Category Archives: Shopping

Shopping with the Vintage Traveler

It’s time for another edition of shopping adventures in which I show some interesting things I spotted, but that I did not buy.  The photo above was taken at the Liberty Antiques Festival last month.  This seller had tubs and tubs of textiles and old clothes and yes, I did manage to find a few wonderful things.

One thing I passed on was a pair of men’s wool swimming trunks with this label.  It was such a great example of a woven label, but I really can’t start buying things just for the label, can I?

I loved this official souvenir of the Ice Capades.  I would have loved it more at the original price!

One vendor at Liberty had stacks and stacks of super woolen fabrics.  I managed to limit myself to just one fantastic piece, which I’m sure you’ll see somewhere down the road when I get around to sewing it.

I spotted this in a local antique mall, and it was labeled as an Edwardian jacket.  I would have loved to be able to examine it, as to me it looked like it was made from old embroidered table linens.  I could be wrong, but all the square mitered corners just gave it that appearance.

I’m crazy about unusual display pieces and mannequins, and so this vintage little girl fits into that category.

This fantastic twig furniture set is for the cabin in the woods that I do not have.

I’m guessing that this Revlon make-up display is from the late 1950s or early 60s.  The sales person had to get the products from the back of the case, and that sure did help eliminate the shoplifting problem.

I tried to find a reason to buy the velvet and sequined beret.  It was from Hattie Carnegie.

The scarf I found at a local shop was indeed Hermes, and was priced quite attractively.  This proves I have strong willpower.  You also get a nice look at my vintage Converse All Stars.

I loved this shop sign, but what would someone do with something this large?

Finally, my favorite find of the month, a WWI poster encouraging the many women workers to ride their bicycles to work instead of taking a motor vehicle.  It’s interesting how this one does not reference the woman’s patriotic duty, but instead focuses on the benefits of cycling.

 

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Selling Vintage

For several years before I retired, I had a plan.  I was going to sell vintage clothing online to make a few extra bucks and to productively spend my time.  And for a while, around two years, that’s exactly what I did.  The problem was that I really did not enjoy selling.  What I wanted to do was collect and write about fashion and textile history.

So I gave up the etsy store and began spending my time researching and writing, care taking and mending.  And I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

A while back I mentioned that one of the things I love about Instagram is that almost everything posted there is for sale. The problem is that I post photos of my vintage collection and finds there, and it’s quite often that someone asks if the item is for sale.  I somehow feel like I should not be teasing people showing off some of the great things I’ve found over the past twenty-five or so years of collecting.

Even here on The Vintage Traveler, I get emails all the time asking if an item I posted about is for sale.  As you have probably guessed, my answer is almost always “No,” but there are times that I have agreed to sell an item to a reader.  I have one rule that determines whether or not the item changes hands – the prospective buyer has to want the item more than I do.

I know what it is like to really want something for my collection.  I’ve written plenty of those almost begging emails myself, so I pretty much know how to judge item desire in others.

If you see something here or on Instagram that you feel you can’t live without, it never hurts to ask.  But you have to convince me that you need it more than I do, and that you will take good care of it.  And be prepared to hear, “No.”

See that cute little cat skirt?  I pulled it out of the Goodwill bins and posted a photo on Instagram.  The skirt was felt with the kittens sort of embossed onto it, and contrary to what my photo might lead you to believe, was in pretty rough shape.  The kittens were fading and peeling, and there were holes in the felt.  The skirt was for a little girl.  Still, I put it in my shopping cart to make a decision about it later.

Finally, I decided that I really had no need for it so I put it back in a bin.  Very quickly, one of the three shoppers that had been stalking me, hoping I’d discard it swooped in to get it.  That was good because I hated the thought of those kittens in a bale of rags.

By the time I got home and checked my messages, two people had already asked about the skirt.  I felt really bad about having to tell them that I didn’t even buy it!  I think my days of leaving something this great in the Goodwill are over, especially if it has a kitten on it.

I’m in the process of going through my vintage sewing patterns and books, and I’ve decided that I really do need to sell some.  So starting in November I’ll reopen the old Fuzzylizzie Vintage etsy shop for a few months to offer them.  There will probably be some fabric as well.  I’ll be sure to announce the opening when it happens.

And seriously, if you sell vintage, you need to be on Instagram.  Just don’t make it entirely about what you are selling.

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Hillsville Flea Market, 2014

Hillsville, Virginia is a sleepy little mountain town just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the North Carolina state line.  Way back in the 1970s the local VFW decided to do a gun show on Labor Day as a fund raiser.  The event grew and grew until it became one of the biggest flea markets in the Southeast.

The last time I went was two years ago,  and I vowed that was the last time for me.  It was too big and too filled with crafts and junk.  The presence of guns everywhere was a bit disconcerting.

But for some reason I thought I’d give it another try.  Quite unbelievably, it was a nice experience.  I think that the biggest difference was that the show has gotten smaller.  But not just that; the antique and vintage sellers have stayed while the crafty people were not as prevalent.  It was no longer an overwhelming day where even a fast shopper like me could not cover it all.

I’ve written several times about how many flea markets and antique shows have gotten smaller, so this was not a surprise.  I had noticed a gradual contraction of this venue since 2009.  I’ve also noticed this at the Metrolina, which is a flea market held in Charlotte.  And the Boston Globe recently ran an article about how the great Brimfield is on the decline. (Thanks to Carrie for the link.)

One of the major problems at places like Brimfield and Metrolina is the influx of stuff that looks old, but that is not.  I think Harry L. Rinker nailed it in the Globe article when he said, “It’s not a collectors’ market anymore, it’s a decorators’ market.”   Many people who are decorating a house care only about the look, not the pedigree, of an item.

Interestingly, I did not see a whole lot of that type of thing at Hillsville.  Maybe the difference is that Hillsville is a more rural area, with the shoppers coming from all over the Southeast, where as Metrolina and Brimfield serve a more urban, and thus trendy, clientele.

So I saw some really nice things, and even bought a few of them.  Today, I’ll give a brief tour of what did not make the cut.

My photo is poor, but this is the best vintage Nativity I’ve ever seen.  The condition was excellent, the lithography top-notch, the price tag appropriately high.

Surely, I thought, there is a hat in this pile for me.  Unfortunately there was not.

This dealer had the scarf motherload, and at $1 each she was selling them by the bag full.  There were hundreds of them, and I bet she made her booth rent on these alone.

This is the funniest sun hat ever.  The flowers did not look original to the hat, so I passed on it.

I loved this scissors and pin cushion necklace so much.  Is there a name for these?

This was a nice rack of vintage clothes, but notice the 1920s dress in front.  It has been shortened, and stitched with a machine at the hem.  Still, at least it was not cut and could be restored to original length.  That longer piece behind the dress is actually part of it, and is like an apron.

I really do wish I had gotten a better photo of this one.  It is a 1920s costume made of crepe paper petals attached to a muslin background.  It was adorable.

I wonder if one can get satellite radio on that thing.

I almost bought this for me to wear.  Cashmere, and simply gorgeous.

I saw lots of wonderful old feedsacks.

Old dog prints always get my attention.

Aren’t these a trip?  (Get it, a trip!)

I’ll be slowly but surely sharing all the great things that I did buy.

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Shopping with The Vintage Traveler

I recently did a bit of shopping in northern South Carolina, in the Greenville area.   There are several very nice antique malls in the area, and there was quite a bit that I saw and liked but did not buy.

First up is a salesman’s case from Ferris Woolen Company.  Dated 1939 – 1940, I really liked the graphics.  I already have one from the early 1920s, which I’ve written about in the past.

Isn’t this old croquet box the best?

Had this been a Scottie, I’d probably have had to buy it.  Still, this little child’s wheelbarrow was pretty special.

This calendar is from 1958.  Now I’ve decided that I must have a hat that holds golf tees.

In hindsight, I probably should have bought this zipper display and zippers.  I love metal Talons, and pick them up to use.  These were odd colors so I passed on them.

For Zest and Fun, Drink B-1.  It’s full of vitamins, you know.

Who doesn’t need a Likker Lugger?

This great little sailor man pin shows us how to wear a striped tee.  I love the details, including the diagonal pocket.

I’ve been thinking more and more about getting an old sewing stand.  I’m telling myself it will eliminate some clutter.

This is a sorry photo of a really fantastic hat.  It was really lovely, and it had a great label to boot.

In my part of the world, Pappagallos were THE shoe of the mid 1960s.  Even the lining is cute.

This late 1910s dress had some damage, but the fabric was really terrific.  Those dots are not printed, they are woven.  It was simply a fantastic textile.

The snowsuit of doom, but how about those mittens?

I loved this advertising poster so much. I mean, really, really loved it.

So, did I mess up by leaving these great things unbought?

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Lady Manhattan, Part II

I’ve spent a great deal of the past three days looking for ads for Lady Manhattan, but I’ve not found a single one in my fashion magazines in the years between 1953 and 1962.  They did advertise, as there are ads for sale on ebay (something I really do not understand) but maybe they were placed in regular women’s magazines like Good Housekeeping or McCall’s.

One thing that made me think my silk blouse was later 1950s was that a 1954 ad I saw on ebay  had a facsimile label as part of the ad.  That label is the one you see above.  While I could not locate an ad in my magazines, I did happen upon a second Lady Manhattan blouse.

What is really interesting about this earlier Lady Manhattan shirt is that it is so similar in construction to a man’s casual shirt.  I’ve seen a lot of men’s shirts from the early to mid 1950s that have an open collar like my new lady’s shirt.  The fabric is a nice cotton shirting like you’d expect to find in a man’s shirt.

There is a chest (breast?) pocket, and the sleeves are inserted like those in a man’s shirt.

There is a placket for the cuff opening, something that is not usually seen in a woman’s blouse.  I was really surprised at the French cuffs.

The seams are flat felled, and are the smallest, neatest ones I’ve seen on a mid-priced garment.

If you look back at the later silk shirt, you can still see vestiges of a man’s shirt in the design.  The open neck collar, the French cuffs, and the curved hemline are almost identical to this cotton shirt.  But the fabric is softer, the pocket and cuff plackets are gone, and the seams are French.  It has the feel of a blouse rather than of a shirt.

I actually bought this piece to wear, as I’ve been looking for some prints to add to my mostly solid and striped wardrobe.   I found it in a fantastic vintage clothing booth in an antique mall in Taylors, South Carolina, which is in the Greenville area.   She also has an Etsy shop, Kate Dinatale Vintage.  It was such a pleasure finding a vintage store in my area where the items are beautifully presented and reasonably priced.

UPDATE:

And finally, here is the full view.  And today while rummaging through my button box, I found a forgotten pair of mother of pearl cuff links.

 

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Shopping with the Vintage Traveler

It’s been a while since I did a shopping post, but that’s mainly due to the fact that I’ve not been able to do a lot of shopping lately.  But I’ve finally managed to get out a bit, and so can show you the things I thought were interesting, but that I did not buy.  The items are from a variety of local venues.

The picture above is a painted pillow cover.  I called it “Two lovers adrift.”

This beautiful 1920s box originally held fragranced soaps.

Here’s a potato chip can for The New Era Scientifically Processed Potato Chips.  The chips are so healthy that they are good for athletes.

They were made from that healthy substance, hydrogenated vegetable shortening.

This adorable little nautical shirt was made by Catalina, and was for a child.  How about that Breton shirt the sailor duck is wearing!

I’d never seen the label before, but it is similar to the labels Catalina used in the later 1950s.

Here’s a hat devoted to my favorite golf hole.

Being in the East (but not in Nashville) , I don’t see a lot of western wear, but these women’s pants were really nice.

Proof that there are still bargains to be found, these 1920s shoes were priced at $6!  The condition is better than my photos look, as the cracks are on the surface and would be covered with polish.

Here’s a new one on me – a hankie greeting card.  And the inside:

A shipboard romance triangle in the making…

And finally, I spotted this rack of dresses in a local antique mall.  I’ve learned from experience not to get too excited about a rack of clothing because they often contain the seller’s closet rejects.  But in this case the rack was full of 1930s and 1940s frocks.  You just never know.

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Shopping with The Vintage Traveler

I realized that it has been a while since I did a vintage shopping post.   I’m not completely sure why, but I’m not taking as many photos as I used to while shopping.  It may have something to do with Instagram.

More and more I find myself posting shopping photos to Instagram.  It’s almost like shopping with a lot of virtual friends, as the feedback is almost immediate.  I know I talk quite a bit about the pleasures of Instagram, but it really is fun.  Even Suzy Menkes says so.  If you use a smartphone, I really do think you should at least try it out.

But back to the shopping finds,  taken over the course of the past month or so.

The first photo is a vintage California Perfumes poster.  This was the company that became Avon.   Things like this are commonly seen as reproductions, but this one was an original, and quite expensive.

I’ve got a bit of non-buyer’s remorse about this apron.  It was terribly stained, missing a tie, and over-priced.  Still, what a marvelous mid century fashion print!

I am such a map lover.  Just throw a map on something and I’m all over it.  Still, I managed to resist this bed tray, or lap desk, or what have you.

I loved these tobacco cards from 1936 that featured the tennis stars, both men and women, of the day.  You can see how this was a transitional time in tennis wear, with some women wearing skirts below the knee, some wearing shorter skirts, one is wearing a skirt open over shorts, and two are wearing just shorts.  Get a better look here.

I’m a sucker for an old zipper display.

This is the label from a pack of 1920s tissue paper.   By comparison, it sure makes the graphics on packaging today look a bit uninspired.

This is a water sprinkler for ironing, an object that appears to be more decorative than functional.  There is a handle on the back, but it was the unhappy but fashionable ironer that caught my eye.

It’s finds like this that makes one (almost) want to go back to selling.  Three mint in the box French corsets, reasonably priced.

A lovely linen parasol.

Another good for re-sale find, this late 1920s lace dress was in good condition and was a larger size.

Proof that there are real bargains to be found, these Tammis Keefe unicorn placemats were $5 for the set.

And finally, one dealer had a whole stack of antique Kate Greenaway calendars.  This one is from 1884.

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