Summer is right around the corner and we know what that means: warm weather, travel and lots of new styles. If your closet is in desperate need of some revamping, I’ve got just what you need. I spoke with three of the most popular boutiques here in Iowa City and asked them about everything from upcoming summer looks to what the Iowa City community means to their business. From vintage festival looks to cut-offs for your night on the town, these shops have something to make everyone feel great in their skin. You voted, and the results are in. Here’s all the reasons why these Iowa City boutiques should be on your summer shopping list ASAP.
One of the newest additions to Iowa City’s vibrant shopping scene, Pitaya’s variety of trending designs quickly earned its place on every collegiate’s must-have list. In its quaint location on South Dubuque street, shoppers can find everything from dainty jewelry to bright jumpsuits, all at competitive costs. In fact, when asked what sets Pitaya apart from other Iowa City retailers, the answer was resounding—price! Lauren, a Pitaya employee, commented that while other local boutiques may boast the same brands, Pitaya often manages to edge out the competition by doing a little less damage to the pocketbook.
“Decently priced, on-trend clothes with helpful staff.”—Maddie, 18
In addition to cost benefits, Pitaya is bringing in the summer season in style! With an eclectic mix of bo-ho inspired designs, customers can expect a revival of some of the hottest looks from the 70’s and 80’s. (We’ve missed our bell bottoms!) If you’re needing that last perfect outfit for Lollapalooza or any other flower-child inspired festivals this summer, Pitaya is your place! This aesthetic radiates through the store, the main looks being influenced by “nightlife”, “sorority life” and “hipster” vibes, according to Lauren.
“Very nice and have excellent options.”—Sarah, 18
Moving into the future, Pitaya hopes to expand its relatively new footprint by maximizing advertising through shop and art gallery crawls. The company hopes to use these opportunities to reach a new customer base and continue to work toward becoming “one of those Iowa City staples” says Lauren.
The consensus with this Iowa City classic is clear, Revival’s combination of new, old and unique catches customers’ attention and keeps them coming back for more. Revival employees Sheila and Meg have high hopes for what the summer season has in store: “We are most excited about all the small batch brands we carry—their spring lines are unreal this season—Paloma Wool, Rita Row, [and] Callahan just to name a few.”
“LOVE the combo of shoes, candles and used & new stuff at Revival. It’s hard for me to go without buying something.”—Allison, 21
Speaking of brands, you won’t just find new names here. Revival carries a diverse collection of vintage and second-hand pieces hand-picked by staff and you! According to Sheila and Meg, “We buy from our customer base & our staff also finds & curates vintage for us. We have a whole buying & selling process where we trade clothes for store credit, you can receive cash for your items that we take & we offer consignment as well!” A one-stop shop to let some of your pieces find a new home and stock up on classics from all your favorite decades!
“Everyone there is so kind and helpful. The prices are really reasonable since they have a consignment section as well.”—Caecilia, 18
What style is Revival predicting will make its comeback this summer season? “We’ll be seeing a lot of knit tanks, loose linen-like pants, platform shoes & funky barrettes!” say Sheila and Meg. You can check out some of these favs at the Annual Summer Shop Crawl this year on May 17th, which includes an array of downtown businesses and according to Sheila and Meg is “just a great time to hangout with the IC community!” Mark your calendars!
“Love when they have their annual 50% off sale!”—Liz, 20
When asked what the Iowa City community brings to Revival’s business atmosphere, Meg and Sheila believe that “many of the members of the Iowa City community hold [our] same ideals as a business, such as sustainable products, fabrics & practices, shopping small and shopping resale.” Help the environment and look good while doing it? We’re in! It’s clear to see that Revival’s pursuit of healthy business practices to achieve their “electric yet current” look has caught customers’ attention, undoubtedly a reason why Sheila and Meg say, “we have a close relationship with our customers & we love that.”
Being a part of the Iowa City heartbeat for nearly thirteen years, White Rabbit is no doubt a go-to destination for unique, artisan pieces to personalize any wardrobe. Its resounding female empowerment motif encourages customers to expand their comfort zones and make statements with their clothing. After speaking with Molly, a manager at White Rabbit, it is clear that this staff is passionate about their customers’ retail experience: “Whether it’s vintage cutoffs, fun new dresses, or restocks of our favorite handmade jewelry, we like to keep things fun and fresh!”
Speaking of handmade, customers love the inclusive nature of the shop and its support of the local arts scene.
“This store always has a vibrant selection of clothes for each season and the support they give to local artists is impeccable.”—Emily, 19
In fact, the store includes over 100 artists, diving into Iowa City’s community life to discover many of them. “We seek out artists by attending local craft fairs, farmer’s markets and browsing on Instagram and other websites,” says Molly. Go no further than walking in the front door to see the culmination of these creative efforts.
Moving into the summer season, Molly says that “we are seeing more and more shoppers gravitating to our late 90’s vintage clothing and we hope this trend continues into the summer because it’s a lot of fun!” While these designs may be unique, don’t worry about missing out on that one irreplaceable piece because the store receives new inventory throughout the week, always offering another look to fall in love with!
“I’ve been trying to mainly purchase items that have been either used before or are from brands that aren’t in affiliation with Fast Fashion for environmental reasons, and I love their thrift section!”—Lily, 19
When asked about White Rabbit’s relationship with the Iowa City community, Molly said students in the area make up a loyal portion of their customer base. “We love seeing the familiar faces that stop by between classes to take a break from their day for a browse around or a “treat yo’ self” moment. Having a small shop where we can connect with our customers is the best feeling. It allows us to really listen to our shoppers and respond to make this a space that feels good to them.”
Summer is your opportunity to start fresh, and what better way to do that than to add some flair to your wardrobe! Whether you’re on the hunt for a certain piece or are just in need of a little retail therapy, these Iowa City gems will not disappoint.
Image Credit: Img 1 & 2 Courtesy of Instagram @shoppitaya, Img 3 & 4 Courtesy of Rachel McCracken, Img 5 & 6 Courtesy of Megan Conroy