Saturday, December 7, 2013

Frederick's

Another of the stores I remember enjoying in Southampton as a child was a women's clothing store called "Frederick's".

In those days women shopped in town. There were no malls close enough to drive to (unless you had a day to give up) and no internet for browsing, so every village had a few nice clothing stores. We had to drive to Huntington to find an A&S or Macy's. And that was before Sunrise Highway came all the way to Southampton so it wasn't an easy trip. In East Hampton we had the Trude Shop and 5th Avenue Fashions. In Southampton my mother liked shopping in Frederick's.

As I remember it was a huge store - in fact I think it is now two separate shops in that space. It had at least 6 dressing rooms and racks of lovely dresses, which is what women wore most of the time back in the '50s and  early '60s. This was pre-jeans and pre-dress pants, remember! Anyway, the owner (whose name was probably "Frederick" although I don't know that for a fact) was a tall thin man with dark wavy hair and I remember thinking he was "different" in a sophisticated, interesting way. He had two large dogs that were always lying around in the store-also rather exotic animals like hounds of some type. Whippets?

Anyway, my mother loved the clothes there but hated the fact that this gentleman would come to the dressing room to ask how she was doing and would ever pass things over the top of the door to her. She was uncomfortable. Looking back I don't think she had need to be because I don't think he was particularly interested in women, although no one talked about those things back then!

Shopping with my mother was always an adventure. No one had to fend for themselves as we do now in big department stores. The owner or someone else working in the store was quick to offer help and always knew their stock and sizes. And they were never too busy talking on their cell phones to sell you something. Now those were the days....

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