What We Love Right Now! Pt 1: Homegrown Vintage

When contemplating what exactly I should do for February – in my head, ‘The Valentine’s Issue” of WINK/SCR – I thought of a variety of things. The problem was, everything I considered heretofore seemed very “done.” And I don’t want that for you, readers. I want to give you something INTERESTING! So I thought, (and oh, here is it! The ‘L’ word!): “What do I…LOVE right now?” Thusly, the two-part installment of Steel City Retro for WINK Pinup, February 2013: What We Love Right Now. ūüôā

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I’d heard of Lisa O’Brien and Underwired Boutique long before I met the lady and perused the place in question.
When I began Steel City Retro, I lived with an old flame who knew of both. He let Lisa know that I’d be around, and while he was wrong about oh-so-many things (HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, kid!),¬†that¬†he got just right. Unlike my ex and I, with Lisa and ¬†Underwired as a packaged deal, it was meant to be. I loved¬†everything¬†about Underwired, and became fast friends with Lisa, too. How could I not? Beautiful inside and out, with a fantastic work ethic, fabulous wit, and an obvious love for vintage (can you relate?), Lisa is the kind of lady you want in your corner. She took a teensy little break from her schedule to answer some questions for SCR:
Pink & silver maxi dress with tie detail. Sz SM & XS. $25.00.

Pink & silver maxi dress with tie detail. Sz SM & XS. $25.00.

1. Can you tell us a little about what goes into obtaining pieces to sell at Underwired?

Sure! Basically, I am always having fun finding items for the store. Often, I buy from individuals by appointment. I have cleared out homes and purchased large quantities, I have picked-and-hunted, I have bought at auctions, and I have purchased from dealers. It’s always exciting to find new pieces and bring them back to life! I repair and clean all items by hand, so it’s quite a long process, but it’s a labor of love, so it’s always rewarding.

Hand-painted 1930s Parasol. $40.00.

Hand-painted 1930s Parasol. $40.00.

2. We hear there were some shop moves before SCR’s time! Where has Underwired been before Broad St?

Oh yes, UW has moved quite a few times! I opened in the basement of Wired Gallery on Main Street in 2008. Shortly thereafter, I moved up to the main level and took over the space that the gallery had inhabited. Then, I moved to a big, beautiful space in South Bethlehem. And for the past (nearly) three years, I’ve been sharing a space with my friend Debbie Berkner, owner of Sew On & So Forth, a tailoring shop. We are at 91 E. Broad Street in Bethlehem. The amazing mobile vintage shop!

Glass bead & rhinestone tiara. $45.00.

Glass bead & rhinestone tiara. $45.00.

3. What do you enjoy most about being a small business owner in Bethlehem?

I would say that I enjoy the great community of people dedicated to shopping local, and getting to know my customers. I have made some great friends through having the shop, and I’ve had the pleasure in participating in some cool events with other businesses and organizations.

Vintage floral dress with brass buttons. $35.00.

Vintage floral dress with brass buttons. $35.00.

4. Where do you see Underwired in the next 2 years?

Maybe on the moon or on Mars, but probably still on Earth. In the next two years, I would like to see UW right where it is. I love the small space I occupy now, as it’s much easier for me to give individual attention to each piece as I bring it into the store. I only take in what I love, and I don’t have any “filler.” Plus I really like hanging out with Debbie and talking her ear off all day. I would love to get back to throwing parties and special events; I’ve been lazy on that front for a while. We will host our annual Pi Day again this year on 3/14 and we will have monthly craft nights again, beginning in February. Other than that, the future I see for UnderWired includes fancy clothing, chocolate, cats, puppies, smiley faces, handshakes, and pies. So many pies! Plus extra cats.

1950s cocktail ring. $10.00.

1950s cocktail ring. $10.00.

See what I mean? Pretty grand, isn’t she?!

The images you’ve seen here are just the tip of the iceberg of what you’ll find when you shop Underwired. The boutique carries jewelry, gloves, hats, skirts, shoes, petticoats, and many, many more garments to choose from, from a variety of decades. Don’t believe me? Just stop in the shop! Located at 91 E. Broad St. in Bethlehem, Lisa is at your service during both the week days and the weekends. Just call ahead, send her an e-mail, or a Facebook message. Not local? Not to worry! You can shop Underwired on Etsy (see below). When you do, let her know SCR sent you.

Article Resources:

Phone: (484) 821-0326

E-mail: UnderwiredVintage@Gmail.com

Underwired Boutique on Etsy.

Underwired Boutique on Facebook.

Images by Lisa O’Brien

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