South Congress Shopping: Maya Star
We ran downtown this evening after dinner to Austin’s over-the-top costume store Lucy in Disguise on South Congress to get a tri-corner hat for Sam’s school performance tomorrow morning.
Yeah, we hate last-minute school-stuff-for-tomorrow errands just as much as you do.
Since we don’t get down to SoCo that often, I dragged along my camera and the Tilt/Shift lens, hoping to grab just a few architectural shots of some older buildings between Elizabeth and Monroe. Lots of South Congress shops are located in really funky old buildings that have even funkier facades and signs out front and that makes for some interesting photographic subjects.
I didn’t get 10 feet out of the costume store with my $8 hat before falling under the spell of one of the marvelous little South Congress boutiques you hear people rave about in Austin: Maya Star.
Yeah, This Isn’t About Real Estate
What makes living in Austin so compelling is that we have all sorts of locally-owned, one-of-a-kind or first-of-a-kind stores you don’t find in a lot of other cities.
If you like clothing and jewelry that stands apart from the big box stores and brands, you can wander down South Congress, south of the bridge, and find all sorts of boutiques offering everything. Everything, meaning: handmade jewelry, exotic silk scarves, glorious stiletto heels, vintage frocks and Jackie O type coats. All mixed in with screen-printed local band t-shirts and ripped up jeans.
While you’re at it, you can get a tattoo, snarf a cupcake and try on some vintage cowboy boots. If that doesn’t wear you out, pull up a curb and just watch all of the interesting people go by. You won’t be disappointed – there is always someone interesting to look at on South Congress.
Sometimes you just have to visit to get it.
Maya Star: from Work to Play to an Evening Out
Maya Star, at 1508 South Congress (just south of Monroe and just north of the parking lot full of vintage airstream food trailers) offers the kind of clothes you feel glorious wearing: fun and flirty pieces you can layer under a jacket if your office is over air-conditioned, then skip out of the office in after work to meet friends for drinks without wanting to go home and change first.
This is the kind of store that makes South Congress in Austin a destination, not just something you drive down on the way home after working downtown.
The racks were full of beautifully neutral pieces mixed in with colorful florals, stripes and whimsically ruffled dresses. Coral and teal fabrics – the good kind, not the condo-in-Florida kind – popped off the racks to add just the perfect splash of color to a spring and summer wardrobe.
The adorable ruffled dress in the photo below was featured in the March 2011 issue of Glamour magazine.
Stuff like that. Really really pretty stuff like that.
Prices range from just under $100 for some of the earrings to several hundred a pair. Beautifully styled leather bags were $300 to $400+ (including ones from sought-after designer Rebecca Minkhoff) and dresses ranged from $40-ish to several hundred, with a nice selection at all of the price points in-between. This is not a store full with every piece in every size – which means you are far less likely to see someone else wearing your most recent find.
Chatting with the Owner of Maya Star
One thing I love about living in Austin is that everyone seems to want to talk about photography.
Like I said at the beginning, I didn’t mean to spend an hour in a clothing boutique, it just happened. It happened because while setting up the tripod on the sidewalk outside and fiddling with the Tilt/Shift (to avoid architectural distortion of the tall building facade), one of the owners of Maya Star, Richard Gordoa, walked out and struck up a conversation about my camera.
And, ooooh, I love love love my camera and anyone that wants to talk gets the whole tour.
After a few minutes, I had my exterior shots and spying a bright orange dress peeking through the doorway, asked if he’d mind if I took a few interior photos.
The rest is history, Austin history. Or actually, Austin in the here and now.
Visit South Congress, visit Maya Star, and scarf a cupcake from Hey Cupcake on your way home.Maya Star
1508 South Congress
Austin, Texas 78704
The rest of the Maya Star photos are on my Flickr Stream.
Google Map for Maya Star on South Congress
You’ll find Maya Star on South Congress between Monroe and Elizabeth, on the western side of the street.
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