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Fashion

Fashions of the past live on in quirky Calo Style store

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In style again: Calo Style store owner Danielle Aguilar and some of her finds.
Photo: Bill Hughes
Molly O’Donnell

Vintage clothes: The words can make a woman who weighs more than 90 pounds shudder. Adorable '50s housedresses that swish when you walk and bright '60s capri pants are probably the main reason most of us watch Mad Men. The outfits have the power to inspire a sensual nostalgia few contemporary silhouettes do ... if only they would fit.

Danielle Aguilar, the 32-year-old owner of Calo Style, has a few ideas. Her orange polka-dot dress whips around her petite frame as she bustles about her store picking up everything she thinks will fit and piling it into a tiny dressing room. Far from intrusive, Aguilar's fire-engine red lips and perfect pinup 'do make you feel like you have a personal shopper who knows what she's talking about. "Most of these clothes don't have sizes, and if they do, they're the pre-'60s ones that don't equate to ours," she explains. Sure enough, in the pile of unlabeled clothes, she's found me at least 10 things that fit my modern (read, not tiny) frame, two of which I want to take home.

Details

Calo Style Clothing
1441 Las Vegas Blvd. S
281-7775
calostyle.com

A Las Vegas native, Aguilar opened Calo Style on Las Vegas Boulevard in April, before which she and her husband, James, sold at Antiques at the Market. Though business has been slow, Calo Style has its regulars. Aguilar is also happy that the rockabilly crowd seems to have discovered their new digs. "It's great that most of our business has been word of mouth, because I like to be able to help people shop. We're not trying to be a big business anyhow."

Part of this philosophy is evident from her bargaining with people when she thinks they want something they might not be able to afford. While I was happy to pay $20 for my bright blue hand-embroidered dress, a friend picked up a seersucker summer dress with a brilliant red sash for $10. This flexibility in pricing is inspired by the owners' love of all things retro. The store itself is named for the Chicano word for the language of the Pachuco, a dialect popular as early as the '20s.

Calo has a small, classic Vegas storefront stocked with retro finds that have one thing in common: relentless stylishness. As '40s swing sounds from the stereo, you can browse a collection that includes everything from a mint-condition white bathing suit cute enough for Marilyn Monroe to a Charlie's Angel number with tan piping. It also carries a decent selection of men's clothes, including jackets, shoes and ties that'll make you long for a time when people drank highballs at lunch.

Asked where she makes her best finds, those red lips get a little tighter. "I don't want to give up my secrets on where exactly it all comes from." Aguilar can keep her secrets, but her shop can't remain one for long.

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