Encore-Vintage Clothing in Portland Maine

Just spent a couple of days in Portland, Maine, one of my favorite stops when in New England. A city full of character,with many historic buildings, a bustling waterfront with many great ethnic and gourmet restaurants, the most delectable fresh seafood and fabulously unique boutiques. Can’t forget to mention the amazing smell of the ocean here as well!

On the top of my list of stores to shop in when I visit the area is Encore, a vintage clothing and designer resale shop at 521 Congress St. Owner, Rita Prout-Farley has been at this location for eighteen years and has amassed an astounding collection of high end designer clothing, vintage fashions and accessories. On this recent visit I spotted outfits by Yves St. Laurent, Armani, Givenchy, Oleg Cassini, Versace and Lanvin.

Boston Magazine has voted her store best vintage clothing shop in New England three years in a row and Travel and Leisure Magazine has included her in their list of top vintage clothing stores in the world! If you’re fortunate enought to visit, you’ll see why.

Racks of vintage and designer fashions at Encore.

Racks of vintage and designer fashions at Encore.

The building that houses her treasures is one of Portland’s historic landmarks, owned by the Maine Charitable Mechanics Association, a craft guild originally founded in 1815. And for 70 years it was the home of Carter Brothers, an upscale jewelry store. The beautiful original oak display drawers and cabinets that surround the perimeter are are still intact, perfect for showcasing her stunning stock of vintage hats, jewelry and shoes.

In the center of the store there are racks full of stylish vintage and contemporary designer dresses, evening gowns, separates, coats, etc. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s quite easy to spend several hours here shopping, there is so much cool stuff to look at and and try on.

Below are some additional shots to give you an idea of the tremendous amount of inventory Rita carries. Definitely a dream destination for any vintage stylista!


Vintage purses galore!

Vintage purses galore!

Thousands of pieces of vintage jewelry, including a nice selection of bakelite.

Thousands of pieces of vintage jewelry, including a nice selection of bakelite.


Just a small sampling of the vintage shoes available.

Just a small sampling of the vintage shoes available.

Enough vintage hats to make your head spin!

Enough vintage hats to make your head spin!


By | 2014-02-17T09:09:29-04:00 July 24th, 2009|Fashion, Travel|8 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.


  1. Theresa
    Theresa December 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I think all you would need is something from the 1940s that looks business like, possibly a suit. Not sure we have anything on our site, since we mostly specialize in party,e vening and cocktail dresses. But have a look. Also, without knowing your size it’s hard to make a recommendation.

  2. Avatar
    Deb December 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm


    I want to dress like Frances Perkins who was the secretary of Labor in the Roosevelt administration. Do you have anything like that and for how much?

  3. Avatar
    BobbinsAndBombshells December 8, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I grew up in Maine and Portland is where I started my vintage collecting as a teenager. I still consider it a great town to vintage shop in!

  4. Avatar
    michaelangelo December 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    oh girls please!!!! have you been to the east village in manhattan????? this place would fit right in, and NO these prices are just atrocious considering the location. i love the selection and the ambience of the store really makes up for the price and smell. its fine though.

  5. Avatar
    CJ December 1, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I found this fantastic place about 10 years ago, while visiting my son in Portland. Each visit assured me of several fantastic items to bring home to Indiana. My fave is a black leather jacket with zip-out possum vest that serves as an inner liner.

    I’m delighted Rita’s venue has received the recognition it deserves, as she’s worked hard at maintaining the store’s historic integrity and keeping inventory top-notch. And, no, I don’t find prices out of line with comparable merchandise.

    My only regret is that my son moved to Florida this summer, and I doubt I’ll get back to Portland anytime soon. Continued success to Encore!

  6. Avatar
    amanda November 18, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    i agree with theresa, if you look close, there is a wide variety of pricing – i just bought a suitdress with bolero from the 50’s in silk, for 40 bucks. it is in absolutely perfect condition and is my new fave! wooha i am so glad i found this place accidentally

  7. Theresa
    Theresa October 18, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Guess it depends where you’re used to shopping. I find their prices to be pretty reasonable compared to the vintage shops in larger cities. They do have merchandise at different prices points, which includes a selection of beautiful higher end designer apparel.

  8. windfall « broke 207 October 15, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    […] encore is super duper pricey (too pricey really), but their jewelry selection is jaw dropping, and […]

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