Talking Shop

Seamstress Jil Cappuccio is a fabric person. An avid thrift-shopper with a collector's eye, she's developed an irrepressible love affair with vintage cloth and prints — a yard here, a length there — that she magically transforms into reasonably priced, absolutely one-of-a-kind togs that are comfortably designed to fit like your favorite PJs, all while looking unscrupulously hip.

After coming to Denver from the Bay Area four years ago, Cappuccio mainly wholesaled her clothing until last April, when she took a chance and opened the doors of Jil Cappuccio, One of a Kinds, Limited Lines at 1433 Ogden Street. She's thrilled by the human touch retailing brings to her work: "My clothes are personal to me," she says. "I'm so glad to get to see them go home with someone who loves them."

And shopping there is a delight, simply because Cappuccio is so ready to share: With her vintage Singer Featherweight sewing machine, a model she's used since she was a teen, always ready at the back of the store, the amiable dressmaker is open to customizing and has established a special rapport with her menswear customers. "Guys don't usually get a chance to be creative, and they love being able to claim ownership over their look," she muses. For them, she's a good style partner, one who's learned a lot about what silent male fashionistas need just from sewing for her husband and sons. It also helps that she keeps a running catalogue of all the fabrics she's collected in a mental filing cabinet in her head.

What's in store now? Retro-styled men's shirts, easy machine-washable shifts, short print jackets, simple skirts overlaid with swatches of embroidered dish towels, and miniature tiki shirts for little men. And coming up for fall? Cappuccio's sitting on a trove of vintage '50s and '60s tapestry fabric she's planning to turn into hoodies. Maybe granny skirts. Beautifully tailored coats. Everything you could possibly want.

Jil Cappuccio is open Wednesday through Saturday; call 303-832-1493.
Starts: July 5. Daily, 2007

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd