Alyson Cambridge is a talented operatic soprano, and she’ll be performing right here in Portland during PORTopera’s La Boheme this Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. But she’s also a fashion-minded woman with a penchant for vintage.
She first stopped into Encore almost six years ago when she was last in Portland for a performance. On that visit, she scooped up her all-time favorite vintage find – a one-shoulder Pucci dress with a pleated bottom and matching pink Pucci belt. She wore it to the opening night of her show. In order to keep traditions alive, I tagged along with Alyson on her visit to Encore in the hopes that we’d find a frock fitting for a, well, encore!
We were both a bit distracted by Encore’s wall after wall of accessories, but eventually made our way to the racks of dresses. Though Alyson loves both short and long styles, she tends to go for long dresses on opening night “for a little more drama” and will go with a more “fun, cocktail style” on closing night.
Up first was a sweeping black and white gown that was a little big in the waist. Without wasting a moment, Alyson combed through belts to find a way to complete – and cinch – the look. We both gave it two thumbs up, especially paired with a white belt. But was it the one? It was too soon to tell.
Up next was a Diane Von Furstenberg gown from the 1970’s in a print that only someone that looks like Vanessa Williams can pull off. This dress was labeled a size 14. Vintage sizing is very, very different than today’s. Alyson was attracted to the print at the bias cut at the bottom. We both agreed the dress was fun, but decided it was a pass this time around.
It’s fun to shop with someone and know when they find something they love. The moment Alyson emerged from the dressing room, I knew she was in love with this Malia wrap dress from the 1960’s. Not only did it fit her like a glove, but she looked like a dream in it. If she wasn’t going to leave the store with this dress, I was going to buy it and mail it to her.
It even has pockets. And paired with a crocodile clutch? Done and done!
When I asked Alyson where else she’s been shopping in Portland, she told me her first stop was Reny’s! She had touched down in Portland before her luggage did, so had to scramble for clothes the next morning. The only place that was open was Reny’s. “It’s not where I’d normally shop, but let me tell you, I found some stuff,” she laughs. She picked up a pair of turquoise shorts and a black tank top and was good to go.
We decided to take one last look around the store and lo and behold, she found a beautifully lined skirt from the 60’s that we both loved. For just $40, she plans on wearing it dressed up or “just pairing it with a simple white wife beater!”