Photograph by Kevin A. Roberts
Just off dusty Lindbergh Boulevard in Florissant, Andrea’s Boutique (1145 N. Lafayette, 314-831-7500) is an oasis. The little bungalow is serene and cool, glittery with jewels. Sunlight winks off the sequined bodice of a vintage cocktail dress or a chunky golden bangle. And at the counter is Andrea D’Angelo, the store’s 26-year-old owner, whose style showcases many of her own wares. Her bracelets clink as she gestures, explaining how her passions—fashion, art, and music—led her to open the store last December, and how her love of family brought her home.
What does Florissant mean to you?
When I think of Florissant, I think of home. My father has owned a business [D’Angelo Automotive] right behind this shop for 26 years. It’s nice to have that kind of support. In Florissant, everyone who owns a business sticks together. We spread the word about each other to our customers. I think this town tends to receive a bad rap, but it’s really a good place in so many ways.
You spent two years in L.A. What took you away, and what brought you back?
I was [and still am] a singer and songwriter and went to pursue a modeling career. I suppose I was trying to figure myself out, but it was a difficult time, and I realized in the end that I needed to regain myself and come home.
In addition to clothes and jewelry, you sell your own paintings. Do you have formal training in art?
No. But I have always loved art. Before I had the store, I painted all the time. I intend on taking commissions, receiving input from my customers. As for what I paint, I go through phases. At the moment, for example, I’m obsessed with grapes. Always, though, my paintings tend toward the natural.
You have so many interests. How does fashion fit in?
I always say that I am obsessed with fashion and jewelry, more in love with music. Art is my therapy. As far as what binds these things together, I’d say color and uniqueness. Although I do have some on-the-rack clothing, most are one-of-a-kind, picked for their individuality.
How would you describe St. Louis style?
Oh, that’s hard to do. Without wanting to stereotype, each area has its own flavor. The Loop has the hipsters; the Central West End is refined with a hipster edge; Ladue, of course, is older with classic lines.
Clothing and jewelry range from $5 to $40—your pricing seems very reasonable.
It is. There are times when we need to spend more money on something, but because I’m here in Florissant, I’m not going to charge a lot. I price based on what I would want to pay.
You’re very young to have your own business, but you seem to have it together. Do you have advice for other young people with dreams?
You need to organize yourself and just do it. Formalize in your head what your passion is. My dream, after this, is to have a brownstone in Chicago—store below, apartment above. My life won’t be over if that doesn’t happen, but it drives what I am doing now.