While living in my little cottage, one of my few neighbors, Margie, a true Resort Girl, invited me to her beautiful, low country home for a Mad Men cottage party. What fun I thought, cocktails in this setting reminiscent of days gone past and for a cool retro series.
Wanting to be authentic, I began my quest for a vintage store for a retro cocktail outfit. And to my surprise, found a perfect match – Madhouse Vintage.
Entrepreneur and owner Caroline Noble opened up this quaint vintage clothing shop on the corner of Calhoun and Lawton in Bluffton, S.C. in 2010. And yes, believe it or not, the name was inspired by the Mad Men series – “Mad” house vintage.
The Resort Girl in me, however, fell in love with her abundant selection of vintage resort wear and accessories. Oh my, the flower power dresses, sunny shifts, Hawaiian printed long dresses and the amazing cute jump/pant suits. The store was full of one-of-a-kind patterns, prints and fabrics you cannot find nowadays.
Caroline has a passion for collecting vintage clothing, which is now her business. It all began while she was designing the costumes for a local high school’s production of the musical “Grease” in 2009.
Caroline’s mother was an antique dealer on England’s Brighton Coast and inspired her vintage collecting roots. Noble grew up there and would tag along with her mother to estate sales and auctions.
“I always felt a connection to the moment the clothes represent,” said Noble during an interview with the Island Packet. “Who wore it, why did they choose it, and where were they going?”
“In England it’s called up-cycling,” Noble said. “Taking something old and making it new again.”
Her store carries vintage dresses and accessories, including hats, gloves, furs and handbags, ranging in price from $8 to $400. Caroline also hand-makes a one-of-a-kind line of custom and resort costume jewelry bracelets and pins for around $15 each.
This spring she started offering vintage wedding dresses (which will be the subject of a forthcoming blog). You will find the original labels and/or names of the designer as well as the fine women’s shop or boutique where they were purchased. All items are in good condition and predominantly made in the U.S.A.
What I get lost in – and have fun taking photos of – is how Caroline has merchandised using vintage props and pictures. You could just spend hours looking through all of her finds to put together the perfect retro Resort Girl outfit.
This Resort Girl is mad about Madhouse Vintage!