Clementine Vintage Clothing: Curated Catskills Attire in Andes, NY
72 Main St. | Andes, NY
If you stand on the corner of Main Street and Route 28, under the only traffic light in the hamlet of Andes, you can easily see most of downtown. As the weather warms and the threat of frost becomes a distant memory, the streets will fill with locals and out-of-towners alike, who bob in and out of the antique shops and eateries that line the bucolic stretch. Just beyond the light, in what was once the Andes Post Office, sits Clementine Vintage Clothing, a staple in the small downtown and a mecca for anyone looking for the perfect vintage find.
For owner Misha Mayers, who hand selects each item of clothing for the store, vintage is less about showcasing a bygone era, and more about seeing how a new generation can make pieces feel fresh again. “I don’t buy something just because it’s vintage,” she explains, “I’m buying things that feel current and on trend. I also try to buy things that you want to wear, that you want to be comfortable in, and things that are suited for wearing up here in the Catskills.”
Misha calls the resulting aesthetic stylish country weekend and the consequent collection is a thoughtfully curated anthology in which 1950’s garden frocks live harmoniously alongside Betsy Johnson babydoll dresses, and cozy Pendletons share shelf space with velvet dusters. “I always think, is somebody I know going to wear this? Does it feel good? Does the fabric feel nice? You have to imagine that somebody is really going to want to wear this,” Misha says.
There are no wrinkles, no holes, and no snags at Clementine, and Misha makes a point to carry pieces made from natural fibers, a choice she says knocks out most of the seventies but fits her overall doctrine. To browse the racks of Clementine is to immediately feel that someone has put a great amount of care into not only each piece, but into the way they cohabitate with one another as a cohesive unit. Cashmere coats rest against army green flight suits, and bohemian sundresses nestle up to high waisted trousers, their unions bound not by the place or time from which they came, but by the life that their next owners will see in them.
Misha and her husband, Dan, stumbled upon Andes after making a wrong turn while visiting friends in 2000. “We just realized there was something happening here,” Misha says. “It was a different kind of feeling than other towns around, so we picked up a real estate guide and started looking.” Misha first began selling pieces out of the now closed Brooke’s Variety on Main Street, a space that also housed early incarnations of Kabinett & Kammer and Tay Tea. “Brooke is really the one who cultivated all of us and our businesses,” she says. “She should get a lot of credit for bringing us to town.” In 2008, Misha moved down the street and opened Clementine in a lofty ground floor space that spills out onto Main Street.
“People do want to be able to express their fashion sense up here,” Misha says, “but they need things that are doing that in a very practical way.” This concept not only translates to the aesthetic and functionality of the pieces, but to the price tags they carry as well. With few items reaching $65 (the average price is closer to $35), Clementine attracts a wide fan base that includes vintage enthusiasts who recognize her competitive pricing, local high school students from the surrounding towns, and anyone in between.
Misha has spent two decades working in the fashion industry, including a tenure as the Director of Merchandising for Ralph Lauren, Japan. “I was working for a cashmere company when I initially started the store,” she says. “I was looking for pieces for inspiration and ended up realizing there was an opportunity to buy other pieces and sell them, so I just started collecting.” In the early days of Clementine, Misha also sold directional pieces from her vintage collection to designers, and opened two shop-in-shops in Chelsea and Soho.
Each piece in the shop has its own story to tell and is also part of Misha’s larger effort to show how color and texture and era can blend together to create something unexpected. “I always start each rack with one piece,” Misha says on the composition of the space. “You start grabbing pieces and creating these visual little color capsules — I love how the colors play off each other to create different feelings. I’m always looking for new ways to combine colors to create a different effect.”
“I love seeing the way things are being reinvented by the next generation to be wearing them,” Misha says. “It’s about putting a new twist on these looks from the past — it’s about what feels modern and current and what makes it you.”
The merchandise is not the only vintage concept being revisited at Clementine. Misha and her staff also boast a brand of customer service that has largely gone by the wayside. “I love when people connect with a piece and you see them get excited about it,” Misha says of her eagerness to help customers explore the shop. “When people come in, I love shopping with that person and understanding what they are looking for — it’s fun to find something you know that person is going to be excited about.”
While Clementine draws vintage seekers from near and far, Misha is proud to provide a space that can also appeal to a younger crowd who are just discovering how trends come and go, how there are patterns and cycles and revivals. “I’ve enjoyed seeing the teenage girls up here come in and appreciate things — them coming in and having fun and finding some great vintage piece and realizing this history of where things come from, that’s been fun to see,” Misha says.
The back room of the store is currently home to a pop-up general and antiques shop from Scott Hill, who used to own the Delaware Trading Post and is making his Andes re-entry at Clementine. Scott’s space is a mix of old and new, Misha says, and his catalog includes antiques, books, records, kids toys, and his own screen prints.
As Clementine prepares to open for its eighth season in its current location, Misha is eager for the store to continue evolving and is excited to collaborate with members of the community. She plans to bring in other artists and artisans, and has set up a seating area in the front of the store where people can gather and visit. “You can sit and listen to music and just hang out,” Misha says. “I think that’s really the spirit of what we are trying to create, it’s an exciting new collaboration chapter.”