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Boutique owner grew up in fashion

| Thursday, Aug. 1, 2002

Patricia Goettel learned about fabrics and fit early on.

"I would go to third grade wearing a gold brocade skirt," says Goettel, owner of Patricia Boutique in Aspinwall.

The sophisticated skirt was made — as were most of her clothes when Goettel was a girl — by her seamstress mother, who would bring a hodgepodge of fabric home and create one-of-a-kind clothing for her five daughters.

"I knew from an early age what it felt like to wear beautiful clothes," Goettel says. "I want to let other women feel that way and share the art of adornment."

Goettel's shop is full of soft sweaters, flowing dresses, unique jewelry and beautiful handbags. Roughly half of the clothing and accessories are one-of-a-kind, made by artists and designers whom Goettel stumbles upon — or who stumble upon her.

"A box will just show up (via) UPS from an artist in the middle of nowhere," Goettel says. "A lot of relationships start like that."

Maya K, a Brazilian artist whose father lives in Pittsburgh, stopped by Patricia Boutique with her handmade crochet and knit sweaters. Goettel ordered three and sold them all in one day.

Goettel sent another local artist on a mission to the Southwest to find jade. The jade will be carved and strung with beads to mimic the hot necklaces around every neck in Hollywood.

Patricia Boutique's unique wares are set against century-old, restored ceiling tiles and restored wooden floor planks. When Goettel bought the building three years ago, she turned the former grocery store into a charming shop, bringing in family heirloom furniture and antique fixtures and refinishing the original surfaces.

One of the shop's signature items is a line of shirts from Rayure ($150-$175). Each shirt is striped ("rayure" is French for "stripe"), but distinguishable with a variety of cuff and front-closure treatments. Some of the shirts button, some zip. Some have French cuffs, and some tie at the waist. The French company releases several new styles each month to keep the line fresh.

Another line the shop stocks is What Women Want, a design firm with special occasions in mind. Each piece is sexy yet easy to wear. A yellow bustier, for example, comes with a rosette detail at the waist and strategically placed built-in padding. A black satin trench coat and matching slim pants make getting dressed up easy. Simply add some colorful jewelry for a look that's dramatic, yet understated.

Patricia Boutique is planning a pajama party/trunk show this month — the date has not been set — to launch a new line of loungewear. Loungerie is comfortable enough to wear while relaxing away the evening, but dressy enough to wear to pop into the grocery store or bank. The high-quality sweats get a modern twist with delicate ruffle details, cropped pants and close-fitting tops.

For fall, Goettel is planning on stocking a variety of coats, from the funky fleece designs by Maralyce Ferree ($200 to $300) to embroidered heavy silk coats from Johnny Was ($350).

Goettel's handpicked pieces appeal to a wide range of women, from young professionals to sophisticated older women.

"Everyday I'm here, I meet new people," Goettel says. "It's what I wanted a true boutique to be."

Patricia Boutique

  • 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
  • 115 Center Ave., Aspinwall.
  • (412) 799-0819.

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