21 January 2013

A Trip to Circa

After a busy week I suddenly found myself with one of the great luxuries of a long weekend, a Sunday afternoon with no responsibilities and a playoff game that didn't start until after 6...so obviously I went shopping. I've been wanting to stop by Circa in New Bedford for a while not (like since last summer) its definitely a word of mouth type place. No advertising and you have to really want to get there (lets put ti this way I've lived in New England all my life, forty minutes from New Bedford and I've only been there twice, once in high school for a debate meet and the other time to take the high speed ferry to Martha's Vineyard. I was an hour or two early for the ferry so I toured the New Bedford Whaling Museam and that pretty much sums up everything there is to do in New Bedford, regardless of the fact its most famous as the place where the idea of Moby Dick originated from. Go past the historic downtown a bit and the town gets a little dodgier, there area lot of very poor areas of New Bedford and a large immigrant population. Cove Street, where the large old factory warehouse buildings that house New England Demolition and Salvage are located, dead ends at the water and is in the midst of the docklands. Circa is tucked in the back corner of the immense warehouse, well hidden except to those truly dedicated to finding it. Providence has a growing vintage trade, however the number of true vintage stores, as opposed to consignment shop which are selling modern clothing second-hand can still be counted on one hand. Its nice to know that there is a quality vintage store that can be easily visited without the traffic and parking hassel which tends to make me steer clear of Boston and the much larger vintage trade. I first heard about it through the grapevine from the vintage vixen herself, Kristen Minsky, whose dance exploits I have featured here several times. The first time we met, I was actually wearing the same dress I have on in this post, which I ordered from a retailer in Michigan on Etsy. We got to talking about vintage stores in the area and she said that Circa was her favorite. So into the vehicle I climbed and braved 195 to get to New Bedford. Honestly I think half of the fun is wandering through the warehouse to get to Circa. I posted one photo of the salvage portion just to give you an idea of the scale. Any type of fixture of portion of housing you can think of is there from claw foot bathtubs, to crystal doorknobs,  to an entire train station ticket window. When I was making my purchases I chatted for a minute or two with Chris Duval, the owner who has been in the vintage trade since before I was born. He said that it was really the perfect location because of the kind of clientele that the warehouse attracts, people who are homeowners, are established and financially secure, and appreciate older things with character and a re willing to go the extra mile to acquire them. Clearly its worked, despite his out-of-the-way location he does a very good business, not just in sales but in rentals and theater, newspapers are taking note and recently has been in the news for the outfits he's been sending to L.A. for Zooey Deschanel to wear as the quirky Jess on the show New Girl. That being said he did have wonderful stuff, too much to really see on one trip. I focused on one half of the store and merely browsed on the much more densely crowded back side. Its rough in the way of most small stores, the dressing rooms are tiny and primitive, but as far as I'm concerned that's half the fun of vintage shopping. I've read he has great stuff for men, a rarity in many vintage shops, though I didn't look too closely. His prices I thought were also very reasonable for the quality, and because I paid cash he gave me the best price on everything I bought ( I came prepared because I had read he only took cash and checks). At the end of the day my only complaint, and the thing that stopped me from lingering longer to browse was the temperature. It was close to 55-60 degrees out yesterday and it was maybe 40 degrees inside. Granted I know its in a warehouse, and outside the walled in shop it was probably closer to 30, but even the proprietor was bundled up. I only had a blazer on because it was so nice out, next time I'll keep the climate in mind
Dress: vintage, Shelton Stroller, via Etsy
Blazer: vintage, Pendleton, via Goodwill
Purse: vintage, Jaclyn, via Rhode Island Antiques Mall
Belt (off another dress): Karen Millen
Earrings: vintage, gift from my grandmother
Brooch: vintage, via church fair
Shoes: Krista via Sole Society (still available!)


Despite the fact that I have more than enough coats to keep me warm through even the longest winter, this 1960's Lawrence of London turquoise velvet coat called me. Most of my coats are either black or brown, or a very neutral palate. I think I deserve at least one vivid coat, and this had such a great Carnaby Street in the swinging sixties feel to it.

 Perhaps its was spending a summer in Belize, maybe I'm a lost flower child at heart, regardless I have a thing for everything embroidered. I love peasant shirts, skirts, mumu dresses, either way this number (no label) from the 1970's spoke to me, I tried on several along the same lines but the primary colors and intricate detail on this won out. It only has a drawstring tie waist so I think before i wear it I'll put a button on just to save with bother.

This dress was love, if I had to guess judging from the material and zipper I would say its a 1950's party dress, but I could be wrong. The fabric is sheer enough to see through, so I'll have to wear a slip with it but the wheat print is just lovely with a pale metallic gold paint over the top of the pattern. Its clear to anyone that I have a thing for full A-line skirts, and this fits my style to a 'T', it might even make friends with a crinoline soon.


  1. I love your outfit! and your finds at Circa. You should be dressing people on TV!

  2. Thanks Erin, one of the reasons I started my blog was that the people I worked with were always asking about my clothes and where they could find unusual and distinctive clothing, high school teachers may not be TV stars but I like in my own way. I'm giving people new ideas and helping them develop their own unique style every day. I appreciate you stopping by!