By Ella Jane Myers
Sudbury’s new, and only, vintage store is a like time machine for fashion fans.
Between the rustling taffeta skirts, bustling seamstresses in the back, and Little Eva singing about “the locomotion”: when you walk through the doors of Starlotte Satine Vintage, you leave the 21st century far behind.
Just where you wind up is hard to pinpoint though, seeing as they have a little bit of everything. From ‘20s inspired flapper dresses to ‘80s blazers boasting massive shoulder pads: the shop’s namesake and owner Starlotte Dresen has it all. She even has some new pieces, inspired by vintage designs.
Dresen’s goal? Helping Sudburians find confidence through fashion.
“The right outfit can give you superpowers,” explained Dresen, “When someone puts on a dress they love, their attitude changes, and that carries through to their daily lives.”
Dresen knows first hand just how much the right outfit can change a person. A well-known local burlesque dancer, she said performing has helped her build confidence and embrace body positivity.
One way she carries this attitude into the store is by not labelling clothes by their size. Instead, clothes are sorted by their function—tops, bottoms, hats—or by colour. Dresen frequently has shoppers fret they won’t be able to find something that fits them, only to leave beaming with several perfect pieces over their arm.
“I think it’s important to constantly be inclusive, to provide a safe space to dress up,” said Dresen.
Even if something doesn’t fit perfectly, Dresen’s onsite seamstresses are often able to make it work. Custom tailoring isn’t as popular as it once was, but it not only results in a highly personalized piece of clothing, it’s also better for the environment to restore something rather than replace it.
While these days, Dresen’s whole life revolves around fashion, she came into her interest at an early age. Growing up in Carlin, Nevada, she loved dressing up.
“There are definitely pictures of me as a kid wearing the weirdest clothes,” laughed Dresen.
After she moved to Sudbury at 13 with her family, she went to Sudbury Secondary School and pursued visual art and dance, never straying far from creative pursuits.
She started Starlotte Satine Vintage as a pop-up a couple years ago, but it quickly took on a life of its own, building a momentum and following that demanded a store front.
Around that time, Downtown Sudbury’s second annual Win This Space competition launched, and she decided to throw her hat in the ring.
After several rounds, she got the good news: she’d won. Her doors at 25 Elgin Street opened a few weeks later, and it’s been nonstop in the cheerily lit shop with leopard print walls ever since.
“Sudbury has a small town vibe, so I’ve had a lot of homegrown support,” said Dresen. “It’s even more than I expected, it’s hardcore, the other night I was dreaming about tagging things!”
At the end of the day, though, she said she knows it’s worth it.
Over the coming weeks and months, Dresen said there is a lot of room to grow for Sudbury’s budding vintage community, and she can’t wait to see what’s next.For now, shoppers will be thrilled by the sheer variety of colours, textures, shapes, sizes, and styles of vintage Dresen has in stock. It might take a while, but chances are you’ll find that perfect something.
“I want to make shopping fun,” laughed Dresen, “but you’ve got to be willing to treasure hunt.”