September 16, 2014

Shopping

If the Carrie Bradshaw character from Sex and the City were browsing Fifth Avenue South in Naples, she'd be in the dressing room of Tami's Trendy With a Twist Boutique with a pile of clothes in a flash. So would her provocative pal, Samantha, and even the lady-like but adventurous Charlotte. But not so much the conservative attorney Miranda, because Tami's inventory is probably not particularly suited to rising professionals in a big corporate law office-except if you're a client and want to captivate your divorce attorney. Come to think of it, that's exactly what Charlotte did.

But real people shop Tami Magocs' swanky, sophisticated two-story store for luxury lingerie (on the second floor), beautifully arranged sweaters and jackets with fur trim, and alluring French, Italian and Spanish dresses (downstairs). You'll also find fabulous Italian bead jewelry, small evening bags, bustiers, sexy high heels, tight jeans (faded in strategic places) with glittery bead work or embroidery, and lots of separates. Prices range from about $15 for a piece of underwear to several thousand for a gala gown.

Buying clothes at Trendy With a Twist means you're comfortable being noticed. And several of the ensembles are clearly meant to stop traffic. One, an asymmetrically cut fox fur and buttery suede coat ($3,800), caught the eye of a chic woman Tami says was about 70; she admired the coat so much she wore it out of the store.

When the store opened in December, the building drew as much attention as the clothes it showcases. That's because Tami's husband of two years is John Magocs, a developer with a talent for space planning. Plus, he has great contacts for acquiring quality furnishings. The big crystal chandelier he found at a local antique store is the perfect classic juxtaposition for the modern furniture.

"I even outfitted the upper terrace so men could sit out there and have a cigar and a drink while their wives are inside shopping," says John, a graduate of Naples High School who has lived in town for 32 years.

For wives and girlfriends, the dressing room is the place to be. They'll be slinking in and out of hip numbers by Poleci, Chetta B, Deborah Lewis, Lisli, Ikito and more. When the French company Jiki was looking for exactly the right place in Southwest Florida to showcase its high-end luxury clothes, it soon found Tami. Trendy With a Twist now has the exclusive in Naples for these stylish, body-hugging European fashions.

"The day after I graduated from Kansas State University, I went to work for Nordstom's," Tami says. "I had worked in fashion retail since I was a teen-ager, and I could not get it out of my system."

She was working in a local boutique when she met John. "I was walking my dog, Nosie; John thought she was cute and we stopped to chat. Soon we were partners in life and retail. A lot of my girlfriends now ask to borrow my dog so they might meet someone like John."

With the immediate success of Trendy With a Twist and little-sister store Tami's Off 5th Boutique, the couple is expanding. Coming soon: a Tami's in South Fort Myers at the Park Shoppes, and one in Bonita Springs at North Bay Village.

Ever since gayle gordon nering opened And So to Bed at The Plaza at Third Street South in Naples about four years ago, local residents, seasonal visitors and hard-to-please design professionals have marveled over her taste. Her inventory is simply exquisite; and each year she adds a few new unusual lines, gracefully expanding her bed and bath collections to include more tableware, pieces of accent furniture, books and baubles. This season, pop in and admire the assortment of table and floor lamps she has sprinkled throughout the vignettes in the store. Manufacturers are paying particular attention to shades this year, using interesting shapes, fabrics and even natural fibers to ensure that the shade and the base of the lamp are one harmonious whole-and the bases are more like fine sculpture than ever before.

Some of the lamps are Asian, some Florentine or Venetian, and some fossil stone. Others are tropical, with delicate hand carving on exotic wood. Some of the most beautiful are barely there at all, with sculptural clear glass, clear cords (why aren't they all clear?) and linen or silk shades that seem to float atop the transparent glass. Many of these are from the Prague artisans at Juliska and have matching stemware, ice buckets and candlesticks. Prices at And So to Bed range from about $250 to $2,000. Each lamp is a piece of functional art. You should own at least one.

Another collection that warrants attention is the line of Legna Italian sheets. They feel like silk, breathe like cotton-and if you stand at the dryer and catch them while they're still warm, you can put them on the bed without ironing. These intriguing sheets are woven from yarn spun from wood pulp. A queen set is $774; the sheets come in regular, oversize and supreme. You'll also find matching duvets and an assortment of pillows, including the European and boudoir sizes. The Legna line comes in nine gentle colors-solid or a faint pattern called Seville.

If you want authentic european styling and craftsmanship for your little ones, then you must spend an hour or so at Incredible Me, a fine shop that showcases exemplary footwear for tiny toes, along with "mommy and me" styles to satisfy grown-up sensibilities. Besides shoes, the store carries many fine European collections of sport and dress clothes for boys and girls in sizes from newborn to 14.

The shoes, which start at about $65, are mainly from France and Italy. The French ones, Mod 8 and Aster, generally favor narrow feet, while the Italian shoes, Paimigi and Naturino, run wider. Almost all have leather interiors, so they breathe and mold comfortably to the foot. These are shoes youngsters will adore trying on-and the store's design is quite kid-friendly, with two aquariums.

One of the owners, Brenda Wakin, is a part-time Naples resident and the former vice president of a New Jersey pharmaceutical company. When she had her baby girl, she began shopping at a store owned by Anna and Paul Carella of Princeton; the Carella name is well known in the Northeast for footwear and clothing. Brenda thought their retail philosophy would be a natural in Naples, and she encouraged the Carellas to open a store here. They agreed, and she partnered with them. Now Brenda's four-year-old can shop at Mommy's place.

I'm especially drawn to the rain gear for tots-two animal patterns for boys and two for girls. The ensemble includes raincoat, boots, umbrella and backpack. Just darling.

Window shopping: the brighton line now has its own section near the front of Mark Fore & Strike. You'll find the usual good-looking signature silver and leather belts, bags, and small leather goods, along with an appealing selection of jewelry, key chains, sunglasses and home décor items. Best new thing to love: a textured leather pin with silver charms. Pink, cream, black and red; $35 each. This same flower in a larger version is attached to an evening clutch for $80. The flower is not girlie-girlie; it's sophisticated and chic. The Artful Diva is now located at The Plaza on Third Street South. It features ensembles of wearable art made from textiles such as silk jersey, cashmere and silk. Always known for its stylish jewelry, Artful Diva is introducing two lines in silver and gold worth checking out. They're from Joan Dulla and British-born Denise Solay.

Tami's Trendy With a Twist Boutique

331 Fifth Ave. S., Naples. (239) 403-8264.

And So to Bed

1170 Third St. S. (The Plaza), Naples. (239) 262-3362.

Incredible Me

Marketplace of Pelican Bay

8851 Tamiami Trail N., Naples. (239) 596-5305. 

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