When it's time for a well-earned break, we like to take our sun, sea and sand with a little pinch of shopping on the side. And for us that means only one city - Miami.
Savvy style hounds will already be well aware of the breadth and depth of Miami's shopping scene: the department stores and big name retailers at Aventura Mall; luxury fashion at Bal Harbour Shops and the Village of Merrick Park; new and innovative designer brands in the Design District, and the major commercial boulevards of central Miami Beach - Lincoln Road Mall, Collins Avenue, Ocean Drive and Espanola Way.
But there's an unexpected treat in store for sartorially-inclined visitors hankering after something retro or reincarnated: Miami is also home to a fabulous vintage scene. And with the 15th anniversary of Miami Fashion Week just around the corner (20-24 March 2013) there's never been a better excuse to get your (new) gladrags on. Here's our pick of the best vintage hotspots in town...
Generally regarded as the best and most extensive vintage store in town, C. Madeleine's is 10,000 square feet of retail space filled to the brim with gorgeous shoes, bags, jewellery, accessories and, of course, every conceivable type of clothing you can think of. Organised by the decade - with pieces dating right back to the 1900s - you'll find everything from 1920s Egyptian revival dresses and 1950s cinched-in waist taffeta ballgowns to 1970s animal print pantsuits. Expect to be browsing for a very long time.
C. Madeleine's, 13702 Biscayne Blvd, N. Miami Beach
A fire forced the massively popular vintage emporium Fly Boutique out of their Lincoln Road boutique into another location just around the corner, but they've since opened a second, much larger store on Biscayne Boulevard, which also stocks some luggage and furniture items. Look out for simple things like collectible concert t-shirts among the rare Versace, Chanel, Valentino and Prada gems.
Fly Boutique, 1634 Euclid Avenue (at Lincoln Road), Miami Beach and 7235 Biscaye Blvd, N. Miami Beach
The Rabbit Hole
The Rabbit Hole prides itself on an affordable, hand-picked range of items, which includes everything from 1970s Grecian-style maxi dresses and men's cowboy boots to demure 1940s nightgowns and needlepoint purses. The small store is a brilliant trove of discovery, with a focus on items you'd really want to wear - and combine with the rest of your wardrobe - and it's clearly all been pulled together with skill, creativity and lots of passion.
The Rabbit Hole, 17032 West Dixie Highway, N. Miami Beach
In the heart of the Wynwood Art District, Las Tias' range of vintage goodies runs the gamut from clothing, bags, shoes and beautiful hand fans to furniture, lighting and all kinds of home and garden accessories. In fact, if you come here just for clothes you're likely to walk out with more than you bargained for. This is a store for those treasure hunters whose love of vintage runs through every aspect of their lives.
Las Tias, 2834 N. Miami Avenue, Miami
Lincoln Road Antique and Collectible Market
Not a store and only held every other Sunday from October through to May, but the Lincoln Road Antique and Collectible Market is one of the best reasons in Miami to skip your weekend lie-in. This South Beach institution with a street festival atmosphere normally has around 125 vendors displaying their wares. At the fashion end of things you might spy pristine editions of 1970s and 80s' Vogue magazines, antique jewellery, classy sunhats and still-perfect Hermes silk scarves. And look out for super-sleek clothes and accessories from Miami's Art Deco-era heyday too.
Lincoln Road Antique and Collectible Market, Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach
Virgin Atlantic operates a daily flight to Miami from London Heathrow.
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.