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Best Stationary Stores

Hand-embroidered cards lovely enough to frame are displayed at Soolip (8646 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 310-360-0545) alongside 100-percent-silk hand-dyed ribbon, drawers of pressed flowers, and decorative storage boxes. Housed in three charming cottages across from the Pacific Design Center, Soolip is known for its custom work. Sample books bring brides-to-be to tears, either because the designs are so stunning (think banana leaf envelopes and tea-dyed paper) or because they know the budget will be blown on invitations. Prices for a five-piece invitation start at $28, and that’s before Soolip’s calligrapher—formerly the official scribe to the Russian government—gets to work.

Tucked into a minimall, Paper Goose (4397 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, 818-760-0621) has gorgeous ribbon by the yard and racks of specialty single-sheet wrapping paper in such patterns as faux embossed snakeskin that had us wishing we had suitably fabulous gifts. Serious letter writers will find brass seals and wax, while numerous place cards will aid the civilized dinner party host. We’re also crazy for the mix-and-match single-color notepaper and envelopes from German-based Rossler.

A signature line of paper, cards, and envelopes in many shapes and creative colors—not just red but “strawberry,” “stardream Mars red,” and “papaya”—can be found at Paper Source (9460 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, 310-288-9700; 163 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-577-3825). The national chain of 20 bright, airy, and feminine boutiques also offers classes in calligraphy and gift wrapping (don’t laugh, you could learn a few things). Speaking of which, the selection of individual-sheet gift-wrap paper could keep Candy Spelling’s infamous wrapping room stocked for years. A wall of rubber stamps includes initials for personalizing stationery.

Swain’s (537 N. Glendale Ave., Glendale, 818-243-3129), a 12,000-square-foot mega store off the 134, has everything you’d expect from a well-stocked stationery specialist: boxes of cards from Crane & Co., Vera Wang, and Anna Griffin, single-sheet decorative paper for creating invitations on your home computer, greeting cards, calendars, organizers galore, a dazzling array of pencils and pens, and Liquid Paper in eight hues (who knew?).

With its pink floor and big glass jars behind the counter, Sugar Paper (225 26th St., Santa Monica, 310-451-7870; also at 1749 Ensley Ave., Century City, 310-277-7804) recalls a candy shop. But the jars at this tiny boutique in the Brentwood Country Mart are filled with snazzy ribbon, not sweets. One wall features ready-made greeting cards, most of which are letterpressed. Sugar Paper’s strong suit is inhouse custom work: tasteful invitations, thank-you notes, even business cards—at $2 a card, you might think twice before handing them out.

At 84 years old, Frances Orr (320 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-271-6106) is the longest-operating retailer in Beverly Hills. Don’t let its age fool you. The sizable boutique still has spunk, customizing pre-packaged invitations for anything from first birthdays to poker tourneys in a couple of days.

Audrey Woollen’s new boutique Urbanic (1644 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310-401-0427) is small and somewhat sparsely stocked. But Woollen’s groovy taste will have you snapping up a dozen greeting cards for your on-hand inventory, and while you’re at it, some of the best-looking gift bags around (a dozen designs include peacock feathers and white branches on a chocolate back ground). The Essential Greeting Card Collection for Guys (a little blue box containing a year’s worth of cards for better-not-forget occasions) and whimsical sticky notes from Venice-based Knock Knock round out the mix.

Photograph courtesy sugarpaper.com