By Chanel Quill
Forgotten trucker hats, ripped jeans and floral grunge dresses are getting a second lease on life at SMC Dress & Trouser.
Local husband and wife team Sean and Crystal McCarthy are transporting shoppers back to the eclectic fashions of the ’80s and ’90s inside their Lowell vintage clothing boutique, where Elvis, kittens, and acid-washed denim are all the rage.
The pair says they’ve always had a blast shopping for vintage, “but now we’re making money instead of hoarding things.”
Their new retail venture began with a pop-up shop at Mill No. 5 to sell donated clothing and raise money for the Lowell Transitional Living Center where Crystal works as a development coordinator. The end result surprised them.
“We raised $4,000 in a week and a half and had such a great time doing it that we wanted to open our own store,” Crystal explains.
They opened the doors to a legit brick-and-mortar business at Mill No. 5 in February. Within five months they had to move to a larger retail space down the hall and Sean left his full-time day job as an operations manager to oversee the newly expanded store.
Every item in the shop, which caters to both men and women, is lovingly hand picked by this dynamic duo. The most unique piece on display at the moment is a bleached leather motorcycle jacket but inventory, they say, is always changing so each shopping trip feels a little like treasure hunting.
Dresses start at $17, and go up to $45 for designer names—and for any gals out there who may be worried that those ’80s dresses have the typical shoulder pads, do not worry, Crystal took them out for you.
Hawaiian shirts range from $12-$18 and T-shirts, $5-$15. Crystal’s favorite pieces of clothing in the store are the “All that Jazz dresses,” which also happen to be one of SMC’s best sellers because of their vintage-meets-modern vibe. But they do sell fast, Crystal warns, so if you see one you like make sure you grab it fast.
For the more adventurous at heart, $5 mystery bags are available that include a t-shirt, pin, and a patch.
More than just a cool vintage clothing shop, SMC Dress & Trouser also has a mission to give back to the community. A sponsor for Eyeful Beauty salon’s annual “FU Cancer” fundraiser, SMC is selling the official T-shirts for $20 now through the big benefit party at Lowell’s Smokehouse Tavern on Sept. 17.
In the future, Crystal envisions adding a donation center to their shop to help those in need. While all things vintage remain their passion, Sean and Crystal say it’s the people who stop in to visit their store that make running a local business worthwhile.
“It’s the thing we love most about being here.”
SMC Dress & Trouser (inside Mill No. 5, 250 Jackson St., 4th fl.) opens Wed.-Fri., 5-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.