Passion Drives Vintage Chic Boutique – Owner Follows Her Dreams
OAKHURST – Cross the threshold into Vintage Chic! Boutique in Oakhurst and you may feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. It’s hard to determine what time, exactly, as the fineries inside the store span decades of fashion.
The cozy shop is alive with color, texture and design, the apparel and accessories all carefully culled by owner Trudy T. Shields.
“It’s dress-up for grown up little girls,” says the cheerful collector of clothes. “I encourage women to play dress-up for enjoyment. We don’t want to look like cookie cutter clothes.”
Instead, unique garments adorn the walls while velvet love seats and elegant tableaus invite the weary shopper to stop, drop and consider the uniquely retro stockpile of goods before they shop.
“I truly believe in recycling and not dumping in the landfills,” Shields explains, “Take something and make it work. I believe in using what we have and bringing out from every woman’s heart their individual artistic self. So it’s personal.”
Yet, Shields admits the constant need to rejuvenate her stock can be overwhelming.
“Sometimes I get frustrated because everything I have is broken, and I have to fix it,” laughs Shields. “I sew, I repair, whatever. But there’s a balance to it and this is a spiritual endeavor for me. You’ll notice out front I have a painted mandala that is a recycle sign.”
The former legal industry worker says she has always had an eye for fashion and enjoys dressing both the store and her customers, who range from loyal locals to tourists.
“I have a gut feeling and I recall an era when they did something similar in design and I will bring that into the mix,” says the stylish shop-owner. “I am passionate. When I see things that go together I say, ‘I’ve got to do this!’ My shop is very definitely me. It has become a comfort zone. It is artistic, but it is also my heart.”
A trip to Shield’s ever-changing boutique produced real results for three local girls recently – an elegant full length black slip, a red sleeveless wool pencil dress, a polka-dot frock with contrasting belt, a 1920’s era hat, and more, all carefully chosen after 90 minutes of trying on clothes. Clara Briley, 14, was one of the shoppers, a repeat customer to Vintage Chic.
“It has trendy, affordable clothes that you actually wear,” says Briley, whose favorite purchase was a pair of barely-worn Charlotte Russe heels that sold at Vintage Chic for $12, originally $30.
Early on, businesswoman Shields was uncertain of her ultimate calling when she moved to the mountains ten years ago, despite having already had a career.
“I worked in corporate business for years with lawyers and managing legal related business until I came up here and started a little online business. I didn’t know what to do. I was at home, on the computer, selling on line and I am a people-person, I needed to get out.” Slowly, Shields began to chart a map to her dreams.
“I believe this evolved from meditation and prayer I said, ‘What am I good at? Show me what I am good at and can I make a living at that!” The successful grandmother of 14, all “stylish who know their taste,” Shields now wants her customers to feel as good as she does.
“My wish for an individual is that they find their gift and are able to create a business with it,” says Shields. “I wanted that for years.” She has it, in abundance: the store is open 7 days a week.
In addition to clothing, accessories, and furniture, Vintage Chic offers a line of cottage garden herbal gifts from a back yard plot tended by Shield’s friend Julie Elstner. Assistant store manager Katie McCall and Shields are on-hand to answer questions and arrange consultations.
Trudy invites you to her Holiday Open House and Fashion Photo Shoot Saturday, Nov 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.