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Tropical Kisses

“I’m going to have to return the dress,” I said. After unhooking the yellow straps from the hanger, I folded the dress into a shopping bag.
“Too big?” he asked.
“No. It just doesn’t fit right.”

It was definitely a dress I would’ve tried on. When it first exploded from the box and into my hands, I prayed it would fit. But a deep cleavage halter with a low-cut back is more for the lanky supermodel type, which I am not. Still, I loved the yellowness of the dress. It was like a sexy daffodil.

His directions led me to a storefront between Capriccio’s and The Accessory Place on Waterfront Drive. I hesitated outside the door. He bought me a dress from a place called “Tropical Kisses”? The piece of paper in the window scrawled with “2 for $15.00 T-shirts” seemed suspect, as did the hanging sign that bragged “Souvenirs with local themes,” but I noticed a few pretty outfits displayed in the window, and two of them were yellow.

I stepped through the entrance and found myself in a clean, uncluttered shop. I barely noticed the small shelf of BVI shot glasses, hats and t-shirts on my right before my attention was drawn to the carnival of colours and textures shimmering from the back wall. Flipping through the racks, I giggled as my hands fondled softer-than-suede silks and organza ruffles.

 

The owner, Tamantha Augustine, remembered my friend when I removed the dress from the bag. “I told him I could make him a gift certificate, but he wanted to buy you a dress.”

I tried on every other yellow dress in the shop, thinking I’d stay in the same colour scheme. Tamantha has superior taste and an eye for both classic and contemporary silhouettes. Each one I tried on made me feel like a different celebrity. One cocktail dress, yellow and white silk in an updated mod pattern, reminded me of something Audrey Hepburn would have worn in Charade. Another, equally as gorgeous, was reminiscent of a flouncey toga from a Beyoncé video.

 After slipping in and out of about every frock in the store, I found a floor length, bougainvillea-purple sheath hiding behind some beaded, glittery party dresses. Its hemline flirted with a stack of skinny jeans piled below it on the closet floor. I shimmied into it and felt like a goddess. The draping flattered my curves, and the neckline and colour emphasized the only skin revealed—my arms, neck and collarbones. Constructed of a stretch jersey knit, the dress could be either dressed up with a necklace and sparkly sandals or dressed down with flip flops and a beach bag. I had to have it, and it cost less than the daffodil dress, so I bought a pair of funky green enameled earrings as well.

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Before I checked out, I paused at the bath, body and candle display. I wanted to smell everything, but other errands beckoned, and I was happy to have an excuse to return.

Tamantha handed me her business card as she rang up my purchases, and I noticed a different shop name printed on it: “La Boutique de Mode.” And though the new name is more reflective of her merchandise, I felt that after spending an hour in her shop being caressed by the textures and romanced by the colours that maybe “Tropical Kisses” was, in fact, the right name after all.

Tropical Kisses is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For the latest promotions, join the email list by emailing Tamantha: a_tamantha@hotmail.com or call 443-1735.  
 

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