Flower Power: Pick a bouquet of pretty florals to wear from downtown Belleville boutiques

News-DemocratMay 26, 2013 

If Claude Monet could set up his easel in downtown Belleville this spring, he would be easily inspired.

"I must have flowers, always and always," the Impressionist painter once said.

Meander through shops on Main Street and you'll find a garden of floral fashions and accessories to wear.

At Vintage Addiction, 119 E. Main St., owners Kim Watson and daughter Courtney Chesley add vibrant color to their shop with bold 1960s print dresses, big fluffy-petaled fabric barrettes and pins ($8) and smaller versions ($5 to $6) made with buttons and vintage sewing notions. The business sells a mix of old and new.

Courtney said the talented artists she buys items from are part of a new generation of young women who enjoy making jewelry, hair accessories and home decor using recycled vintage goods.

"It's part of the Etsy and green movement," she said of the online store, Etsy.com, that allows craftsers and artists a venue for their handmade wares.

If you want to do a little mod redecorating, check out the selection of throw-pillows ($25) or covers ($15) made with vintage fabric.

Across East Main Street at Circa, 128 E. Main St., boutique owner Andrea Powell has taken flower power into her own hands. She makes much of the jewelry she sells in her boutique under the name Mellow Mountain. (Pieces also are sold at Peace by Piece just a few blocks away.) Some of Andrea's recent designs include creating delicate flower motifs in silver on copper for necklaces ($45 to $69). Embossed copper cuffs hold glass-blown beads in the shape of flowers that spin ($48-$56).

"Ever since we opened, the natural and botanical are welcome," she said.

Other new items in her shop include a handmade gray cotton dress ($45) that is the background for a big silk-screened dahlia outlined in tangerine.

Taylor Mol, 22, who works part-time at the shop, donned a short turquoise sundress sprinkled with red roses ($45), picked up a gold tote bag with a dogwood motif and strung a chain of turquoise daisies around her neck ($30).

"I like this dress; I have a wedding to go to, so maybe this would work," she said.

A few blocks away at Peace by Piece, 132 W. Main St., blooms sprouted on dresses, scarves and shoes. The shop specializes in goods made in the United States.

Sales associate Makenzie Fietsam, 19, paired a sleeveless dress in a deep coral and pink with oversized white blossoms ($78) with a sea blue tropical scarf ($38), both from Before & After.

"Floral prints always do well," said owner Christina Keck. "They're just happy."

Look down and you'll see flowers sprouting on footwear, too. The shop carries OkaB ballet flats in a variety of pastels, both unadorned and with jeweled flowers at the toe ($42-$56). Flip-flops from the same maker are similarly detailed ($36).

A door down at newly opened Rising Stars2, 200 W. Main St., owner Conni Tilley has expanded her shop to two storefronts and has filled the corner location with enough flowery elements to start a garden in your jewelry box or closet. For $6, you can go home with a tote bag tucked into itself and secreted beneath a fabric daisy or poppy ($6). It's the right size to carry in your purse when you know you'll need an extra bag for shopping.

Soldered square and rectangular art charms ($9 to $12) have vintage images of lovely ladies, flowers, angels and gardens on two sides. On a nearby table are mannequin heads wearing fabric headbands with matching pins ($19).

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