Shopping downtown Bel Air

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I shopped Bel Air’s Main Street with my mother, who was visiting today, and discovered some changes. My favorite store for gifts – Tiger Lily, 52 N. Main St. – changed ownership 10 weeks ago. It retains its girlish flair but her inventory has slimmed down a bit. All the cute stationery, soaps, pajamas and that wall full of fun purses is gone. In their place are summery Lilly Pultizer strapless dresses and lacy crop pants, colorful flip flops, slippers, preppy ribboned handbags and sparkling crystal jewelry. I loved the crystal clustered hearts on silver strings. Just around the corner, in the barn-shaped building behind the recently renovated shopping strip that includes Mrs. Flowers florist, is another pastel confection of a shop called Pink Silhouette, 20 East Lee St. This new shop also carries Lilly Pulitzer dresses and skirts along with other flirty dresses and handbags. My favorite was the line of Bootie Bags — little boxy handbags made of recycled blue jeans and lined with bright patterned fabrics. The handles are beaded like jewelry. The bags are designed by a Marietta, Georgia mother whose son has juvenile diabetes. Some of the proceeds of the $92 bags go to support Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Breast Cancer Awareness. Up the street, HeartBeat, Ltd., 13 N. Main St., retains its more sophisticated lines, jersey dresses by Comfy that feel soft as pajamas and can be balled up in a suitcase and shaken out wrinkle free, Brighton purses, luggage and accessories with their romantic, bold hardware and Cole Haan shoes. I left with a pair of mac & jac cropped jeans with 5-inch cuffs and a beaded shrug that my daughter wants to keep in her dress up box – gifts from my mother. Thank you, mom. Across Main Street it looks like a children’s clothing store named Tiny Toes will be coming to the space next to the Savona wine and cheese shop. But all this designer flair hasn’t entirely edged out Main Street’s folksy feel. Bel Air Antiques, Etc., 54 Main St., still carries my grandmother’s lusterware teacups and the exact set of Laura Ingalls Wilder paperbacks that I read as a kid. And Bel Air Country Store, 100 N. Main Street, was decked out for the Fourth of July with decorative tin stars painted like American flags. I loved the basil-scented candles poured into little milk bottles, the clocks with faces on both sides, and the toile lamp shades.