I went on a shopping spree, well more like a window shopping spree (Summer fun with the kids is cutting into my shopping budget) following Southern Living magazine’s advise.
This month they featured 7 Miami boutiques in their travel section and I took a day last week to go check them all out.
All of the stores they recommended were on Miami Beach but only one was in what I consider South Beach “proper.” Some would consider that an oxymoron, but there are definite boundaries to the heart of the Art Deco, bikini/thong clad, anything, I MEAN ANYTHING goes district, that gives this area its reputation. I mean there is South Beach, and then there is SOUTH BEACH…does that make sense? We’re talking Ocean Drive and Collins Ave from 5th through 22nd Street… And that might be stretching it but I thought I should include the W Hotel.
The Orchid Boutique is located at 8th Street and Collins Avenue.
If Southern Living had not recommended this store I might have walked on by (sorry Orchid Boutique). Not that it doesn’t have a nice store front, but from my experience, the South Beach stores that display swimsuits, and are not national chains that we all know and love, are a little bit, if I may be frank, cheesy and cheap (not necessarily price, but material).
But what do I know? Obviously, not much, because I had probably my best bathing suit trying on experience of my life at the Orchid Boutique. And it is not because I LOOK the best I have ever looked in a suit- no pictures here, you are just going to have to trust me on this one.
I loved the Orchid Boutique because
1. The inventory was beautiful and unique, yet not over the top expensive. It seems like I could buy a suit here and not see it walking by me on every trip I take to the beach.
2. The space was bright, light and not filled to the brim with inventory, which I find overwhelming. Walking in this beautiful shop took me to a happy place, which is a good place to start when trying on swim suits.
3. The sales person was super nice and accommodating. I believe there is an art to being helpful, yet not pushy, and suggestive, but not judgemental when it comes to selling clothes, or anything, really. The perfect sales associate some how knows when to leave a shopper alone to browse by themselves or when to come to the rescue when a customer needs some help. The sales person at Orchid Boutique, whose name I wish I knew, was all that and more which made my shopping experience very pleasant.
Southern Living magazine explained, “The Orchid Boutique is an e-retailer that went brick-and-mortar in March, giving beach bunnies instant access to their unique collection of 22 hand-picked labels.”
I found that I really loved the brightly colored Columbian line, Maaji.
According to the About page of their own website, “the Maaji signature has been built up by avant-garde combinations and prints, mix of materials and textures, inventive and cutting-edge silhouettes and the sweetness and ubiquitous presence of small details.” I think that it is the mix of material feel that I liked best and really made this line feel special and unique. The fabrics felt very expensive and BONUS, their suits were reversible… so with one purchase it’s almost like you are getting two bathing suits for one. PLUS, when you purchase a suit from the Maaji Underwater Conquest Collection, the company will plant a tree in your honor. Click on the link below for further details of the company’s environmental initiative and a fun tool that let’s you calculate your own carbon footprint:
I am excited that Southern Living magazine introduced me to this beautiful boutique. Shopping for a new bathing suit can be quite stressful but I know from now on I won’t have to look any further than the Orchid Boutique.
Don’t worry, even if you don’t live in Miami you have full access to this store online. Visit their store at: <a href="http://www.theorchidboutique.com
And here is a tip: if you want to make your swimsuit shopping day more enjoyable, just stay away from the 3 way mirrors. You can FEEL if a suit doesn’t fit correctly on your backside, right? Why worry too much with what lies on the other side? If you look in the mirror and what you see makes you smile just go with it- trust me, it will completely change your bathing suit shopping experience.Read More
I love Southern Living magazine! Every Christmas my mom slips a gift certificate for the annual subscription in my Christmas stocking right next to the Runners World certificate from my dad (stockings are not just for children at our house).
This month (July 2012) I was so excited to see “Miami’s Summer Style” under retail therapy in the travel section. The first boutique listed was THE WEBSTER, which the kids and I checked out last May but I had not been to any of the 6 other stores featured and I could not wait to explore some new territory.
Last Saturday the family was packed and ready for the beach. My husband must have been thinking that I might need SOME kind-of therapy. As we were about to walk out of the door he said, “Mer, why don’t you go do something else… get out of here. I can take the kids to the beach.”
For a second, I felt a little left out from the family fun and started to resist, but then looked Vince in the eyes and realized he was just trying to give me a little gift. My added summer job as Kallaher Camp Counselor can get a little exhausting so I responded, “well there are a couple stores that I’ve been wanting to check-out.. you wouldn’t mind?”
I don’t think I even waited for his response.. nor did I take the time to change out of my bathing suit. I just exchanged my flip-flops for a pair of cute wedges and was out the door with my Southern Living magazine.
I had already “googled” all of the stores and knew that they were all on South Beach, so I headed North to the A1A and parked in my husband’s office building garage, that is half a mile from the base of Lincoln Road.
According to www.lincolnroad.org, “Carl Fisher, the wealthy original developer of Miami Beach, envisioned Lincoln Road to be the Miami Beach counterpart to Fifth Avenue in New York, or Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. And indeed in the boom times of South Beach in the 1930′s, 1940′s, and 1950′s, it could match those upscale fashionable shopping districts.” Now, in 2012 it might not have all of the couture shopping houses that you can find on Fifth Avenue, but it is fun shopping! One-of-a-kind boutiques, art galleries and trendy restaurants that all stay open late make this shopping road quite unique.
On my blog this week I want to share my experiences on my Southern Living shopping spree. Saturday, I started up Lincoln from Washington Avenue and stopped at the first store I came to from their July list: the Alchemist.
Very unassuming from the sidewalk, the Alchemist was a small white-walled room lined with beautiful high fashion pieces organized by color.
I was the only shopper in the store and thoroughly enjoyed taking my time, admiring the beautifully crafted art that hung in this store! It was exciting too, because almost the entire store’s inventory was marked to 50% off! Everything, except this gorgeous Isabel Marant number that I slipped on and LOVED (I wish the picture did it justice).
Although, most of my future visits to the Alchemist will be to admire their selection of inventory rather than purchase (most is out of this stay at home mom’s budget) I can’t wait to go back. Their store was full of surprises!
I loved this line of skull cameos from a “hot NY designer” according to the clerk, (I must find the name but no luck tonight).
And this beautiful collection of jewel-toned heels
Sadly, I left with none of these items in my shopping bag, but a girl can always dream right? After leaving the Alchemist I moved on to the uber-cool resale store, The Fly Boutique (meet me here tomorrow to read about my second-hand finds).
Want to see more from the Alchemist? Check them out at www.shopalchemist.com OR visit their second location that is an 1800-square-foot “stunner” carved into a Herzog & de Meuron-designd parking garage, located at the opposite end of Lincoln Road.
**For those readers new to this blog I just wanted to point-out that I have not been employed as a summer counselor this year, just enjoying Summer time with my 3 young kids.Read More