Best Of :: Shopping & Services
From humble beginnings, the Spot has emerged as South Florida's number-one, er, spot for the best gentlemen's haircut experience. The first shop opened in Little Havana in 2001, and the business has since grown to 16 locations — including outlets in Brickell, Doral, Fort Lauderdale and Sunny Isles. An additional three shops (in Coconut Creek, Pembroke Pines Gardens and South Beach) are in the works. But aside from its obvious success, what makes the Spot so special? Well, services run the spectrum, including blade-edging beard service, nose, ear and eyebrow waxing, pedicures and, yes, a good old-fashioned haircut. The shops' ambiance and staff are always welcoming, too. That may or may not have something to do with the massive "GOD IS GOOD" banner that adorns every location; God has certainly been good to the Spot through the years, and the Spot continues to be good to us.
Shopping for a new swimsuit is a pain, but it doesn't have to be dispiriting. Founded by Jamaican-American model Jessica Wong in 2018, XhaleSwim is designed to make wearers feel comfortable and sexy, whether they're on display at the beach or in an inflatable pool in the backyard. Each piece is handmade in Miami by a local seamstress and doubled-lined, making every swimsuit completely reversible. The brand's string bikinis, lace-up one-pieces, and high-neck maillots are available in sizes XS to XXL. Wong's mission is for her customers to relax and lose the cover-up — and in these suits, you'll want to show off.
One of the few stores in the Design District to offer original designs, Simonett features a ready-to-wear line by founder and creative director Simonett Pereira. Her pieces are eclectic without being trendy, and entirely wearable for the modern woman, whose tastes range — in non-pandemic times — from sleek business wear to edgy evening outfits. Pereira also gives space to similar up-and-coming local and visiting designers, raising money for causes with special collections. And despite its upscale location, Simonett is defined by relative affordability. The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
When you step inside the cool, minimalist environs of BASE Superstore in Wynwood, it's hard to imagine that this pioneer of "curated retailing" celebrated its 30-year anniversary in 2019. The brainchild of Bruce Canella and co-founder Steven Giles, the hoppin' menswear spot spent 20-plus years on Lincoln Road before moving to its Second Avenue digs, where it continues to maintain its quality, selection and general awesomeness. On a typical day, the store boasts accessories like Comme Des Garçons wallets (starting at $89), top-notch Lady White tees ($55 and up) and the latest Birkenstock footwear ($44.95 and up). There are plenty of quirky things to complement the garb, too, including Superplastic toys ($75 and up), skateboards by guest artists, and even BASE's own handcrafted fragrance line ($75 for a 4 oz. bottle). With its longevity and an unwavering knack for keeping it fresh, BASE is looking sharper than ever in 2020.
Miami is often referred to as the "sixth borough" thanks to the sheer number of New Yorkers who call the Magic City home — part-time, at least. But while Rees Escobar and Steven Sanz's Design District boutique may wink at the Big Apple, make no mistake: This shop is all 305. Lower East Coast specializes in highly coveted and hard-to-find streetwear brands, including local labels like Stray Rats and its own in-house brand, and designers such as Delicate Porcelain, Bedlam, and Marni. Prices range wildly from $30 to upwards of $1,000, but rest assured, it's all high quality. LEC also carries a variety of publications, from photo books to Japanese fashion magazines and progressive zines.
In the Before Times, dry cleaning was a necessity for the modern professional urban dweller. And while the service isn't in such high demand these days — no one knows what kind of pants you're wearing on Zoom, or if you're wearing pants at all — its purveyors are waiting patiently for life to once again involve clothing that needs their services. In Miami, we look to the DryCleaning Factory and its owner, Rafa Riefkohl, whose likeness adorns the company's vans (though Riefkohl notes that the caricature was "16 years and 60 pounds ago"). A lot of dry cleaners offer pickup and delivery service, but the DryCleaning Factory makes it the centerpiece of its business model. Service routes cover most of the office buildings, apartments and condos from Brickell to Edgewater going north and from downtown to Coconut Grove heading west. Riefkohl, who's seen a lot of changes in the city in the company's 16 years, says it's been a great ride.
Lauren Arkin-Malacsina's L.A. Boudoir Miami is the product of a longtime passion: She developed an eye for quality vintage early on, and eventually turned her collection into a business. Arkin-Malacsina currently operates L.A. Boudoir — formerly a Biscayne Boulevard storefront — from her home. And while the move was pre-pandemic, she says the decision has helped her beloved business stay afloat. L.A. Boudoir offers vintage styles for men, women, and children, as well as accessories and special items like perfume atomizers, flasks, and cigarette holders. Not in the market for special-occasion styling right now? You can still browse the website and dream of the places you'd go — and the heads you'd turn — in a 1980s-style sequined cocktail dress or a 1950s-inspired strapless evening gown. And if you're looking to spice things up during stay-at-home times, L.A. Boudoir's lingerie will transform you into the poutiest of pinups.
Since the mid-1980s, Miami Twice has been the Magic City's best-known, tried-and-true vintage store. The place is a wonderland of clothes, shoes, jewelry, and accessories from nearly every decade of the 20th Century. Whenever mass gatherings come back, here's where you'll find the perfect slinky flapper dress for that 1920s theme party, or fingerless gloves and leg warmers for a flashy '80s get-together. Visitors can find pinup dresses and other retro delights any day of the week except Sundays, when Miami Twice is closed. In October, the owners turn the store into the stuff Halloween dreams are made of — a great reason to skip the chains and shop local.
Jewelry maker Kathe Cuervo has been crafting with sterling silver for years. After selling her handmade jewelry online and at select local shops and craft markets, the Colombian artisan opened her first brick-and-mortar in early 2020 at the Upper Buena Vista open-air shopping mall. In its sweet corner location, the Kathe Cuervo Store highlights row after row of silver rings, turquoise beaded bracelets, necklaces, earrings — the works. In addition to her unique jewelry, Cuervo sells an eclectic mix of goods such as nail polish from Deco Miami, another local small business, and stationery, coffee mugs, and small houseplants. When you meet the petite, dark-haired Colombian, who is frequently at the shop with her husband and young son, you'll feel right at home; her demeanor is as warm and inviting as her store's decor. Despite the global pandemic, Cuervo continues to sell her jewelry online, and the Upper Buena Vista store remains open with adjusted hours.
Talk about high-pressure shopping: You want to impress the one who's stolen your heart, look good in those everlasting photographs, and rock social media on your big day. But what you have in mind can be very different from what's out there — and the fairy tale can only work if it starts with you saying yes to the dress. Snag a private appointment at Ever After in Coconut Grove, where Camille Russler and her team will show you a good time and an array of high-quality dream gowns from designers Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang, and Zuhair Murad. And don't worry if it's not a perfect fit from the get-go: Whether you choose modern, vintage short, or mermaid, this bridal boutique's atelier will custom-tailor your find to your unique needs, body, and style to reflect all that's special about you.
Part of the thrill of antique shopping comes from never knowing what you're going to find and marveling at unexpected oddities. Like a book written by a Revolutionary War chaplain. Or a pre-World War I sawtooth bayonet. Or something called a womb chair, which is supposed to be one of the most comfortable things you'll ever sit on. Antique Mall Y'All is an antique aficionado's dream. Come for the vintage perfume or jewelry, stay for a conversation about antique vs. modern furniture with Shelley Stanczyk, who opened the store in 1998 after a career as a schoolteacher and administrator. A self-professed lover of all things beautiful, Stanczyk turned her passion for collecting antiques into a business. With merchandise from over 170 dealers and Stanczyk's eye for the charming and authentic, you're sure to find something wonderful. Choose your own adventure from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
You can go westbound on the Dolphin Expressway until you reach that familiar blue-and-yellow building to pick out ready-to-assemble Scandinavian furniture, but where's the thrill in that? Since 2006, Eclectica has provided Miami-area furniture shoppers with a vintage mid-century alternative. The warehouse, located deep in west Kendall, is open by appointment only, but in it you'll find a treasure trove of lovingly revamped pieces that look like they came straight out of Mad Men. From rich, earth-toned tapestries to geometric vases and industrial lamps, owner Katrina Cristobal has amassed quite the collection of knickknacks to make your home decor stand out. The shop also sells on Etsy for more convenient shopping from home.