In a sea of sea adjacent surf shops, the Swim Boutique stands out. Cutoff T-shirts, printed caps or generic souvenirs are nowhere to be found. Instead, the Indian Shores shop and its newly opened St. Pete Beach outpost aim to give tourists and residents a classier and unique set of wardrobe options when heading to the Gulf beaches.
Owner Jaime Tripodo knows her customers, 99 percent of whom don't fit into a small, medium or large template. She should know — after all, she's been working at the store since she was 3, when her grandmother was in charge. Tripodo has gone from observing customers as a child to catering to them full time at the shop, and according to her, swimsuits are all about the right fit.
Carrying cup sizes A through H, the Swim Boutique specializes in little to not-so-little polka dot (and other print) bikinis and one pieces. It caters to the curvy woman often forgotten in big department stores with tops that offer coverage and support while still looking just as cute as the itty bitty ones.
A high-waisted black and white two-piece, for example, has underwire support on top ($44), and the bottoms ($32) hit the waistline, not the hips, for a both slimming and retro effect. Mastectomy swimsuits (prices vary) make the wearer more comfortable with higher necklines.
In keeping with the family tradition of the shop, which has been in business since 1976, the Swim Boutique is also family oriented. Offering men's and kids' swimwear (prices vary), sunglasses ($10), magnets highlighting every single type of shell that can be found at the Gulf shore ($3.98) and feminine cover-ups and maxi dresses ($75) that can easily transition from a beach outing to downtown, the shop tries to give everyone a little to peruse and try on.