Affordable Palm Beach? You Can Dress the Part.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

You wouldn't expect Palm Beach to offer retail therapy of modest means. So that made the surprise of finding a row of consignment shops along unassuming Sunset Avenue -- just a few blocks from the Breakers -- all the sweeter.

At Razamataz Consignment Boutique (208 Sunset Ave.), known as a treasure trove of gently used Chanel couture, I scored two pairs of designer jeans for $50 apiece and a gorgeous Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress ($90) that looked as if it had never seen a single charity ball.

And a few doors down, at Deja Vu (219 Royal Poinciana Way), I dropped $40 on an elegant black halter dress I swore I'd wear for years. Other shops in the strip included a men's consignment shop, a baby consignment and a shop selling vintage French and Italian linens.

"We know them by number," said the saleswoman at Deja Vu, referring to the shop's consignees. "They don't want it to be known that they consign their clothes, so they have the maid or butler bring them in."

She said the best time to shop is at the start of the busy season, which is rapidly approaching. "People come down and open their houses, and the first thing they do is clean out their closets," she told me. I made a mental note to return after Thanksgiving.

I celebrated my finds at Green's Pharmacy (151 N. County Rd.), where the lunch counter scene was casual and welcoming, with a waitress who called me "sweetie" and a few cops, a nurse and a mail carrier among the patrons sitting atop green vinyl stools. A kitschy mural features scarlet macaws and pelicans.

I considered ordering the $4.10 egg and toast breakfast, but having just saved all that money, I went with the most expensive thing on the menu instead: the terrific $9.95 seared tuna lunch special with fried greens.

-- T.W.

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