Sandi Patterson was listening to an Eagles game when the song “Life in the Fast Lane” came on. It was the a-ha moment when her Clothes in the Past Lane was born. In the two years since the Newark shop has evolved to feature new, cutting-edge clothing as well as retro items.
“I always wanted to open up a little boutique,” Patterson says. Layoffs at the nonprofit she worked for gave her that opportunity. Less than a year later, she opened Clothes in the Past Lane.
In general, “retro” at her place refers to articles from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Vintage usually means older items. Patterson offers both. Items include women’s skirts, dresses and coats. Men’s items include jackets, ties and shirts. “Hats,” she says, “are real big.”
Patterson buys outright from various sources, including private sellers and estate sales. The retro section, which features a case of vintage jewelry, takes up only a small portion of the store. “I quickly realized a store of all retro clothing would not work here in Newark,” Patterson says. “It’s mostly students and university employees. Students who come from New York City love the retro. Others would never try it on. They look at it as used clothing, but now they are starting to get a little savvy.”
Assembling and displaying outfits with new and retro items helps customers see the possibilities. Among the new items are jeans by Mavi, a Turkish line. “They are an upscale jean at an affordable price,” says Patterson. All the jeans are under $100. She also carries Levis, Converse sneakers, Threadless T-shirts, Rocket Dog shoes, Melie Bianco bags, TOKYObay watches, American apparel and Red Tango handbags. She’s planning to add Fossil wallets.
Many of the new items are vintage-inspired. After all, when it comes to fashion everything new is old again. For info, call 369-1960.