“It’s taken me awhile to get my groove,” LaRue said, “but because of the internet and Muskogee’s close location to an international airport, it’s possible to continue working in music as well as serve discerning customers all around the world who collect and wear vintage and couture fashion.”
Bringing home her husband, recording artist/music producer and audiobook Director John Baker, they have found they can still travel when needed for projects, and low overhead allows them both to have facilities that were out-of-range on both coasts. Baker moved his studio and continues to work in Los Angeles as well. LaRue’s shop in the small town’s historic downtown is called .stuff (pronounced Period Stuff), and specializes in vintage clothing from the early 1900’s through the mid 1980’s.
“I regularly have loyal customers visit the shop from New York, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and other vintage clothing meccas, in addition to online customers from literally all around the world,” LaRue explained. “I offer not only hand picked and curated eclectic vintage and couture, but offer finding services and costuming of entire outfits for many musicians, actors, burlesque performers and just ‘discerning customers’.”
The shop offers customers a choice of teas and sweet treats during either ‘open to the public’ days or for special appointments. During the open to the public days, all items prior to 1960 are in a special VIP Lounge, which requires a free membership. LaRue explains, “Most vintage clothing shops today do not allow the trying-on of garments, and many don’t even carry items pre-1960 anymore. These items are so rare, and are found one at a time, I’ve had to find ways to protect them and keep them in their good condition for their future owners.”
It works. Those who appreciate vintage and vintage couture don’t mind signing up – they get perks such as private parties, and notification of new inventory before the general public. She will soon implement a boutique-bell at the door so serious vintage clothing shoppers can experience a more intimate environment.
Carrying clothing, jewelry, hats, bags, shoes, lingerie and other items, out of town customers are usually pleasantly surprised at LaRue’s eye for the eclectic and vintage and couture labels such as Lilli Ann, Bonnie Cashin, Carolina Herrera, Alfred Shaheen and more until they visit with her and find out her background. While the brick and mortar has thousands of pieces, the online shop is small and intimate, but growing everyday.