Local style: N. Rue and IndySwank 

As economic news continues to be glum, two local businesswomen have decided to buck the trend (and maybe common sense) by launching new businesses in recent months.

And while their respective boutiques are in different parts of the city, both Indy Swank in Fountain Square and N. Rue & Co. near Broad Ripple are excellent examples of adventurous women's fashion that is both vintage and timeless.

N. Rue & Co. opened among the shops at 54th and the Monon Trail in recent weeks, a venture of passion of owner Natalie Morgan Best. Mixing vintage pieces with new items, both in clothing and accessories, N. Rue is a perfect example of retro looks needn't be sloppy or created from scratch. Best has done an excellent job of selecting basic, fun fashions from previous decades that are incorporated seamlessly alongside new, trendy skirts, tops, dresses and pants.

The trick here is a simple theme. While N. Rue does have a few racks of funky throwbacks, the majority of the vintage pieces are classic. While you could put together a costume and assume another fashion identity, more likely you will find several key pieces that are fresh without necessarily being flashy. The new stuff at N. Rue is great, as well. Lots of cute tops and skirts, as well as several party dresses that are perfect for the holiday season.

Prices range from $35 to $300 depending on the dress, but there's lots to choose from and something for all budgets.

A little further south, Jenifer Von Deylen has taken over the ground storefront once occupied by Art + Aesthetic in the Murphy Arts Building and created a vibrant retail space specializing in vintage women's fashion.

Indy Swank isn't a thrift store; each piece here is carefully selected for style, condition and funkyness. There's a bit more of a walk on the wild side here than at N. Rue. While not over the top, a lot of items here take a commitment to an overall fashion theme — most likely one rooted in the 1950s or 1960s (though a certain pink faux-fur coat up front did seem to scream Studio 54). In addition to great dresses, coats and skirts, hats are well-represented here, as are fabulous handbags from several eras.

And while the emphasis is on retro, there are new items in the store made by local designers and artists. Get there quick for one of the beautiful handmade knotted scarves made from repurposed fabrics and/or the kitschy aprons are the perfect gift for the discerning housewife. And don't miss the jewelry cases. Much of this work is also made by local artists.

Von Deylen has discerning taste, and it's clear that she has a vision for her store that incorporates all types of elements from the past to create a fresh, fun boutique that will cater well to the Fountain Square crowd and its devotees. Prices are a little here, but you're paying for quality items that never go out of style.

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