It isn’t only bikinis and skin-tight white jeans in Miami. With the stylish Art Basel crowd visiting South Beach every year, and a crop of new, glossy hotels popping up this spring, Miami’s fashion scene has recently kicked it up a notch with a wash of intriguing choices. Alongside fancy boutiques and designer names, there’s some of the best vintage shopping around. (Just imagine all the retired Boca and Palm Beach ladies with designer pieces to spare.) Herewith, some of our favorite Miami vices.
For Well-Priced Sundresses and Separates
To score the latest in laid-back celebrity style, Jessie boutique on Alton Road is a good bet. Both designs and prices are approachable fare. The boutique stocks easy sundresses and separates by Parker, Rebecca Taylor and House of Harlow. A pair of black flats by Yosi Samra (and spotted on Jessica Alba) will set you back only $59, and a printed Equipment sleeveless silk blouse (seen on Lauren Conrad) goes for $198.
The Kicker: Don't miss out on combing the sale rack. There’s usually a solid selection of items worth snagging.
For High-End Investment Purchases
The Webster was one of the first luxury shops to make a splash on the Miami fashion scene, is like the friend with the coolest closet around. It’s a worldly and well-edited assortment of mid-range contemporary (Sea New York, Alexander Wang, and Rag & Bone) to runway-type designer brands (think drool-worthyLanvin and Proenza Schouler). There’s also an interesting selection of designer swimwear by Eres, Basta Surf, and Brazilian line Jo de Mer. During sales, they go for 50% off.
The Kicker: While you’re at it, check out the store’s lifestyle section. Items such as the Ted Shred’s Surf Wax Scented Candle ($36), make fun gifts.
For Cutting-Edge Designers
A park garage with a shopping boutique? Yes, if you’re a high fashion devotee. Located on the 5th level of the architecturally stunning Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage, Alchemist's glass-ensconced aerie stocks such cutting edge designers as Rick Owens, Givenchy and Alaïa.
The Kicker: Avant-garde doesn’t come cheap (think the four-figure range), but the location alone is worth the visit.
For Antiques and Collectibles
The Lincoln Road Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market takes over glossy Lincoln Road every other Sunday with its varied assortment of housewares, tchotchkes, and fashion finds. On a recent trip, there were great ‘50s sunglass frames, Lucite bangles, and sunny, colorful sheaths for $50 and less.
The Kicker: Go early in the day for the best selection, but near closing time is when you can really wheel and deal on the prices.
For a Range of Vintage Finds
If designer vintage is your thing, hightail it to North Miami Beach. There, C.Madeleine’s has been boggling vintage hounds with an organized selection of designer wares dating back to the early 1900's. You won’t be scoring thrift store deals, but you won’t be dealing with the musty smells or quality issues either. Prices range from affordable, under $100 separates, to pristine Valentino haute couture pieces for $3,000 and up.
The Kicker: Plan to spend a few hours in this emporium. There’s a good selection of merch regularly updated.
For Stylish West Coast Labels
Kore Boutique may be just north of the usual tourist track, but that translates to better prices at the register. (You can do well here with $100.) There’s a fun selection of hot weather tops, frocks, and clutches (mostly from L.A. labels), and the selection is well-curated so you won’t be caught wearing the same thing as another stylish guest at the nearby Soho Beach House.
The Kicker: With the fast turnover, check the store’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date stock.
For One-Stop Shopping
Bal Harbour may have the glitzy shops, but across the bay, Miami Design District has an artful mix of fashion boutiques, home furnishing shops, and eateries. International designer labels like Marni and Maison Martin Margiela have outposts. And there are also local upstarts favoring contemporary European designers: Sebastien James stocks French label Iro, and En Avance carries Danish brand By Malene Birger.
The Kicker: The website is updated regularly and has maps that give a great lay of the land. Culture note: every second Saturday of the month, the District hosts a nighttime gallery walk, featuring art, music, design, and food.
Photo credit: ntzolovntzolov / flickr