Some new light inside Pretty Parlor (Image: Pretty Parlor)
Pretty Parlor is celebrating its more than a decade of fashion on Capitol Hill with a party to mark the opening of its new bridal boutique, sewing studio and “Man Land.”
“Our boutique is basically Audrey Hepburn meets Judy Jetson,” said Anna Banana, the owner of Pretty Parlor. “The word boutique is key; we’re not a thrift shop and we’re not a consignment shop. Vintage gets put into those categories, but we’re not. What we really are is a nice boutique.”
The shop, which Banana describes as a “1960s little girl’s bedroom,” came about As the space had previously housed vintage stores since the 1970s, Banana decided that the Summit Ave location would be the perfect place to open a new shop devoted to vintage and locally-designed attire. In the 12 years since its doors first opened, this mission statement has allowed Pretty Parlor to carve out a niche among drag queens, burlesque dancers, fashionable twenty-somethings, and everyone in between.
“We’re not just a store, we’re an experience,” Banana said. “We have a shop cat named Vincent, we sell My Little Ponies because the name comes from ‘My Little Pony Pretty Parlor, a kids coloring table, and it’s all just a feast for the eyes and ears. The chandeliers, the parasols, and the wigs are all just like a big kaleidoscope of colors.”
Aside from the eclectic nature of the shop itself, which appropriately was one of the filming locations of Waxie Moon’s upcoming Capitol Hill web series, Pretty Parlor’s claim to fame has been the ability to outfit men and women of all sizes in style. The shop’s trademark mix of vintage and locally-made garments from designers like Jamie Von Stratton and Glam Cloud, and reproduction pieces from online retailers like Stop Staring and has made it a destination for what Banana calls “compliment clothes” as well as the go-to location for theme party goers and burlesque dancers alike, even beyond the Hill.
“As much as we’re here for the neighborhood and the community on the hill, for our customers who live in Bellevue or anywhere else in the area, we’ve become a destination for ‘special occasion dressing,’” said Banana. “If people are going to a theme party, like a Gatsby or a Mad Men party, we can dress them head to toe. So many other dress shops have closed down, and renting a costume is just as much of an investment as buying the reproduction pieces.”
Now, after the success of Pretty Parlor’s Etsy store, the shop has been renovated to include a new 900 square-foot expansion, including a bridal shop, an in-house sewing room, dressing rooms, and an expanded men’s section dubbed “Man Land.” With the new additions, Pretty Parlor is looking to become the premiere wedding destination for the alternative crowd.
“We’ve been rubbing nickels and using elbow grease to get the new space ready,” said Banana. “I’ve done everything myself, and my body is killing me. But so many brides are wedding shopping right now, so we needed to pick a date and get the doors open.”
In celebration of the new expansion, Pretty Parlor will host an open house to show off the boutique’s new amenities on Saturday, March 1 at 6:00 PM. Aside from being able to see the sewing studio and bridal boutique for the first time, Tanya Brno, an aerialist from the Atomic Bombshells, will be swinging from the parlor’s chandeliers to help give the event the proper entertainment value. After all, as Banana puts it, Pretty Parlor wouldn’t be the same without the experience.
The new bridal boutique is located at 417 E Loretta Pl behind Pretty Parlor. You can learn more at prettyparlor.com.