Danielle Meister opens We Are Sincerely Yours, her Beacon Hill boutique
Among the brick buildings and boarded-up houses around 27th Street and Troost, Danielle Meister’s new clothing shop stands out — especially on its opening night. Just beyond the large green leaves of a potted plant visible through a brightly lighted picture window set inside the robin’s-egg-blue façade of We Are Sincerely Yours, I can see four racks of the clothing that Meister has carefully assembled. But that’s my last easy view of the goods. Once I move inside the space, I’m elbow-to-elbow with eager shoppers and well-wishers.
The energy of the room is effervescent and stylish, a place for the fashion class at rest. The merchandise fluidly mixes the truly eccentric and the truly casual. When I see Meister — her dark hair cropped in a Flapper style, a piece of denim tied around her waist, accenting high black trousers — I’m reminded that We Are Sincerely Yours is very much in its owner’s image. She’s all elegance and old-world class as these first-night customers flock around her for fashion advice. One by one, she’ll take them into the dressing area, separated by a creamy macramé curtain, and parcel out her comforting insights.
Meister’s style and her opinions are the product of a lifelong devotion to her trade.
“I came to fashion as a child, when my mother taught me and my five sisters to sew,” she tells me. “I was fascinated by the process of costuming and clothing. I created endless sets of paper dolls, my first fashion flats. I created mood boards, collaging magazine cutouts all over the walls of my teenage room. Looking back, I laugh, knowing that it was the ‘90s, and my walls were covered in crop tops, velvet and Liv Tyler. Hi again, fashion trend.”
While she was putting herself through a fashion-design program at a community college, Meister worked in corporate retail and learned the business of clothes. And she’s long been known in local art and commerce circles, having recently ended a long association with the Crossroads shop Birdies. We Are Sincerely Yours is a culmination of all she has learned, then — and the start of a new model.
Although Meister has breathed the rarefied air of fashion shows and traveled around the world to witness the new and profitable trends of the year, she says her own philosophy has changed. Her trained eye looks ever behind the speeding curve of fashion into the timeless styles of the past.
“We know that overconsumption in the fashion industry has led to the exploitation of the underprivileged,” she tells me. “Choosing to buy goods that are made ethically is more expensive — much like choosing to dine on good food rather than the quick and cheap is — but the garments that are made in small batches by an independent designer are filled with rich intention, and one can feel proud to wear them.”
She goes on: “Turning or repurposing garments is something We Are Sincerely Yours is committed to doing. We look for used garments composed of natural fibers, like silk, cashmere and denim. Engaging with garments that are already made and wearing them again is an important part of slowing the pace of the fast fashion industry.”
The crowd tonight isn’t slowing much, though — give or take Meister’s husband, Matthew Tady, maker of Tadej leather goods. He sips a beer outside and looks through the front window, seeming a bit dazed as he watches his wife in action. “We haven’t gotten much sleep this week, but it’s all finally come together,” he says of the work the two have done on the shop. “Today was incredible, but the opening has been extra incredible. People just keep coming.”
Back inside, I notice a little dish in which medallions labeled “posi” and “love” clink together on a shelf beside one of Tady’s handmade bags, a clutch rendered from the speckled haunch of a deer. I make my way through the tide of people, bobbing to the counter and then away from it as my conversation with Meister keeps giving way to her other interactions. A customer lays clothes over the glass, and I watch the transaction, and I see that Meister has done more than curate goods and materials. She has created a space for people to discuss fashion intimacies that might not fit into other clothing conversations.
By the time I leave, Meister sounds a little hoarse, but she’s no less elevated, no less attentive. I steal a hug from her before another customer produces a credit card. I fade back into the crowd and hear someone say, “It’s so hard to find anything in my size. I’m shamed by the sizing guides of the day.”
“Me, too,” someone adds. “Vintage sizes always made more sense. How can I be a 12 now but a 6 in the seventies? It’s the exact same size!”
“Aren’t you curious?” a woman playfully asks as she holds the edge of a silk dress in her fingers. The answer is lost in an eruption of laughter from the other side of the room.
I am, but I’ll have to come back when I can commune with the racks a bit more slowly.
We Are Sincerely Yours
Noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday