Alligators, Old Mink & New Money: One Woman's Adventures in Vintage Clothing
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Alligators, Old Mink & New Money: One Woman's Adventures in Vintage Clothing

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  182 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Alligators, Old Mink & New Money is a celebration of the clothes that capture our memories and imaginations, that leave their indelible stamp on each of our lives. Alison Houtte—a former fashion model who runs the beloved Brooklyn, New York, boutique Hooti Couture—knows that every article of vintage clothing has a story behind it, and she uses these items as a springbo...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published November 22nd 2005)
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Wendi
This wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't particularly good either. From amazon.com: From Publishers Weekly: For fashion lovers, flea market fanatics and thrift store junkies, this book is the perfect find. Former fashion model Alison Houtte, with the help of her sister, journalist Melissa Houtte, offers an enthusiastic memoir of her family's obsession with fashion, her early days as a model and her second career as owner of Hooti Couture, a Brooklyn boutique specializing in vintage clothing. Houtte...more
Anne
Anyone who enjoys fashion, clothes and style will love this memoir from Alison Houtte. Alison owns a vintage clothes shop in Brooklyn and had a succesful modelling career before that.

From the first chapter I was hooked by Alison's writing style and her personality really comes through well. Each chapter starts with one of her personal anecdotes - about one of her pieces - clothing or accessory that she has found along her travels and either worn herself or sold to a delighted customer in her sho...more
Laurel Kathleen
Excellent resource for new and experienced vintage shoppers. Author and former model has a unique perspective on fashion, and she explains her evolution with family and industry stories that are incredibly engaging.
"...any one outfit has the potential to be a time-travel machine. I don't want to live in the past, but I don't mind taking on the present swathed in another decade's finery when the mood strikes."
Bethany Kate
I picked this book up in a vintage store about 5 years ago and only got round to reading it a few days ago as I thought it might help with my dissertation (which is about clothing from the 1960s) I actually managed to read this in about 2 days as the writing style is very easy and casual. Although I was disappointed with the content. As I am very interested in vintage fashion I thought this would be a great insight into the world of vintage stores but the content is completely erratic. The first...more
Becky
Mar 02, 2008 Becky rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: vintage clothing junkies
I took this book out of the library predicting (because of the foofy title and cute, trendy cover illustration) that it would be barely-readable fluff. But I was determined to give it a try because I'm a vintage clothing fanatic.

In some respects, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It's very readable, especially toward the beginning, when the author is talking about her family's history of spending money only on "good" things, even if they were secondhand. Also interesting is the story of h...more
Nookie
This memoir is not so much on substance but her stories are fun to read. Holds a greater appeal for the book loving fashionistas, flea market fanatics and thrift store junkies. But most unfortunately, the tips and guide provided are only applicable for the Americans. At the beginning of the book, Houtte, a former model, wrote about how her mother influenced her fashion style as well as love for vintage clothes. Knowing that a modelling career would not last long, Houtte decided to open a store s...more
Phyllis
Sometimes I daydream about owning my own vintage clothing store, so I really enjoyed this book. The tone is very scatterbrained--the author jumps around from her modeling career to ex-boyfriends to her truck needing new doors, and back to vintage clothes, but the overall effect is that you're browsing in her store and she's talking to you and the phone rings and when the conversation is resumed she's moved on to another topic. Sometimes it's hard to keep track, but it's so much fun you won't min...more
Sheral
I enjoyed this book. It felt like sitting around chatting and laughing about all my great finds with a friend. It brought back memories of all the flea markets and vintage stores I used to go to. I ended the book thinking I wanted to own a vintage clothing store, but not really. She enjoys what she is doing and has a store that is successful. Not many people can say that. Mostly we set around wishing we could or would do something that we truly liked and get paid doing it.
If you want a nice litt...more
Kimberly
I'm belatedly taking my style side for jaunts around the fashion world and a book like this makes my brief but interesting trips worthwhile. I have always loved vintage clothing and living in San Francisco amidst all the vintage stores and shopping with a very stylish best friend was some of the best days of my twenty-something life. That's what this book reminded me of. Alison Houtte is gorgeous (just like my best friend) and her memoir styled guide for all things vintage was an amazing read. I...more
Lizzy
This book is a lot of fun, but now I'm self-conscious about how I appear to shopkeepers, and I'm now filled with lust for MOAR VINTAGE CLOTHES.

It has also disabused me of the idea that I should like to own a vintage store. I never really wanted to, as I have no head for finances, but I would like an excuse to buy lots of vintage.
Jeanine
Vicarious thrift shopping:) Quite interesting and fun. Great details of textures, colors and styles. Satisfying to read about a woman finding success working with a medium she adores while positively affecting her customers lives individually and as a community.
Zarah
Oh this was awful. Yes, the fact that I don’t like any of the things in the title (only the subtitle: One Woman’s Adventures in Vintage Clothing) should’ve tipped me off, but honestly, even if Houtte’s tastes weren’t entirely different from mine, this is just a bad book. It’s more of a memoir in vignettes than anything else, and while there were a few sections that I tolerated or even kind of liked, for the most part it was just, ‘I can’t believe you would ever do this. Or write about it with su...more
Tricia Frost
This reminded me of my old thrift store shopping days! Fun read
Sarah
Just loved the mix of memoir, shopping porn, fashion commentary, Brooklyn stuff, and vintage lore.
Betty
I gave this 4 stars because I'm so surprised that I enjoyed a book about vintage fashion. Alison is a very good storyteller. I enjoyed how she moved from one subject to the next. She seems vey down to earth. Her stories of growing up and her family were endearing. I didn't know many of the designers, but that didn't matter. She was able to explain their place in her world without getting so detailed I lost interest. And anyone who understands and apperciates PA Dutch cooking is fine by me.
Shannon
I approached this book like a textbook -- my personal introduction to the legit happenings behind the world of vintage. I scoured the library catalog, but everything other than this book was super-specific or highly technical. So as reference material to help me become a better-informed shopper, it was a four. But as a memoir, it was a solid two.

If you're interested in learning more about the world of vintage clothing, I'd definitely recommend it for the tips. Otherwise, it's just so-so.
Celeste
This book was basically about one woman's modeling and business endeavors. Also,the majority of this novel was Alison Houtte talking about her experiences clothes hunting for her vintage store and the experiences she had whilst running the store. I enjoyed quite a few of her stories, but I think I liked them because I also love vintage clothes. It wasn't an amazing book, but it was cool to see how a vintage store in NYC works and what goes on behind the scenes of a secondhand store.
Melody
This was a fun book! Houtte has a vintage shop in Brooklyn, and it sounds like a delightful place to shop. Her mission is clear, her anecdotes for the most part are clever, and her tone is friendly and warm. I liked reading about her wonderful finds, and about her adventures in modeling.

I dinged her an entire star for not knowing the difference between Vera Neumann and Vera Maxwell.
A.-C.
I liked this book - in fact I found it highly enjoyable. However, sometimes the stories or anecdotes would just trail off, never reaching a climax, which left me a bit puzzled. This might just be a problem with me, though. All in all I'd recommend it for light reading and relaxation - perfect (and perfectly charming) book for the beach or other vacation-themed summer activities.
Linda
This is a good one to read if (like me) you are going through a period of lack of concentration. The author, Alison Houtte, owns Hooti Couture in Brooklyn, a successful vintage store. The writing is light and bubbly but if you have no interest in vintage, there isn't much else going on. However, I'm finding it fun and a diversion.
Anna
This is a cute semi auto-biography about this woman who owns a vintage clothing store. It's a nice story that honors her mother and grandmother at times but there's no real juice. I'm also a big antique and vintage buyer so her advice for buyers wasn't new to me, although it was nice of her to offer pointers for novice vintage shoppers.
Carrie
It was like shopping vicariously. I enjoyed Alison Houtte's stories about her early days modeling and then how she came to own the vintage clothing store Hooti Couture. She includes lots of fun stories about the store and some of her best clothing finds. Fun girlfriend chatter over a memorable shared shopping experience!
Barbara
This was a fun book. Light read for anyone that enjoys fashion, vintage & shopping.
Inge
This book made me feel fantastic about being a vintage shopper. In addition to touting the importance of giving new life to old objects, Alligators, Old Mink, and New Money also offers a fabulous, recent history of the North Flatbush section of Brooklyn.
Nancy
A fun, non-fiction book about Alison Houtte, a former and still sometimes model, and her adventure in wearing and selling vintage clothing. Reading this book made me think about going to search for that perfect cameo necklace…
Suzanne
Anyone wanting a break from chic-lit books or those interested in vintage clothing and how it comes to stores this will be a joy to read.

Light read that can be picked up and put down easily.
Deborah
fun and fluffy (not unlike a vintage mink stole) without requiring too much effort. A lovely way for vintage and thrift store fans to kill a few hours if no thrift or vintage stores are available
Zamila
I really can't get enough of this book. Each piece of clothing really tells a story and this is seriously discovered and brought alight in this book. Perfect for vintage die-hards.
Heidi
As a lover of vintage clothing, I adored this book! It's fun to read about how the author finds all her vintage goodies. I'd love to visit her shop in Brooklyn someday!
Kathrina
What a great book. I love vintage clothing but now i know i didn't know a thing about clothing history. What a great insight into fashion and fashion appreciation.
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