Founded by former Gilt Group buyer Rebecca Blair, Whistle Club in tony Montecito on Coast Village Drive is a retail mecca featuring one of the best shopping selections in Santa Barbara and up the Central Coast. Much of the diverse assortment of international women’s wear apparel and accessories are sourced from New York which gives the space a spirited feel of a Brooklyn boutique that landed in a SoCal beach town.
Expect to find Kule basics alongside Rachel Comey seasonal favorites, ultra-luxurious wardrobe staples from Christian Wijinants plus iconic millinery from L.A label Clyde, as well as resin jewelry from Lizzie Fortunato and a wellness apothecary selection from Third Ritual. Fans of the boutique include Natalie Portman, Katy Perry, and you just never know when you might bump into relocated royals Meghan and Harry strolling around their newly adopted home base town.
We spoke with Blair to find out where she derives her main inspiration for the shop in and out of the country.
What are some of your favorite shopping cities in the world and why?
New York City: I spent most of my twenties there and continue to visit several times a year to buy for the store. I love how walkable the city is; the window shopping alone is fantastic and the people watching always offers an abundance of style inspiration.
I adore Rachel Comey – she’s an important designer for Whistle Club and the store experience is always inspiring. Just down the road I love Saturdays NYC, a lifestyle surf shop, to pick up a coffee and gift for my husband. For wildly beautiful furniture stop at BDDW and Roman and Williams Guild and I also love institutions like Strand Book Store and abc Carpet & Home that have been around for ages and just never get old. And Sincerely, Tommy and Catbird are some fun spots when in Brooklyn!
Marrakesh: The colors, textures, and smells of are unmatched. The souks are a maze of treasure hunting and it’s worth stocking up on Berber rugs and other textiles, ceramics, lanterns, and leathers. The Majorelle Garden, restored by Yves Saint Laurent and Peirre Bergé is also a must-see. The landscaping and use of “Majorelle Blue” are entirely enchanting.
Mexico City: This place completely blew me away when I visited several years ago. I am dying to go back for the food and art scene alone. Exploring Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura is at the top of my list.
Austin: This place continues to experience wild growth and not without good reason. When it comes to shopping, make a stop at Miranda Bennett Studio, Kickpleat, and By George for women’s apparel. Shop Stag Provisions for men’s and Uncommon Objects for the home trinket you never knew you needed.
Give us an example of a perfect shopping day in the city where you live.
The perfect day of shopping would start Saturday morning at the Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market. Next, grab a coffee and croissant at Handlebar Coffee Roasters before heading over to Coast Village Road in Montecito. Take a stroll down the road to shop Whistle Club, Allora by Laura, K Frank, and Maison K to name a few. Stop for lunch at Merci before heading to Summerland for great furniture and home goods scouting at Garde, Field + Fort, and The Well.
Do you have a ‘go-to’ for travel gear or accessories before a big trip?
What is one item or product that you can’t travel without?
I am usually chilly on flights, so I’m always traveling with a Rachel Comey sweatshirt. They’re wildly comfortable but still have style and look cool. They pack well, you can flip it inside out if your kid spills on you, and it can be thrown in the washing machine with ease. They’re a dream.