Making memories is always fashionable, even when they're retro

“This is exactly what I’ve wanted for forever!”


So proclaimed my 18-year-old daughter upon donning the mid-length men’s black leather coat that she found hanging in, literally, the last row of racks in the way, way back corner of Sweet Lorain vintage store in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland.


If you’ve ever been to Sweet Lorain, you know that it takes a long time to get to the back corner of the 8,000-square-foot space.


Like, a long, long, long time.


Really long.


That’s because there are so many items stacked from floor to ceiling just waiting to snag your attention.


My best guess is that their collection of vintage furnishings, jewelry, clothing items, housewares, costumes, records, books, and more numbers well into the millions.




But my girl took a break from her fashion merchandising studies at Kent State University to come home to spend a bit of time with her dad and me.


She announced that she wanted to go explore Sweet Lorain with me.


So, we did.


She got a taste for some vintage shopping after she forgot her overnight bag in the dorm and had to rifle through my dresser drawers to find something suitable to wear.


I’m pleased to say that it was a good idea on my part not to get rid of those acid-washed jean skirts from the ‘90s or the brooches I loaded my jewelry box with in the early ‘80s when I would ride my bike around with babysitting money burning a hole in my pocket, checking out every garage sale I could find so I could build a collection of brooches.


Why brooches?


I have absolutely no idea.


Anyway, my kid’s studying fashion and she happens to find my taste in clothing and accessories to be quite fashionable.


And if she’s making an ironic counter-cultural statement by decking herself out in my stuff, I don’t even care.


Far be it from me to mention that when she put on that leather coat she’d been wanting “forever,” in non-teen terms, that timeframe spanned the two exactly months since she saw an old leather coat of her dad’s hanging in the attic near where the suitcase she needed to pack her clothes for college was propped.


She tried on the coat, but did not find it to her fashion liking.


Thus, her exhaustive search for something that hit all the right notes was launched.


Okay, Okay, the search wasn’t exactly exhaustive, but from my point of view it certainly was exhausting.


You try shopping in a tightly packed warehouse while wearing a mask and trying to stay out of the way of other patrons who also are searching for the perfect thing.


Every half-step they take down the shared aisle, they stop to gawk at mushroom-bedecked ceramic cookie jars from the ‘50s and shelf after shelf after shelf of 1930s desk lamps.


Let’s just say that a lot of bobbing and weaving happened on our way to making that amazing find.


My reward for being along for the score?


I got to pull out my credit card and do the honors of paying for the prize.


Don’t worry, though. I honestly don’t mind.


It was really fun to spend the day with my kid, bopping up and down Lorain Avenue.


A bit farther east in Ohio City, we also ducked into All Things For You, a vintage and antiques shop that I’ve wanted to explore ever since I saw its awesome window displays that depict scenes of beautiful living in fashionable bygone eras.


I could spend forever picturing myself lounging on one of those chaises and enjoying some kind of gelatin mold.


Or a cocktail or two.


Or three.


Seriously, if you’re ever in Ohio City, take a drive past to gawk at the storefront if you can.


Better yet, spend some time exploring inside.


The space is much airier than the vibe you’ll find at Sweet Lorain, and I was in my element there.


So much so that I snagged an Ultra Pink ‘90s baby doll dress with the original tags. It has a champagne mesh overlay and black velvet piping details along the hemline.


I’m pretty sure I owned the exact same dress when I was a college student and I intend to wear the heck out of it.


Just as soon as I start going places that have a dress code other than the Zoom-appropriate blazer over pajamas.


This second time around, the dress only cost me $15, which is approximately five percent of what we paid for my kid’s once-in-a-lifetime leather jacket find.


But I digress.


My girl and I also snagged two purses to “share”—one is a cute ‘50s brown patent leather clutch and the other is a ‘60s avocado green shoulder bag with giant stacked circular patches.


She tucked both of them into her computer tote before she hit the road bound back for Kent.


It will be my turn to use “our” purses when she brings them home from school, I guess.


I’m so glad that my daughter has found a passion in fashion and vintage clothing. I love her style and her willingness to experiment with new—er, old—things.


And to make bold statements about who she is and how she wants the world to see her.


I also loved having her home with me in Cleveland this past weekend.


It brought me back in time.


In all the best possible ways.

Read more articles by Kathleen Osborne.

Kathleen Osborne is the mother of three children who now are legally considered adults, although she has trouble assigning that label to herself. She is the marketing and communication director at Hathaway Brown School, where she’s inspired by creative, smart, and confident girls every day.

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