Dressing for a Bahamas vacation is not like dressing for any old trip. You will want breezy clothes that let your body breathe in the extreme heat. Though you might be tempted to strip down, remember that Bahamians tend to be conservative—so keep some of it covered if you don’t want to offend.
Of course you’ll want to pack accordingly—but you should also plan to pick up a few clothing items while you’re here, because the proprietors of our local women’s boutiques are connoisseurs of smart island style. I bought a dress from Marilyn’s Gift Shop last year and wore it to a local awards show, where I had to present one of the marquee awards. I swear, when the photos came back, I surprised myself with how good I looked! It was partly me, but it was partly the perfect dress I found at Marilyn’s. So be warned, when you shop at the boutiques below, you will likely run up a bill buying fancy items you may not even have a reason yet to own. But I guarantee that the timeless pieces you find here will serve you well.
The core business of Bahama Hand Prints is the creation of hand-printed fabrics; however, inside its flagship boutique in Nassau, the company transforms its yardage into light and playful wearable art. Their lead designer (a professional artist) has a knack for making unique patterns that capture the beauty of the Bahamas: stenciled starfish and sea turtles, shell and leaves are elegantly printed on airy cottons, to make bags and wraps, scarves and skirts.
Marilyn’s Gift Shop
Head by the regatta site in Great Exuma and ask for Marilyn’s; you’ll be directed to this gift shop full of blessings that can actually be bought. Check off a new swimsuit from the list, along with that elegant summer dress you needed for dinner. Cross off all your accessories, particularly that sassy seashell necklace you wanted. The store is tiny but it packs everything in.
Cole’s of Nassau
Cole’s of Nassau is a family company that has thrived for three generations as a leading women’s boutique. Known for carrying lines with vivid colors and prints, the shops sell everything from swimsuits to get sun soaked on the beach to classy dresses to slip into for dinner. Make sure your pocketbook is well endowed, as Cole’s of Nassau, with its three locations in high end retails outlets, keeps company with Gucci and Louis Vuitton stores.
The boutique at Firefly Sunset Resort is a go-to spot in Hope Town, Abaco for stylish resort wear. The shop carries many reliable, high-end brands including the Island Company, with its complete line of classic swimwear, linen clothes, island accessories and vintage sunglasses.
If you need a trendy but affordable weekend outfit, Melissa Sears Fashion is a local favorite on Nassau. This homegrown women’s boutique sells a collection of hip clothes, handbags, shoes, and accessories from young designers. The most accessible location for visitors is the branch at the Mall at Marathon. This is a bit off the tourist route, but it is a safe place where you will meet Bahamians satisfying their shopping fix.