The vintage shops in the Riverfront District experience brisk business in the weeks leading up to prom in May. Students shop for accessories and prom dresses at The Hidden Pearl, Signature Gifts and Secret Past.
Sea Houser, owner of , says she sells prom accessories for “kids who break out of the herd.” Prom and homecoming accessory purchases account for less than 20 percent of her business, but students are “world-wise” and come in often.
Houser, who has owned The Hidden Pearl for 28 years, encourages students to bring their dresses in while they shop for accessories. She said the prom dress is often expensive and unique, leaving little room in the jewelry and accessory budget. She can help you customize your accessories to your dress at an affordable price.
Hair pieces and hats are big. The whimsy, a small hat that perches on one’s head with a veil that falls above the bridge of the nose, is trendy thanks to Katy Perry and Kate Middleton. Houser said a whimsy makes a prom dress stand out.
As far as jewelry, layered necklaces are popular-- chains, pearls, beads and rhinestones can be worn together. “Bevel set crystals are a big deal around town,” Houser said. Earrings are also a big seller for prom accessories, long dangles with rhinestones.
Next door to The Hidden Pearl is , owned by Angela and Nicholas Eleo. Angela said about 50 percent of her business is from students shopping for prom and other formal dances. Students prefer to mix new and vintage. Along with accessories Signature Gifts sells new dresses from West Palm Beach and South Beach, FL.
Angela Eleo said gloves are a big accessory this year, especially opera-length gloves, along with hats. specializes in 1950s Lucite purses and purses from Katherine's Collection designed by a local artist from Silver Lake. Contemporary and vintage Austrian crystal jewelry and hairpieces are also offered. Signature Gifts sells accessories that aren’t visible but just as important, such as girdles and slips.
Karen Davies, owner of , said prom shopping accounts for half of her business each year as well. “Lots of girls are looking for something nobody else is going to have on,” Davies said. Secret Past is the perfect place to look for something unique. Davies said her shop is “little but well packed.”
Dangling rhinestone earrings are popular, along with crystals, tiaras and vintage hair combs. She said the Goth style is still a trend, with dark Victorian vintage mixed with something new. Small silver mesh or rhinestone handbags are big, along with gloves, hats, shawls and wraps.