By Jamie Ducharme
Photos: Sowa Vintage Market and Jamie Ducharme
I have always entertained dreams of being one of those effortlessly cool people who actually manages to wear vintage clothing without looking ridiculous. In my native New Hampshire, however, vintage shops are more inclined to stock jean jackets and bowling shirts than the chic floral dresses celebrities seem to buy in droves—not exactly the statement I’m looking for. So when I heard about Boston’s Sowa Vintage Market, I knew I had to give it a shot.
I was pleased from the moment I stepped in the door. The vibe at Sowa was low-key and friendly, with people leisurely browsing the three connected rooms and chatting in the aisles. To my relief, everything looked clean and high quality, and the vendors were content to let people browse instead of going for the hard sell. Even better, despite my getting there a good three hours after the market opened, the stock didn’t seem picked over or depleted.
As is typical of vintage, the clothes for sale were a mixed bag. The clothes ran the gamut from 1950’s skirts and 70’s blouses to contemporary brands simply being consigned. There were, of course, the requisite heaps of polyester, sequins and dowdy house dresses. But after a little bit of sifting through the racks, I discovered some good-looking coats, shoes and sweaters, some with labels I recognized. While I didn’t buy any clothing, there were certainly some pieces—like an outrageously soft Lacoste cardigan that had to be 30 years old—that caused me to linger in indecision.
The real stars of the show at Sowa were the accessories. I spent most of the morning searching through the huge selection of timeless, well-made jewelry and handbags. It would have been impossible not to drool over the pendant necklaces, strands of pearls, men’s watches and delicate earrings, and I spent quite a while doing just that. I forgot all about them, though, when I came upon a perfectly preserved chocolate brown Coach bag that I gleefully made mine for only $40.
Fashion junkies aren’t the only people who would enjoy Sowa. There was also a large array of furniture, antiques and art, all at reasonable prices. I’m already looking forward to going back next fall to look for quirky pieces for my apartment.
All in all, I would definitely recommend a trip to Sowa. It’s a short walk from the Tufts Medical Orange Line stop, charges no admission and is a great place to pick up totally unique pieces. The beauty of vintage is that you never know what you’ll find, but take it from me—you’re almost guaranteed to find a good time at Sowa.
Sowa Vintage Market, 460C Harrison Avenue. Open yearound every Sunday from 10 AM-4 PM, and every first Friday of the month from 5-9 PM.