LeeAnne Swor spent 10 years in the fashion trenches with her Atlanta store, L’Asia, so she could immediately see the opportunity for her brand of laid-back elegance in Sarasota. “I came to visit my brother in 2003 for Thanksgiving but hadn’t packed for 85-degree weather—so I went to the mall,” she recalls. What she discovered led to L. Boutique, and a wardobing system that defines cosmopolitan Sarasota style.
“The stores were geared to November up North. Everything was too fall: tweed, sweaters—and there wasn’t enough color. Plus, I had a misconception that this was a sleepy little retirement beach town. When I saw how sophisticated and fashion-savvy people were, I knew I could carve a niche for women who wanted to look great and be comfortable at the same time. In just four days I got a store, a house, an employee and a babysitter,” she says with a laugh.
L. Boutique, 556 Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 906-1350
Get Leeanne’s Look
Simple elegance and easy dressing are L. Boutique signatures. “I am a single mom and I work, so I’m usually in a hurry getting dressed. That’s why comfort and great fabrics are so important to me. Cashmere works for me year-round. Even if I’m in jeans and a T-shirt, I want the T-shirt to be the best soft cotton I can find,” Swor says.
Can’t live without “My Magaschoni cashmere ruffle wraps. It always gets chilly in the A/C or by the beach, so I wear them to the movies, restaurants, over T-shirts by day and dresses by night. I love color, even if it’s just a wrap, handbag or necklace to pop some fun!”
What this town needs “First, Sarasota needs more eligible single men. Then maybe a swanky piano bar where you can go on a date, have a glass of wine and slow dance. Does anyone slow dance anymore?”