Everyone is like a butterfly; they start out ugly and awkward and then morph into beautiful graceful butterflies that everyone loves.
— Drew Barrymore
Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.
— Vivienne Westwood
Partners in fashion crime Kim Allen and Ruth Faircloth have teamed up to allow their love of beautiful clothing and the thrifted lifestyle come to life at their new store: Butterfly Boutique and Consignment Attic, at 215 Main Street on the sunny patioed corner of the Medusa Antique building, cattycorner to Asian Fusion in New Paltz.
“My partner [Faircloth] has this fixation on the metamorphosis that butterflies go through and the transformation,” said Allen as she rang people up, answered questions and pointed to a pair of high-heeled, flaming-pink velvet thigh-high boots. “Those were mine – when I was younger, of course,” she said with a laugh.
They both recognize this ethical fashion moment happening, particularly with the flood of cheap materials and disposable clothing that has saturated the market. Why not repurpose and transform a dress, a handbag, a scarf, a pair of embroidered gloves, into a new life on a new body to be worn anew?
“I’m very taken with vintage clothing,” said Allen. “And both of us realize that there are a lot of college students in town who want something ‘ready-to-wear’ – which we have, as well as some designer pieces and casual clothing that has been well-taken-care-of.”
She points to a series of high-end handbags, including a Kate Spade piece that is lushly striped with pink and green hues and some handcrafted leather bags with sterling silver buckles and adornments. There are a pair of comfortable and almost-new Dansko shoes with a pair of brand-new multicolored rainbow socks that look like you could slip them on and walk right out the door, looking casual and chic at the same time.
“We also cater to all sizes. We have everything from a 0, which I didn’t even know existed, to a size 26. I am on the higher end of that size spectrum,” Allen said proudly. They also have a non-binary rack of clothing and some vintage jewelry, shoes and jackets. “I’m not what one would call a fashionista, but I do love vintage. If you’re going to a 1980s or ‘90s party, come see me! I’ll get you dressed just right.”
Allen, who hails from the Bronx, said that she worked for Lord & Taylor department store as a “visual merchandiser” or window-dresser. As the big department stores started shutting down – “50 of them in 50 years!” – she began to move toward eBay, which at the time was just getting off the ground. “I had been stockpiling some beautiful clothes from my work at the department stores, and back in the day, I made $50,000 in one year selling clothes on eBay. It blew my mother’s mind. I was in my 20s at the time and had the energy for that,” she said with a laugh. “My partner and I have wanted to go back to a brick-and-mortar setting for a while now and were just waiting for the right location.”
Faircloth had run a consignment shop for years and was thrilled to find this space right in the center of New Paltz: along Main Street, with a terrace and lots of neighboring independent boutiques, salons, restaurants and cafés. “I think people are ready to get back out. I know I am. I need to be able to touch and feel and try on clothes; and honestly, I don’t have the patience for online shopping. It’s problematic in many ways. But I like to browse and make sure something fits. And I enjoy the social aspect and helping people find that special item they’ve been looking for – or maybe one they didn’t know they were looking for!”
The Butterfly Boutique is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The door is open, there’s a table outside and masks are required for indoor shopping. The proprietors have decided that on two Tuesdays a month they will allow people to bring in clothes to be considered for consignment. “If they don’t sell in 30 days, then they have to pick them up or we’ll donate them to Rural Migrant Ministry or Family of New Paltz.”
For more information, go to the Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/search/top?q=butterfly%20attic or Instagram @Attictreasures or call (845) 633-8045 – or just stop in and browse.