The Style Council
A Fashionable Review of the Lowcountry's Best Dressed Women
Photography by Laurie McCall
I told a friend that my fiancé and I were secretly planning to elope to Las Vegas and that I needed a dress, and her being the truly excellent confidant that she is, she took me to Madhouse Vintage in Bluffton. And that is where I first met Caroline Noble, the owner of the shop and an extraordinary curator of vintage fashion and jewelry.
Caroline’s mother was an antiques dealer in England, so she grew up going to auctions and sales. In fact, in the ‘70s all those “Downton Abbey” type estates were being sold or reclaimed by the government, and so she and her mother would show up and rummage through from attic to cellar. At one such estate sale, Caroline happened upon an Edwardian steamer trunk containing an authentic trousseau from that era, and a business was born! Artists and dealers know a find like that can launch a career, and that is exactly what happened. After college Caroline opened her own store in Brighton and developed quite a groovy clientele. (Roger Daltrey’s wife and the performer Alvin Stardust, to name a few.) When asked about her methods of finding such unique vintage pieces, she says, “There are no rules. I’ve sat in formal auctions at Sotheby’s and I’ve dived into a dumpster in Florida.” We applaud Caroline’s great taste and savvy eye for fashion!
Who is your style icon? Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge (commonly known as Princess Kate)
What’s your favorite thing in your closet right now? My teenage daughter! At 15, she is all over my clothes, make-up…nothing is my own.
Vogue or Cosmo? Vogue
The one fashion item you’ll let yourself splurge on is... A high-end handbag—with the logo on the INSIDE.
On your very best stylish day, the day you knew you looked and felt fabulous all day, what were you wearing? My wedding dress, which was handmade especially for me.
What’s the biggest fashion risk you’ve ever taken? I wore a navy fascinator out to a fancy candlelit Christmas dinner, and my then 13-year-old son was mortified. He said, “Mom, I can’t believe you’re wearing THAT!” He literally tried to slink beneath the table!
Heels or flats? Wedges…no flats please.
What is your favorite fashion era? The entire 20th Century: Fashion is a snapshot of social history, and that century shows the incredible journey women have made.If you had to describe your personal style in one word what would it be? Independent!
Favorite piece of jewelry? The bracelet (pictured right) that I picked up at a flea market in the South of France. I’m sure this is a vintage couture piece, like only the French can get away with.