Pillbox hats, dainty gloves, snappy suits. “People walk in here,” Retro Betty owner Amanda Parrish says, “ and it puts them in a good mood.” Simply the splashes of brightly-colored merchandise could elevate a shopper’s mood, but there’s something more that attracts people to Retro Betty’s mix of authentic, plus modern, nod-to-an-era merchandise.
As Amanda points out, after World War II, America’s national pride and economy flourished. The country’s prosperity was reflected in quality, American-made goods. That Golden Age of Capitalism waned in the 70s and withered in the 80s with the increase in outsourcing. At Retro Betty, people can indulge in some healthy retail-therapy nostalgia.
Retro Betty’s prices put people in a good mood too, especially when, as Amanda has discovered, they come in expecting to pay “boutique prices. I only buy what I love. It’s a reflection of me; and I love the thrill of the hunt,” she says energetically. “And then I try to move the savings along with my vintage items. Most clothes are under $20.” Given the quality of material and construction in clothes from the 40s, 50s and 60s, at Retro Betty, you get more than what you pay for.
And though, as a culture, we’ve habituated ourselves to a more disposable-goods lifestyle, there also are trends, social movements, that support a business selling vintage items. “People support someone running a small business and trying to make it,” Amanda notes. “And my generation is ok with reused and recycled.” As she moves into her third year, Amanda says she will continue to focus on clothing and home decor. “I’m still really excited about this,” she remarks.
Amanda likes the put-together style of the 1940s-60s, how women would put on a hat and gloves to go shopping downtown at ZCMI, but is she’s also thankful that modern culture has shed other gender aspects of the era. “The way women were treated,” she muses. “That should stay in the past.”
Retro Betty, 2821 S 2300 E, SLC
M: 10 am-6 pm, T-S: 10 am-7 pm