Vintage clothing and Marilyn, too, at Glitz

It's just a little space, jammed between a restaurant and a soap boutique at the north end of Broadway. But Glitz is filled to overflowing with vintage men's and women's wear, hats and memorabilia from the golden age of Hollywood in the '40s and '50s.

Lyne Lara is the mistress of this magical wonderland. A manikin with Marilyn Monroe's head and shoulders greets customers who venture into the shop. This is the world of Glitz.

Glitz opened last June at 617 Broadway E., the storefront recently evacuated by Film Stop. The shop is a second career for Lara, who was previously a psychotherapist and drug and alcohol counselor. She said she was looking for Marilyn Monroe paraphernalia when she discovered the manikin that watches the door.

"I found a Marilyn Monroe manikin, and I had to build a store for her," Lara said. She has an agreement with the Marilyn Monroe estate, and charges $10 for anyone to be photographed with Marilyn.

"It's just a way to keep the store going," she said. "She's a manikin. What that means is from the shoulders down it is a manikin, not reproducing Marilyn's body. But the head is Marilyn."

In the back of the store, besides a variety of posters and photographs of Marilyn are posters and photographs of James Dean, Elvis Presley, Audrey Hepburn and Clark Gable, among others.

"I have all the 1950s Hollywood legends," Lara said. One of her featured displays is the post office poster for the Marilyn Monroe commemorative stamp, a framed block of the stamps and a large poster of the photograph on which the stamp image is based.

"I'm going to start selling Betty Page pictures," Lara said, referring to a famous (or is it infamous?) pin-up model of the 1950s who has come into vogue.

A mixture of new and vintage items fills the shop. Racks of vintage-like clothing are intermixed with real vintage clothing and some of the clothing is in special cases or displays. A 1900s-era lace wedding dress has the place of honor behind the sales counter. Nearby is a case with vintage women's hats ranging from the 1900s to the 1950s.

"Isn't this hat just great?" she asks with a beguiling energy as she holds a woman's hat with a wide, floppy brim. Lara enjoys people and telling them all about the apparel that fills her store.

"I sort of wanted to do something other than being in private practice," Lara said of her enthusiasm for vintage clothing. She said she thought Capitol Hill would be an excellent place to do it because there is nothing quite like it nearby.

"Do you happen to be a cross-dresser?" she asked me hopefully the first time I went into the shop. I am nearly six-and-a-half feet tall with a girth that ... anyway, I'm a big guy. "I have some very large sizes."

She carries very large sizes in both men's and women's sizes. Men's clothes range from shirts to slacks to jackets. She also has a large, rather luxurious dressing room with one full wall mirrored.

"I was thinking that men who are cross-dressers don't have anyplace where they can be comfortable trying on clothes," Lara said. She has acted to fill that need.

"There have not been as many gay guys as I thought would come in," she said. "But I've had a lot of gay guys in here."

As we chatted a young mother came in with three boys, the oldest about 6 and the youngest still in arms. She was from Yakima and just taking in the neighborhood while visiting relatives.

The boys were enchanted by the vintage tie selection, especially the oldest, who sported a natty fedora. He was wearing a man's tie, tied very loosely and coming far below his belt. And he was excited and held up the tie for his mother to see.

"That tie looks so good on you," Lara told him. "You go ahead and take that tie as a gift from me." He was thrilled. His mother bought a couple more small items.

"My daughter says I give too much away, and I talk too much to my customers," Lara said.

Maybe so, but those customers left the shop very happy.

Glitz, 716 Broadway East, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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