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Where a Style Blogger Shops for Hand-Dyed Blouses and the Perfect Summer Sundress

Philadelphia has so many stores, but somehow we keep returning to the usual suspects. To break out of the rut, Racked Philly's Julie Davis asks local shopping and fashion gurus to provide their hidden retail gems. Cue the Beatles: We’re about to get a little help from our friends.

She may be a stay-at-home mom, but that doesn’t mean you’ll catch Carly Walko in sweatpants. As the face behind the Jersey Shore-based style blog ThirtySomethingFashion, the blogger/stylist would opt for a designer frock over loungewear any day. When she’s not busy chasing her toddler and carving a niche for herself in the blogosphere, Walko makes a beeline for Third Street Habit, Three Sirens, SA VA, Lost + Found, and Nicole Miller. Walko depends on these boutiques to deliver a fresh, revolving stock of current must-haves—an important draw for a busy mom who’s short on time, but not on style.

Third Street Habit [above] is a must-visit in Philadelphia. The owner is a buying genius, always stocking fresh new designers and the latest trends. Price points are on the higher side, so I save this store for special-occasion wear or for something I know I will wear consistently all season. This summer, I would splurge on a killer piece from standout designer Rory Beca—especially the feminine dresses. Try hitting the sales rack in the very back of the store and you can usually score a great piece or two for a fraction of the retail price.
I have loved Three Sirens for years. When it changed ownership a while back, I was worried it would let go of the brands and labels I had come to count on. Quite the contrary, as the new boutique owner mixed in one of my all time favorite boutique brands, RD Style. Moderately priced and uber fashionable, this brand is regularly featured on my blog and I often use it to style my clients.

SA VA is feel-good fashion with absolutely everything being fair trade and made in the USA (90 percent made in Philadelphia). Favorites are the one-of-a-kind tie-dyed silk dresses and blouses. I also recently bought this amazing jersey knit dress that's as comfortable as pajamas; I plan to live in it all summer. I also have to mention the blowout sales held on their second floor where everything goes for $39 and under (sometimes as little as $15). When I shop this sale, I literally feel like I am shoplifting—the deals are that good.

Lost + Found (133 N. Third Street) is a hidden little gem of a boutique in Old City. One of my best wardrobe scores ever was a Quicksilver plaid shirtdress for $65. I purchased it over four years ago, and it is still one of my go-to favorite casual dresses. I love the gritty, laid-back vibe of the clothing and I also love that everything is under $100. It takes some time to sift through, but there are some really cool pieces for very affordable prices. Just a tip: This store gets crowded on weekends and with teeny, tiny fitting rooms and a communal mirror; I would suggest shopping during the week.

Nicole Miller Philadelphia at the Bellevue is obviously well-known for great women's clothing, but what a lot of people don't know is that it's privately owned and operated. The accessories, bags, and shoes are curated by the highly trained and fashionable staff. Some of the accessories are Nicole Miller brand and others are from local Philadelphia jewelry makers and handbag designers. I stop in to splurge on a cocktail dress and then spend hours looking at all the beautiful statement necklaces, clutches, and flat sandals. The staff is fashion-obsessed and will help to style you from head to toe. Ask for Jillian or Mia and you will have a great experience.