Found: Fabulosity and Edginess at Aoki Boutique

Aoki is a small boutique located right by Rittenhouse Square and is dedicated to serving today’s funky and always fabulous woman. It is a great place to find designer clothing that you are bound to use again and again.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Price Range: $$$$
115 S. 22nd St.
(between Chestnut and Samson Streets)
Philadelphia, PA 19103

About a month ago, as I was walking with my class to the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, I felt a slight but powerful gravitational force slowly pulling me in another direction. A small but elaborate window display right off Rittenhouse Square caught my eye, and little did I know that this would be where I spent the rest of my evening.

After my class trip, I saw a group of my classmates gathered at the entrance, and as we walked together, there was no doubt about the intentions we had in mind. We were all about to pay Aoki boutique a visit. It was obviously the popular choice.

Walking in felt like transitioning into a made-up room, if that makes any sense. The walls were comforting, with a hue similar to a Jamaican sea. Low, narrow wooden shelves and dressers, filled with small goods, were filed against walls. Racks of clothing were abundant and filled with, but not to the point to intimidate you from going through them.

As I walked towards the back, the owner, Alina Alter, nicely offered to help me look for anything and to direct any questions to her. I was slowly falling for the boutique. (Like one of my friends noted, fashion can, in fact, replace a boyfriend.)

Although my arm had been tired from holding my book-filled bag, it gained the motivation to keep flipping through the racks as the edginess factor in the tops I saw was going up. I peered down at a sequin top from Pink Yotto, a silk blouse from Yumi Kim, and well, you can see where this is going.

My favorite aspect was the layout of the home décor, small notepads, and jewelry. They are all carefully placed on shelves for customers to see. Necklaces with small skulls, threaded motifs, and cute kitschy pendants (all around $60 to $125) were on fabric necklace stands and in glass cases.

The boutique’s cute factor came in with its Bulldog notepads, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ water bottles, Betsey Johnson tights, interestingly designed matchboxes, and scented candles. They made the trip so much more enjoyable and fun.

Aoki also has a long rack of sale items towards its far right. Although the boutique sells brands with high price points, the discounts are great in comparison, offering up to 60% discounts from what I saw. Regardless, items typically range from $30 to $150. I managed to find a high neck sleeveless tee awesome metallic skull design tee for $17 from $34.

While shopping here during a second trip, a few stylists came in to pick out clothing for a local fashion show. It was awesome to see this all in action because they tried only to pick out what they really loved. Each one of them said they would return to do some personal shopping for the rest of the items in the store. The feeling of trying to get everything in Aoki was apparently mutual.

I would describe my experience as visiting a Scoop in SoHo without the snobbiness of some of the other clients in the store. Or for the better understanding of a Swattie, let’s think about going to Urban Outfitters with more daring clothing in a much more intimate setting. I am pumped. Pumped that I can now pay frequent visits to a new-found love.

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