Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Joys of Researching Local Clothing Stores

If you have visited Louisville Department Stores, you realize I have been on the hunt for information on my local department and clothing stores for several years now. It's a byproduct of finding so many wonderful pieces of vintage clothing with local labels in them. And the residue of memory is an impetus as well - I can remember some of these venues - and they were wonderful!

I do restrict myself to shop and stores that had a label of their own, with a few local tailor labels, too, or it would be overwhelming is a city the size of Louisville, KY.

I spent a day last week at the Main branch of the Public Library. There are coffee shops and restaurants for lunch and more local histories than I had quite realized. Plus 179 years of City Directories and newspapers. It is daunting, but satisfying to be able to put names, dates and locations to these long gone local shops. Although it may be a neverending process!

I added a stroll down a very cold and windy 4th St with my camera, which yielded shots of a few of the long closed clothing stores - some buildings date back to 1905. What was serendipitous was confirming one store location because the side of the building still has the business name (active 1917 - 1941) painted on the side; it's faded, but still legible. And it turns out 3 different local shops that I have actually have labels for were all in that building at one time or other!
The Prince Wells Building, 4th St. bulit 1905, home to Besten & Langan, DuRand -Perry, and George Moore ladies shops, front view
Prince Wells Building, side view with DuRand-Perry Sign
Obviously, there's days and days of library time yet to go.
I have said this before, but I will say it again: If you are a vintage clothing enthusiast and live in a town or city that had local clothing or department stores that are gone, ones that you find boxes and labels from, consider keeping notes on what you find, how old it is, and the type of clothing. Sort of your own private Label Resource like the one we have at the Vintage Fashion Guild . It will be invaluable information when dating or researching your vintage finds.

2 comments:

~Bon Vintage~ said...

Well said.. What a great idea!

April said...

You're a historian after my own heart! I'm delighted to know you are gathering this sort of data.

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