Charm and quiet personality find a home at 10 Pleasant St. in Brunswick.
At the Salvation Army, you run the risk of finding mysterious stains on your purchases. In Freeport, you find outlet prices that still manage to leave you pinching for pennies. At 10 Pleasant St. however, you will find two new thrift stores where the prices are low and the quality is high.
Estilo, run by Lauren Maiocco, and Olive's Vintage, run by Melissa Rutigliano, are a pair of hidden gems that are within walking distance from campus.
A colorful sign on the sidewalk leads to a boardwalk adorned with ribbons and electric lights. Located in what looks like a former residence house, the enclosed front porch of Estilo and Olive's serves as a makeshift display case with colorful skirts, shirts and coats hanging in the windows. Soft lighting, soothing music and fuzzy carpeting add to the overall enjoyment of the shopping experience.
Estilo, which is located on the bottom floor of the building that houses both stores, can aptly be described as a well-organized and cozy exaggeration of a Bowdoin student's closet. One room is filled with nothing but color-coordinated sweaters and endless racks of jeans. Another room contains accessories that include colorful scarves and bags, costume jewelry and head scarves. A guestbook reveals that many students have already discovered Estilo and you can often find a familiar face among the racks of dresses, pants and winter jackets.
Venture up the narrow staircase and you find Olive's Vintage. While Estilo provides more modern brands such as Polo, Gap and Old Navy, Olive's is for those who want to add a little funk to their wardrobe. Racks of shift dresses and patterned pants are a throwback to the sixties and seventies. Ruffled shirts and knee-length tweed coats hang on the walls. If you are feeling adventurous, Olive's also has daring items such as fur vests, tube sock leg warmers and crocheted micro shorts. To add a little diversity to the clientele, Olive's includes a men's section and also a room devoted to babies' clothing and toys. In addition to clothes, Olive's also has a small collection of Elvis memorabilia and vinyl records.
Each store does its part to entice the customer with personal touches such as the "I Love It!" rack in Estilo on which proprietor Lauren Maiocco concocts outfits that others might appreciate. Olive's counterpart is the homemade fabric bags that owner, Melissa Rutigliano, uses in place of the usual unfriendly plastic ones. These bags also invite a return visit with a promise of one dollar off your next purchase if you reuse it.
At first glance, both stores seem to be the type that call themselves thrift stores but charge an arm and leg anyways. Surprisingly, this is not the case in the least, as all prices are incredibly low and affordable. Although more expensive than the Salvation Army, the difference is not horrendous, and you can be sure that your items will be cleaner and of better quality. Typically, a sweater will cost around eight or nine dollars and a pair of pants around 10 or 11.
As the weather gets colder and you find yourself in need of warmer clothing, save your money and an unnecessary trip to Freeport or Portland, and head instead to Estilo and Olive's. Be sure to choose wisely, because all sales in both stores are final. Both Estilo and Olive's Vintage are located at 10 Pleasant Street in Brunswick, directly across from the 7Eleven. Store hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.