ADAMS, Mass. — Lynda Meyer had to make a sudden move this year — shifting her antique clothing store up one level and drastically and significantly cutting back her merchandise.
It seemed a little daunting but Meyer was pleased at the outcome on Saturday as she celebrated her grand reopening at 41 Park St.
"Well, it is giving me a totally different perspective of the business. It's an upgrade. Really, yes. When I had to move up here very quickly in six days, I had to cull my collection and so I have put together the best of the things that I've been collecting for 20 years," Meyer said. "So this is the combination of a long career of collecting individual pieces, because each piece is individually collected by myself to my vision, and I've also expanded timelines. ... I wouldn't really get involved with anything after 1962. But now I'm doing 1980s and '90s."
Pride of place, in fact, goes to a blue 1990 Versace gown on a mannequin as you walk in.
The bulk of Meyer's collection, however, still swings a bit more vintage, with beaded clothing, mid-century pillbox hats, silk embroidered jackets, and antique gowns and underthings circa the last turn of the century.
Lynda's Antique Clothing Loft is now at the top of a broad staircase in a sunny room at the back of the Daniels Block. Meyer had occupied a storefront on the ground floor but building owner Bishop West Real Estate is turn that space into a new office. Meyer still has a display in the window, though.
"I'm hoping to acquire new customers because I think it's a new experience," she said.
Meyer frequently lectures on vintage clothing and fashion history. She's also become a resource for costume designers for plays here in the Berkshire and in New York.
"I've been doing this for a very long time. Since the 1980s," she said. "And so people know that I am the go-to person for clothing and textiles. ... there are people who live in the same house for five generations. So when the termination of an estate happens, I'm usually called, I don't have to go to auctions, we don't have to go through estate sales, they call me."
Everything in the store is restored and handwashed. Vintage clothing has a bad reputation for care but Meyer says that's because people don't know how to handle them properly. Older clothing is often much better made than new items, she said.
"They just need to be revitalized," Meyer said.
She also invites people to bring vintage clothing to her lectures to learn more about them and get a free appraisal. She jokes that her business is "like archaeology, you know, for underthings."
Members of the Board of Selectmen — Chairman John Duval, James Bush and Joseph Nowak — welcomed Meyer into her new space with a traditional ribbon cutting.
"I've kind of known Lynda pretty well since she came to town," said Nowak. "In her windows, she really created something special for people that walk through our town. ... Lynda's a very nice person. I've talked to her many times about her business. She works very hard at what she does, she puts a lot of time here."