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Build the perfect tropical wardrobe at these hot Key West shops



Packing for Key West can be a bit of a challenge. If you've never been to the Southernmost City, you may be scratching your head and staring at your empty suitcase. In the Florida Keys, the year-round sizzling temps and the laissez-faire attitude call for loose comfy clothes with a touch of tropical panache. Luckily, the island is packed with expertly curated boutiques like Local Color, Fresh Produce and Wanderlust, which focus on natural fabrics and figure-flattering, flowy styles. Their colorful accessories inspire ideas for layering with chunky necklaces and graceful scarves. Isle Style and Green Pineapple carry similar clothing but with an eye on upcycled, organic and fair-trade fashions. Don’t forget the mother-ship of all resort wear, Lilly Pulitzer, which has the classic shift dress--a must for any beach wardrobe. For more trend-conscious shoppers Evolution and Blue carry top labels for men and women that you won’t find anywhere else in the Keys. Also fashion-forward, DeJaVu features younger, contemporary styles with a Boho flair designed by owner Stephanie Carter. Need more practical gear for on-the-water adventures? Stop by World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada on your way down to Key West. They carry outdoor apparel for men, women and children in trusted brand names.


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World Wide Sportsman is a two-story nirvana for fishermen that offers one of the largest selections of saltwater, freshwater and fly fishing gear you'll ever find in one place. Men, women and children will find a wide variety of outdoor apparel and accessories in name brands like Timberlake, Columbia, Costa Del Mar and Guy Harvey. Even if you're not shopping, the store is worth a visit for the saltwater aquarium filled with indigenous fish and full-size boat parked in the middle of the building. You can actually climb aboard the boat, which is the sister ship to Ernest Hemingway's beloved Pilar. Next door is the popular Islamorada Fish Company, or you can head upstairs to the Zane Grey Lounge. Their patio has a prime view of the sunset, top-shelf martinis and cigars.




One of three stores, DeJaVu in Key West carries young contemporary clothing inspired by bohemian styles. Working under the label Judith March, store owner Stephanie Carter designs trend-conscious pieces with a touch of vintage. Each garment has something unique that makes it pop like a peace-sign cut out, colorful bows or crochet appliques. The fun, flirty dresses in broad stripes and bold florals are perfect for a day at the beach or a night on the town in Key West. Match up these fashions with the MADE In the Deep South jewelry collection by designer Michela Bruno Swafford. She uses recycled leather, hand stitching, and upcycled vintage jewelry to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Each design comes with a "story card" that provides its very own biography.


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The modern, industrial decor, reminiscent of a New York boutique, is your first clue that Evolution is not the usual Keys-ey shop. This two-story boutique is packed with men and women's clothing by designers you won't find anywhere else in Key West--or in your regular mall for that matter. They carry brands designed and made in the U.S. like LASC, Pistol Pete, Andrew Christian and Adriano Goldschmied, as well as British and Dutch clothing lines GStar, Bench and Superdry. Men will be pleased to find a wide selection of swimwear from Speedo-style to board shorts. Women will be drawn to the flowy dresses by good hYOUman and accessories like colorful Herschel bags and rose-colored sunglasses from Minnie Rose.


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Blue
Photo courtesy of Blue Boutique


For the true fashionistas, Blue was featured in Vogue magazine as the top place to find "the luxe basic tee." The fashion-forward boutique carries the latest creations by top designers like Diane Von Furstenberg, Theory, Equestrian, Michael Stars and Ella Moss. The artfully-merchandised store has two outposts--Ft. Lauderdale and Key West. You can find everything from hip John Varvatos tees for men to sexy evening dresses by Nicole Miller for women. Accessories range from playful chunky watches to Mulberry silk scarves hand-crafted in Vietnam. In addition, owner David Symons displays his one-of-a-kind jewelry collection. Drawing inspiration from the alluring blues and greens of the Florida Keys' waters, Symons combines beads of semi-precious stones, silver, gold, glass and pearls to create intriguing pieces.


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Duval Street


At the eco-chic Green Pineapple boutique, everything has a story. With a focus on what they call mindful consumption, the store is packed with gifts perfect for your eco-conscious pals. Creative up-cycled items include candles in old tea cups or vintage cans, silver spoons flattened into pendants, Mason jar wine glasses and canvas bags made from recycled sails. Whether it's one-of-a-kind jewelry from around the globe, hand-made wooden kitchen ware or breezy tropical clothing, the eclectic offerings focus on fair trade and support for artisan women around the world. Also home to the Key West Yoga Sanctuary, the shop is filled with Zen decor, ensuring a relaxing shopping experience. Don't miss the organic cafe, date & thyme, in the back where fresh juices and smoothies provide an energetic boost.


Isle Style Spa and Boutique
Photo courtesy of Isle Style


For the ultimate in retail therapy, Isle Style combines a spa, salon and boutique hidden away in a historic house on Simonton Street. Although, recent write-ups in Southern Living and Travel and Leisure may mean their secret it out. With a focus on contemporary, boho chic in bright island colors, they feature designers like Free People, Lucky Brand, Ark & Co. and Elan Leggings. Check out their eco-friendly accessories like Verdier repurposed vintage jewelry and upcycled hair baubles made by a local artist. Their fair-trade FashionABLE scarves are not only gorgeous but help support women in Africa. After you're done shopping, relax in their tropical garden or treat yourself to a mani-pedi or massage. You may never want to leave.




Slip into something a little more comfortable at Wanderlust in the historic Bahama Village. This funky boutique has an eclectic mix of Bohemian wear for women and children with an emphasis on fashion in breathable fabrics--perfect for the island lifestyle. The colorful collection of clothing, accessories, art and home decor has been carefully curated by owner, Casey Crockett, who can help you find the perfect vacation wardrobe. For example dresses by Miami designer, Lorie Lester, feature silks, micro modal and organic cottons that bring out a woman's figure, while still keeping a laid-back vibe. The shop also has local designers like Clara Dara, who creates versatile pieces in soft fabrics that can go from the beach to a night on the town. Don't miss the hand-crafted jewelry, which will complete any outfit.


Lilly Pulitzer Key West
Photo courtesy of Lily Pulitzer


No beach wardrobe would be complete without a classic shift dress from the mother of resort wear--Lilly Pulitzer. This boutique is packed with dazzling array of colors--bright pinks, greens and aqua blues--and whimsical tropical prints that set the Pulitzer-style apart. Their Resort Collection alone is filled with hidden flamingos, giant hibiscus and sun soaked bougainvillea. You'll find timeless dresses, skirts, tops, pants, shorts, sweaters and all the accessories in identical prints. Slip into a comfy shift dress and channel your inner Jackie O., who made Pulitzer a household name. Don some large Hollywood sunglasses, and you're ready to hit the town in style.


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Duval Street
Fresh Produce
Photo courtesy of Fresh Produce


With a focus on coastal-inspired colors, comfortable fabrics and a breezy style, Fresh Produce packs the perfect vacation wardrobe. Their shop on Duval Street is one of 26 company-owned retail boutiques. It offers a wide selection of women's clothing including sun dresses, beach cover ups, casual dresses, plus size resort wear, travel skirts, summer clothing, shorts and cruise clothes. They use quality fabrics that flatter, move and never cling or restrict--perfect for those humid Key West afternoons. You'll also find a wide variety of accessories from colorful jewelry to flowy scarves. Check the labels, and you'll see that most of their fashions and fabrics are made in the United States.




Nestled in the heart of the historic seaport across from Half Shell Raw Bar, Local Color is the motherload of resortwear. At 3,000 square feet, this store packs in a wide variety of travel-friendly clothing in natural fabrics like cotton, silk and linen--perfect for the warmer climes. The emphasis is on loose, flowy styles that are figure-flattering, and their colorful displays inspire ideas for layering the pieces with chunky necklaces and graceful scarves. Luna Luz, one of their main brands, designs light and airy pieces that could go from a beach wedding to a night on the town. Another line, Hard Tail Forever, offers versatile tanks, tees, hoodies, skirts and pants in sustainable fabrics and rich juicy colors.


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Meet Claudia Miller

Claudia Miller has been writing about South Florida for over 17 years--seven from Key Largo. A budding photographer, she can usually be found stalking a sunset. Despite being a tad...  More About Claudia

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