Coral Gables Shopping Guide

 

The Gables isn't all wedding dresses and stationery shops anymore.

Habit boutique
Habit boutique.
 

By Elizabeth Stewart

For those of you who thought Coral Gables was just a place to shop for your "big day," you may want to revisit historic Miracle Mile. Besides being one of South Florida's most charming streets, the Gables is a Mecca for stylish boutiques. Whether you're looking for exotic jewelry, recession friendly fashions or couture, the quaint locale has a large variety to choose from - all sandwiched in between the white gown shops, of course.

Located just off Le Jeune on the northwest end of Miracle Mile is hip-e boutique. Don't be fooled by the name, you won't find a collection of hemp necklaces and patchwork pants in this store. This trendy spot carries high-end brands such as Dolce & Gabana, Trina Turk, Development by Erica Davies, DVF and a plethora of designer jewelry and jeans such as Hudson, Paige and Rich & Skinny.

The catch? When you enter, make sure to stick to the left side of the wall for the good deals. Everything on this wall is priced at $50 for a limited time to make way for the new collections. The right side, although very tempting, may require a few more paychecks. The store itself is bright and uplifting, lined with pictures of style icons such as Madonna and Audrey Hepburn along with a red glass chandelier and tall vintage mirrors in the dressing rooms -- the kind that make you look skinnier, which is worth a visit in itself.

On the west end of Miracle Mile where Coral Way begins is a tiny shopping haven called Miss C. After crossing the Douglas intersection, you'll find it tucked between a medical supply store and a pawn shop. But once inside, you'll feel as if you've been transported to a swank L.A. boutique. Owner Christina Figueroa decked out her intimate space with antique frames and a whimsical rose-covered wall and gathers most of the boutique's clothing from L.A., carrying brands that are hard to find in Miami. Top sellers include Cotton T's by Fluxus, Marisa K, Lulu Lame and even

Off the main strip next to the popular bakery Chocolate Fashion is Habit Boutique. This small but must-visit shop is a girly-girl's dream. Adorned with antique furniture, including a coffee table full of gossip and fashion mags, and vibrant colored walls, Habit's styles are primarily by local designers and every item is less than $100. The store includes femme-faves such as Lush cotton dresses, Rubber Ducky linen pants and an array of flowy skirts, jeweled sandals and plaid tops. From the trendy accessories to the classic threads, all items in this store are versatile, comfortable and staples to any wardrobe — and can be scooped up without buyer's remorse.

Finally, next door to the Coral Gables Diner, a couple blocks off the Mile, is The Golden Triangle. Thailand native Preeya Sirna founded the emblematic shop to cope with feeling homesick, which ultimately led to a store filled with some of the most unique finds in the city. Everything down to the top-selling incense from India to the costume jewelry from Indonesia is handpicked from its country of origin. "Our customers beg us not to tell anyone about the store — they consider it their hidden treasure," says Sirna, who meets her mom in Thailand twice a year to shop for new items and adds a new country to her excursion each time. As soon as you enter the spiritual space lined with Buddha sculptures, hand-carved wind chimes and candle holders, beaded throw pillows and rows of exotic jewelry and clothing, you immediately feel welcome. And although each item is imported from countries all over the world including China, Thailand and Vietnam, the price tags will barely put a dent in your dwindling paycheck. "In this economy, people need to feel relaxed - we want to create a positive energy for our shoppers."

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