Vintage shops provide alternative for daily, Halloween wear

Spinnaker

A black cat made of tinsel sits in the window. Bats and ghosts hang with cob webs and mannequins are dressed like iconic figures in pop culture to entice the Halloween costume shopper, including Andora from the ‘60s television show “Bewitched,” exercise guru Richard Simmons and Margot and Richie Tenenbaum from the film “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

If these don’t fuel some Halloween costume ideas, the Clothing Warehouse has plenty of other options and a wide selection of vintage clothing for everyday wear.

Most vintage clothing stores are known for their moth ball smell and are characterized by franticly rummaging customers trying to find something worth the trip. But at the newly remodeled Clothing Warehouse in the Five Points area of historic Riverside, customers won’t find foul-smelling clothes, and the rummaging has already been done ahead of time.
The T-shirts and dresses are color coded, while coats, pants, vests and shoes are arranged by style.

The store carries ‘50s -‘80s era finds that it receives from the corporate office in Atlanta every Thursday. This makes the store ideal for costume shopping.

John Arvin, a frequent customer at the Clothing Warehouse isn’t sure what he wants to be for Halloween, but he usually shops at the store for T-shirts, he said. He’ll make a purchase whenever the store has something in his size.

“I come to the store at least twice a month,” Arvin said, “I like the set up and the clothes; I saw a Les Miserables shirt the other day.”

The vintage clothing store is more like a boutique now that it has been newly
remodeled.

Inside the store, mannequins are dressed as famous people like Jackie Onassis, ‘60s model Twiggy and Disco Stu from “The Simpsons.”

There is a display wall dedicated to cowboy boots, and the counter at the cash register has a glass case filled with vintage sunglasses. The top of the case is adorned with bowls full of brightly colored plastic jewelry, buttons and vintage badges. Afro-covered mannequin heads are displayed throughout the store.

October is the store’s busiest month, and most people buy ‘70s clothing for Halloween, store manager Nicole Ayers said.

“I’m thinking of being a Boy Scout trooper [for Halloween],” Ayers said as she pointed to the rack of Boy Scout uniforms in the front of the store.

The location is what makes the store so popular, she said.

“Five Points is a great shopping area and [news of the store] gets around by word of mouth,” Ayers said. “It’s fun to work in a business that I’m passionate about. I love clothes and live in the community.”

The Clothing Warehouse is one of the few vintage clothing stores left in Jacksonville, Ayers said. Another vintage clothing store in Five Points – Time Warp Vintage was once located across the street but closed and is now an art gallery.

Nicki Herbertson, a 2007 UNF philosophy graduate, likes working at the store as well, she said.

“It’s small and personable and in Five Points,” Herbertson said. “I love vintage clothes.”

Ayers described Herbertson’s job title as the visual coordinator and handy ma’am.

Herbertson decorated the store window and put up black roses on a string upside down in the store.

She shops in the store often and buys dresses, but she’s not sure what she will be for Halloween yet.

E-mail Jimmel Walsh at [email protected]