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Tracy Popken, Salvage House Boutique and the Dallas Tweed Ride

Submitted by on November 7, 2011 – 8:33 pm4 Comments
Tracy Popken

Tracy Popken at the 2011 Tweed Ride

I met Tracy Popken at the 2010 Dallas Tweed Ride.  She was one of the people I didn’t seem to scare when I asked, “can I take a photo of you and your bike?”  She had this beige Schwinn with a basket on the front that I liked.  It looked like she’d painted it with a rattle

custom dress by Tracy Popken - Salvage House Boutique

custom dress by Tracy Popken - Salvage House Boutique. (click for photo source)

can. Usually it’s the guys who are customizing their bikes, so I was impressed.  I’m not always good with names or faces but I never forget a bicycle.  I’m weird like that, I know.

Anyhow later I learned Tracy is a fashion designer and the proprietor of  Salvage House Boutique, a quaint vintage clothing and furnishings shop in Oak Cliff (301 Melba).  She not only sources and sells vintage apparel and related furnishings, she also designs and makes very classic,  vintage inspired dresses, which is her specialty.  Tracy makes custom and the kind of ready-to-wear dresses that the gals on Mad Men would want to be seen in.

She says her dresses make up the bulk of her sales and they tend to move quickly, like within a couple of weeks.  She also customizes clothes for people who own something they like but want it tweaked or updated (back dated?) in some way.  Good to know.

Tracy Popken at Salvage House Boutique

"so I'll cut these about here, and add small pleats to give them a subtle poof just below the knee..."

So at one of the recent biking events she and I were discussing tweed rides and how people dress and such.  I admitted that both years I procrastinated about getting anything appropriate to wear and ended up being the only non-tweed looking person there.  In other words, I was the lone dork you saw who didn’t look right.  Yeah that was me.

Well the seamstress in her quickly took over as she went into solution mode, “here’s what you do, pick up any trousers in wool corduroy, cotton, anything you like, then make an appointment at the shop.  I can cut the legs down and make them into cycling knickers…Then I’ll add buttons for suspenders and…”  She assured me this was not rocket science.

We also talked about colors and textures and all, “always match you leathers but you can mix your fabrics and colors” she advised while I made mental notes.  “If you wear green trousers with a green jacket you risk looking like you’re on an elf ride and not a tweed ride”, she warned.  My confidence was beginning to bloom.

"If you wear green trousers with a green jacket you risk looking like you're on an elf ride and not a tweed ride"

So on such a short notice Tracy was simply going to convert a pair of olive chinos I had into cycling knickers, and add buttons for suspenders.  While I would guess any seamstress can do this sort of work I would not have felt comfortable or confident at all approaching just anyone.  It’s one thing to trust someone to hem up some jeans, it’s another to depend on them to help prepare you for a fashion themed event.  For that matter I wonder how many seamstresses or tailors are there out in the wild who are cyclists themselves and/or are accustomed to making knickers for cyclists?  Not many I’d wager.

So I picked up the finished pants today and I’m happy with the results.  The small, square pleats do indeed give them the subtle “poof”  just below the knee that Tracy was aiming for.  And she added vintage buttons instead of cheapo plastic ones.  Nice, didn’t see that coming. I’m relieved that I finally have something suitable to wear.

The Chinos converted to cycling knickers

In closing,  not only is Tracy Popken a cycling fashionista, she’s also a contributor at Dallas Cycle Chic; and she’s yet another interesting person you might meet, if you’re Biking in Dallas.  To see more of her work drop by the Salvage House Boutique Facebook page, or call the shop @ 469.323.9481 to schedule an appointment.

Vintage button detail

And note the 2011 BFOC Dallas Tweed Ride happens on the 13th and the high will be about 73 with a mix of sun and cloud cover – perfect cycling weather.  See you there.

– Chris

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Chris started riding a bike again when he noticed the Preston Ridge Trail being constructed across the street from his house. Since then he co-founded Biking in Dallas, has gone through countless Craigslist bike projects (some better than others) and can be found pedaling around town on a Electra Ticino with a camera in tow.

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