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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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Sandra Hipley

Dear Allison and Melissa,

I am sorry about the loss of your beloved Mother. The time that we have with are loved ones is priceless. I do hope that as you continue on, you will always include your Mom and Dad in your articles on this website. I found your wonderful book, at my Moms condo in Daytona Beach Florida. It was sitting on the table that the tenents use to give away things they dont need anymore. How wonderful it was for me to recieve such a lovely book. All I can say is your whole life came alive through those pages, and I couldnt help but flash back into my life and relate to a lot of your shopping experiances. God Bless you and your family and thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.

Yours in Christ,

Sandra Hipley
Winter Park Florida

Michelle O'Donnel

Hi Alison and Melissa

Sorry to read about your mother passing away.

I read your lovely book - it was a fab gift from my best friend Ems. I have a consignment store, well two actually, little shops, here in Melbourne, Australia. Girl, I related to your story! It's the best job, even if it's not a good day. Long live resale!

All the best
Michelle O'Donnell

helyn knott

dear allison,i'm so sorry to hear of the passing of both of your parents,you don't know me but i just finished your book alligators..i just adore you and your writing has so inspired me just to go back down memory lane...i'm 46 now but got into vintage when i was about 18 and now i see my 14 year old who is just a beautiful young girl has picked up where i left's so cute because she now goes into my jewelry box and wears my memories,God bless you,i would like to please send you a gift that was a present to me from my husbands old pair of gloves..very petite,very dainty but i would like you to have them if you could put them in shop or just keep them..whatever you choose i would be honored to just pass them along...sincerly, helyn may knott


Dear Alison and Melissa,
I read your book not long after it came out and enjoyed it tremendously but have not yet had the chance to visit Hootie Couture (but I will).
I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am about the news of your mom's passing. My own mom is also in her 80's but is increasingly fragile. It's thanks to her thrifty ways that my sister, daughter, and I can share many lovely clothes, accessories, and jewelry that she carefully kept over the years. We're very lucky to still have both parents living and we treasure each day with them. My condolences to you and your families.

Lucy Burchell


Well I've just come back from holiday and my first (of three) reads was your FANTASTIC book!! I've just got home wanting more I researched on the web and found and how excited I am!!! Although to read about your lovely Mum is so sad, you portrayed her so so well in your book and it's such a shame to hear that her inspirational self has passed on. I am sorry to all of your family.

I am a London fabric retailer and loved your book and am currently loving your website. Please keep up the good work and next time I'm in the States I am paying a visit!!

Lucy xx

Mary Elizabeth Land

I was missing your posts, and then was particularly sorry to see the sad reason. Your book, your shop, and your website have all provided fun, joyful ways to spend time. I know your mother must have been very proud of all your achievements!

Mary Elizabeth
Abbeville, SC


I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. I wondered why you were so quiet. I will think of her (and you) every time I see a B.H. Wragge pattern.

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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.