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I have this co-worker with an unerring sense of style who, assuming she tells me the truth when I ask about a particularly fetching outfit, gets about half her wardrobe from the Goodwill store in Searcy. Patience, she says, is the key.
But I don’t have any, so I usually forgo the big-box thrift stores for the more pared-down environs of Little Rock’s resale boutiques — stores like Private Collections and Poor Little Rich Girl, to name two I’ve got news about, that restrict their inventory to relatively new, still-stylish designer clothing they sell on consignment. I’ve been walking around all winter in a black wool jacket I got at Poor Little Rich Girl for $40, and recent swings through those two stores and Name Brand Second Hand on Warden Road in North Little Rock turned up a surprising number of cashmere sweaters for under $40, suits from Ann Taylor, Jones New York, Kasper and Liz Claiborne for under $100, and a really cute Sigrid Ol-sen corduroy peacoat for $35. The only thing not to like about resale shops is that it’s just tough freaking luck if that gorgeous red silk-and-cashmere hoodie marked down to $21 is just a tiny bit too small. Everything’s one of a kind.
But back to that news.
Private Collections started off the new year in a new location: on Cantrell Road in Riverdale, in that row of warehouse-looking shops in front of Cajun’s Wharf. It’s twice as large as the old Bowman Curve store, co-owner Sheila Primm said, so there’s plenty of elbow room for all the women’s clothing, estate jewelry and furniture they’ve always carried.
They’ve also added a kitchen-store area (that merchandise isn’t resale), children’s clothing and a coffee bar, and are featuring Nip and Tuck, a local maker of custom bedding and draperies. It’s definitely worth a trip, especially if you work downtown and can run by on your lunch hour.
Poor Little Rich Girl, a smaller store that’s been at the corner of Beechwood and Kavanaugh in Hillcrest for decades, will be moving to an as-yet-undetermined location around the first of March. That’s the deadline store owner Sally Ann Irwin has been given by Metropolitan National Bank, which bought the building recently and plans to construct a bank branch on the property. Irwin said she’s hoping to stay in the neighborhood; watch this space for an update.
And Caroline’s, a new children’s consignment boutique, should be open now at 5915 H. St., about a block east of University Avenue. Owner Mary Adkins said the store, named after her 12-year-old daughter, specializes in cotillion, ballet and dance clothes, but carries everything from Target to Lilly Pulitzer. Sizes start at newborn and go through juniors; hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Continuing with the whole old-is-new theme: New Orleans Antique and Jewelry Exchange opened recently at 2226 Cantrell, just a few doors down from Private Collections’ new digs. These aren’t your flea-market-variety antiques — a couple of pieces I checked the price on cost more than the average college education. The owner, James Beard, has been in the high-end antique business for years in Louisiana, and the new store is absolutely packed. My when-I-win-the-lottery pick: an immense 18th-century French cylinder desk with beautiful, intricate wood inlays, for $24,999. It would take up half my living room, but that’d be fine, since the only other thing I’d need would be a comfortable chair to sit in and gaze at it all day.
In spite of the price tags, and maybe because it’s such a large, warehouse-like space, the store doesn’t have that if-you-have-to-ask-you-can’t-afford-it vibe you sometimes run into in high-dollar retail establishments. (The two salesmen I talked to were also really nice, so that helped.) There are some less expensive pieces too, so it’s definitely worth stopping by, even if you’re pre-lottery-win. The store is also buying fine jewelry, so hey, maybe you could even work out a trade.