Every neighborhood has its little gems that make it a great place to live. I have lived in several areas in Seattle, but my neighborhood for the past nine years has been Queen Anne Hill. Tree lined streets remind me of where I grew up, and you can find coffee shops, bookstores, amazing restaurants, flower and gift shops, specialty food places and practically everything you would need within walking distance. Its proximity to the culture and buzz of downtown and the maritime fun of Lake Union make it very much a small town inside a big city.
My Dressing Room is one of the little gems of Queen Anne, located right on Queen Anne Avenue, tucked into a block filled with other merchants. Owner Bea McCammon started My Dressing Room as a high-end consignment shop in 2010. At the beginning of November 2012, she stopped carrying consignment and the shop was reborn as an elegant boutique that carries unique pieces of McCammon’s own design, plus garments and jewelry from international lines.
McCammon was an art major in her native Hungary and moved to the United States in 1998, where she began a career working for prestigious companies, such as Longchamp, La Perla and Giuseppe Zanotti. She spent five years working for Mario’s, one of Seattle’s premiere specialty retail stores, in women’s couture, men’s, and in Mario’s Hugo Boss Shop. McCammon cultivated relationships with customers over time, which helped her develop a business plan that included personal shopping for clients, styling and closet revamping. From there, she began her consignment business, but her artistic background and desire to have her own clothing line were never far away.
Today the light and bright space of My Dressing Room is proof that size doesn’t matter. The shop is small but filled with carefully chosen lines as well as clothing designed and sewn by McCammon for her label BEATA, which offers dresses, pants, tops and coats that are statement pieces—and only two of each design are made. Because she sews the pieces herself, she purchases fabrics in smaller quantities than someone who sends clothing to production to be made. This allows her to purchase fabrics from design houses, such as Prada and Oscar de la Renta, although she is not allowed to use the fabrics until three seasons have passed since they debuted in the original designer collections. Nevertheless, it gives her an opportunity to use interesting fabrics and make her “statement pieces that have a Japanese-style, oversized silhouette.” Her cozy berry-colored alpaca coat, for instance, shows off a lambskin collar and a colorful lining sourced from vintage fabric, while her cream popcorn sweater in wool and lycra is original and edgy.
My Dressing Room carries clothing from Closed—which among other things has fantastic denim—Zoe Couture’s super soft cashmere, contemporary French line Deca, as well as Neesh and rosemunda from Copenhagen. The low-stacked heel booties by the English brand H by Hudson are a perfect complement to the contemporary pieces in the boutique. I fell in love with the New York-based Oscar and Anna crossbody bags because of their handsome leather looks and perfect, small structure. A standout piece is definitely the handbag, a collaboration between metal artist Samantha Grisdale’s and jewelry designer Kathleen Whitaker. This beautiful limited edition clutch is a statement art piece. You may have to arm wrestle me for it…
I love that this boutique carries four Queen Anne-based jewelry designers: Juliet Roger, Julie McCormick, Joanna Morgan and Mara Fitch. Each designer has a different take; whether it be edgy, elegant, feminine or earthy, there is something for every style.
McCammon says that she visualizes outfits as a whole as she shops different vendors at market, working to make sure all of the pieces, from jewelry to shoes, handbags to sweaters, come together—and it shows. Whether you are in need of an updated piece, a cute pair of boots, a chic jacket or lovely gift, My Dressing Room’s carefully presented items all work together.
Leaving the store, I am reminded again that there are so many great places in Seattle, so many talented people doing what they love. If you find a gem of a place in your own neighborhood, be it a restaurant, shop or boutique, support it. It’s the way to keep the art and beauty alive in Seattle, no matter where you live.
1817 Queen Anne Avenue North #C, Seattle, 98119
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 11 am-5 pm. Thursdays 11 am-7 pm. Sunday and Monday by appointment only.
(The website www.mydressingroomboutique.com is under construction. Check back soon.)
Photography by Christopher Reicks