Amsterdam's recent ascendance as a European style capital has largely been fueled by its wunderkind designers, and the glossy shopsfashion statements in themselvesthat showcase their smart, playful work. Among the best-known of those meccas are Frozen Fountain and Droog Designs, both of which stock Marcel Wanders' winking reworking of traditional delft ceramics, Studio Job's line of unfired biscuit plates, and Piet Hein Eek's blocky furniture made from recycled wooda literal salvaging of the past.
If all that witty referencing of traditional Dutch design seems too much like an art-school project, the city is still fully stocked with the original classics. Delftware pops up in all the souvenir stores along Dam Square and the Western Canal Ring, and the best museum-quality Golden Age portraits, engravings, and silver fill the small, pricey shops that line the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat, one of Europe's great antique rows. More affordable relics can be found among the kitschy wares of the city's outdoor markets. The best of the bunch is the Noordermarkt, a Dutch jumble sale (Saturdays and Mondays only).
Familiar names such as Gucci and Chanel fill P.C. Hoofstraat, Amsterdam's most branded shopping street (near the Museum District and Vondelpark), but real clothes hounds head for the boutiques of the Nine Streets neighborhood to find more boho (i.e., genuine) Dutch style. If you only have time for one-stop shopping, the best bet is venerable Dutch department store, De Bijenkorf, on Dam Square. It's especially fun toward the end of the year, when the whole store gives up on Dutch cool and goes crazy with the Christmas tchotchkes (1 Dam; 31-20-620-9949; www.bijenkorf.nl).