Thursday, May 28, 2015

Vintage Thrifting Tips

Patience is key. I don't know how many times I've had to explain this to people, but it's the truth.  Don't get discouraged when you go one time and find nothing, because the find of the century is right around the corner! With that being said, there are also a few things to keep in mind that might be holding you back from finding treasure!  Here are some of my favorite tips:

1) Some sections can be a surprise.  

In the beginning,  I used to discount the lingerie section in my local thrift stores as a place for cast-off and dirty underwear, and who the heck wants that? I also assumed that any lingerie I found would be "sexy" lingerie.  You can find both of these things there, but there is also a wealth of other beautiful things! 1950s and 1960s nightgowns are some of the most beautiful pieces of clothing ever made on this Earth. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but believe me and heed my advice, look through the lingerie section. You know where else could have some really amazing things? The kid's section, no lie.  The people sorting through clothing don't necessarily know what they're looking at, if it's small enough looking, it's likely to get put over there.  I have also learned to not ignore the linens section, you can find beautiful hand-knit Afghan blankets, vintage lace tablecloths (that can double as backdrops if you're a photographer as well), and a bevy of other delights.

2) Look thoughtfully and thoroughly

A lot of people seem to think they're just going to walk in the store and see their holy grail right off the bat.  No surprise to the thrifting veterans among us, it takes digging! When going through a rail of clothing, look at every piece.  When you become more accustomed to what vintage clothing feels and looks like, it becomes a lot easier to scan more quickly. If you come across something that looks intriguing, stop to inspect it.  Does it have any labels/tags on the inside? What does the stitching look like? What do the seams look like? Inspecting your own modern clothes is a good way of knowing when something looks "different." I'll be more extensively covering vintage tags and labels in another post. 

3) Does it have a tag on it? Look it up!

I'd say at least 9/10 of you have a smart phone.  Use it! If you find something that you're unsure of and maybe the price makes you second-guess just buying it, give it a quick research!  If it has a tag/label on it, just punch the company into google with quotes around it, such as "Gunne Sax," "Vanity Fair," "Artemis," etc. If you don't get anything relevant back, try ebay or etsy.  Sometimes you're just out of luck, but most often, you'll find it somewhere and it will help you decide whether it's legit vintage or a modern cast-off. 

4) If you like it, put a ring on it.

Don't think, "Oh, I'll just buy this another time," because let me tell you, there's likely not going to be another time; I rarely go back to a thrift store and see the same items. If you want it and you have the money, buy it. If it's not something you end up using, you can always re-sell it! 

5) Old clothes come from...

And last of all, without being too subtle about it, older clothes from older people. You're not as likely to find vintage in a town with a relatively low elderly population.  My absolute favorite thrift stores are usually ones where older clients donate. While I love the occasional goodwill and salvation army trip, I enjoy the smaller thrift stores the most.  Not only are they easier to go through quickly, the employees tend to remember you as well. There's the sweetest elderly lady that work at one of my favorite Hospice stores.  And while she might not "help" me per se, her comments on my thrifty finds are the best. And if you're nice and polite (which I always strive to be), they're much more likely to give you your unmarked purchase for a bargain!

What are your best thrifting tips? 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Weekend Extravaganza

I really think I need to start updating this again! It's been too long, and I'm still thrifting away happily! I'll be blogging photoshoots on my new blog Dream Land here:  But I think I'll be keeping this my vintage & thrifting blog!  A couple of weekends ago, I had a really awesome thrifting weekend! I got some really great stuff for awesome deals, and I can't wait to put it to use!

First off is this glorious metal type-writer table! When my grandmother pointed it out to me and told me what it was, I was instantly intrigued!  Plus, it looks like something you would buy at Urban Outfitters for $100. Best part?  Mine was only $10! I was really surprised to see it priced for that. Mind you, it does have a few small issues.  One of the legs is missing a bolt to keep it firmly attached (easy fix) and it is missing one of the fold-down sides (not so easy of a fix, but it looks fine without). While I'm usually not of the mind to alter vintage or antiques, I think I'll be re-painting this, I'm thinking turquoise or maybe a really pretty soft but bright lavender. I have a couple of ideas for it.  One is to use it in my spare bedroom and actually put my type-writer on it (a novel idea, I know), or two to put it on my back screened-in porch and use it to hold some small potted plants. Hard choice, I know!

When I was looking through the same store at the dishes and such, I spied a pretty little rose-adorned mug.  I thought it had a very distinct Royal Albert look to it. Although I know next to nothing about Royal Albert patterns or shapes, I've been really jonesing after their new Cheeky patterns with the polka dots and roses. So, I was really excited to turn over the cup and see the Royal Albert mark on it!  It's in the pattern Centennial Rose, but I'm having a difficult time figuring out what style of cup it is?  It's not a teacup, but it doesn't look to be in the style of the mugs online in this pattern either. Either way, this cutie was only 50 cents!

We went to several thrift stores and of course at each one I have to comb through the clothing.  My favorite sections to search are usually the lingerie/sleepwear ones, because vintage lingerie & nightgowns are easier to find and they look amazing in photoshoots for a very soft and ethereal look.  I hit the jackpot.  Not only did I find several beautiful nightgowns, I also find two really gorgeous and flirty 70s dresses.

The first dress was this floral one by Mad Rags, you gotta love the tag on it! The floral pattern is really pretty on it, it was my most expensive clothing purchase at $7. This dress screams summer to me, it's got the perfect bohemian vibe to it!

 The other dress is a heavy cream-colored dress with a ruffled top. Somebody's cut all of the tags out of this one, so I can't say for sure what it's made out of, it looks sweet and wispy but it's got quite a bit of weight to it and it's stretchy! It was only $3.  It was from the same store, so the pricing difference was a little odd between the floral one and this one, but I'm glad this one was cheaper! Obviously ruffles were a key theme!

 Among the lingerie purchases was a pink nightgown with blue detailing ($5) in a stretchy nylon with a drawstring top, it even has the original string belt! Unfortunately the previous owner cut the tag out of this one too (which seems to be a theme for the day...)  It's a very well-thought out minimal piece, my first guess was perhaps it was a Vanity Fair piece, but I guess unless I see a similar one online, I'll never know!

I also grabbed a black slip with a scalloped cross-over top ($2), a long lavender gown with lace sleeves ($3), a white 3/4 sleeve nightgown with a sheer lace top ($5), and a blue and purple tie-front peignoir that looks to be hand made  or possibly re-made ($3).  

 I also bought this vintage white slip (which is kinda crazy if you've seen how many I own already), however it was only a $1 and this one has that great weight-y feel that only quality vintage ones have.  Not only is this one lined, it's DOUBLE-LINED. How awesome is that?  You wouldn't want anybody seeing through your slip after-all!  I get so excited about vintage slips though, the amount of detail and design in this one piece is quite wonderful. Unfortunately, somebody's cut the tag out of this one too, it definitely has the feel and design of several of my 1950s Vanity Fair pieces though, so I'm making that educated guess!

I might have went a little overboard that weekend, but I've got some fabulous new things to have some fun with! If it doesn't pour down rain this weekend, I'm hoping to make some photographs with my new lovely finds <3

Happy thrifting!