Is it just us, or do Miami women spend more time shopping than anywhere else in the world? Ladies in the 305 do more than just embrace the "women be shopping" stereotype -- they abuse the crap out of it. And why not? Whether it's a slammin' party that Diddy, Cavalli, or Usher is throwing, a Sunday Funday on the water with your "boat friends," or a low-key afternoon at Tia's house, there's always something to dress up for.
Naturally, local boutiques have picked up on Miami ladies' spendy ways. Here are the best, where you can let your shopaholic ways run rampant. Hey, at least you'll look good while you're breaking the bank.
This luxury boutique embodies everything that Cultist stands for: art, fashion, architecture, and cultural lifestyle. Sure, it sits on the more pricey side of the spectrum, but immortal quality has no cost. Not only did Alchemist win the AIA Honor award from the American Institute of Architecture for Best Interior Space in the Country (designed by architect heavyweight champ Rene Gonzalez), but it's also stocked up with some of the best names in the game such as Kenzo, Thom Browne, Junya Watannabe, and Celine.
Unlike our other candidates on the list, Alchemist has not one but two boutiques boasting minimalism - one on the west side of Lincoln Road, right off of Alton, and the other hovering right above in the The Herzog and Demueron Carpark on the fifth level. Aside from all the floor plan intricacies, the designer boutique also guarantees fancy clientele exclusivity with private appointments (because investing in a $1,990 Saint Laurent top is a big fucking deal, folks). Though Alchemist has already contributed loads to the Miami fashion scene, founder Roma Cohen says the store has more up its sleeve. "There's a new store plan being developed, as well as a SUPER project for Art Basel 2014. But you'll have to stay tuned to learn more." Psh, what a tease.
Price point: Expect to drop them Benjys.
4. Fox House
"What a fox." That's what they'll say as you exit this beachy-indie pop-up shop that sits on Midtown and Wynwood's outskirts. This is a boutique for the Boho girl at heart, the one who'd rather lie low in a slouchy, fringed Kimono and some denim cut-offs than be caught dead in a restricting Hervé Léger bandage dress outside of LIV.
Neo-hippie Australian brands like Mink Pink, Insight, and surf-inspired Tallow dwell within the house, alongside swimwear brands like Mandalynn and, of course, Stone Fox. Dreamcatchers of all hues and sizes, scented candles, and ethereal drapes also help set the mood in this cozy nirvana. As cool and trendy as all of its new merch may be, it's the fox's #tbt nuances that really catch our eye.
The pop-up also devotes a plenty of space to vintage pieces at ridiculously inexpensive prices. And we bet you've never met a philanthropic fox who has a strong sense of community before. "There's like five organizations that Fox House is trying to raise awareness to," storeowner Tobi Salver says, listing non-profit causes like Miami Rescue Mission and Pet's Trust. Dog lovers: holler.
Price point: $40-$250
Miami, Splash has heard you and it considers your feelings. Contrary to your average boutique, which changes its merchandise according to season, this South Miami boutique doesn't like to pretend Miami's something it's not.
"We're not going to carry heavy jackets," owner Beatriz Reyes tells us. "We'll carry what you're going to wear according to the weather" -- which is summertime, all the time. So forget your wool cable knits and goose down anything, and expect to see laces, cocktail dresses, and a bevy of swimsuits in the light, airy expanse with a killer festooned window display.
To tie into the whole island-life vibe, a much beachier Splash also calls the Bahamas home; Reyes spends most of her time there. But it's the island store's more metropolitan twin that caters to a spectrum of brands like Finders Keepers, One Teaspoon, and local designer Alexis that we can't get enough of. But the best part about summer shopping at Splash is the wave of countless swimsuit brands harbored toward the back of the store. Check out the Micoh x Surf two-piece done in 100% neoprene; you'll feel like a total Bond girl.
Price Point: $68-$1,200
2. Style Mafia
"We always want to have new stuff for our customers," a 23-year old Simonett Pereira tells us about her Wynwood boutique, Style Mafia, while fearlessly sporting a pair of neon-orange jellies. And just like her bold, playful footwear, her private label store garners that same individuality.
Every month, approximately 30 pieces are freshly displayed at the shop for Pereira's fashion-forward clientele to shop away. The boutique, best known for its architectural aesthetic, daring cuts, and chic, industrial edge, regales the girl who always likes to look jujjed-up. If you're a "Maxxinista" who prefers to schlep around in her brother's sweats and calls slipping on a pair of Rainbows "dressing-up," this isn't for you. The Style Mafia girl enjoys complicating her life with pieces like a perforated, ruffled, asymmetrical trench, or a thick denim dress with beadwork that would make any world-renowned mathematician's head hurt. The beauty is in the craftsmanship of each individual piece.
But designing clothes isn't the only talent that Style Mafia masters. Putting the clothes together is just as fun. "We love to be educators," Pereira explains the purpose behind the weekly photo shoots and countless look books she assembles. The look books serve as a "how-to" added bonus for the stylistically challenged client, who knows a good thing when she sees it, but needs a few pointers on how to style it. Don't worry, girl. The Style mafia is here to regulate.
Price Point: $20-$450
1. Shay Studio
If Victoria Beckham had a favorite store in Miami, this would be it. The word posh best describes this Design District hidden gem that caters to the woman who knows what she wants and is sure as hell not afraid to get it. Contemporary lines like American Retro, Generation Love, and Talulah are piecemealed into sections according to type of girl: edgy, retro, playful, and sporty - a total playground for any fashion chameleon.
Can't make it into the studio space that day? Not a worry. Shay Studio will come to you. The store offers an ultra personalized in-house service, pulling garments from the store, specifically to your taste, and hauling them to wherever you are -- work, your house, a Marlins game, wherever.
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Whether you stroll in store-side, or have them over within the comfort of your very own living room, Shay Studio only asks one thing of you: "Be beautiful," says the store's buyer Olatz Zanguitu. "Our role is to make women feel special about who they are and what they wear." Now that's some good customer service.
Price point: $42-$1,500