Shopping in Ocean City has long paled in comparison to sister Shore towns Stone Harbor (which has Skirt) and Margate (which has Knit Wit). But the main retail stretch of Asbury Avenue, dominated by an inexplicable string of dime-a-dozen beachwear stores called Ta-Dah!, finally gets a shot of much-needed retail therapy with Frey Boutique.
While the cavernous Exton flagship carries the boutique standbys, the Ocean City outpost feels somehow more special. Sure, you'll find some of the same lines at both the seaside and Chester County locations: artfully distressed denim jackets by Anine Bing, crisp white Derek Lam button-ups, Vince basics you'll want to throw on immediately after a day at the beach. But it's the stuff you won't find at the inland store that makes the OC boutique stand out: colorful VIX swimwear and coverups, Rory Beca camis, airy Calypso tunics, oversized straw clutches and canvas totes by Magid, Turkish T sarongs and towels, Rachel Pally kimono-sleeved maxi dresses, tissue-thin Duke & Winston tanks and tees.
The store's interior is impressive, too, effortlessly toeing the line between beachy and cheesy (not an easy feat) with pale wood floors, exposed brick walls, shelves suspended from the ceiling with rope, weathered trunks. (Psst: I got owner Lindsay to spill her decor secret: Life's Patina in Malvern, a shop located in a historic barn that hosts seasonal pop-up shopping events.)
See below for a peek inside the store, and add it to your Rainy Day Shopping list. (Or, if you're like me, your Sunny Day Shopping list.)
Frey Boutique, Ocean City, New Jersey
The Details: 935 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, 609-840-6531.