Fall into funky fashion

And you thought autumnal attire was just for back-to-school

Reno may be a small city, but when autumn comes around, we’ve got a metropolitan selection of footwear.

Reno may be a small city, but when autumn comes around, we’ve got a metropolitan selection of footwear.

Photo by David Robert

“The legging is so back. I’m having a flashback to the ‘80s, I think,” says Rad Betty’s owner, Shelly Marcum. The legwarmer is back, too. And so is the armwarmer, a disembodied sweater sleeve held in place by a crocheted loop that fits one finger like a ring.

But if you swore off certain excess accessories after the ‘80s, don’t worry. You still have options. Being fashionable isn’t just about what’s in this month’s Vogue.

“It’s defining your outside,” says Marcum. “It’s the picture you put out there, of who you are, whether it’s ‘look how much money I have,’ or ‘look how anti-establishment I am.'”

Here’s a rundown on some of Reno’s more unique fashion finds to help you tell the world who you are and what you’re about. But don’t stop at the end of this list; there are many more hot fashion spots in town. Besides, as Marcum says, “You can find good stuff everywhere. Even Target has big-name designers.”

Swift thrift
Rad Betty’s
141 Vesta St.

Rad Betty’s stocks a few items of basic officewear, sportswear and recent Old Navy standards, but Shelley Marcum’s real specialty is anything with flair or flamboyance. The small, neatly organized store is a cornucopia of second-hand clothing ("vintage thrift,” she calls it), from yesteryear’s cocktail dresses to this season’s shoes, including a varied selection of men’s clothes. Marcum also stocks new goods by local designers, including Omar Pierce’s Hunter S. Thompson T-shirts and Jennifer Duvall’s custom panties and costumes.

Bygones be bygones
Sasha’s Boutique
251 W. First St.

Excepting a modest selection of men’s shirts, owner Sharon Thurman carries exclusively women’s clothes—flowy dresses and romantic frills that get women noticed. Bejeweled lamps and pictures of Marilyn Monroe in the window reference bygone eras, but all of Sasha’s clothes are new, and many of them are one-of-a-kind. Yes, there is only one of that sheer blouse or shimmery gown available in the whole town. Thurman says this arrangement comes in handy during prom season.

This fall’s finds include swooped-back, velvet movie-star coats, fox-fur capes, and Belle-Epoque-flavored dresses inspired by the movie Somewhere in Time, whose Edwardian fashions have inspired fan clubs of fancy dressers.

San Francisco treat
Art Dogs & Grace
218 Vassar St.

If you need a respite from the resurgence of ‘80s fashion, if you pine for the psychedelic murals, wafting incense and hippie dresses of Haight-Ashbury, you’ll feel at home in Art Dogs & Grace. This practically department-store-sized gift shop has an extensive selection of hippiewear, from the traditional (tie-dyed T-shirts) to the updated, (logo T-shirts). On a weekday right before Burning Man, the place was packed. New for fall are men’s boardshorts and button-up shirts from this very decade.

Assembled by artists
Never Ender
350 W. Liberty St.
(moving to 518 W. Second St. Sept. 21)

Never Ender takes a three-pronged approach to ensure we’re not all wearing the same outfit. The small boutique buys from small companies, orders only a few of any particular item, and lets local artists moonlight as fashion designers. The artists, who are used to producing, say, a single painting rather than a large edition, might make only three or four items of apparel from each new design. Customers sometimes get irritated with the fleeting production runs, says owner Amber Gutry, who trolls Myspace searching for custom jewelry, vinyl wallets and embroidered shirts, “but it’s very rare you’ll run into somebody that has something you have.”

Gutry’s been noticing a trend toward mixing, matching and updating long-extinct fashion accents such as English-professor-style elbow pads on jackets. Her fall selection includes the genre-crossing Gentle Fawn-brand jacket. It’s made of sweatshirt fabric, with a plaid argyle fabric across the top, big buttons, toggle-loops and knitted cuffs and hood.

Follow your own path
The Melting Pot
888 S. Virginia St.
(Moving to 1049 S. Virginia St. in October)


Owner Monique Baron is fully committed to fashion. Her long skirts flow as she walks, shiny accessories dangle from every possible body part, and she takes full advantage of the creative braiding potential of her nearly waist-length hair. She doesn’t read fashion magazines, though, nor does she keep up on which colors or fabrics are in season. But she can give you solid fashion advice.

“I just go with what I feel,” she says. “I just always like to push the envelope, personally. Fashion is part of my imagination. That’s part of where my creativity comes from. It’s kind of like painting on myself, use myself as a canvas.”

Her store carries Eastern-influenced dresses and sarongs, updated versions of Cocktail-Nation-era men’s shirts and anything that strikes her fancy.

Among the Melting Pot’s several decades and continents worth of styles are the new-for-fall camouflage-print pants and jackets, embellished with embroidery and rhinestones.

Serrena Robb talks about the many new lines of shoes she’s bringing into her shop.

Photo By David Robert

On foot
104 California Ave.

Owner Serena Robb travels the world looking for unique shoes to bring back to California Avenue. Her shop, Shoe, is a small but mighty co-anchor of the few-block stretch that recently exploded into a minor mecca of up-to-the-minute styles.

Robb often travels to big cities, like New York City and Paris, in search of small design houses, particularly those run by women. But if you’ve shopped for designer shoes in bigger towns lately, you’ll notice her prices are still accessibly Reno.

DIY duds for the digital shopper

A couple local microfirms have built their fashion design businesses online, each on the proliferation of a single pun.

“Peace, serenity and cuteness,” promises the Department of Om Land Security, located at www.omlandsecurity.com. The “department” exists to sell three variations of one design that reads, “Om Land Security, Protecting the Peace Within.”

At www.renoenvy.com, you can listen to a playlist of popular songs that mention Reno while shopping for T-shirts and tank tops of local color. Green isn’t the only hue, but it dominates the site’s most popular design, a knockoff of a John Deere graphic. For people who don’t get puns quickly but still want their clothes to say who they are, some versions of “Reno eNVy” have our state’s abbreviation capitalized or highlighted.