For those of you who make a U-turn once the avenues begin to reach the double digits, this may come as bit of a surprise, but there is life — a.k.a. shopping — west of Biscayne. What was once known as Miami’s Antique District — the area between southwest 57th and 67th avenues on Bird Road (40th Street) — is experiencing somewhat of a renaissance, quickly morphing into a shopping mecca for the city’s fashionsitas who truly know the inside scoop.
“Change is always good,” says Miami Twice (6562 SW Bird Road; 305-666-0127) owner Diane Kyle, who has watched the strip evolve since she and her daughter opened the vintage boutique 23 years ago. Originally an antique store carrying everything from authentic ’70s bell-bottom pant suits and ’60s mini-skirts to Art Deco furniture and Victorian lamps, Miami Twice — possibly best known for being Halloween Headquarters during September and October — has found itself gracefully changing to cater to a new type of clientele. You still see original copies of Life and Playboy adorning the green walls and vintage hats from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s displayed on the inner ledge, but added are “new” clothing lines like Miss Me and Sky.
Two doors down from MT is newbie Impulse (6578 Bird Road; 305-665-8886), the area’s first high-end retail store. The boutique is designed for the girlie-girl in us all, with white walls and delicate chandeliers and racks stocked with everything from vibrant-colored T-Bags dresses to ultra-femme Trina Turk tops. Owner Mayra Saldana has found that her location has attracted not only locals but nearby University of Miami students. Not only are they fans of the variety of high-end merchandise, but also of the unique items they can find, like local designer Meli D’s handmade embellished head bands.
Also in the same shopping center is Cheap n Chic (6560 Bird Road; 305-665-0764), the outlet boutique selling designer labels at closeout prices. Expect to find Sass & Bide dresses, True Religion denim and Dolce Vita shoes for at least 60 percent off.
Open for discussion, but some may argue MIA boutique (5786 Bird Road; 305-668-7737) is in part responsible for Bird Road’s transformation into the women’s clothing haven it is today, as it opened nine years ago when the area was still mostly known for antiques. The space, adorned with fashion magazine pages wallpapering the walls, is no bigger than your parent’s bedroom but packed with trendy L.A.-based brands at very reasonable prices. Other finds include Havaianas sandals, J brand denim and Hanky Panky lingerie.
After the success of MIA, owner Daniel Sanchez’s father wanted to get in on the fun, so he opened the strip’s first and, as of now, only shoe store, Luna boutique (5784 Bird Road; 305-667-1967). The family-owned boutiques are a match made in retail heaven, sharing prime real estate with a direct connection. Find the perfect dress at Mia, then shimmy over to Luna and pick up a pair of Report stilettos or Sergio Zelcer wedges. If you’re looking for something more casual (well, Miami casual) there’s Mistique sandals: consider them jewelry for your toes.
Finally, across the street from MIA is new kid on the block Savvy Girl (5781a Bird Road; 305-665-9833). The white walls, wood floors, high ceilings and shimmering chandeliers instantly make you feel like you’re among luxury, but know when you turn that price tag you’re not blowing this week’s paycheck. Throughout the years Miami native and owner Kristy Ferradas has been devoted to shopping on the strip, but felt it was missing something. “This is such an exciting area for shopping, but I felt it was missing that one-stop-shop where you can find everything from your daily jeans to an evening dress for a night out on the town,” she says. Inspired by her older sister’s pastime of raiding her closet, the boutique offers Ferradas’ flawless taste, carrying vintage-inspired By Francine tops, Rosa Chá dresses, Elizabeth Cole jewelry, and Cocobelle sandals.