Arguably one of the best vintage shops in Metro Detroit, Virgie Geroux is stocked full with beautiful vintage pieces collected by store owner Kelly Sykes.
“It all started when I was a child,” Sykes said. “I would hang out with my mom and grandmother and we would go to garage sales, specifically because we didn’t have a lot of money. I was raised in an environment where I would find really beautiful clothes, that were often used, for a really low price.”
She took those pieces and made them look like clothing her friends were wearing that they would purchase from department stores.
“As I became older, I certainly had a love for true vintage,” Sykes said. “I had a love of having my own style that wasn’t necessarily anyone elses, and the best way that I could do that was by buying vintage.”
As she grew up, Sykes started collecting more and more vintage pieces and began to amass a large collection. Family members began to jokingly question whether she was a collector, or a hoarder.
“I thought I would be a collector and sell one day, and that day came sooner than I anticipated,” Sykes said.
Her collection has spread to the likes of Hollywood. Sykes has sold her pieces to films, TV shows, designers and other vintage stores. Even with this industry success, the aspect she values most is getting to interact one on one with customers in her store.
“Vintage allows one to express their individual personality without looking like everyone else,” Sykes said. “There is this ability to have garments that are mostly made in the United States, and it’s ethical fashion for a fair price. It speaks to the social environment that we are in right now.”
Lacey Story, a professor of women and gender studies at OU, is a connoisseur of vintage pieces herself and believes that vintage collections displayed in stores like Virgie Geroux are a way to preserve historical pieces in a very real and interesting way.
“When you buy a piece of vintage clothing and wear it, you are giving a nod to the history of fashion and showing others ways in which fashion is cyclical and can be continually reinvented in new ways, which for me is a lot of fun,” she said. “Wearing vintage clothes also saves the clothing from destruction and landfills, and can be a way to be kinder to the environment.”
At Virgie Geroux, customers are given styling help from Sykes directly, which makes the shopping experience personable.
“When shopping at Virgie Geroux, you support a part of a community of small businesses,” Story said. “Businesses that specialize in knowing their clientele and making the most of the experience. I love that I can go into Virgie Giroux and that she knows the type of things I like or that would work for me and helps me curate my own unique wardrobe.”
With women’s items dating from the 1980s all the way back to the 1920s and one of the biggest collections that one could have in Michigan of vintage, be sure to check out Virgie Geroux located on the second floor of 7 N. Saginaw St. in Pontiac.