Vintage Shopping – East Tennessee

I took a day last week to revisit an old shopping haunt, Kingsport,Tennessee.  Kingsport is like a lot of small towns across America, with businesses moving out of the downtown areas and onto the side of highways leading in and out of town.  Many of the downtown buildings now house antique malls, so that it is easy to spend an entire day wandering through lots of great old stuff.

Unfortunately, the one store that has a large inventory of vintage clothing was closed the day I visited, darn it!  Still, there was more than enough to keep me amused.  And on the way home I made a stop in Jonesborough, Tennessee, which is the oldest town  in TN.  They have a nice antique mall there as well, with a good selection of vintage clothing.

This is in the Jonesborough store, looking down on a booth of vintage clothing.  Sometimes it is worth going into these old places just to see the great old architectural features.

When I spotted this hat rack I got excited, but then noticed that it was dated 1991!

They had this super Pendleton mannequin, , dress and odd tie belt included.

I tried really hard, but just could not get a photo that did these lovely wedge sandals justice.

It is impossible to get a good photo of a halter dress with a full skirt that is just hanging, but check out the beautiful detailing on it:

You can tell that the ribbon is woven though the fabric, right?

I see this print all the time, and it always makes me smile.  I had this, and a few others in the same series, on my walls as a little girl.  My great-aunt had ordered them from an ad in a magazine.  I believe it was from Scott bathroom tissue.

Debbie Reynolds Dress Designer Kit Colorforms.  I loved Colorforms.

Before there was Project Runway, there was the Betsy McCall Fashion Designer set.

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of Mattie’s cheerleading dress.  It’s made of wool flannel and lined in heavy satin and weighs a ton.  I can’t imagine jumping around wearing it.  At some point someone thought it would be fun to add a ripped fringe.  Just weird.

And what about this little early-mid 1960s cutie?  It has a function.  Can you guess what it is?

More and more, I’m seeing antique malls with booths that are selling new things that are “antiquey”.  The hard part is that sometimes these booths have a smattering of old stuff, and so one is forced to browse it anyway.  I know it is hard to make a living selling antiques and vintage items  these days, but I really hate when booths are allowed to sell any new thing.  Just my opinion.







Filed under Shopping

41 responses to “Vintage Shopping – East Tennessee

  1. Totally agree about the new crap in antique booths — its a growing problem here too. The head with hat…. is it a pin cushion under the hat?

    Great stuff at that shop – wish I was there when it was open!


    • Yes, I’ve noticed that it is a growing problem in all the areas I’ve visited in the past few years. One place I went to that used to be a pretty good place for vintage is now all new stuff.

      And, no, not a pin cushion, but that is a very creative guess!


  2. Lizzie…is the chicken “thing” for holding a soft boiled egg. Lift the hat and eat the egg? Good guess…or not?

    I believe that so many antique dealers have moved to selling on EBAY…causing antique malls to be less selective with whom they rent to. However, I agree with you.


  3. Beth Pfaff

    I remember the Betsy McCall paper dolls that came in the magazine. You would cut them out of the page. Mom did not get that magazine, my grandmother did, so I would go to her house to get the issues. The magazine paper was very thin so the dolls and dresses did not hold up very well.


  4. It’s been over 20 years since I visited Jonesborough, You have reminded me that I need and want to go back! I feel a road trip coming on…


  5. How many guesses do we get on the little thing with the hat??? Is it a darner. Take the hat off and darn socks?

    How about a place to put your rings in the hat brim. That’s it for me…thjree strikes, I’m out. I give up.

    Did you guess it first try? Scouts honor!


  6. OMGosh, I’d forgotten about Colorforms. I’m racking my brain trying to remember what mine were like but not having much luck. But I do remember loving to play with them. Who knew I’d be a historical costumer now?


  7. Forgot about the question of the head. Looks familiar, I’m thinking a bottle of something…the hat came off,… perfume? Damn, that was 40 years ago.
    And yes, in SoCal our “antique” shops are now filled with “collectibles” and the antiques are from the 60s, 70s, 80s. So I guess I’m considered an antique. 😀


  8. joulesstar

    I know, I know!

    It’s perfume under the hat!

    I had one of those for the longest.
    Takes me right back. Wonder where she is now?

    Great tour, Lizzie!


  9. So many wonderful things! I love that blue and white dress and those sandals!! FABULOUS!!


  10. I played with paper dolls as a girl, and created my own clothes to add to their wardrobes.
    I believe the tissue ads were from Northern. I remember there was one that looked like my baby sister that I always have my eye out to buy.


  11. Lizzie if those sandals were your size…PLEASE go back for them!! I’m drooling just looking at them!!


  12. Avon, of course! (I was about to guess “a bottle of bubble bath”–pretty close, though no cigar..:)
    Thanks for the vicarious tour, Lizzie–fabulous photos!


  13. I love seeing your trips to places like this. It is interesting to me to compare the sorts of things you find with what is available here in Australia. For example I’ve never seen the prints you had, but I often see a very different Australian set of prints that I had in my bedroom. Of course I’ve also never seen a cheerleader outfit, or those particular paper doll sets!


  14. Teresa

    Looks like a wonderful store! I love it when you post these photos, they always leave me itching to rummage. 🙂


  15. An afternoon there would be like Heaven to me!


  16. Love your posts when you give us a tour round the vintage shops, malls and markets over there. Makes me want to get on a plane with a big suitcase right now! Hopefully I can make a trip over next year – but do you know of, or can recommend, any guides to vintage shopping in the States? I can only find the odd article online…


  17. Those Colorforms!!! I loved Colorforms as a kid, but don’t think I ever had a set as cool as the Debbie Reynolds one.

    I was going to guess hatpin holder…oops.

    I see a *lot* of new stuff mixed in with old at antiques malls around here. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, for example a booth that is all clearly handmade stuff like candles or whatever. But I don’t like it when there’s “old looking” new clothes or home decor, especially mixed up with vintage. Ugh.


  18. As cool as it is, the mannequin needed a head and hands, not our branding! Thanks for posting, we really got a kick out of that around the office.


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