St. Armands Circle Visitors to St. Armands Circle have always been intrigued by the international flavor of its boutiques and restaurants, a blend of big-city sophistication and resort-style charm. This month, we scope out best buys and hot new treasures.
Tie One On
Why did sales of silk ascots ($95) quadruple at M&H in Sarasota last year? Ask the Jonas Brothers, Jeremy Piven and David Beckham, all spied pumping up the aristocratic vintage look with hip-hop flair. Maus & Hoffman, 40 S. Boulevard of Presidents, (941) 388-2551.
Forget Miami Ink’s notoriety: Sarasota loves the removability of tattoo sunglasses, actually vintage designs by the infamous Don Ed Hardy. Local favorites are Peace, Koi Fish and Tiger (from $225). Sunglass Express Optical, 343 St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-5115.
Cork’s executive chef Jeff Trefry expects the best-selling retail summer wine will be Giesen, a New Zealand sauvignon blanc ($15.95). And he also tells us the secret elixir in his bistro’s addictive moules frites is Ricard Pastis, an anise-flavored spirit. Cork and The Bottle Shop, 29 N. Boulevard of Presidents, (941) 388-1675.
Russian-made "diamonds" are faceted to perfection in unique Asscher-cut, pink or canary yellow ($300 to $600 in 3 to 5 carats). They look so real, more young brides are going "faux." Fabulous Faux Jewelry, 5 S. Boulevard of Presidents, (941) 388-2582.
Recessionistas adore the savings at Aria, where windows are engraved with the motto, "Don’t say cheap; say inexpensive." The faux snakeskin bags ($32) and oversized "gator" satchels ($45) will convert skeptics to believers. Aria, 352 Boulevard of Presidents, (941) 306-1778.
Tommy is the Who
when it comes to great-fitting swimsuits (underwire halter swimsuit with slimming shirred bra, $130) at this gorgeous new boutique, now in a separate location from the Circle’s popular Tommy Bahama restaurant. Tommy Bahama, 371 St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-2446.
Set an elegant beach-themed table with Mud Pie’s new Fiji platter ($59.95) and dessert plates ($12.95) in four designs, each with sea green background, sculpted rattan rim and beautiful exotic shell motif. Terra Nova, 351 St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-0410.
Don’t forget to...
Pretend you’re dining alfresco in Italy:
The wood-oven pizzas (from $10.50) at Venezia are served atop giant tomato cans. Venezia, 373 St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-1400.
Sport a Lilly Pulitzer printed silk cummerbund
and bowtie set ($180) at the next beach wedding. Lilly Pulitzer, 443A John Ringling Blvd., (941) 388-3091.
with handmade fashions (from $80) designed for an affordable spin on European couture. Agnes & Rafael Gallery, 19 N. Boulevard of Presidents, (941) 388-1923.
Wear a sexy
Joseph Ribhoff tropical print summer dress ($188) in fashion’s hot new arm-baring styles. Foxy Lady, 481 John Ringling Blvd., (941) 388-5239.