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We Goofed: Vera & Vera

  • While we've only heard from one reader who spotted our Vera Maxwell mistake in Alligators... we can't believe we made such a dumb mistake and we want to correct it. We confused two designers, both named Vera, and the woman we wanted to identify in our book is Vera Neumann (see page 182 in the hardback edition). Vera Maxwell was also a design legend, with a career spanning fifty years, but it is Neumann whose screen prints appeared on everything from dresses to napkins and tablecloths.

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How I wish I could visit Flatbush!

Leslie Houston

Hi Allison & Melissa -

Just finishing your book....hate to see it end! It's inspiring me to pull out all my Mom's costume jewelry. She was such a clothes hound, and her mom could sew up a storm. Alas, due to a stormy marriage, my sister and I don't have any of her clothes, but we had her with us till she was 95!!

Today took me to a rummage sale in Bucks County, Pa, and I picked-up a great mink coat for $30. It has a tear that must be fixed, but good lines - 3/4 sleeves with buttons on folded cuffs, knee length and swing style in the back. My question - the label reads Reminger Co. - New York, Chicago...ever heard of that manufacturer?

Thanks -

Leslie Houston

Sofia Inguanzo-Perez

Hi Allison. I came upon your book because you met my mom at Doctors Hospital in Miami, along with my sister, while my mom was getting her appendix removed and your mom was a patient there as well. You gave my mom a copy of your book and when it was my turn to recuperate from a surgery that became my must-read. You truly have a gift when it comes to passion for vintage and your love of the market exudes through your constant work and adoration for it.
Thank you for entertaining me and bringing me into your family through your book and you better believe I will visit Flatbush one day.
Thanks :) Sofia from Miami, FL

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All About Hooti Couture...

  • Fall/Winter 2013 Hours: Seven days a week, 11-8

    How the heck do you get to Brooklyn? It's easy. You'll find Hooti at:

    321 Flatbush Avenue (at Seventh Avenue)

    Closest neighborhoods: Park Slope, Prospect Heights

    Best subway lines: B & Q trains (exit at Seventh Avenue and you'll find Hooti across the street)

    Phone: 718-857-1977

Find Your Way to Hooti!

What Is Alligators...?

  • Alligators, Old Mink & New Money, One Woman's Adventures in Vintage Clothing was written by sisters Alison and Melissa Houtte and is available in the U.S. and Canada in both hardback (top; William Morrow/Harper Collins) and paperback (Avon Trade). You can also buy the UK edition (Orion Publishing) in hardback in England, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. Orion's paperback edition (below) is also now on sale.


Alligators & the Media

  • Woman's Day, March 2007 issue; Heat magazine, UK Feb. 3-9, 2007, and many reviews and touts from 2005/2006, when our book was first published: People magazine ("charming memoir"); New York Post (3 1/2 star review); Women's Wear Daily; New York Times; OK magazine; TimeOut New York; All Things Considered, NPR (Jan. 15; you can hear it at; Glamour (British edition, "a must for all vintage die-hards"); InStyle, (British edition, "a charming journey"); Madison magazine (Australia); Body & Soul magazine; and Newsday, Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Dallas Morning News, Miami New Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury, The Scotsman (Glasgow, Scotland), Pacific Sun and Sacramento Bee


Clothes Quotes

  • A batch of vintage classics, with thanks to Hester Hull of Birmingham, Michigan:

    “Nothing is thought rare which is not new, and follow’d; yet we know that what was worn some 20 years ago comes into grace again.”—Francis Beumont

    "The purse is the mirror of the soul.”—Anna Quindlen, 1987

    “When in doubt, wear red.”—Bill Blass, 1982

    “These gems have life in them: their colors speak, say what words fail of.”—George Eliot

    “And she always took the clothes created for her one step further by adding something of her own, some small personal detail which enhanced the whole.”—Givenchy on Audrey Hepburn

    “Large handbags to carry all the family’s ration books were also practical rather than fashionable accessories.”—Carol Harris in Women Under Fire in World War II

    “Skirts couldn’t get any shorter and remain legal.”—Amy Greene, 1970

    If you adore her, you must adorn her. There lies the secret of a happy marriage.”—Anne Fogarty, 1959

    Just make sure no one has exactly the same dress I do. I want all mine to be original and no fat little women hopping around in the same dress.”—Jacqueline Kennedy

    “When a man says he likes a woman in a skirt, I tell him to try one.”—Katharine Hepburn

    "A woman’s dress should be like a barbed wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.”—Sophia Loren

    “Each day Beryl would appear in the yard, looking as if she had stepped off the pages of Vogue. Silk shirt, perfectly cut jodhpurs, shining leather boots, little kid leather gloves. A broadbrimmed hat and leather whip tucked under her arm completed the ensemble. It was first class all the way with Beryl. That was all she knew. ‘ Tell them to bring the horses around, will you sweetie?’ she would say when she was ready.”—Mary S. Lovell in the biography of Beryl Markham (first woman to fly the Atlantic east to west), Straight on’ Til Morning

    “Just to flirt again---in a skirt again/ There’s no romance when you dance/ Cheek to cheek and pants to pants /Oh for an old fashioned dress!”—Irving Berlin.