I Love Ferdinand

9 May

Last week, I was flipping through the Portland Phoenix as I waited for my delicious sandwich at Punky’s, and I noticed something weird. Ferdinand, one of my favorite local stores, was listed as “Best Last-Minute Costume Shop” in the Portland Best Readers Poll. As someone who buys a good portion of her everyday clothes there, I was kinda offended. The blurb, while no doubt written by someone who loves Ferdinand, does the store a disservice by treating it like a joke.

Ferdinand, which is owned by my friend Diane and staffed by her and Maddie (of Gertrude Knickerbocker, Find, and Moody Lords fame), does have plenty of vintage sweaters, dresses, slips, and shirts, but I’d hardly classify it as a clothing store, let alone a costume shop. It also has the “quirky* brooches” mentioned in the article, but I wear my hamburger pin almost every day, and nobody asks me if I’m wearing a costume.

Ferdinand is the first place I go when I’m looking for a birthday present, because there’s something for everyone there: handmade, stylish jewelry (almost all under fifteen dollars), letterpressed stationery (much of which is made by Diane right in the store), adorable, durable catnip mice by Doonyaya, art prints and posters, cute boots and shoes, four dollar silk scarves, eyeglass cases, journals, stuffed animals, screen-printed tshirts and onesies, sunglasses, mugs, and even hula hoops! The eclectic selection is constantly changing, and features many talented local artists, not to mention the mind-boggling amount of stuff that Diane makes herself.

Most of the clothing I’ve gotten at Ferdinand has gone into heavy rotation, including tshirts, altered vintage skirts, and underpants that feel like they’re custom-made for my butt. I also bought a gorgeous, floor-length vintage halter dress that I wore to Jay and Althea’s wedding reception. It’s fully-lined, fits me perfectly, and has a matching wrap jacket. I paid around fifteen bucks for it.

photo by Audrey Hotchkiss, who can be hired to take photos that make you look this good

I don’t disagree with the “last-minute” part of the Phoenix article: if you need earrings to match your outfit, Ferdinand has them, and they’re five dollars. If you need a card for any occasion, Ferdinand has one (or five). If you get cold, Ferdinand has sweaters in every color.

Diane and I have talked before about how awesome it would be if every day was Halloween, if people could just stop caring what others thought of them and wore whatever they want. But to say that she “cares far more about fun than fashion,” implies that fashion and fun are mutually exclusive, and I don’t buy that. Plus, while Ferdinand may be a store with a sense of humor, that doesn’t mean that Diane isn’t serious about what she’s doing. She works hard to keep her store, and by extension Portland, awesome and unique.


And she looks great doing it.

*As a person frequently referred to as “quirky,” I am so sick of this word. I feel like it’s become a euphemism, and I wish people weren’t scared to say what they really mean. Seriously, stop calling me “quirky.” I know you meant to say “weird” or possibly “borderline autistic.” I know I’m weird. Weird isn’t a pejorative.

7 Responses to “I Love Ferdinand”

  1. Kate May 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    I thought Audrey’s name linked to her site, but it doesn’t, so here: http://littleeyedesigns.wordpress.com/

  2. althea May 9, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    You are NOT quirky!

  3. audrey May 10, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    Word up re: quirky. Every time I break in to the mashed potato at work because I happen to be wearing my slippery dress shoes that day I feel a little weird. And it rox! And Ferdinand does, too. Thanks for the nachos tonight! Sleeping time.

  4. forefrontfash May 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Diane is the shit. So is Ferdinand. I wear a monkey pin on my jacket everyday that I got from her.

  5. Shelly July 7, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    I just bought a dress from Ferdinand yesterday! I’ve been staring at in the window all week and decided that for $12 I don’t care that it’s 4 sizes too big. (I have big wine and sewing machine related plans in the near future!)
    But seriously, they are the nicest people ever- I don’t know if it was Diane but the girl in there literally took the dress off of the manequin in the window for me so that we could turn it inside out and discuss how to alter it (which is probably why I couldn’t stop thinking about it and came back and bought it the next day- so, good salesmanship!)
    I didn’t find the shop especially costumey at all. I’ll give it quirky- but definitely a place I’d shop again for every day type clothes.

    • Kate July 7, 2011 at 10:19 am #

      I think I rang you up! Yesterday was my first day working at Ferdinand. I think it was Diane who helped you with the dress; she was there yesterday too. I am so excited to work there!

      • Shelly July 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

        I thought the pic at the top of your blog looked like the girl who rang me up! 🙂 Have fun working there! I’ll let you know how the dress comes out.

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