well after dark.
Once a week, I'd ride with my grandpa the 40 or so miles to the closest spot to buy farm supplies. He stocked up on hay, tractor parts, chicken feed, sometimes even the chickens themselves! It was a pretty long trek, so when Callahan's General Store opened up only 15 miles away in 1978, it was a REALLY BIG DEAL. Today, they still stock everything you need to run a farm in addition to a stellar selection of western wear, cowboy boots and kitschy household goods/decor. (Like my "SHUT THE DAMN GATE!" sign in the above photo.) I got my first pair of red cowboy boots there as a 5 year old, and just last month I picked up a new pair of spurs to wear to work and frighten my bosses with. God Bless Texas!