More Than Retro

Photos by Martha Busse

Back in the good ol’ days, retail stores were named after real people—Marshall Field’s, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s. While a few Madison originals have carried on that notion (Jan Byce and Terese Zache, for example), the tradition has mostly fizzled out.

Enter Patricia Shoppe, an adorable boutique whose shop interior looks as if it hasn’t aged a day since 1950. And that’s a good thing. Even more interesting is that the business was named after an actual person, Patricia McGrath Lind, a dressmaker whose original Patricia Shoppe was opened in Chicago in 1937.

Lind’s store closed in 1967 but thirty-four years later, Patricia Shoppe was opened anew, this time in Egg Harbor, Wis., by Lind’s great-granddaughter, Erin Bosman. The third Wisconsin location (a second is in Whitefish Bay) on West Johnson Street opened in April and carries on the name and family tradition.

And clearly Lind’s style and sensibility were passed on through the generations. Bosman’s best friend Jessica O’Connor owns the Madison venture and assists in buying decisions—and they’ve made some good ones. Feminine sundresses, chic jewelry, stylish and kicky shoes, unique handbags and adorable tops are all displayed in a neat and tailored space swathed in peach and ivory hues with retro furniture and a beautiful mahogany curio cabinet filled with fine jewelry.

“Our vintage feel gives us a distinct look—we do try to incorporate the trendy stuff, too,” says O’Connor, who eagerly admits a preference for retro fashion. “If I could put myself in any time period for the clothes, it would be the forties and fifties.”

Bosman’s retail experience and O’Connor’s UW–Madison apparel design degree prove to be a savvy combo. The pair tastefully melds the good old days of friendly, personal attention with a dose of thoroughly modern retail offerings from far-flung places like L.A., Paris and Brazil.

I’m sure Lind wouldn’t have it any other way.

Owner’s Picks: Bamboo Style handbags, $30–$90; Kim White reversible vintage fabric handbags, $150–$200; David Tishbi jewelry, $60–$400.

Verdict: You’ll find vintage vamp mixed with top trends here at Patricia Shoppe. O’Connor has truly staked out beautiful offerings at affordable prices, perfect for the woman who wants today’s trends at yesterday’s prices.

Patricia Shoppe, 137 W. Johnson St. 256-1111.

Shayna Miller is assistant and style editor of Madison Magazine.

Madison Magazine - August 2007
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