A Tailored Place: A journey through the most fashionable vintage shops on Roosevelt Street

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Vintage gems and unique apparel line the walls and tables of Annie Boomer Vintage, located at Sixth and Garfield streets. The store is just one of many stylish shops to call the Roosevelt Street area home. (Austin Miller/DD)

By Libby Allnatt and Savanah Yaghsezian

There’s no better way to get to know a city than by strapping on those walking shoes (or, in our case, polished black ballet flats and sporty white Converse All-Stars) and trekking into the scorching jungle of urban life that is downtown Phoenix. Today, we explored Roosevelt Street, a haven of vintage shops. Stay tuned for future in-depth features on some of these vintage hot spots. But for now, check out some of today’s best finds.

Savanah Yaghsezian:

Libby and I, along with some ice-cold Starbucks, ventured through the heat wave and onto Roosevelt in order to scope out local vintage stores. A few stores stood out to me, and I’m more than happy to share the details with my fellow vintage lovers.

Unfortunately, one of my favorite shops, Black N Blue Vintage at Fifth and Garfield streets, was closed when we went on our investigative trip, but I had stopped in the shop a few times already. The first time I went in, I was with my roommate and a few other friends to watch her get a tattoo. The tattoo artist works in the back, but the front section of the store has an abundance of vintage gems.

A pair of checkerboard creeper shoes and a stack of brown leather purses immediately caught my eye. Near the cash register, I noticed some handmade leather bracelets with inspirational phrases stamped onto them; if I weren’t a poor university student, I would have purchased the entire collection. They are open during First Fridays, so I highly recommend stopping by.

A little farther north, we came across Vox Curvy Couture at Fifth and Roosevelt streets. Vox, owned by Andy McManis, has a focus on plus-sized clothing, but recently began selling a variety of sizes from small to 6X.

McManis told us about the store’s Sip and Swap event happening next Saturday at 7 p.m. People can bring in items of clothing they no longer want and exchange them with others. It’s $10 to reserve a ticket online, and $15 at the door. Additionally, customers get $10 worth of store credit if they purchase a pre-sale ticket. McManis was kind enough to give Libby and me free tickets, so I’ll be attending next weekend — I no longer have an excuse to not clean out my closet!

Roosevelt Street exceeded my expectations. I never knew that such amazing stores were right in my backyard. In my free time I will definitely be making a return visit — and maybe splurging on a pair of shoes.

Libby Allnatt:

Despite near-100 degree heat, Savanah and I stayed cool by popping into multiple air-conditioned shops and checking out the variety of pieces in each one.

My favorite thing about the vintage shops on Roosevelt is the homey feel they all have. Stepping through the door of each establishment, I felt like I was entering the home of each store’s owner. Unique decor and music trickled out each of the spaces, giving off their own distinct vibes.

One aspect of the stores stuck out no matter where we were: the clothes. After all, isn’t that why vintage fans flock to these kinds of shops — to dig through the racks until their hands fall on that one magical piece, the piece that will reinvigorate their fashion sense and become a closet staple?

Each store we visited felt different, and I can honestly say every store had at least one item I was tempted to purchase, from a houndstooth pencil skirt at the girly heaven of Vox to the playful magnets and cards at hip and edgy Made Art Boutique. (Warning: Do not enter Roosevelt’s vintage stores if you are prone to shopping accidents and/or are on a budget.)

If I had to designate one store in particular as my “favorite”, it would have to be GROWop. The store is surrounded by lush gardens, a pleasant break from the familiar Phoenix desert scenery. It was just as charming inside, with adorably preppy oxford shoes (my footwear weakness), heart-shaped sunglasses and an abundance of blouses and tops. As a chronic accessory hoarder, I was most drawn to the jewelry, which included everything from a simple, silver necklace to a turquoise-stone statement ring.

I was also drawn to the simultaneously quirky and glitzy pieces at Annie Boomer Vintage, right next door to GROWop. The pointy-toed, color-blocked shoes gave off a playful vibe, while the decadent jewelry and beaded apparel fanned the flames of my 1920s flapper obsession. I was particularly drawn to a rosy pink, black-trimmed body-con dress that was both classic and modern. Also, the store owner’s business card includes a photo of a glamorous zebra with a jeweled and feathered crown. How could you not love that?

The vintage stores of Roosevelt are troves of classic treasures and pieces that wait on the racks and displays, eager to be reworked into modern ensembles. Living in such close proximity to so many wonderful shops could be dangerous for my wallet, but I’m sure my closet could benefit from these stores.

Be the eyes and ears of downtown Phoenix! Hear about an event, shop or trend you want to know more about? Email us and we’ll get the scoop.

Correction: September 28, 2014:

The article incorrectly stated the clothing sizes carried by Vox Curvy Couture. The correct sizes are small to 6X.

Contact the columnists at lallnatt@asu.edu and syaghsez@asu.edu