Ah, New Orleans in the summer. A pestilence of termites cloud around every light in the city, mosquitoes have a personal vendetta against bare skin, and the air is so heavy with humidity it’s downright oppressive.  It’s only May, but those April showers have given way to May flowers…and the ushering in of a hot series of months.  What’s a girl to do?  This town makes me long to be a kid running through the sprinklers again, and I have on occasion contemplated jumping in the pool fully clothed just to escape the heat.  But, since I cannot do that (or willingly admit I might), it seems the only other option is to dress appropriately.

I am not a fan of summer.  Sure, tan skin looks great on everyone, and fresh fruit abounds, but despite being a local I just can’t get comfortable during this season.  With that being said, I can certainly still appreciate and covet pretty frocks and lighter fashion fare. 

Another reason I prefer the colder months is it feels like there is more variety in fall and winter clothing.  Summer fashions tend to blur before my eyes.  So I was not terribly intrigued when a friend told me about a new clothing boutique on Magazine Street.  My only thought was, Aren’t there enough?

I put on my rose-tinted glasses and hoped for the best as I walked into SHOP. Minimalist white walls, charcoal gray wood floors, sleek black furniture and brocade accents greeted me as I entered the airy boutique, and I could tell this one was going to be different.  I brightened up a bit as I perused about the large boutique, and was instantly greeted by two equally bright employees.  Why hello to you, too! Nothing annoys me more than walking into a store and being greeted with indifferenc. Major points there.

I chatted up manager Nichole Azevedo, who showed me around the store, and opened my eyes to lines I’d never heard of or seen before.  Since opening on March1, buyer Elizabeth McNulty and owner Chloe Waters have stocked this boutique with beautiful and unique designers, as well as perennial favorites like Trina Turk, Shoshanna, Anna Sui and Catherine Malandrino.

“We have a lot of dresses, but we stock everything from knit wear to swim to office attire,” says Azevedo.  “And we carry gowns during the ball season.”

The real finds here are the lines they carry exclusively.  MiH Jeans, seen on nearly every Hollywood starlet recently, are just one example of a SHOP-only designer. 

“These jeans are great,” says Azevedo.  “They have a real ‘70s feel to them, and fit your body well.”

Denim is definitely back in a big way this summer; a pencil skirt with interesting front detail in a lightweight dark fabric caught my eye, as did a shirtdress in the same wash.  Yes, I just said a denim dress.

They also carry the dreamy French line Lungta de Fancy.  It was amour at first sight.  These chiffon creations are offset by their sharp pleats and free-flowing silhouettes, in shades ranging from a soft dove gray dress with incredible pin-tucked fabric flowers along the bottom, to a bright mustard yellow frock.  Tell my landlord the rent may be a bit late this month.

Another exclusive line is Menoush.  “These are so ‘fairy tale’,” says Azevedo, holding up a maxi-length dress with soft gold lines and oversized garden depictions.  Indeed, the pale blues and sorbet greens are straight from your favorite princess’ closet.  This designer is possibly the most unique line I’ve seen carried by a local store in a long time.

Camilla and Mark, Lorick, Heidi Merrick, Scout, and Nude shoes are all exclusive to the boutique, and all completely different from one another.  This store is giving me hope that there may actually be a way to be stylish despite the heat.  They are also the only store in town to carry Hoss, a handbag line recently featured in Lucky Magazine.  Snag their gray leather bag that converts from shoulder bag to clutch; the hue and versatility mean you can use it year-round. 

Their Shoshanna and Trina Turk swimwear also caught my eye.  Never one to stray from my uniform of solid colors, their Pucci-esque prints are quickly making me rethink that mantra.  Pair them with some shades from the funky collection of Trina Turk sunglasses on the counter and you’re ready for a Twiggy-era vacation.

As for your best bets for summer, Azevedo has a concise but dead-on list.  “ I love the MiH Jean ankle pant,” she says.  “And Juicy dresses with a gladiator sandal.  You can’t go wrong with some great linen tops,” she adds.

2728 Magazine St.