I used to frequent Almeda Street in Third Ward a few years ago as I would frequent the Eat Gallery. I think I had a silent protest that one of my favorite hangouts closed, so I would speed through Almeda to not wallow in my sadness of a place where I found solace. A few months ago, I stopped by Reggae Hut to grab some patties but they were quick and to go. This weekend I spent some time on Almeda and created some new memories.
I have heard of Melodrama Boutique for years but avoided it as I know I have a little shopping problem. I also don’t like seeing people where clothes I have and many in my Houston circle Melodrama. When I heard my Spelman sister was bringing her trunk show for Onion to Melodrama, I knew I had to face my fears of actually buying out of the store.
I almost forgot about the event (that would have been catastrophic) and made other plans (a reception at the Health Museum), yet I found time, miraculously. My Spelman sisters and I also made a meet up of it so their reminder kept me on track (love y’all).
I arrived about an hour into the event. There were women packed around Whitney, waiting for their on the spot alterations. The dresses are pretty long and Whitney magically can make the length fit you without the need to hem the bottom. I want to find an ergonomic way for her to alter them because she literally bends down all evening customizing the dresses. The last time I saw her at the Essence festival I could feel her pain.
I gave myself permission to get one dress. What better thing to do but to shop for an event. I have a very special one coming up in November. Despite my one dress maximum, I somehow ended up with 4 in the fitting room. I really liked 2 but had to make an executive decision with 1. I am very happy with my choice. I also brought in a dress I ordered online earlier this year and had that altered as well.
I was greeted by the owner, Jackie who was walking around in a fabulous Onion piece. She also had on some to die for earrings. Jackie was very pleasant, welcoming and gave everyone attention. She had food and drinks to boost the festive feeling.
Let’s talk about the food. I was only able to grab one item (a couple of times) but it was delicious. Something about bread, mascarpone and I think dates crumbled on that bread…was like heaven. I was also grateful that there were vegetarian options.
I looked around the store and noticed another brand I recently started following called A Leap of Style. So many beautiful Afrikan prints that I just wanted to buy the entire rack. I had to remind myself that I was on a mission but knew I would be back to explore. I really enjoyed my Melodrama visit.
My second Almeda visit was Xpozher. This was not a planned event and one of those serendipitous experiences that you knew could only be sent from the shopping goddess. I walked into the store thinking where in the world did it come from? I drive up and down that corner all the time and somehow missed Xpozher sharing a store front with McQueen Custom Tailor Shop.
I attempted to have self-control. Yolanda, the owner, did not make it easier as she had a warm and inviting spirit. The cowboy (really cowgirl) boots she designed were fire (or she likes to say, “Cacow!”). I was chanting to myself, go slow on repeat because I was having all kinds of conflicts. Then she said my favorite word…sale. That’s when I started exploring pieces further.
She had on some gorgeous earrings by Carmella of Blackwell Designs. There were also a couple of pieces by Carmella there that Yolanda says she can barely keep in the store. In addition to featuring designers such as Carmella and herself, she has designs from about 70 designers total. I was able to restrain myself by only purchasing a couple of pieces but I am sure to be back.
I enjoyed my Almeda stroll this weekend and hope gentrification does not over power this historic memory lane. It was a joy to support African-American women entrepreneurs and I plan to be back with a vengeance when I save some more money!