City Pulse

By Lauren Johnson

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Vintage and vintage-inspired fashions make Sweet Tater (www.sweettater.net) tick. And much has happened in the four years since Sweet Tater opened its NoLita doors, which used to be an entryway for an abandoned Laundromat. Owners Christina Kornilakis and Sarah Gregory expanded their boutique to include, not only hard-to-find vintage apparel and accessories, but also items from their eponymous line.

Finding inspiration in their trips along the East Coast, Greece and Italy, the designer’s boutique has a light, exotic feel. And although they won’t reveal their source, they admit they have vintage distributor connections in the United States and Greece. And when it comes to picking vintage pieces, they use extreme discretion. Kornilakis explained that they might view 300 pieces, but pick only about 12 or 13. Their selectivity definitely shows. The vintage pieces that fill the shop are in great condition and made with rich leathers in colors like cognac-colored and honey to brick red.

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Most customers who come in the cozy, tucked away boutique, leave with their signature outfit: vintage high-waisted denim, vintage boots and a shirtdress. Sweet Tater’s ever-evolving signature shirtdress, undoubtedly appropriate in any wardrobe, in any decade and in any season, is given new life in their Fall ’07 collection. Its cotton-wool blend is perfect for those semi-chilly autumn days and has a removable sash and fancy-smancy buttons.

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“Initially the line was born out of our desire to recreate the best vintage pieces we’ve found and we had ourselves in mind – downtown girls who love to wear vintage,” but they also included pieces that are “classic and clean, while still edgy and sexy.”

Much of the fall collection comes in muted tones that are perfect in keeping with the City’s ultimate uniform – all black. Lush, yet practical, fabrics, like wool and silk, are mixed with crisp menswear tailoring. And unsurprisingly, every single fall piece can be mixed and matched with any of their vintage boots and belts. Clever ladies. Sturdy hound’s-tooth blouses are perfect for layering over a slip dress and tights or denim and knee-high boots. Many pieces, like the aforementioned top, do double duty as both a blouse and a super-sexy mini.

Although Sweet Tater’s vintage pieces may change, their original “magic” shirt dress – named after a group of friends with varying body types all left the store with the same dress in their bags – is something they don’t plan on discontinuing any time soon. Akin to Diane Von Furstenburg’s immortalized wrap dress, Christina refers to their shirtdress as “the dress that we’ll always do.”

Sweet Tater is located at 280 Mulberry St. between Prince and Houston and open daily from 12 to 7 p.m.

Originally published September 2007
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