Most SXSW (South by Southwest) enthusiasts flock to Austin, Texas in March for a week overflowing with live music, but this style editor went in search of the lone star state fashion scene. Here’s a peek at some of the standout looks I saw during the week and a glance at Austin’s unique fashion boutiques.

Day one and two of my Austin adventures began with jumping around shows downtown. The Flamingo Cantina, a kitschy tiki bar complete with pink flamingo décor and island themed cocktails was the first stop. After spotting a few bold color choices and a denim Smurf vest, I was ready to see more of the Austin style that awaited just down the road. Individuality was clearly the ticket at SXSW. Whether it was concert goers donning large sun hats paired with oversized shades or bicyclists in seer sucker blazers, the streets became a stage lit by the Texas sun for fashion and personal style.

The crowds however were not the only places bursting with style. The Austin shopping scene is a must for fashion fanatics. My first encounter with the local retail scene was Blackmail, a 12- year-old South Congress Avenue haunt. The shop, described by the owner as a “cabinet of curiosity” was just that. The goth-chic boutique was filled with little gems like John Derian decoupage trays and small clutches from

Tracey Turner and Monserat de Lucca along with quirky finds like necklaces adorned with baby doll appendages. The items in the shop are a combination of retail items from new designers and Austin based designers as well as antiques and interesting finds from the owner.

A trip further down South Congress offered more fabulous retail spots including By George, a women’s clothing boutique with great shoes from Joie and Stag-Provisions For Men, a shop featuring everything from clothing and Miroslav Sasek  “This Is…” books to Malin + Goetz skincare.

Service menswear was another menswear treat. The quaint little shop tucked away on South Congress was filled to the brim with everything a man could need including premium men’s denim like Naked Famous Japanese denim, beautifully colorful socks from Etiquette and Happy Socks, Cole Haan and Jack Purcell for Converse shoes, Penguin and Ben Sherman tops and pants, and even unique fragrances and soaps.

Style and fashion were not hard to find everywhere from boutiques on South Congress or on East 6th street at Cheer Up Charlies and the rooftop terrace of the W Hotel, I was met with more visual delights than my eye could handle. SXSW may have the music game on lock, but don’t underestimate its cool factor when it comes to fashion. Austin proved to be a big city with big style.

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