Best of Philly 2005: Style
Bathing suits: Cameo Water Wear Forget the long lines and sloppy inventory of the department store. Single-focus Cameo simplifies this dreaded search with its orderly, manufacturer-organized selection that spans from skimpy bikini to full-coverage maillot (501 Route 73 South, Marlton, 856-983-6799, and other locations).
Work shirts: Kuhlman Company This year-old outpost of the Minnesota-based company (its designs used to be sold at Neiman Marcus) offers the prix-fixe version of shopping: limited selections with single price points, as easy to peruse as an abbreviated menu. The approach makes buying a great shirt (for women, all $55) a simple pleasure (the Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut Street; 215-561-5638).
Just-made-partner suit shopping: Saks Fifth Avenue Boutiques are great for special pieces, but for the investment suit—by Michael Kors, Akris or Armani Collezioni—you want selection and on-site alterations. Saks has all that, sans King of Prussia traffic. Make an appointment with Nan Honigman, who will expertly guide you through trends, color and fit (2 Bala Plaza, Bala Cynwyd; 610-667-1550).
Cheap, chic clothes: Lost + Found On a quiet Sunday, this unassuming new store was teeming with shoppers, most with European accents, who know a good price on trendy weekend clothes when they see it. Fun-and-full skirts were $40 — and had a lot more style and workmanship than the $40 versions at Gap (133 North 3rd Street; 215-928-1311).
Sneaker store: Philadelphia Runner Both serious runners and the “If I have the right equipment, maybe then I’ll be serious” will find all the major brands here, organized by degrees of cushioning and stability. The staffers are well–informed and have those wiry, lithe bodies that make you think they practice what they preach (1601 Sansom Street; 215-972-8333).
Wedding dresses under $500: Jay West Where’s a girl to go for a gown that doesn’t rival her catering budget? This Haddonfield boutique carries beautiful, simple A-line and column shapes with attractive details and very friendly price tags (151 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield; 856-795-0424).
Jeans guru: Sebastian McCall at Charles Porter Boutique “Charles” and “Porter” are his middle names, but we’d like to suggest “brilliant denim savior.” For anyone who thinks jeans have gotten too confusing (or her thighs too large), he’ll sort it all out and find a style that suits (212 Market Street; 215-923-9681).