EVERETT — Don’t try to tell Kara Langus that sparkle is not a color. Sparkle is the Everett business owner’s favorite hue.
Named after the Los Angeles fashion intersection, Melrose Avenue and Vine Street, the store offers new and vintage clothing and accessories for women, children and a small selection of men’s clothing. Sizes range from extra small to extra large.
The selection changes every week, said Langus, who remembers browsing Hollywood shops when she was growing up.
“I love how clothes can make people so happy,” she said.
This is Langus’ first brick-and-mortar foray. For years, she operated an online store.
When her father-in-law offered her temporary retail space at a former bank building, Langus took the plunge and opened the Everett boutique last month.
“Why not give it a try,” Langus said.
Inside, she painted the walls and decorated. Outside, she hired a local graffiti artist to paint a pink and orange sign on the side facing Pacific Avenue.
To fill the racks, she found several vintage stores in Los Angeles that were going out of business and purchased their inventory. She also accepts vintage clothing on consignment.
What’s considered vintage? These days, fashion from the 1990s fits the category.
For Liz Stenning, executive director of the Downtown Everett Association, Melrose and Vine is another reason for people to venture downtown.
“Having more retail options is just great,” Stenning said. “They did such a nice job with the signage on the outside of the building.”
“I’m thrilled she is opening,” Everett business owner Holly Burkett-Pohland said.
Downtown Everett has lost and gained several longstanding retail shops in the past year or two.
Renee’s Contemporary Clothing on Colby Ave. closed in mid-2022 after 29 years in business. That same year, Cassandra’s Closet, which sells new and used clothing, opened across the street at 2723 Colby.
“Business is going good,” owner Cassandra Bell said last week. “We just signed a year extension on our lease.”
J. Matheson Gifts on Colby closed in March 2022, but a few months later, Burkett-Pohland, owner of Burkett’s Savvy Clothing, took over the space and opened Burkett’s Home + Gifts at 2615 Colby Ave. (The J.Matheson store lives on as J. Matheson Urban Gifts & Kitchens 424 NE 71st St. in Seattle’s Green Lake Village shopping center.)
Downtown business owners welcome new ventures. The consensus? “We need more shops.”
Langus hopes to occupy the Pacific Avenue location for the next six to nine months.
If the business takes off, Langus hopes eventually to find a permanent retail home downtown.
For now, the former bank is the perfect setting. Faux fur-covered chairs and a vintage sofa in gold provide the seating. A frothy, 1950s-era orange dress with the original price tag attached completes the decor.
Langus turned each of the glass conference rooms into a fashion showcase.
One office is reserved for dressy vintage clothing: from chic cocktail hats to sparkly evening dresses. On display, a Bob Mackie beaded gown that “must weigh” 30 pounds.
“I have to tape it to the mannequin,” Langus said.
Another office highlights casual vintage clothing: skirts, suede ponchos and colorful nightgowns. A third features racks of boys’ and girls’ clothing.
Even the building’s vault has been repurposed. Step inside and admire vintage furs, evening wear and wedding dresses.
Planning on wearing a fancy gown just once? Customers who don’t want to buy, can rent instead, Langus said.
The accessory aisle features clip-on earrings from the 1960s, costume jewelry and evening bags. For added bling, Langus stocks sparkly hoodie pulls, colorful shoelaces and iron on patches.
New clothing is sourced from Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Macy’s. The selection includes dressy tops, puffer jackets and active wear that sell for 70% off the retail price, Langus said.
“Clothing should make you feel good, and mixing styles from different eras is part of the fun,” Langus said. “There is something amazing from every period.”
She leads by example.
On a recent day, Langus wore a vintage cream-colored cashmere coat over a stripey, 1970s Escada blouse, and paired both with new burgundy slacks.
Langus also offers private shopping appointments for individuals and groups.
“If you want to get a group of girlfriends together and have the place to yourselves with champagne or wine and try on clothes, you can do that with no obligation to buy anything,” Langus said. “I want this to be a really fun place for people to have a good time.”
Melrose and Vine Collective is located at 1802 Pacific Ave., in Everett. Open Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., or by appointment.
Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; email@example.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.