Owner Lydia Hamilton-Monnie curates a collection of plus-size pieces that fit and flatter at a designer level. She started Boutique Larrieux when she found herself continually driving to Chicago to shop for the kind of clothes she wanted—and she knew there were others who were looking for plus-size apparel within the Milwaukee area. "I've had women come into the store in tears because they've gone everywhere else, and they can't find anything that works for them," Lydia said. But relief comes quickly. Time and time again, women who have searched everywhere else without finding a single look are suddenly trying to decide between five outfits they love. Today, it's her relentless search for "hidden gems" in the world of plus-size clothing that makes her store a treasure for customers. When they walk through the door, she's already done the legwork to find the best items, and they're all collected in one place. In addition to curve-friendly brands such as Monif C. and Sealed with a Kiss, Lydia has coaxed designers who normally only do "straight sizes," including Astridland, to transform pieces into plus-size styles just for her shop. Boutique Larrieux strives to be a one-stop destination for fashion, carrying accessories and shapewear in addition to ensembles that range from casual to party-ready. The dresses in the window have also drawn the eyes of women who wear straight sizes, who are disappointed when they can't fit into the clothes. It happens fairly frequently, Lydia said, and it tells her she's doing her job right. "They see the fashion before they see the size," she said. For many of her customers, that's something they can't get anywhere else.
Sparrow Collective curates a selection of apparel and accessories made by more than 95 independent designers from across the nation. One-of-a-kind dresses, printed T-shirts, and artisanal jewelry are a few of its well-stocked categories, along with art prints and plush toys for children. The boutique has an online shop and a physical location in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood. The Bay View shop hosts classes and workshops in which groups learn to use sewing machines and construct their own one-of-a-kind clothes from scratch.
Trina, the fashionista behind Charisma Boutique, has a degree in fashion and retail marketing and a penchant for the alluring styles worn by starlets such as Jessica Alba and Beyoncé. She takes inspiration from those celebrities, filling her boutique with chic handbags, statement jewelry, and footwear that ranges from slinky knee-high boots to pointy high heels. Customers can check out Trina's fashion and beauty blogs for inspiration.
Burbach's Market helps customers stock their freezers and fridges full of high-end meats, from juicy center-cut pork chops to smoked beef to seafood. They even offer frog legs and alligator meat. Skilled butchers freezer-wrap each order on request, and they help hunters process their deer. Burbach's also sends seasoned chefs to off-site banquets and parties for catering, and it rents and sells rotisseries and barbecue supplies for pig roasts.
Signature Service: Gluten-free cooking
Reservations/Appointments: Not offered
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Brands Used: Molly's Gluten-Free Bakery, RP's Pasta
Pro Tip: Deliveries are on Tuesdays, and there [are] more savings with the subscription service.