My Christmas shopping is nowhere near complete so I stopped by Old Town in Alexandria, Va., in search of unique gifts for family and friends. With so many charming boutiques and specialty stores at hand I had hopes of crossing names off my list. Well, thanks to Pretty People Vintage the only name I crossed off that night was my own.
Pretty People Vintage is one of many consignment and vintage shops that have cropped up near Old Town in the past few years. Unlike other shops, which focus on modern consignment pieces – like Mint Condition or Current Boutique – Pretty People’s focus is on eclectic vintage items. The result is a unique mix of handpicked pieces from almost every decade with a dash of bohemian.
All the retro riches are housed in the bottom floor of a repurposed townhouse that is surprisingly bright and characteristically musty. Along with the vintage inventory of clothing, costume jewelry and accessories, there’s also new clothing. All of the “new” stuff is held in the front of the store and I am always quick to pass it over. The store also has select items for sale on Etsy.
I had been to the store before and had minor glimmers of triumph in treasure hunting. But honestly, these glimmers were not enough to pull me in again – not with Christmas gifts in mind. So how did I end up inside? The easel on the sidewalk informing me there was a sale of course!
On previous trips I always felt overwhelmed because there were too many people in the shop and I didn’t have enough time; I’m the kind of shopper who must sift through every item before I’m satisfied. Leave no hangar unturned so-to-speak. That night, I arrived just an hour before closing and was the only one there the entire time. I was greeted with a polite hello by Rebecca. I perused the store, taking my time in the long narrow hallway connecting the front and back rooms. It’s my favorite place in the store with dresses from every decade; each one more fabulous than the next. Paired with the store’s indie soundtrack I was close to clothes heaven.
As for the sizes, I couldn’t really tell you what they had available. When I shop at places with vintage pieces I rarely look at sizes. I hold up the item and if it looks like it will fit I will try it on. If it looks like it will be too big, I still try it on. Scoring a one-of-a-kind frock is worth the cost of tailoring.
I grabbed about six pieces and as I was heading to the dressing room Rebecca asked if I was finding everything okay. I said I was but also had a question on the items they were selling on Etsy. There was a very cool art deco clutch for sale online and I couldn’t find it. I asked if I could purchase it in store. She said the Etsy items are stocked below and she would call to find out. As I was trying things on I could hear her calling and when I emerged from the tiny dressing room she had good news – I could buy the clutch!
I was surprised she called and equally impressed someone was so responsive in answering on the other end. As a customer, I felt special and at the end of the day that is what good customer service is about. I walked away with a gorgeous red silk Chanel blouse for just over $100, the art deco clutch for $25 and a very cool lion pendant on a chunky gold chain for $12.
As I was leaving Rebecca let me know about their sister store, Zoubeck, which was right around the corner and had just opened on Black Friday. The store will have their grand opening in January so I’ll definitely have to visit the new shop soonest. Hopefully the people who work there will be like Rebecca – who even if you don’t walk away with arms full of vintage threads, will leave you feeling like a valued customer.