Bella Isola Bou­tique

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Ab­so­lutes de­scribe sub­trop­i­cal cou­ture; weather, sand and sun mean lighter fab­rics—cer­tainly fewer of them—―brighter col­ors and a nau­ti­cal-beachy feel to fit ge­og­ra­phy and the fes­tive spirit of Caribbean-style liv­ing along the Gulf of Mex­ico. But, it seems, is­land fash­ion reaches deeper; per­haps it’s iso­la­tion, be­cause lo­cal rules limit the en­croach­ment of chain stores. And while reg­u­la­tions don’t stop bou­tiques from car­ry­ing Parisian or New York fash­ion, it does mean shops of­fer life­style choices unique to Sani­bel-Cap­tiva.

Claudine Wells, at her Bella Isola Bou­tique on Sani­bel, de­scribes is­land cou­ture as “shabby chic, sort of the hip­pie-beach look,” she says. “Our cus­tomers love it. Our store is like en­ter­ing a dream closet. It’s how we’re dif­fer­ent.”

Our store is like en­ter­ing a dream closet. It’s how we’re dif­fer­ent.” —Bella Isola’s Claudine Wells

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