A friend and I took a quick day trip to Lexington to check out the shopping and report back to our readers. We love our local shops here in Louisville, but it’s always fun to see what’s on the other side of the proverbial fence sometimes. After lots of input from StyleBlueprint readers and friends, we visited three clothing stores: Bella Rose, Monkee’s and AJ’s.
Disclaimer: we only had time for these three stores, and we only focused on clothes. Perhaps another post about gifts and home goods will be on our future docket.
126 West Maxwell Street
I had only ever heard of Bella Rose, but had never experienced it for myself. What’s it like? The owner puts it best saying, “we have a dress for every occasion and for every age.” Generations of women shop here, from girls buying their cotillion dress at age 14 to great-grandmothers, age 102.
They carry beautiful bags. This snakeskin clutch by Halston was the first thing I saw.
But, you cannot miss the dresses. I would say that dresses of all levels make up 75% of the store’s inventory. I would also say that this is THE place to find the right dress for anything. All are so unique, and it is hard to pick just one. It would take me hours and hours to really shop here. (Note: Although the photos that follow are of more formal dresses, trust me that this is truly a place where you can find dresses for any occasion – work, church, a cocktail party, a date, a football game, a black tie event or for a wedding, you name it!)
Downstairs in the basement is the collection of formal gowns, bridal and wedding dresses. If I were smart, I would have bought my Speed Ball dress here on this day and avoided the inevitable pain and agony of my usual procrastination.
There is a small selection of beautiful wedding gowns. They also have bridesmaids gowns and mother-of-the bride dresses. It is a one-stop bridal shop here as well.
116 Clay Avenue
Monkee’s is a well-known franchise across the South that carries shoes, jewelry and clothes. Here is my open letter to this favorite retailer:
Please look harder for a franchisee in Louisville. I know there is a perfect match and I really have to have this store in Louisville.
Set in an old house in Lexington, this Monkee’s is small and sweet and has just everything that a girl wants to buy.
To begin, Monkee’s offers loads of jewelry of all types. (Even Louisville’s own W&M Jewelry is sold here.)
I’m sure you have all heard about Monkee’s shoe selection. I would call it Nordstrom’s light.
They are so serious about their shoes that they have a bowl full o’ footies as the centerpiece in their ottoman.
I didn’t realize that this Monkee’s was going to have so many clothes. And clothes they do have. They carry dresses, jeans, tops – just about any outfit to go with their great shoe selection.
Beautiful scarves and other accessories are placed everywhere. Again, like Bella Rose, we could have spent hours in here trying on shoes and dresses and modeling jewelry and Tom Ford sunglasses.
867 E High St
AJ’s came highly recommended by lots of StyleBlueprint readers, and I see why. It is a great boutique with clothing, shoes, purses and jewelry. There are lots of Louisville influences in here with jewelry from Summer Eliason and Cindy Borders. They also carry Simply B, MD, a skincare line co-developed by Louisville dermatologist Dr. Tami Cassis.
This store reminds me of a mix of Clodhoppers, Blink and Circe all in one. They have great brands, and definitely something for everyone.
Because October is Breast Cancer month, AJ’s washed the front of the store in shades of pink. They also carry Kate Spade here and just happened to have a cute pink and orange purse for sale.
Even though it was 82 degrees the day we shopped, I still stopped and did a double-take at these beautiful fur coats and vests.
All in all, we were only gone about five hours. We had enough time to drive up, shop three stores, eat lunch and then drive an hour back. It is too easy to not do more often.
Thank you Lexington for a great shopping day!
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