Whenever I’m asked about my favorite place to shop in Bloomington, I answer in a heartbeat without hesitation: Cactus Flower. In fact, I couldn’t even make it out of this interview without a few new purchases. Instead of heading to the mall for mass-produced clothing, I delight in the adventure of sifting through old garments, waiting to stumble upon a diamond in the rough. The upper level of the two-story shop is devoted solely to vintage clothing, shoes and accessories. And while that may not be everyone’s idea of fun, the boutique also offers a lower level of newer, more contemporary items. There’s something for everyone, and an opportunity to fuse old and new into something completely original. This Fashionista (dressed in all pieces from the boutique or other vintage stores) sat down with me to talk all things Cactus Flower, personal style and vintage finds.
Name: Amelia Koper
Role: Sales Associate
CollegeFashionista: What do you love most about working here?
Amelia Koper: It’s really nice to work for an independent business because it’s not corporate. It’s a lot more personal and I think you feel better about the things that you’re doing and you’re treated a lot better because of that. I love all the people. Everyone that works here is really, really nice. We have a good group.
CF: What do you think sets this store apart from others?
AK: It’s unique because it’s vintage and secondhand, but it also has new clothes that are vintage-inspired. There’s a really good mix of different kinds of clothes. What’s nice is that you can mix and match both things. I really like the newer stuff because it is what’s really trendy right now or styles and fits that are current. But I also really like the vintage stuff because it’s so timeless and has its own unique look to it. Mixing both is what I think works for pulling off vintage items. The entire store has this cohesive style that works really well together.
CF: What is your favorite era of clothing and how would you describe your personal style?
AK: ‘60s and ‘70s. Bohemian-inspired looks–that’s my aesthetic. Also, I like any of the western stuff. We have this beautiful fringe jacket right now. I love anything like that.
CF: What is the best item you’ve purchased at Cactus Flower?
AK: I wore this sweater because it is my favorite item I’ve bought from the store. This was from downstairs and it’s got this weird thing where it has buttons on both sides. So you can button it up or wear it loose. It’s the warmest sweater I’ve ever had in my whole life; it feels like a coat.
Learn More: Pick up an item from each era or peruse the shop’s newer pieces at 322 East Kirkwood Avenue. To win a look like Amelia’s, find a long, neutral sweater or cardigan, a cameo necklace and a cream, slightly translucent blouse for starters.