By Amy Reyes
Picture it: It’s six o’clock on a Saturday and you’ve been loafing around your house all day with no evening plans in the works, ready to crack open Eat, Pray, Love (or watch Sabado Gigante) and call it a night. Suddenly, the phone rings and that hunk you met at traffic school wants to take you out for a night on the town. Needless to say, you haven’t a thing to wear. Oh, and another thing: You live in The Hammocks (that’s in West Kendall, haters). No time to hit the mall or trek to the Grove for some cute garbs. So where do you go to find some sassy date night gear when the closest option in Kendall is the clearance rack at Marshall’s?
Ladies, this doesn’t have to be you anymore. Boutique biz veteran Christiani Matarangas has opened Alma Boutique in the new strip mall London Square in West Kendall, wedged between Famous Footwear and Payless, no less. But inside her store, she’s got some treats that’ll have you breathing a sigh of relief.
Alma Boutique is packed with dresses of all sorts. Sure, you’ll find a top or a skirt in the mix, but the specialty here is dresses for every occasion, from girl’s night to date night to cocktails, even formal events. One of the most popular lines is Sky, which features brightly-colored, silky jersey cotton mini-dresses with empire waists embellished with a variety of different materials like metallic chain-link belts or leather belt buckles. Another popular line is Red Carpet: satiny dresses with bold colors and patterns, often strapless with smocking up top.
Alma also offers trendy brands like Voom, Hype, Pink Dot, MM Couture, Single Dress and Larok by Seven, with hip pieces that are good for all budgets. "I try to carry dresses that everybody can afford," assures Matarangas. You’ll find dresses from $65 up to around $380, depending on the brand and the material. And like her 14 year-old Coconut Grove boutique Ella, Matarangas keeps Alma stocked with Nicole Miller dresses, both formal and cocktail-appropriate, as well as a few of the their more casual looks.
The fitting rooms are mirror-less, which forces shoppers to step outside and get some input. "Some things just don’t look so great on a hanger, but once you put it on, it’s amazing," says Matarangas, adding, "Some people just need to be encouraged to take risks." The sales team sports the merchandise themselves and shows shoppers how to wear the trends and gives ideas on how to accessorize the looks.
For accessory lovers, there’s Italian leather purses by Tano, like a gorgeous black weekender bag with white details and metallic clutches for a night on the town, big metallic leaf earrings by Fragments and unique pieces by local designer Natalia — and most of it won’t run you over $48.
No need to cancel any evening plans because you have nothing to wear and no time to shop, Kendall residents, thanks to Alma Boutique. But maybe you just really wanted to read that book. (Or watch Sabado Gigante. Again.)
Alma Boutique, in London Square, 13630 SW 120th St., ste 208; 786-293-0504; open Mon-Sun 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
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