When people think style on Martha’s Vineyard, a certain vision sweeps over the mind of the unknowing. Salmon-colored shorts with tiny smiling whales. Pastel-pink dresses with teal embroidered flowers. She wears, but is not limited to, Vineyard Vines, Ralph Lauren, and Lilly Pulitzer. Martha’s Vineyard — home of the kings and queens of prep.
But anyone who’s spent more than an afternoon on this Island know that’s a far-off presumption. Martha’s Vineyard is a pretty casual place. In a recently launched series, The Local decided to feature Islanders in their natural habitats — at work. We figured it’s a fitting way to highlight our stylin’ and hard-working people.
Meet Molly Coogan. She’s the manager and event coordinator at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven. She’s been in her position for five years, and works in an office upstairs next to the children’s books section. When I interviewed her, she wore an off-white sweater with high-waisted jeans and Blundstone boots.
How would you describe your style?
For the most part, it’s casual. I wear a lot of denim, jeans, chambray shirts, button-down shirts. I’ll get more dressed up for an event. In summer, I’ll throw on a dress and sandals.
Where are you from?
Originally from Connecticut, but I haven’t lived there since I was a teenager. I’ve lived in Boston, New York City, and upstate New York before settling here.
Has your styled evolved since moving to the Island?
I’d say maybe it’s devolved.
My style sort of settled into what I feel best in. Martha’s Vineyard is a casual place. That’s good for me. I’ve worked in cities where I’ve had to dress up every day and that was never easy for me.
What do you now consider dressing up?
I have a collection of vintage dresses collected over the years. I throw on one of them with sandals. If it’s a really dressy event, I put on actual heels, but there’s usually no need for that.
Where’d you get your sweater?
This was actually my grandma’s — a vintage sweater of hers.
What about your jewelry?
I try to buy local. Jewelry is the one thing I splurge on. I got this Hawkhouse [ring] as a birthday present from my employees. This bracelet is Nettie Kent. I’m usually wearing something from one of the local artists. With jewelry, you wear it every day, and you’re looking at it every day. I like admiring the work, particularly by the local people who put so much into crafting their pieces.
Where do you shop on Island?
I’ll go to the Dumptique or Chicken Alley. Occasionally I’ll splurge on a dress at Citrine. But I have a lot of clothes I’ve had forever. I know what I like and I know what I feel good in, and I tend to hang on to things for a long time. But if I see a classic piece on-Island, I’ll nab it, even if it’s from the dump.
What’s your outfit staple?
Blundstones, certainly in the winter. I also have a pair of orange Nike Blazer high-tops. In summer, Birkenstocks.
Is there a dress code at Bunch of Grapes?
Not really. Nothing torn or overly casual. No shorts or tank tops. Booksellers wear aprons.
Do you get style compliments at work?
I do. My employees are very supportive that way. The owner especially notices when I put in a little effort.
How would you describe Vineyard style?
I would say studied casual. There are people who wear leisure clothes and yoga clothes, but I think jeans and a linen shift is definitely a look, with nice understated jewelry.
Where do you shop if you’re off-Island?
Madewell is my biggest go-to.