Lula's Hayley Bush: "The good thing about vintage is that at some point your body type was in style"
Twenty years ago, Hayley Bush opened Lula Vintage Wear in St. Paul.
"I moved to Minnesota from Hawaii when I was 12 years old, and I had never seen vintage clothing before except maybe on a school field trip to a museum," Bush says. "I just loved it because it was totally different than what I had grown up with."
Bush's family owned retail stores, so opening her own vintage boutique as an adult was an easy decision for her.
Year in Review 2012: Fashion
Over the last 20 years, Bush says she has seen a great deal of change in the industry, and Lula has adapted to fit what people want. For example, when Lula first opened, grunge was popular. Bush has continued to see trends in the industry such as swing dancing, and Mad Men- and Sex and the City-inspired fashion.
"Business has fluctuated with different groups being interested in vintage," Bush says. "There's always been a market for vintage, but it hasn't been a mainstream market. Now it's more normative."
According to Bush, it wasn't until 2004 that wearing vintage clothing on a daily basis became more common. She's glad to see vintage getting the recognition it deserves.
"Wearing vintage clothing is an affordable option for people who want their own style," Bush says. "I think people would be surprised to know that people used to keep their clothes really well. Vintage clothing can last longer than an item you would buy today."
If vintage shopping sounds intimidating, Bush suggests starting with something simple like a coat or belt. Her must-haves for men include skinny ties and a good sports coat, and vintage purses and coats for women. She says she is always eager to help customers find what looks best for their body type.
"The good thing about vintage is that at some point your body type was in style," Bush says. "There's something that will look good on you. You might not have those options in a regular store."
This season, Bush predicts that smaller prints like calicos, lighter fabrics like chiffon, and pastel colors will be popular.
Last night, Bush spoke at the sold-out "The Social Life of Secondhand Clothes" as part of the Minnesota History Center's super-popular History of Hip series.
Sociologist Nancy Fischer presented findings from her research on vintage buyers and sellers, and the history and future of vintage style. Bush says she was able to learn a lot from Fischer's lecture, and enjoyed sharing Lula's 20-year history as part of the St. Paul community.
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