As contemporary designers continue to reference classic trends, the practice of vintage shopping is becoming more mainstream and viewed as selective, with the best shops specializing in certain looks, designers, and time periods.
“I love quality fabrics and construction, which is why I am very drawn to the styles of the 1940s, where the garment construction was impeccable (and because polyester hadn’t been invented yet),” says Morissa Rothman-Pierce, the owner of Bottle of Bread, a charming storefront boutique on Read Street in Mount Vernon. “The 1940s were just very chic and there was a lot of great androgynous looks that were becoming more mainstream as women stepped out of the dress.”
After purchasing numerous dresses, skirts, T-shirts, and locally made jewelry over the years at Bottle of Bread, it was fantastic to have the opportunity to interview Rothman-Pierce about her business, the ethics of vintage shopping, and find out more about her favorite well-made garments and accessories.
Name an age of owner: Morissa Rothman-Pierce, 27
How long have you owned Bottle of Bread?
I opened the brick and mortar shop in 2013, but I have had my online shop since 2008.
Where does the name come from?
The name is actually from a Bob Dylan song. I am forever kicking my 16-year-old self for coming up with that one.
What do you sell the most of?
I sell the most of casual everyday wear. Easy wardrobe staples like denim, T-shirts, trousers, and everyday dresses. I definitely sell the most pants. I have an abnormal amount of jeans and trousers in the shop because I consider pants to be the best/most important piece of an outfit.
Where do you get your clothing, jewelry, and home goods? I love that you sell jewelry and ceramics by Baltimore-based artists.
All over! This is too broad a question! I am always hunting 😉 and we have buying appointments in the store as well!
Can you talk about how shopping vintage is both fashionable and political? You are recycling and also taking some creative risks in what you wear or put in your home/office.
Vintage is definitely becoming more mainstream in terms of fashion. It has some to do with contemporary designers doing a lot more referencing of vintage garments and construction, as well as the environmental impact, which is becoming more and more important as fast fashion creates more waste than ever. Trends come and go at lightning speed these days, and more likely than not, that trend can be found if you look back in fashion history. And the quality of the vintage version is probably tenfold!
What are your favorite vintage items to buy? If you have one favorite thing you bought and use/love all the time, what is it?
I am definitely most interested in quality and wearability when it comes to what items I buy for the store and for myself. I love quality fabrics and construction, which is why I am very drawn to the styles of the 1940s, and because fashion repeats itself, I also love early ’90s basics and designers as well because they do a lot of referencing of 1940s cuts and styles.
One thing I have bought recently, and wear a lot… are sterling chains and rings. I am a big fan of vintage modernist jewelry and am always adding new pieces to my collection. But my favorite item of clothing is forever my denim jacket. No wardrobe is complete without one!
Photos by Justin Tsucalas for the BmoreArt Journal Issue 07: Body
Heads Up: The Next Baltimore Vintage Expo, organized by Milk & Ice with Bottle of Bread, is Sunday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m.–noon for earlybird tickets and noon–6 p.m. for general admission at Union Craft Brewing. More info here.