I’m overwhelmed by the choices presented before me in seemingly endless rows: waffle cutout sandals with a sculpted heel, sassy fringed booties, dainty ballet slippers, plus sleek and sophisticated heels, all representing stylish footwear brands like Naughty Monkey, Chinese Laundry, Volatile, and Jessica Simpson.
I wish I were an octopus.
To my right, there’s a flurry of fringe and rivets, interspersed with bright patterns and sparkles from the selection of handbags made by hip companies like Big Buddha, Steve Madden, and Urban Expressions.
My desire to possess multiple appendages continues. How else could I possibly wear all of the shoes and handbags I see here?
This is my typical experience each time I visit Sophie (531 South Main Street). Originally known as the “candy store for shoe addicts,” Sophie has added handbags, accessories, and even clothing to its offerings, including dresses, outerwear, and quality denim, making it a candy store for overall fashionistas.
While Sophie offers big-city style, you won’t find big-city price tags here. At Sophie, fashion is affordable. Between reasonable everyday prices and hard-to-pass-up seasonal sales, this boutique has become my go-to place when I need to update my closet.
Expect to spend some time here, especially if you come with friends. Chances are, each of you will be trying on something at some point, making a visit to Sophie turn into a mini fashion show. This is exactly what happened when my friends and I recently spent the afternoon shopping downtown.
Were we exhausted after our trip to Sophie?
Were we finished with our shopping trip?
Heck, no! We were just getting started.
We walked a block south on Main Street to Blue Moon Boutique (613 South Main Street), a “modern boutique with a vintage soul.” I actually consider this store more of a market, because in addition to apparel and accessories, there’s also furniture and home decor.
Blue Moon’s clothing section is located in the rear of the store, meaning that we had to first walk through the store’s home decor/gift section. Thanks to this brilliant store layout, I found something that reminded me of my mother and mentioned this to my friends.
“How does this remind you of your mother?” asked my appalled friend Carrie.
“Because my mother collects pigs,” I explained, much to her relief.
And isn’t that pig painting cute? I’d found the perfect gift for my mom, and before our trip to Blue Moon, I’d never even known it existed!
I got sidetracked a couple more times as I meandered my way back to the apparel section. First I looked at the jewelry from the international company Lokai (my daughter collects these beaded bracelets), and then the handcrafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry from local Dalissa Designs.
Then I saw the rows of Junk Gypsy paints cleverly displayed on brightly-colored repurposed furniture (which is also for sale). I’m currently repainting anything that doesn’t move in my house, so knowing that Junk Gypsy paints are available at Blue Moon may be a bit dangerous for me.
We finally made it to the back of the store and browsed through clothing from brands like Black Swan and Z-Supply. We even tried on more shoes, which is hard to believe after our trip to Sophie. But Blue Moon carries Yellow Box flip flops and, come on, who doesn’t love a pretty, jazzed-up flip flop?
Our next stop was Urban Art Gallery (511 South Main Street), which features pieces made by local artists. If you are shopping for a unique gift, this is another great place to look. When I see something here that I like, I usually send a photo of it to my family so that they have an idea of what to get me when my birthday rolls around.
I’m helpful like that.
Despite my efforts, I still keep waiting to open the package that contains this cute “Fairy Dog Mother” by artist Kim Guthrie that I thought, for sure, my family would present to me on Mother’s Day:
Oh, well. My half-birthday is coming up.
Another artist that sells her work at Urban Art Gallery is Kristin Girard, the jewelry artist/scientist behind Kristin’s Laboratory, and one of my favorite local artisans. Nearly every time I walk into the gallery, I’m wearing a piece that she has made.
One of my favorite works of hers is a necklace with this pendant, an antique compass that she found locally.
Urban Art Gallery changes its displays often, so there’s always something new, fresh, and local to be found here.
The next stop on our shopping trip was Newton’s Jewelers (428 South Main Street) where we had a fun time looking at and trying on glimmering vintage and estate jewelry pieces.
Since 1914, this family-owned and operated Joplin institution has been providing its customers with fine jewelry and watches. Don’t think you have to have three months of paychecks saved up before you visit Newton’s; we saw several affordable pieces, and Carrie came so very close to bringing home some vintage bling.
When we finished our shopping adventure, we stopped at downtown’s Spiva Park (Main and Fourth Streets) to take advantage of the warm, sunny day and to chat a while longer while we let our feet rest.
This was a well-spent afternoon.
To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.