Classic, funky fashions offered at new vintage boutique

By Margaret Barr

Calypso is the mythical daughter of Atlas, the name of Jacques Cousteau’s famous ship and the title of a John Denver song. It’s also the name of a new store in Lexington run by a UK graduate.

UK accounting alumna Ann-Michael McCalister opened Calypso, a women’s boutique on East Maxwell Street, on Oct. 13.

“I’ve always been into fashion, and I wanted to open a business near downtown that targets college girls and women in their 20s,” McCalister said.

McCalister, who graduated from UK in 2004, said fashion has always been important to her. When she found a store for rent in the area, she decided to open her boutique with help from her parents.

“My dad has always told me that if I could come up with a business idea and give it to him, he would back me,” McCalister said. “So he paid the first few months’ rent and bills to get me started on ‘overhead,’ as he called it.”

The boutique offers everything from jeans and tops to hand-painted wallets and colorful tights. McCalister said offering a wide selection while keeping prices reasonable is important to her.

“I’ve realized that for boutiques and specialty stores, there are numerous middlemen involved in the supply chain,” she said. “So keeping pieces moderately priced is a real challenge. I’ve just done my best to only pick items that are relatively inexpensive but still have good quality.”

Vintage boots and jewelry, as well as purses, are Calypso’s niche, McCalister said.

McCalister said she finds her vintage pieces through estate sales, thrift shops and any other venue she can find. She said she likes to mainly offer classic pieces to her costumers, but she likes to dress a bit funkier.

“I just like to dress uniquely,” McCalister said. “I’ve always been a thrift shopper and worn clothing that represented other time periods.”

McCalister wants the clothing she offers to be timeless.

“I think anything can be timeless,” she said. “Just a piece of clothing, jewelry, shoes, hat that could be worn now, 20 years ago, or 20 years from now.”

As of now, McCalister is the only employee at Calypso.

“I plan to have one employee eventually and will hire someone that I trust,” she said.

Calypso is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and on Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.