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SHELF LIFE

Tucked away in Mizner Park, Rhythm of Grace boutique is a gem of a shopping experience.

Hangers are important. Where there is no model or mannequin to display a garment, the hanger stands in. It helps a piece hold its shape, so that the sleeves and the silhouette fall just so. A good hanger can mean the difference between bringing a dress with you into the fitting room – or putting it back on the shelf to collect dust.

Rachel Lewis gets that. When she was sketching out store layouts and ideas for her Rhythm of Grace boutique, she wanted everything – right down to the hangers – to leave an impression.

So she had the face of each hanger custom-made to read, “You are beautiful.”

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“I just wanted to make every girl feel beautiful,” Lewis says. “It’s OK if you’re not like a magazine model.”

This philosophy extends beyond the words printed on the hangers. It’s in every corner of the store, where from the moment you walk in the door, the feeling of glamour is contagious.

It starts with the retro-chic décor. Gold clothing racks custom-designed in the shape of a wave run up and down from the front to the back of the store. Bright pieces of apparel add pops of color to the décor’s black and white color palette. Textured, fur rugs and ornate floor mirrors sit atop the glossy black and white floor. Gleaming silver chandeliers by Jonathan Adler hang from the ceiling. Denim and knits sit atop shiny, black lacquered tables. The dressing rooms are equally dazzling yet cozy, the black and white décor complemented by gold poufs for guests to rest on.

The apparel and accessories cater toward the woman who has several luncheons, cocktail parties and galas to attend every month. Flowy, loose maxi dresses in bright colors ideal for Sunday brunch hang next to elegant, pleated skirts and lace shift dresses for a night out on the town.

Lewis, 28, shops not for her own taste, but for that of the Boca woman. “You have to be able to cherry-pick must-have items and create a story with them that not only caters to your customer but the story of your store,” she says. For instance, she knows that certain colors like yellow, lime and peachy pink won’t sell in the store, so instead she gravitates toward neutrals, stocking a lot of grays, blacks and whites. When she does incorporate color, she selects hot pinks, teals and deep, cobalt blues. Even the most casual pieces are made interesting by adding textures and embellishments, like animal-print fur accenting a T-shirt’s sleeves or silver studs punctuating a chunky gray sweater.

Prices range from $45 to $300, and the selection is versatile enough for a mother and daughter to shop together and both walk out with a shopping bag. Lewis’ goal is to stock hot-ticket items from indie brands not normally available in South Florida. Currently, Rhythm of Grace houses pieces by Amanda Uprichard, David Lerner, Rory Beca, Torn by Ronny Kobo, Finders Keepers, Keepsake, Stone Cold Fox, OneTeaspoon and Blank NYC. Accessories from brands like Gorjana, Luv Aj, Dola Designs, La Mer watches and more are displayed on glass shelves throughout the store.

“We want everyone to feel good, look good when they leave here,” Lewis says. “What girl doesn’t want to feel beautiful?”