One of my favorite childhood memories is playing dress up at my grandma and grandpa’s house with my little sister. Upstairs, our grandparents had a closet filled with my aunt’s old dresses; there were homecoming dresses, prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, sundresses and evening dresses. The closet even had some fun ties, suits and an assortment of hats (including a beaded sombrero), which belonged to the boys of the family and ultimately made for some interesting accessories. What I remember the most was the different textiles of the different pieces that had been collected over the years; chiffon, sequins, satin and polyester (of course). Whenever I walk into a vintage store, I feel like I’m back in that same closet, sifting and searching for something spectacular. One of my favorite vintage stores in Lawrence is Wild Man Vintage. Known for their quirky themed window displays and carefully selected unique clothing, Wild Man Vintage is seriously awesome.
Names: Phil Chiles, Chesney Buck, Abby Reust
Roles: Owner, Sales Associate, Manager
CollegeFashionista: How can you tell whether or not a piece of clothing is actually vintage?
Abby Reust: It has to be 25 years old or older. We’re trained to look for certain details such as worn tags, buttons and zippers. For example, if a dress snaps up the side it’s probably older than a dress that zips up in the back.
CF: What is your favorite thing that you’ve seen come into the store?
AR: That’s really hard but an amber necklace that I have comes to mind. A lot of my favorite sunglasses are from here too. But I really enjoy finding vintage designer pieces; I’ve purchased vintage Gucci and Valentino here before.
Chesney Buck: We’ve gotten some beautiful robes. We just get so many things in and out that our inventory is constantly circulating. It’s definitely difficult to choose just one.
Phil Chiles: Finding a piece that tells a story is the best. I recently discovered a World War II bomber jacket; that’s the kind of stuff I like to put on the floor.
CF: How would you describe the overall vibe of the store?
CB: Chill and quirky. It feels like you’re walking into the really big closet of Mass. St.
PC: The goal is to show people things that they haven’t seen before. People are always worried that they’re going to be judged by others because of what they wear and as a result, are often afraid to express themselves. I try to make this a place where people feel like they’re welcomed to be who they are.
Learn More: If you live in Lawrence, Kansas and are on the hunt for some gently loved threads that are one of a kind, be sure to stop by and check out Wild Man Vintage, located at 939 Massachusetts Street. Or like their Facebook page for more information.