May is a month to peruse Vera Wang gowns, menswear from Billy Reid and Rye 51, the new Athleta store — the first in Texas — and a salute to Brazil at Macy's featuring designs from Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa. Here are 10 top shops to visit:
As convenient as it was to shop Billy Reid in The Galleria, it makes more sense in its location on Westheimer. The white bungalow is infused with sophisticated southern charm, much like the designer himself and the men’s and women’s seasonal offerings are on target for a steamy, southern summer.
Reid, a Southern gentleman who is renowned in New York for throwing a good party, will be in Houston on May 31 for a big grand opening.
There was a time when a girl needed a sports bra, so off to Academy she went. These days we have options. thanks to retailers like Lululemon and Houston’s newest and first Texas store for the fit-in-training, Athleta.
The store carries intelligent and attractive apparel for every sport and is mindful of what women really want in workout gear. Located in Town & Country Village, Athleta offers free workout classes every week.
In addition to carrying wedding gowns by Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier, Reem Acra, Lanvin and Blanche, Casa de Novia can now boast the only Vera Wang boutique in Houston. Owner Luvi Wheelock added the collection to her already impressive array of wedding gowns, calling Wang the “ultimate bridal wear designer.”
San Antonio import Dos Carolinas brings custom guayaberas to Houston for men, women and children, with a wealth of options including fabric, style, color and monogramming. Owner Caroline Matthews has been popular on the local trunk show circuit for years and decided it was time for something a little more permanent, so Dos Carolinas Houston boutique has moved into a space above Armandos on Westheimer.
The Pretty Kitty is less about what you put on and more about what you take off. The new waxing spot in The Village promises 15-minute Brazilian waxes, as well as waxing for every other part of the body including underarms, back and face. Certified aestheticians use soft wax formulated for sensitive skin instead of hard wax and a top secret, proprietary method for a quick and more comfortable waxing experience.
Puuurfect skin just in time for summer? Yes please.
There’s not an annoying skinny jean or sparkly pocket at Rye 51 in West Ave and that’s the way it should be. Men’s clothing and accessories at Rye 51 and its more genteel counterpart Q Custom Clothier are for discerning men who value quality, fit and style, rather than last fad.
Owner Raja Ratan introduced custom suiting options to shoppers (the custom tuxedos are so very swoon-worthy) and is going in a more relaxed direction with a new Custom Casual Collection. Ratan offers five shirt options, three pant styles and two jackets in the collection, men choose design and fabric, are measured and the completed item are ready in about four weeks.
Light chit-chat topics normally covered over skinny cocktails often include shoes (where did you get them) shellac (did it, not sure if I will do it again) and how did you get those great arm, abs, (insert body part here) and lately all roads lead to DEFINE. It’s just not way of life, but a near obsession among women who are rediscovering and reshaping their bodies thanks to a range of Define classes that focus on Pilates, yoga, ballet and core strengthening.
The newest location opened is open in West University and just as with the other locations, it’s a favorite.
Look out Nordstrom Rack. You’ve got some new competition and it’s called Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio. Gone are the days of packing up and heading out to Katy for the day to land designer-for-less at the Neiman Marcus Last Call Clearance Center now that the new Studio store is open on Post Oak. Apparel, accessories and shoes are purchased specifically for the Studio shopper and marked at least 30 percent off.
I spotted maxi dresses, perfect summer wedges and other summer must-haves on my visit, but expect merchandise to refresh weekly. Home goods shoppers will still have to head to the Katy Last Call clearance store though, since Studio locations only stock wearable fashion, along with a few picture frames.
High Fashion Home, a favorite “just because” hangout spot with four stories of furniture, fabric and random home accessories and gifts (condiment guns? shiny buckyballs?), is a perfect place to dress your home or your living room. High Fashion has upped the ante that much more, making over and expanding a boutique with an art installation-like arch and more accessories, jewelry and clothing from Mark and Estel and Level 99 denim.
Macy’s newest capsule collection is straight from the rainforest. The “Brasil: A Magical Journey” collection celebrates color, sass and includes Francisco Costa by Calvin Klein designed by Costa, the women’s creative director for Calvin Klein, and pieces by Rachel Roy and Seu Jorge. The limited edition capsule also includes men’s apparel and even bright-hued nail polishes by Essie.