Summer temps are here along with beach weekends, festival concerts and pool parties. Even if you don’t have the summer months off work or out of school, a lot of us look forward to sun-kissed shoulders and top-down weather year-round. For those of you planning to host a summer party or attend a summer party (or two), there are several specialty shops in Mobile and Baldwin counties where you will find the unique items to make yourself and your party stand out from the crowd.
Stepping inside Beckham’s Florist and Gifts at 7850 Airport Blvd. in Mobile, you’re met with wall-to-wall color and fun gifts. The store is family owned and operated and has been in Mobile more than 30 years. Each part of the store is color coordinated with pairings of beachy tea towels, stylish beverage napkins, serving platters, painted wine glasses and cute gift bags. Beckham’s has the type of atmosphere you hope to find when you walk into a local shop, complete with friendly conversation and excellent customer service.
Although a bottle of wine is easy to pick up on the way to a party, think outside the box for your next event and pick up a box of lavender- or coconut-scented drawer liners from Beckham’s as a hostess gift. You can also take home serving platters for cheese trays, wine glasses, insulated beverage bags and beach-themed totes. The friendly staff at Beckham’s will even gift wrap it for you!
A lot of people struggle with how to transform their home from a winter wonderland into a summer oasis this time of year. Hosting a summer party requires you to dust the pollen off the back patio and a few new décor touches can be exactly what you need to make it feel presentable for your guests.
The always-expanding Trees and Trends at 1100 S. McKenzie St. in Foley carries an assortment of outdoor furniture and décor. This place makes you want to throw a pool party, whether you actually have a pool or not, and is well worth the drive even if you don’t live in Foley.
You’ll find outdoor seating sets, wicker furniture, colorful outdoor chair cushions, umbrellas, fire pits and enough greenery to make your yard look like a scene from “The Great Gatsby.” The price is right, the colors are festive and, if you have a big-enough truck, the friendly staff will help you load everything for your outdoor summer party.
Maybe you aren’t the hostess type but plan to attend pool parties and consider yourself a beach bum for the next few months. A trend you’ll notice at the beach this year is the monokini and high-waisted swimsuits. As they say, all fashion makes a comeback and the same is true for both of these summer styles. The monokini was designed by Rudi Gernreich in 1964 and the fabulously vintage high-waisted suits were actually introduced in the 1940s. Many people struggle to find a place locally each year that sells the new styles so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of ordering online without knowing how it fits.
Mermania is a local swimwear brand that came to life after designer,Angeline Kowal attended Mobile Fashion Week in 2014, fell in love with the cause and launched her own brand to feature at MFW in 2015. As of last February you can shop the line at Urban Emporium in downtown Mobile. The brand supports a great cause, the Save the Manatee Club, and offers the newest trends in swimwear.
On your way to the beaches, take a peek inside The Beach House Boutique at 3800 Gulf Shores Parkway for resort-style swim cover-ups, bright bikinis, flip-flops and sunnies. Owner Robin Mills, a former New Yorker, opened the beach boutique in 2007. This charming store has been a headquarters for sunbathers ever since.
Hopping on over to Orange Beach, another bikini haven is Blue Lagoon at SanRoc Cay. Located at 27267 Perdido Beach Blvd., this stylish shop carries popular brands such as Seafolly and Trina Turk, trendy sun hats and apparel perfect for any beach festival.
Hold on, guys — I haven’t forgotten about you! Although the trends for men’s swimwear tend to stay the same (sorry, guys, we’re all still boycotting the Speedo), Adrenaline at 328 Fairhope Ave. carries both guys’ and gals’ beach apparel. You can find swimsuits, sandals, paddleboards, backpacks and hiking gear for the entire family at this beachy shop in the center of downtown Fairhope. The staff is extremely helpful if you have any questions about the gear, how to use it, where to take lessons, etc.
As we kick off summer here on the Gulf Coast, let’s break out the mosquito candles, learn a few new tropical drink recipes and practice our cannonballs. It’s sure to be hot, humid and, if we give it some effort, a little piece of paradise.
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