At this time of year, even the thought of donning an innocent, inconspicuous tank top seems too overbearing for South Florida's muggy humidity. And when that happens, the women of Miami resort to anatomical liberation, a physical freedom of expression done in the most sexy of ways: the swimsuit.
Of course, finding a swimsuit is like finding a best friend or a soul mate - it ain't easy. There can be major personality pitfalls like a saggy butt or lopsided cutouts. Sometimes finding a suit can be a bigger pain in the ass than coming face-to-face with the perfect pair of jeans. And not every swimwear boutique gets your body or even cares to, for that matter. But there are few in the Magic City that do; places where expert salespeople, by just one glance, already know the ideal swimsuit you've been waiting for these long, hard months in a world full of no's.
So as this weekend's Swim Week approaches, we've hand picked the best swimwear boutiques that will leave you with a brand new "best friend" for the season - and no saggy butt. You can thank us later.
See also: The Five Best Women's Boutiques in Miami
5. Aquamarine at the Fontainebleau
The Fontainebleau is so much more than just nightly shit-shows outside of LIV and fancy-shmancy restaurants. In fact, there's an equally flashy swimwear boutique lurking right beneath all the head-throbbing untz, untz.
With names as momentous as Etro, La Perla, and Delfina swaying to and fro within its compressed, albeit glitzy, confines, is it any wonder why the Fontainebleau's best kept secret, Aquamarine, snagged a spot on our top five? Aside from the bejeweled triangle tops and crochet monokinis dueling for the affection of world-class jet setting babes, the boutique also caters to the fellas with cargo shorts, polos, and briefs (bordering on banana-hammock territory, but still screaming sexy-foreign-man-come-hither nonetheless). There are even suits for the little tikes with Delfina diminutives, twinning their adult (pieces).
And though the Fontainebleau usually caters only to big spenders, Aquamarine satisfies the price-palettes of every wallet: starting as low as $18 Havaianas flip flops, and as pocket-singeing as a pair of $3,000 Chrome Heart Sunglasses.
Brazilian cuts, thongs, separates, full bottoms, heart bottoms, you name it - South Miami's Nikki's Beachhouse welcomes all bum-rushing bottoms to the scene to turn booties of all shapes and sizes into one hot piece of arse.
The boutique garners just about anything that will heighten your chances of scamming a free bottle and your future boo at one of Miami's rooftop ragers, including a flurry of fedora-swag and skimpy body chains because why the hell not. They even offer a Sports Illustrated model starter kit, equipped with the very same modal heart-bottoms by Bitinis worn by one of the cover goddesses of the perennial man-Bible.
Other international and domestic brands like Frankie's Bikinis, Beauty and the Beach, and Agua Bendita call the beachhouse home. But owner Rosana Mattioli doesn't just cling to one gang of swim lines. Each year, the store welcomes seven new lines inside its doors with open arms. And while Mattioli gives all up-and-comers a fair glance, she admits it can get a wee overwhelming, especially come this time of year: "Swim Week is coming and we've been bombarded with all these new designers." Looks like it'll be more than seven this year.
Price Range: $120-$300
Could South Miami be the ultimate nesting ground for a swimwear boutique invasion? From our vantage point, it seems likely. And if we had to choose a fearless leader to pilot this two-piece takeover, it would definitely go to the longstanding likes of Mermaids Boutique.
Sure, this 14-year old vet is irrefutably the oldest kid on the block, but it still gets a kick out of schooling the rookies, still sportin' floaties, on the most current and hottest trends in spandex blends and flutter tops. Thirty different brands make up the DNA of this mythological treasure trove, namely: Stone Fox, L*Space, Vix, 6 Shore Road, and its own in-house line, Kai Lani, a line that fancies cinched bikini bottoms, combining blasé nudes with bracing, vibrant colors, hordes of braided ties, and mesh. (Yes, it's as cute as it sounds.)
And as far as the chemistry compound amid the store and its allegiant clientele goes, boutique owner Jessica Sierralta says she would easily "bend over backwards" for every single customer, promising personal drop off orders, and staying open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (which, apart from the mall, is absolutely unheard of in the retail world).
That's not the only thing for which Jessica and the store will be bending over backwards. On Friday, July 18th, during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, brand ambassador Kai Lani will be partnering up with local names like Alexis and Del Toro to host a runway show at the Soho House called Style Saves.
Price Range: $110-$350
As you climb your way to the sixth floor of Orchid's building, you might wonder, "Wait, am I going to a boutique or the doctor's office?" But despair not, for you have indeed come to the right place. Known primarily for its massive digital presence, the Downtown Miami showroom also offers up bucketloads of the world's scantiest swimsuits deriving from the bare-skin family.
But unlike any of the other boutiques topping our list, Orchid takes a different approach to mainstream shopping. Instead of meandering through racks on racks on racks of goodies, Orchid simplifies your life by plopping you down in front of one of their two computers, where you get to choose the swimsuits of your choice. Think Cher Horowitz's virtual closet. And once you scour through the countless pages of Milonga, Maaji, Vitamin A, and Mar de Rosas swimwear, the Orchid crew digs up each item, piece by piece, for your own private fitting, where the real fun ensues.
Sounds very exclusive, doesn't it? Believe us, it is. But contrary to popular belief, no appointments are necessary; walk-ins are loved and accepted just as much. When you're done scooping up a couple of suits, we highly recommend to check out their accessory bag of goodies for some rare finds; specifically their exclusive hand-made bracelets from French brand Hipanema and dress slippers-gone-Last of the Mohicans by Colombian brand Cana.
Price Range: $20-$400
1. Nic del Mar
Are you really surprised though? Come on. It didn't take home our Best of Miami title for Best Swimwear for nothing.
Trust us, it'll all set in once you finally make the trip to the trend-driven Coral Gables boutique. Owned by the sister act Jeannette and Lyanne Roger, the shop is carefully curated to reflect the very distinct tastes of both very distinct siblings. Brands like Mara Hoffman, Indah, and Beach Riot coincide with Jeannette's affinity for bold color and print concepts, while Tori Praver, cloth-based Made by Dawn, and Posh Pua were made to evince Lyanne's simple, yet classic take on swimsuits. Bottom line: everyone goes home a happy camper; including their over 50k fan-base, larking in and out of the beachy compost on the daily.
The boutique also takes the boyfriend being dragged into one of his girlfriend's many shopping adventures into consideration, with menswear lines like LA-based brand AMBSN. They even have mini replicas of their women's swimsuits for the stylish youngsters ahead of their time. And of course, like any boutique that has anything to do with the word swim, the two sissies will be hosting a pop-up boutique with macramé-crazed brand, Indah, at the Soho Beach House this Saturday to showcase their exclusive collabo. Two words: Don't miss out. (Okay, three words.)
Price range: $40-$375
Send your story tips to Cultist at email@example.com.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.