Off Broadway – Vintage Shop of the week

Last updated on March 17th, 2024 at 10:58 am

After an overwhelming response to my article highlighting the best vintage shops on Etsy, I decided to broaden my investigations by venturing out onto the internet, leaving no link left unchecked during my travels, looking for the most interesting vintage shops across the world.

I intend to share my discoveries with all of my sophisticated, vintage-loving readers, featuring one vintage shop per week and through a Q&A, you will be able to find out the history of the shop, what vintage treasures they specialise in, as well as pick up a few tips on how to shop for vintage clothes. So, without any further ado, I would like to start the weekly vintage shop feature with Off-Broadway!

Off Broadway Vintage

The 1920s paisley dress.

1920s paisley dress
1950s Adele Simpson dress.

The 1950s Adele Simpson dress.

Dominique de Merteuil:  How did you start your adventure in selling vintage clothes?

Off Broadway:

My childhood summers were spent at our family farm in a late 1800s turreted farmhouse. The third-floor attic was filled with trunks of Victorian clothing and other wonderful mysteries.  In the 50s and 60s, my mother took me shopping for school clothes in upscale department stores and boutiques, teaching me about fashion and quality. 

In high school in the late 60s, I started dressing in my mother’s 1950s dresses.  This bohemian style of dressing served me well as I majored in Fine Arts in college and ended with a Masters in Painting. I even used vintage fabrics and novelty motifs in my paintings.

I started wholesaling a little vintage while I taught art at the university, and finally decided I would rather work for myself.  I opened a small shop in 1984, the year my daughter Grace was born.  Grace grew up wearing vintage and today has incredible style in her mix of vintage and current fashion, plus the best closet in town! 

She has an MBA, is a skilled photographer, and was the driving force behind opening our Etsy shop.  Over the past 33 years, my little shop has expanded into a successful business in Albuquerque, but Etsy has propelled us globally. Grace and my partnership is the best part.

DDM: What can we find in your vintage shop? For example, do you specialise in a particular era or type of garment, accessory, etc?

Off Broadway:

Our Etsy shop has vintage clothing and accessories from the Victorian era through the eighties. We are particularly passionate about beautiful dresses!

Stunning Edwardian cream silk gown that can be purchased via Off Broadway Etsy store.

Edwardian gown
60s Ceil Chapman dress

Vintage 1960s Ceil Chapman mint green cocktail dress, that can be purchased via Off Broadway Etsy shop, which you will be directed to by clicking on the image.

1930s silk crepe gown with matching hooded jacket. You can purchase the beautiful dress on Off Broadway Etsy shop by clicking on the image.

1930s hooded gown

1920s ivory wedding gown

Stunning 1920s bias-cut silk satin wedding dress.

DDM: Is there a process you go through when selecting garments for your shop? Perhaps you have a list of criteria, that you use when deciding which garments will be perfect for your shop and your clients?

Off Broadway:

When someone enters my store with an armful of clothes I can usually tell in a glance from across the room if I am interested.  It’s all about the fabric.  Fabric tells me its’ era and style and quality.  I don’t buy clothes that are “tired” or have difficult condition issues.  I want happy clothes with a good pedigree that will inspire my customers.

DDM: Where do you find all those beautiful vintage clothes and accessories for your shop? (if it’s not a secret!)

Off Broadway:

One advantage of being in business as long as I have a physical shop and a good reputation is that the clothes all come to me.  The disadvantage is I have no time to hunt!

DDM: What is your favourite period in time and why?

Off Broadway:

I love the fresh modernism of the late 50s and early 60s fashion when the United States was in such a hopeful exciting period in history and it was reflected in the design.  I lived in Washington DC during the Kennedy administration when my father worked there for the government.  Incredible times!  Then again, the beauty of clothing from the 20s and 30s can make me cry.

DDM: What message/advice do you have for women who have never bought vintage clothes before? For example: what are the key pieces to start building a vintage look? What to keep in mind when making a purchase?

Off Broadway:

Nothing speaks to a woman like a gorgeous dress.  If that is too overwhelming a start for a vintage novice I suggest a great jacket.  The philosophy at Off Broadway has always been that vintage is current and modern and should be mixed with your contemporary pieces for a fashion-forward look.  We can easily put you in one era head-to-toe, but that verges on the costume.  We stay abreast of current designers to help our customers stay relevant.

1930s floral satin and taffeta gown
Gorgeous 1930s floral satin and taffeta gown, that can be purchased via Off Broadway Etsy page by clicking on the image.
1950s floral Ceil Chapman dress
Summer must-have 1950s floral Ceil Chapman dress.
1950s Peggy Hunt dress
1950s Peggy Hunt dress.

DDM: What are the 3 favourite items that you have ever sold and why have you chosen to name those particular ones? 

Off Broadway:

It’s not just the fabulous clothes that I’ve sold over the years – it’s connecting with amazing people and providing them with pieces that inspire and enhance their lives.  When I sell a wedding dress it becomes a celebration for us as well as the bride. 

This past summer an entire family was outfitted from my shop for a very special farm wedding. I have sold many red-carpet dresses to actresses. My favourite was a yellow 30s gown for an actress’s wedding. Such vicarious living!  I recently sold a sweet John Meyer of Norwich suit to the designer’s daughter. 

She is amassing a collection of his work for a museum and we had a great correspondence. The designer Marc Jacobs bought a 40s ballerina print dress from me and used it throughout his famous Fall 2016 Ready to Wear show.  That was a thrill.

One of my favourite Etsy customers bought my all-time favourite Tina Leser ochre silk dress and coat.  Because of Etsy, I connected with an incredible artist – the photographer Suzanne Heintz.  Her work uses vintage clothes in socially biting and hilarious vignettes.  Check her out!

Vintage dress

I have hoarded and held back favourite pieces from my shop but recently released a stunning 30s blue silk gown with extravagant winged sequined sleeves and off it went to be on television. 

My stories are not unique among vintage sellers.  It is why we do it with such passion.  And pleasure!

Tina Leser vintage dress and coat
Tina Leser ochre silk dress and coat.
1930s blue satin dress with sequined sleeves.
1930s blue satin dress with sequined sleeves.
Vintage dress
Beautiful 1940s ballerina print dress bought by Mark Jacobs, who was so inspired by it, that he used the print in his 2016 collection.
In the picture on the left is the original1940s dress with ballerina print. In the picture on the right, is Marc Jacobs dress from his 2016 collection.

DDM: What are your favourite vintage brands and are they very difficult to find?

Off Broadway:

I have a magnificent Fontana that I am currently sheltering.  An early Jean Patou.  A Pauline Trigere 1940s studded jumpsuit.  A big Lilly Ann suit.  I’m just not ready… and I’m sure most vintage dealers share this affliction!

DDM: What’s in your wardrobe? Do you personally wear vintage clothes on a daily basis?

Off Broadway:

Both Grace and I wear some form of vintage almost every day.  I have a closet full of 40s housedresses, lots of men’s shirts and ties, Chinese jackets, fiesta skirts, and Edwardian pieces.  I never go a day without vintage with my 50s aluminium glasses. 

Grace has stunning rayon 40s dresses, and 50s party dresses and is lately into wearing 60s.  Today she went off to work in a 60s B&W dress with a matching coat in a homage to Mary Tyler Moore.

What do you think?

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  • Rose Evans
    February 25, 2017

    What a great idea! I’m really looking forward to finding out more about those amazing vintage shops!


  • Dominique de Merteuil
    February 25, 2017

    Thank you for the lovely comment!


  • Lana Mayer
    February 25, 2017

    What a beautiful selection of vintage clothes! Thank you for sharing it with us!