Vintage in Vogue: Cape Cod’s Hidden Treasure

Vintage in Vogue may no longer be the best-kept secret for vintage fashion on Cape Cod.Owner Maureen Leavenworth has created more than just a clothing store. Vintage in Vogue is in a league of its own: part curated museum, part artistic display, part custom design bridal shop.

Unlike most vintage stores, you don’t have to dig to find the treasures, because Leavenworth chooses each piece personally. She highly curates the clothing she brings into the shop, with a focus on ladies’ and men’s vintage clothing from the 1800’s to the 1970’s. “They don’t need to be high-end designer names, but they do need to iconic to their decade. I look for clothing rich in texture, design and interesting construction,” says Leavenworth.

An artist by trade, Leavenworth’s love of history and fashion (she’s involved in 18th century open-hearth cooking, but that’s another story altogether) led her to vintage clothing and the historical accuracy of recreating 18th and 19th century ladies garments. She started collecting vintage clothing in high school during the early 1970s. Now in her sixties, she’s enjoyed over forty years of collecting, collaborating, researching and reconstructing the proper fit of woman’s clothing throughout the decades. “I love the bold silhouette and colors of the 1960s, the sleek and sophisticated lines of a 1940s suit, and the simple summer cotton dresses of the 1950s. They all captivate me on an artistic level, as well as historic by the story they hold,” says Leavenworth.

When you walk into the shop, you’re immediately struck by the artistic nature of the displays. It’s almost like a museum, with original garments from as early as 1860, bustled dresses from 1875, and a library of fashion history books to devour.From a cabinet of men’s trinkets like pocket watches, pipes, shaving mirrors and eye glasses, to costume and fine jewelry, there is literally something for everyone.

If it couldn’t get any better, Leavenworth is also an experienced seamstress, so she can alter your vintage purchases right there in the shop.It’s generally a small tweak here or there to be made, or sometimes a full alteration, and if it’s planned right, you can have your alteration done before your vacation ends. “It’s a service of yesteryear when you’d visit a fine dress shop and have your selection tailored on the spot. I guess I remember those days, and enjoy the wonderful memories,” says Leavenworth.

People of all ages visit Vintage in Vogue, from novice collectors to professional collectors and wearers of vintage clothing. During prom season, girls wanting a ‘one of a kind’ gown will truly find it here. Leavenworth’s eyes light up as she recalls a new customer this summer. A young man came into the shop with his parents, looking not too eager to be there. But once he began browsing the men’s vintage fashions, he ended up shopping for himself!His parents were amazed, as he was traditionally not a fan of shopping. Leavenworth remembers the biggest smile when he paid for his selections. “I saw a young man that had connected with a new personal style that made his day. That young man just may have fallen in love with history, fabric and fashion like I did when I was his age.”

In Vintage in Vogue’s Orleans location, you’ll find a full-service bridal boutique. Gracing the walls is an impressive selection of wedding dresses from modern gowns to the 1870’s, all arranged by decade.“I love to see the progression of style through time; each decade offers its own individual beauty.” Once a bride-to-be has chosen her dress, Leavenworth can redesign the gown for the client’s needs and desires.

“That’s when the couture starts,” she explains. A dress can be totally redesigned utilizing the vintage fabric to the smallest detail of lace placement. Where else can you get a custom-designed wedding gown for under $1,000? And once the dress is chosen and altered, there’s a wide selection of bridal veils, hairpieces, and jewelry. “Custom made fascinators and veils are our specialty. If a bride has an heirloom piece of lace, veil or dress from her family, we can incorporate it into her perfect dress,” says Leavenworth.

The next time you’re in Orleans or Provincetown, make sure a stop to Vintage in Vogue is on your list. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, consigning vintage items from your own closet, or just looking around, you won’t be disappointed.
As Maureen says, “Fine Vintage Clothing is Always in Style!” Drop in for a visit at 31 Main Street, Orleans, or 237 Commercial Street inside Whaler’s Wharf in Provincetown. You can also find them online at www.vintageinvogue.com.

By Rebecca Romo, Lifestyle Reporter CapeCod.com



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