punky's vintage store was featured in todays globe. (boston.com)
Have hip threads, will travel
By Courtney Hollands, Globe Staff | August 13, 2009
Can’t find the perfect retail space? No big deal - just take your shop on the road.
That’s what Worcester fashion blogger and thrifting fanatic Amy Chase did. In April, after a lengthy real-estate search, Chase turned down a storefront in her hometown. Somehow, it just didn’t feel right. Despondent, she met friends for drinks.
“They said whatever you do, we’ll follow you,’’ Chase, 28, said. And then it came to her: start a traveling vintage store. The next morning she was on eBay, bidding on old trailers.
She lost an auction on a 1954 silver Bellwood trailer, but eventually talked the owner, who lives in Framingham, into selling her the tear-drop shaped camper for $2,000. For weeks, Chase and her boyfriend, graphic designer Kyle Mitchell, painted and wallpapered the trailer’s interior and installed clothing and shoe racks.
On a recent weekend, she parked her mobile shop, dubbed Haberdash, in front of vintage store Dame in Jamaica Plain. People circled and asked questions about the Bellwood, and popped inside to browse. There’s just enough room for a 5-foot-7 woman to stand upright. Customers left with purple suede platform heels and a gold lamé dress straight from Donna Summer’s disco-era closet. Chase gave away screen-printed black canvas bags emblazoned with a trailer.
It’s fitting that the girl who’s never dressed like anyone else would have a unique storefront.
For as long as she can remember, Chase has been keen on making clothes and putting together outfits. When she was in fifth grade, she wore parakeet pajama bottoms under a mini skirt to school.
Her childhood nickname was Punky, after the TV character Punky Brewster, “because my clothes never matched,’’ Chase said. “Everybody in Worcester knows me by Punky.’’
In January 2006, a friend in a Web design class offered to create a blog for her - and Punkystyle.com was born. Chase has written posts about “ten things she wouldn’t spend money on,’’ the Brimfield Flea Market, and designer collections at Target, and has shared photos of herself wearing thrift store boleros and boots and plastic animal masks.
Sequins and anything ripped and shredded are Chase’s current obsessions, and she’s especially into the wild prints and colors of the 1980s. She yearns for an early-’90s Chanel windbreaker she saw a woman wearing on Thayer Street in Providence.
“Vintage girls who are into the ’50s and ’60s look are too vanilla for me,’’ she said.
Chase works as a credit manager by day and as a bartender at rock club Lucky Dog most nights. In her so-called free time, she blogs and trolls markets, estate sales, and church fairs for vintage threads and accessories for Haberdash and her Etsy online store.
She debuted Haberdash at the Dive Bar in Worcester and towed it to Tweed River Festival in Stockbridge, Vt., in early July. Look for the trailer at the SoWa Open Market in the South End in August, September, and October.
“That’s the beauty of it,’’ Chase said of her store on wheels. “I don’t have to be too serious about it. I can go wherever I want.’’
What’s old is new
Places to find vintage clothing
By Lucy Barber, Globe Correspondent | August 13, 2009
Maybe it’s the imminent return of “Mad Men.’’ Or our desire to dress impressively for less. But vintage just feels current right now, modern. It’s a paradox, we know, but one we’ll live with. Boston’s vintage boutiques cover everything from turn-of-the-century trends to Ziggy Stardust glam, and each brings its own flare to the secondhand scene. Here, we tour a few favorites, and give you the inside scoop on where the deals are.
SoWa Antiques Market
540 Harrison Ave, Boston. www.sowaantiquesmarket.com What you’ll find: Some textiles here, but mostly vintage jewelry.
Insider tip: Repeat visits pay off since vendors change every week.
Everyone knows an outfit is just a sketch without accessories. A look can only reach its potential once all the finishing touches are in place, and with the bounty of local vintage boutiques, a little flourish is all you need.
SoWa Antiques Market will do the rest. Every Sunday through Oct. 25 (except Sept. 6) dealers set up camp inside the massive brick trolley barn right behind the SoWa outdoor market. The revolving lineup of vendors keeps visitors on their toes and each week brings a new crop of baubles and bling.
Bartering is an essential here, unlike at local vintage boutiques. Don’t be scared off by the asking prices. Playing it cool and a little sweet talking usually do the trick. Dealers are always eager to tell you the story behind pieces: You might hear about the rise of Art Deco or the history of commemorative hair jewelry. Enjoy it. The fervor and eccentricities of the vendors are almost as noteworthy as their collections.
Bobby From Boston
19 Thayer Street, Boston. 617-423-9299. What you’ll find: Predominantly garb from the 1920s through 1960s (think Prohibition parties and English Mods), with select pieces from the Edwardian era.
Insider tip: Bobby’s starts stocking cool weather merchandise around the end of August. Also, don’t forget to drop by on Saturdays. That’s when new clothing comes back from the cleaners and is out on the floor.
A shadow box with starched white collars, lined up like pinned Monarchs, hangs next to a turn-of-the-century billiard table. Bobby From Boston, the South End shrine to gentlemanly elegance, does more than sell apparel; the shop connects patrons to a bygone era.
The personal devotion of owner Bobby Garnett is apparent simply in the duration of the shop. “The owner has always been in love with European haberdashery types of stores,’’ says employee and vintage enthusiast Matthew Freeman.
In one corner is a glass box encasing a child-size cowboy costume complete with tiny boots and badge from the 1950s. The ensemble is not for sale and is simply a contribution from Garnett’s collection of vintage curios. While Bobby’s specializes in menswear, a second room has a smaller array of women’s dresses, vintage heels, prep-school uniforms, and bathing suits (including a striking red one-piece a la Rita Hayworth for $20). For men, the selection is overwhelming: vintage alpaca sweaters in candy shop colors, dead-stock Levi’s jeans, and ’40s and ’50s two- and three-piece suits ($150-250).
In addition to the store, Garnett also has an offsite warehouse that operates on an appointment-only basis. However, employees are dedicated to fit, so if a customer has no luck with in-store sizing, Bobby’s personnel search the warehouse for a suit with the right measurements. For 25 years, Garnett has helped men move beyond their cutoffs and Red Sox tees, fitting them with white dinner jackets that would merit a Daisy Buchanan seal of approval.
22a College Avenue, Somerville. 617-776-3708. www.artifaktori.blogspot.com What you’ll find: A few choice Depression-era frocks, with a focus on ’70s garb and ’90s grunge florals (and everything in between).
Insider tip: Owner Amy Berkowitz’s e-mail blasts are a great way to stay on top of sales and in-store happenings. Sign up at the counter.
Urban Outfitters has surpassed its original purpose as a clothing store. It’s now selling the hipster lifestyle in one convenient, moderately overpriced location. Racks of lamé leggings stand next to Talking Heads records and collections of stories by Vladimir Nabokov. Driven less by commercial concerns and more by passion, Berkowitz has created her own one-stop haven of cool in Somerville’s Artifaktori.
In addition to men’s and women’s clothing, Artifaktori stocks vintage household goods, such as handsome antique dressers and kitschy clocks. The Prince record blasting through the store speakers can also be yours.
But all of this is trimming. The real prize is Berkowitz’s collection of vintage dresses. Everything is organized by size, which saves shoppers the heartbreak of falling in love with an XXS when they fit more comfortably into a medium.
One of the unique aspects of Artifaktori is its rack of refashioned fashions. Local designers take relic rock ’n’ roll tees and ’40s shift dresses and make them into skirts and halters; the items have the charm of antiquity with a contemporary twist. And in keeping with the vintage creed, no two pieces are alike: The 60-year-old dress - converted into a bubble skirt by designer D’ama - is one of a kind.
Artifaktorialsocarries abounty of boots, like the ’70s Campus pair ($75) that would go well with any of the shop’s sweet cotton dresses. Since opening its doors over a year ago, Artifaktori’s clothing crop has blossomed. What started as self-contained back corner has grown to fill most of the small store.
40 South Street
40 South Street, Jamaica Plain. 617-522-5066. www.fortysouthst.com What you’ll find: Some ’60s loot but mostly lapels so big, they scream ’70s chic.
Insider tip: Check the website. 40 South is fond of half-price days and keeps their website up-to-date on new arrivals.
One minute you’re strolling down Jamaica Plain’s main drag, perhaps on the way to the Arnold Arboretum or Forest Hills Cemetery to commune with Anne Sexton or e.e. cummings, and the next, as if by some magnetic tug, you’ve traveled back to a time when people are arguing the merits of Christine McVie over Stevie Nicks.
40 South Street is the love child of two JP vintage institutions: Otto Johnson’s Gumshoe, a clothier for the gents, and Honeyspot, where former buyer Hilken Mancini honed her vintage scouting skills. Now, 40 South accommodates both under one kitschy roof.
In one fell swoop, couples can be outfitted in matching Members Only jackets ($30-35). Pearled snap-buttoned shirts and corduroy slacks are a store staple. Throw in one of 40 South’s oversized belt buckles and the look is a delightful middle ground between modern-day hipster and casual Friday Gram Parsons.
“There’s something comforting’’ about the ’70s aesthetic, Mancini says.
Even those with an aversion to polyester will be converted once immersed in the 40 South Street world.
A playlist that includes Chicken Shack and Joni Mitchell drowns out the din of traffic while the world of rainbow terrycloth dresses ($20) and tooled leather boots with multicolored stitching ($48) pulls you into its psychedelic arms.
131 Cypress Street, Brookline. 617-738-7186. What you’ll find: The sorts of dresses that keep the otherwise television-phobic coming back for another season of “Mad Men.’’
Insider tip: New items arrive on a daily basis, and fall fashions will be out on the racks mid-September. Also, shoppers with specific requests (i.e. a 1920s top hat) are encouraged to leave their name and number so they can be alerted if their Holy Grail is found.
Betsy Brooks’s Cafe Society delivers the sort of euphoria some describe having after intense exercise or near-death experiences. The small store is rife with pristine party dresses from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s. It is truly breathtaking.
And then, there are the price tags. Brooks keeps her merchandise so reasonably priced that it’s difficult not to walk away with an armful of bags. It’s no wonder that after 28 years the shop continues to thrive with loyal clientele.
Brooks makes sure that her clothing is wearable by all. Many who’ve dipped their toes in the vintage pool can attest to the lack of larger sizes (larger meaning something bigger than a 25-inch waist) and how discouraging it can be. Cafe Society is stocked with lovely pieces in a modern day 10 or 12, with sizes up to 18 and 20 upon request. And these are not matronly outfits but glamorous dresses that celebrate, and showcase curves. There’s also a supply of summer-ready cotton dresses ($25-$35) that, when paired with one of the store’s boater hats, would demand a trip to the boardwalk or county fair.
A trip to Cafe Society isn’t complete until shoppers have found themselves elbow-deep in the $3 bin.
With everything from leftover fabric to little button-up tops, it’s rare not to find one (or 10) worthy keepers.
1105 Massachusetts Ave, at Remington; Harvard Square: 617.498.0999
The Salvation Army may be a godsend for getting rid of your unwanted crap but no benevolent god would ever send you there when you've got 45 min to find a 1930s style swimsuit for your GF's friend's "Marco Polio" pool party, which you're totally pumped for! Skip the crap, with Vintage Revenge.
Looking for a change of scenery from Big Sky country, the owner of VR recently relocated her store from Bozeman, MT bringing with her 16,000 lbs of well-curated, non-thrift-store vintage men’s/women’s threads dating from the late-1800s to the 1980s (including wool suits, seersucker jackets, plaid poly pants, Hawaiian and Western button downs, suede fedoras, etc), setting up shop in this packed space painted red/white and decorated with old hard-case luggage and a puppy mascot Great Dane, which is unfortunately not named Hans Christian Anderson. Above the waist, VR stocks a mish-mash of shirts ranging from a 70s brown/beige/white patterned Joel’s California button down w/ spread collar to a green/yellow/white Bart cloth Hawaiian w/ front breast pocket by Hawaii Island Fashions, to a rugged, Champion Western light blue floral cowboy long sleeve w/ pearl snaps, which falls right in between the chapter on "yo momma" and "poor people". For a classier upgrade they've also got suits and jackets (generally spanning the 40s-80s) including a 40s era "Garbardine" suit with medium-width lapels; several original Member’s Only jackets; and a classic brown pinstriped wool two-button from Hickey Freeman -- whose given name was "I swear I Got the Vacuum Stuck Against My Neck Again Freeman" until he decided to just come clean.
VR doesn’t skimp on accessories rocking a solid collection of old mint condition hats including a Cappello handmade cashmere Italian fedora, as well as a continuously replenishing supply of Tony Lamas and Dan Post leather and lizard skin cowboy boots, so you'll know exactly what to buy for the big "Wild Wild Vests" soiree in the fall.
Last edited by lucy92; 01-09-2009 at 08:43 AM.
A vintage store for kids (boston.com)
While you’re ushering your kids into the fall, it might be worth a trip to Pink Dolly, a small consignment outfit with stylish and well-kept clothing and shoes for sizes 0 to 10. On a recent visit, we found shirts and sweaters by Hanna Andersson, Zutano, Gap, and others for $3-$12. Outerwear runs from denim jackets (we saw a cute Tommy Hilfiger number, size 4, for $7) to L.L. Bean and Patagonia down jackets for around $18-$20. (Selection changes constantly.) The store has, for now, a $1-bin of summer apparel; it also carries maternity brands including Japanese Weekend and Mimi Maternity.Pink Dolly is at 8 Medford St., Arlington (in the same space as Inside & Company), 781-646-7811. www.pinkdollyshop.com
Just a fun, little story to share about Boston Vintage Shopping.
A couple of years ago, I was @ Bobby's, and some guy asked me if his friend should buy one of the hats. I said "Yes, every well-dressed man should have a nice hat to complement his outfit," and said guy purchased the hat, along with 4 other bags of vintage finds.
The guy looked awfully familiar, and when I asked the salesclerk who the guy with the 4 bags was, he said "I don't know, but here's his business card."
I looked at it and it said "Alexander Plokhov....CLOAK."
new vintage stores this year
Buffalo Exchange The first New England location for this hipster resale chain, the Davis Square branch opened with inventory from 11 of the 39 stores nationwide. It’s fully stocked, with a high turnover that ensures fresh finds. Sell unwanted clothes for cash or trade; shoppers who forgo a plastic shopping bag get a token worth 5 cents that they can drop in containers designating different charities. 238 Elm Street, Somerville, 617-629-5383, buffaloexchange.com
Goodwill Store It’s a return to Jamaica Plain for this ubiquitous thrift shop, which, after a six-year absence, opened in October at a former Foot Locker store. With its hardwood floors, color-coordinated clothing displays, artfully arranged housewares, and wall of shoes, the place feels like a boutique -- without the hefty prices. Shop on, bargain hunters. 678 Centre Street, Boston, 617-522-1415, goodwillmass.org
Vintage Revenge The name is meant to suggest a rebellion against mass-produced, uninspired apparel, and, indeed, owner Denise Goldhagen has amassed a formidable array of carefully chosen frocks, faux furs, suits, shoes, jewels, and much more, spanning, for the most part, the ’30s to the ’80s. As a plus, all the clothes are organically dry-cleaned. 1105 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-498-0999
Boomerangs This West Roxbury outpost of the popular Jamaica Plain resale store has a selection and pricing structure similar to those of the original, but feels quieter and less crowded -- meaning it’s easier to get your hands on a winning find -- perhaps some serviceable Gap trousers or even a Brooks Brothers suit. Sales benefit the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. 1870 Centre Street, Boston, 617-323-0262, shopboomerangs.com
Dame This sprightly Jamaica Plain shop offers carefully selected vintage wares from the ’30s to the ’80s, plus one-of-a-kind refashioned clothing and jewelry. Despite the store’s name, styles for men and children are also available. Friendly owner Dany Pearson invites clients to browse, chat, or just set a spell on her comfy window sofa. 68 South Street, Boston, 617-935-6971, jpdame.com
Chic Consignment Closet Tiny but well arranged, Chic Consignment Closet -- run by the team behind now closed Andover shop Gigi’s -- deals in designer and upscale clothing, shoes, and accessories in a boutique setting. A recent trip uncovered a silk and tulle Diane von Furstenberg skirt for $60, a never-used Jimmy Choo tote for $600, and racks upon racks of designer denim starting at $50. 46 Main Street, Andover, 978-474-1755, chicconsignmentcloset.com
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