Store: The Alley

From the 06/16/2011 edition

Time to go shopping, historical clothing connoisseurs. A small space in a strip mall off Route 161 now houses one of the best vintage lineups in town.

There are dresses from the 1950s and tulle ball gowns from the 1940s. Sexier pieces like one-piece swimsuits and sheer peignoir sets lounge in the back. Men will find smoking jackets and not-unattractive leisure suits. History buffs will appreciate100-year-old - and impeccably maintained - bodices and petticoats. Cosplay buffs will love the handmade Elizabethan dress on view.

Costumer Kit Matulich knows nothing about going halfway on a project. She once made more than 200 costumes for a local high school production of "Beauty and the Beast." Her perfectionism is evident in the racks of clothing in her store, The Alley, which opened last Saturday.

"If it's torn," Matulich said, "it's not going in here. I don't want to be a thrift shop. My buyers know my standard."

Every piece, though aged, has been kept in good condition and is priced "three steps above a thrift store but more reasonably than a boutique," she said.

On the top of the price scale ($300 and up) are leather corsets with hand-embossed designs made by a local artisan. Matulich will also make costumes for events like Renaissance fairs or drag shows.

As for accessories, there are ladies' gloves in all lengths and colors, hats from myriad time periods and stylish cravats for men. Jewelry ranges from $8 steampunk brooches to $100-plus stone pieces from the early 20th century.

If Matulich is in the store, ask her about the stories behind the clothing. She's a walking textbook of fashion history and is more than happy to share.

"This is a culmination of a very longtime dream," she said.