A trip to Cheeky Vintage is a trip down memory lane. Comfortably crammed into a quaint little house on Richmond Avenue is a dizzying array of styles, colors and brands that reach all the way back to the 1920s and march forward, like flipping through the pages of Vogue, to the 1980s. Dresses, gloves, hats, handbags, shoes and coats are on display, all culled from closets whose owners had an eye for quality and style.
Tina Davis is your guide through this magical fashion history tour, and her enthusiasm and keen eye for what’s enduring is infectious.
“I have an obsession with vintage!” she says, admitting that she used to buy 1950s-era men's jackets back in the day, pairing them with jeans and a crisp white shirt. “The bottom line with vintage is you’ll stand out in a crowd.”
Davis and her best friend opened the shop nine years ago, combing through estate sales for inventory. While the best friend is still the best friend, she’s no longer a partner in the endeavor. (Nor is trolling through estate sales, as now women call Davis to come mine their closets.) And Davis and her four team members are on hand to make each visitor feel like a VIP.
“I love the stories behind the clothes,” she says. “Every piece has a story—where it was worn, why it was bought, how it was handed down across generations, where these pieces have been. To me, that is so much cooler and chic than fast fashion.”
Davis looks for quality first, a skill she honed by working as a jewelry designer for nearly 18 years. She also buys each piece from its owner outright; Cheeky Vintage is not a consignment shop. It’s also not a jumbled collection of mass-produced dresses and skirts and pants. The clothes here are curated: many of them designer, all of them high-end in terms of texture, color and preservation. In her shop you’ll find designers such as Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, and Haute Hippie rubbing shoulders with Bill Blass and longtime Houston stalwarts Sakowitz and Battlesteins. You might even spot a celebrity: Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine has been known to pop in and scoop up a bunch of boho pieces when in town on tour.
“A lot of people who come in have never worn vintage before,” says Davis. “And something like a handbag or a belt is a really good starting point. You have a unique piece, and you can use it with anything.”
That’s a mantra for Davis, that vintage should blend into your everyday wardrobe, not be worn like a costume. She recommends pairing a 1960s dress with modern booties, or throwing a mod coat over a contemporary pair of skinny jeans.
“Each of our pieces are carefully thought out,” she says. “And we don’t do sizes, we group everything by color.”
Davis points out that modern and vintage sizes have almost no relation to each other; she has an in-house seamstress to help with alterations and notes that many classic pieces have generous seam allowances, making taking in or letting out less of a challenge than you might think—don’t be afraid to try things on and think about the possibilities.
More than anything, Davis wants visitors to the shop to feel at home, like they’ve been invited to comb through a kaleidoscope closet.
“This is a respite from a busy world,” she says. “And every piece is a work of art. There’s no pressure here; just come in and enjoy.”