Monday, July 5, 2010

Retropolitan: Hats Galore & A Stickley Desk

Retropolitan has a new location. Before showing you around the shop, I want to be sure you know the new address! As explained on proprietor Cindi Ryland's web site,

"There are now three wonderful floors for your browsing pleasure; we are located at 8227 Main Street just two doors north of Old Columbia Pike next to what was once the town movie theater (Now Precious Gifts) and across the street from the Historic Fire House Museum." Note: 2-hour free parking on Main Street and a lot nearby with metered parking.

Now, do you know where you are? It's the building in the middle (see photo, above) with the customers about to go in. Good! Let's go inside. Just as before in its lower Main Street location, Retropolitan features a fascinating variety of antiques (furniture, lighting, housewares) and is filled to the brim with racks and shelves of vintage clothing.

Anyone who knows me knows how I adore HATS, probably originating with my Mother, who wore them so well in the more formal 40s era. She stored them--always mysteriously in my young mind--in her closet in wonderful round boxes.

Cut to the present. Cindi Ryland offered these quotes about hats in general:

"If a woman rebels against high-heeled shoes, she should take care to do it in a very smart hat." (George Bernard Shaw) &

"A hat is a flag, a shield, a bit of armor, and a badge of femininity. A hat is the difference between wearing clothes and wearing a costume; it's the difference between being dressed and being dressed up; it's the difference between looking adequate and looking your best. A hat is to be stylish in, to glow under, to flirt beneath, to make all others seem jealous over, and to make all men feel masculine about. A piece of magic is a hat. (Martha Sliter).

Magic indeed! Look at these hats at Retropolitan, many of which are featured on the lower level floor. I smiled the entire time I was photographing them, and have many more photos than what I am showing you now.

Ground level at 8227 Main Street, then go down, or go up!

Entering the store off Main Street, you have several enticing
options. I went up, then down. Your eyes will
take in so much and then you may need to re-focus
on the items you want to purchase and take home
with you. I plan to go back soon, then again on
July 31st, when an 8-year Retropolitan anniversary event
is linked with a 30% discount. Shown here, left,
are the steps up to the third floor, with old kimonos
adorning the walls; and right, down to the basement level
with neat vintage clothing...and HATs and more HATS!

Stickley Desk. Since my blog feature is always just a taste, Cindi chose to tell me about the Stickley desk, which you can see on the first floor just inside the door. Here is a brief background about Stickley excerpted from an online site:

"Gustav Stickley furniture was crafted to be simple and useful. It was primarily built from native American tiger oak; joinery was exposed; upholstery was comprised of natural materials; wood could be varnished, but never painted...No nails were used, and only wooden pegs and beaten copper hardware with bronze touches were employed..."

More from Cindi about the desk: "This Mission Oak one-drawer desk was made by Stickley Brothers of Grand Rapids, Michigan, c. 1915 (metal identification plate is still attached). Called Mission Oak because of the popularity in the early 1900s of California Mission architecture, it somewhat resembles the furniture that was originally found in these missions. Although Gustav and his four brothers were accomplished craftsmen and firniture designers and makers, it was Albert who made furniture under this label."

Finally, there is an c. 1900, 4-stringed banjo with an inlaid mother of pearl neck that particularly intrigued me because my Father was a professional musician and played an incredible banjo--plus the guitar, of course. Just look for the cool banjo up high when you go in. You will see it, I know. Ask Cindi Ryland to tell you more!

In summary, each nook and cranny of this charming three-story space is filled with exquisite, hand-picked treasures from every era and all parts of the world. A visit to Retropolitan is sure to take you back in time. Cindi explains: "My stock ranges from the 18th to 20th centuries and includes lighting, furniture, artwork, silver, china, jewelry, clothing and accessorites. The selection is constantly changing."


Visit the Retropolitan web site at:

Phone: 410-461-0701
Toll free:s 888-712-6483



Monday and Tuesday - closed, or open by chance
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday - 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday - 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. or by appointment

Blog feature article by Kay Weeks
Photos: Kay Weeks and Cindi Ryland (exterior photograph)

Be sure to visit Jeremy Kipp Clark's
comprehensive web site on Historic Ellicott City (and beyond)

July 5, 2010


Denee Barr Art News and More said...

Perfect timing! I like vintage clothing and hats and always like to know what's new to check out in Historic Ellicott City, Maryland. Will re-post on Facebook too for several people in my network would like to be in the know on this special gem of a place!

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful. Kay - thank you!

Cindi Ryland

Anonymous said...

hi kaydi.. i enjoyed this piece.

your haiku from rehoboth were refreshing. i can feel the beach wind in them, see the runners feet, hear the surf. you have your very own magic place there, and part of your heart seems left there and you find it again upon the next visit.

Lora Robertson, Seattle, WA

Anonymous said...

i think i've been in there! where was she located before?

sharon c.

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