Vintage boutique opens in downtown NorthportBy Becca Murdoch | 04/06/2015 10:53pm
'This Ol' Thing Vintage,' located in downtown Northport, specializes in clothing and accessories from before 1975, including items by Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli. Photo courtesy of Lori Watts
Off Main Avenue in historic downtown Northport, a treasure trove of vintage finds awaits those looking to stand out in a crowd.
This Ol’ Thing Vintage is a boutique specializing in pre-1975 clothing and accessories. Lori Watts, owner of This Ol’ Thing Vintage, has been collecting vintage finds for 25 years and opened up shop this past Valentine’s Day. Her expertise definitely shows, Jamie Cicatiello, friend and business associate of Watts, said. Cicatiello owns and operates the vintage store Grace Aberdean Habitat Alchemy.
“[Watts] has a great eye. [Watts] understands the clothing and the era it came from,” Cicatiello said. “She has a wealth of knowledge on the history of the clothing.”
Bebe Lloyd is a vendor at 5th Street Vintage Market, which Watts has helped sustain for three years. Lloyd said she had the opportunity to see Watts’ merchandise elicit excitement from even the most seasoned and discerning clients at the New Orleans Vintage and Lifestyle Expo last year.
“[Watts] is so knowledgeable, and she has a real passion for what she does,” Lloyd said. “I’m just so glad that she is staying in the Tuscaloosa/Northport area. She would be successful anywhere, and would probably have a much larger customer base in a big city, but she chooses to stay here and we are all lucky because of that.”
This Ol’ Thing Vintage boasts a wide selection of clothing and accessories that one can’t just pick up from a mall or department store, Watts said. Along with funky pieces from the early seventies, shoppers have the opportunity to buy signet rings from 1900 or a tapestry bag from the turn of the century. Watts also carries classic vintage pieces from designers such as Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli.
Cicatiello said that many people are surprised when they look at vintage clothing, because oftentimes the styles are very similar to what we wear today.
“I think because her clothes are pre-1975, they’re usually very classic styles,” Cicatiello said. “Maybe the patterns are different, but Chanel is always Chanel; Yves Saint Laurent is always Yves Saint Laurent.”
Lloyd said she thinks vintage finds appeal to different people for different reasons. For Lloyd, buying vintage goods is more than just following the growing vintage trend.
“I like the idea of buying things that have histories and stories behind them,” she said. “Many people, myself included, appreciate the intricate workmanship in vintage clothing. You just don’t find that anymore, except maybe with haute couture, which is not affordable for most of us.”
Condition and appeal are everything in this kind of vintage boutique, Watts said. When shopping for her store, Watts asks herself if this appeals to her, if it will appeal to others, and if the piece is timeless. The condition of her pieces is what sets her vintage boutique apart from thrift stores and consignment stores, she said.
“The item has to be perfect or almost perfect,” Watts said. “Some things are going to have a little bit of character, but it’s all about condition.”
Watts said she is happy with her boutique at its current location in downtown historic Northport and hopes to expand her operation further into her current building this fall.
With years of experience in finding and selling vintage clothing and accessories, Watts has found her niche in the Tuscaloosa/Northport area and is bringing rare vintage pieces to the public.
“People should shop at This Ol’ Thing Vintage because they are going to find things they won’t be able to find elsewhere,” Watts said. “They’ll find memories.”
This Ol’ Thing Vintage is located on 902 Main Avenue in Northport, AL. It is open most weeks, Tuesday through Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m., and by appointment. To set up an appointment, call 345-4763.