Nov 16, 2022 - Culture

Play dress up, pose for photos and take a street art tour at Gussy in Plaza Midwood


Axios' lifestyle team in front of the Boris and Natasha mural (where Burial is located) during the Gussy street art tour. Photo courtesy of Talla Rittenhouse.

Gussy is a two-hour experience that combines dressing up with a history tour of Plaza Midwood.

It’s the brainchild of Talla Rittenhouse, who has taken her lifelong passion for art and fashion and turned it into a business. “I’ve always been a creative,” Rittenhouse said, adding that she regularly dressed her younger sisters for fun growing up.

Why it matters: Gussy’s business is the first of its kind in Charlotte. 

  • The Gussy experience is more than dress up — it’s educational. 
  • Participants get an immersive look at the history of Plaza Midwood, long-known as one of Charlotte’s trendiest and most eclectic neighborhoods.

What to expect: Gussy starts at Betty by Moxie Mercantile in Plaza Midwood (Gussy’s studio is in the back of Betty). The two-hour experience is split into two parts.

During the first hour, you will:

  • Sip wine and snack on charcuterie, which Rittenhouse sources locally from The Culture Shop. 
  • Sift through a collection of colorful and eccentric vintage clothing, all collected by Rittenhouse from sources like estate sales and even her own closet.
  • Play dress up with your picks and accessorize with pieces like statement jewelry and neon hair extensions.
Talla Rittenhouse, Gussy
If you’re struggling to piece together an outfit, Rittenhouse will help you put together a look of your own with glasses, hair extensions, jewelry and fun hats. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
The Culture Shop
Charcuterie board from The Culture Shop in Plaza Midwood. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Of note: If you find a piece of clothing you love, Rittenhouse says you can take it home. Every piece in the Gussy collection is available for purchase.

During the second hour, you will:

  • Put on your chosen outfit, or as Rittenhouse calls it, get “gussied up.”
  • Head out for a guided street art tour of Plaza Midwood, which includes stops at nearly 10 notable murals in the neighborhood.
  • Pose for pictures along the way — all taken by Rittenhouse and sent electronically after the tour.
The dripping flowers mural, by Niki Zarrabi, is one of the multiple street art stops featured in the tour. Photo courtesy of Talla Rittenhouse.

Flashback: Rittenhouse, a resident of Plaza Midwood since 2009, launched Gussy over the summer.

  • She says the idea for Gussy came about organically — a result of her appreciation for fashion and previous career in business strategy. 
  • “I love dressing up, I love art, I love hosting and I love my community,” she said. “Gussy brings all of these together.”

Zoom in: Gussy is for anyone looking to channel their inner child and learn a little history along the way. 

  • Gussy can be catered to any age and for a variety of events, like birthdays, bachelorette parties or a girls’ night out. 
  • And, as Rittenhouse reminded us, The Gussy experience is not gender-specific.
  • “Most of my clothing is what is considered traditionally women’s clothing, but it’s open to anyone who wants to wear it,” she said. 

Details: The two hour experience is $65 per person and includes the charcuterie board and drinks. 

  • Each time slot accommodates up to six participants. Private and group bookings are available, too.
  • You can book an appointment online

The big picture: Gussy adds to the list of growing local businesses highlighting the negative effects of fast fashion. Rent Ponybox, for example, is a clothing rental service which opened a Plaza Midwood studio in June, Axios’ Ashley Mahoney previously reported.


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