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The best boutiques for the Miami heat

By: Merika Vine

Issue date: 7/8/08 Section: Insight
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Anyone who lives in Miami knows by now how important it is to look good, and the consequences that come with not looking one's best. Miami is home to some of South Florida's most exclusive and trendy boutiques, as any bustling city under the sun should be. Depending on the look and style you're going for, check out these local shops to outdo your friends next time you're on the town.

Best for…Adaptable South Beach Outfits
Crimson Carbon is the ultimate boutique for the "SoBe Chic" look because of its range of versatile pieces that can lead you from lunch in the exclusive Bal Harbor to sipping cocktails in a hip Miami nightclub. This cute, vibrant shop is ideally situated on Washington Avenue and carries a wide variety of acclaimed worldwide designers, as well as some upcoming local designers. For pastels with a tailored finish, try Greyhound; check out Wendy Katlen and Munich for nautical-inspired pieces; and Flux Nouveau (who hail from California) for fun, sexy basics. Prices range from approximately $70 to $300, which is perhaps a bit beyond a student budget. However, be sure to check out the clearance rack, as some beautiful items can drop to as little as $30.

Crimson Carbon
524 Washington Ave.
Suite 101
South Beach, FL 33139
305.538.8262

Best for…Grooving in the Grove
Up Against the Wall is the place to go for laid-back yet funky outfits, which is ideal for nights out in Coconut Grove. The Grove is often a nauseating fashion dilemma for ladies, as we all want to get dressed up and look good, yet we have to face the fact that beer will be spilled all over our LBDs. Thus, for chilled "Grove fashion," Up Against the Wall is a boutique not to be faulted. With many funky tees, skinny jeans and cool accessories in bright, luminous colors, you will definitely stand out in the Grove while never looking over-dressed. Big prints and graffiti feature prominently in the collections. Up Against the Wall chooses to stock heavily, and the good news for guys is that they stock just as much menswear as they do women's (a rarity in Miami stores). Again, being an independent designer boutique, the prices are fairly high, ranging from $50 to $350. Nevertheless, there is often a sizeable clearance rack starting from just $10.

Up Against the Wall
5701 Sunset Drive
South Miami, FL
305.663.6042

Best for…Bumming on South Beach
Desiree Nercessian is the perfect boutique for beachwear glamour and can fulfill every SoBe bum's needs. From hand-beaded Brazilian bikinis and floral Havaianas to oversized bags and one-off kaftans, sun worshippers will not leave empty handed from this charming gem of a shop. With prices ranging from $20 to $150, Desiree Nercessian is accessible to all who want to look fabulous on the beach (a must in Miami).

Desiree Nercessian
710 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305.604.0521

Best for…Your Miami feet!
Heels can be arduous - all girls can agree on this statement. However, what is one to wear whilst shopping, studying or partying in the fashion-conscious Miami? Flip-flops are great for the beach, but that is perhaps where they should stay in terms of glamour stakes. The dilemma for all fashion-conscious Miamians remained unsolved until London Sole arrived in June this year. London Sole are "the original in ballet flats," and while they are incredibly comfortable, they are effortlessly chic at the same time. These beautiful, ballerina-inspired flats can take you from shopping in Lincoln Road to traipsing all around the huge UM campus and then to a smart restaurant and stylish club. With many different materials, styles and prints, London Sole has a ballet flat to offer every comfort-seeking fashionista. With prices that range from $100 to $250, comfort does not necessarily come with a ridiculous price tag either. Also, being ideally situated on Ocean Drive means gals can literally run from the beach to this delightful little shoe shop and swap sandy flip-flops for elegant ballet flats in seconds.

London Sole
760 Ocean Drive, Suite 5
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305.674.8688
www.londonsole.com

Money in the bank: Whether you're grooving the Grove on a Tuesday or Thursday night, or beaching it on Sunday with your friends, these boutiques will definitely have you dressed to impress. But be careful not to blow your monthly budget, because the amazing buys in these places will get you carried away quick.

Merika Vine may be contacted at merikavine@hotmail.co.uk.
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