At The Intersection of Retail and Residential

When you read between the racks, shopping is usually about staying in touch with your girlfriends rather than keeping up with trends.  Meeting at a shopping center with a welcoming ambiance and a good cafe is actually more important than discovering a well-stocked sale rack.  

In Austin, shade is essential for a pleasant outdoor shopping experience during the summer. Providing shaded benches is a sign of hospitality that invites shoppers to have a seat and linger awhile over friendship and a cool drink.  Described as a “pedestrian-friendly, open-air lifestyle center,” The Domain is an enjoyable alternative to enclosed malls thanks in part to large areas of shade provided by the preservation of Austin’s finest treasures:  live oak trees. 1 

The Domain
Austin, Texas

Anchored by Neiman Marcus, the luxury goods paragon, The Domain encourages shoppers to stroll along boutique-lined boulevards sheltered by awnings and leafy canopies.  At every turn there are opportunities for window shopping, spending sprees, and gathering with friends and colleagues.  The Domain is a new type of urban neighborhood that not only attracts shoppers, but also the work-at-home and stay-at-home crowds seeking social interaction during the day, and the local community seeking entertainment in the evening.  At the intersection of retail and residential, one can quickly walk to a restaurant on well-tended paths punctuated with flower pots and whimsical art.    

The Domain
playful peacock bench

While seated at a cafe waiting for a friend, people-watching became a more interesting pastime than web surfing given the local soundtrack of grackles squawking over a bagel scrap and entrepreneurs strategizing at nearby tables.  Like a green anole, I sat motionless observing my surroundings and taking note of the fashion trends north of the river.  Tori Burch flats accessorized with a signature gold logo caught my eye a few times; mint green tops (on men and women) looked cool and collected on this humid morning; skinny cropped jeans in garden fresh pastels strolled by on multistory wedges; and oversized, Michael Kors bracelet watches dangled from slender wrists.  

Zara de España

Wearing the right clothes is important for maintaining your composure when the temperature exceeds 95.  Close-fitting, sleeveless tops and white capris remain summer staples here, but if you desire an alternative look, visit Zara for loose-fitting clothing with a bohemian touch. Located on the opposite end of Neiman Marcus, Zara is an international clothing store that features carefree separates like billowy trousers and breezy tunics to keep you cool as a cucumber in the summer months.  

Zara’s eclectic designs are accented with embroidered details, asymmetric hemlines, and batwing sleeves so you can sail through a sultry night in Austin. The latest tops and dresses are made from lightweight fabrics and include:  Flowing Sarong Trousers with a skirt overlay; Handkerchief Print Palazzo Trousers with a generous flare; Paisley Printed Tunics; chic Halter Neck Dresses; Colorful Kimono Blouses, a favorite of Style Improvisseurs;  an Oriental Print Shirt with a crossover drape and 3/4 sleeves; and a Boyfriend Blouse with a roomy, romantic fit. 2  

The Domain
"open-air lifestyle center"

The “lifestyle center” concept adds an interesting dimension to shopping.  The connection with the outdoors has created opportunities for increased socialization by locating a public square adjacent to private homes.  This isn’t a new idea, it’s simply a plan to encourage people to get out and walk regardless of the season.  

Off the chart temperatures are easily offset by the shade of a live oak tree or a cafe umbrella at The Domain.  The next time you’re waiting for a friend, look up at the lofty clouds drifting about, welcome the southeast breeze, and savor the refreshment of a glass of iced tea in the shade of an oak tree.


1  http://www.thedomainaustin.com/
2  http://www.zara.com/us/