Tag Archives: Vintage shopping

Shopping with The Vintage Traveler

I spent much of October on the road, attending a Costume Society of America symposium, spending time with friends, and doing a bit of  history-themed touristing. But I was able to fit in a bit of shopping in between visits to historic sites and fashion exhibitions.

My guess is that the 1940 card above was designed to help children learn to sew on buttons.  I love how one of the croquet balls is square.

Before there were tanning beds, there were sun lamps. I remember these well, and I can promise you that sitting beneath one is nothing like the box graphic implies.

I am a sucker for an old home workshop-made lawn lounger. This one is obviously inspired by an ocean liner deck chair.

I hope I left enough of the surroundings in the photo so that you can tell how large this book is. Actually it is a catalog of car tires, and was used by some teen as a scrapbook.  The stylish cover was the best thing about it.

“Are you coming?” asks the lovely woman on her sidesaddle. And is it just me, or does the horse look s if it is levitating?

This one was a real heartbreaker, as I thought I’d found another movie star hanger for my small collection. Actually, this was originally a hanger, but it is now only a very damaged prop in a display of hats in an antique mall.

Okay, this is not a Scottie, and I’m not particularly fond of tea, so why was I so tempted by this cute little pot?

I photographed this ad mainly because I wanted to remember the name of this new-to-me brand. It was framed…

as was this magazine cover.  I’ve never understood the market for ads and illustrations pulled out of vintage magazines, mainly because the magazines are so interesting. But seeing these framed, I can see how they would make for cheap but attractive wall decor.

I’ve seen a lot of these old fashion prints with bits of fabric and lace added, but this one is probably the most elaborate ever.  I love how the white dress extends off the printed surface.

This close-up look shows just how much work went into this.

This little girl’s middy was just adorable. I have to make myself not buy things like this, though I could probably justify this purchase by using this to show the relationship between children’s dress and the athletic wear of older girls and women. Still, I do not need to go out on another tangent.

I loved this so much that I tried very hard to justify its purchase. Can you see that it’s a satin evening bag attached to a bracelet? So clever!

The symposium was really excellent, but the presence of a marketplace with six vintage dealers was the icing on the cake. Dealers, if you ever get the opportunity to set up and sell at a CSA event, take it. I was not the only clothing obsessed collector present.

 

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Shopping with the Vintage Traveler – Fall 2018

I love fall, not because of football or because of the cooler weather, but because of all the great vintage buying opportunities. I do have priorities. The photos in this vintage shopping segment all come from the Asheville Flea for Y’all, the Hillsville, VA Flea Market, and the Liberty, NC Antiques Festival. Three different shopping experiences, all with their charms.

I spotted the little sewing chick at the Flea for Y’all. I then saw another one (or maybe it was the same) at Liberty a month later.

I try really hard to limit myself to the categories that I already collect, but this 1970s Delta Airlines shirt was a big temptation,

An interesting name for a business, don’t you think?

A seller had several of these French Spanish days of the week towels. I had to remind myself that I have enough linen towels to last my lifetime.

I had a set of sewing cards when I was very young. Someone must have known I would spend a lifetime stitching. These, alas, were unused. What a missed opportunity.

After spending the summer reading about quilts, I have to stop and examine every one I encounter. This is from the 1930s or 40s, and would be considered a scrap or strip quilt. I love how the maker stuck to the blue color scheme.  These scraps are mainly cotton, and many are from feedsacks.

Moving on to Hillsville, Virginia, which is a flea market held on Labor Day weekend. It is a true flea market, with a combination of great old stuff and crafts and guns and common junk. In short, it is not for everybody, and only the thought of all the wonderful things found here in the past keeps me going back.

This is the fabric of my dreams, and from time to time it comes up for sale as a 1950s gathered skirt. This was the back of a quilt which was very much used and washed.

That sweet baby bib looks to be from the 1930s. And on the right is the gift we all need but don’t know it – a hankie shirt.

This interesting image of a woman swimmer is on a fan, circa 1915. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a bathing cap with a feather.

I’m not sure how many different designs were made for feedsack bags, but there had to have been thousands. I liked that this one still had the label that identified it as being from a flour mill in Asheville. And what’s more, I’ve had this same feedsack fabric.

I love old button cards, especially those that show you what they will look like after you sew them on a shirt.

To compare with the cotton 1930s quilt above, here is a similar concept, but in rayon fabrics from the 1940s and 50s. I love the added touch of the embroidery.

And finally, this past weekend I went to the Liberty Antiques Festival. It’s kind of hard to criticize this show, as it’s about as good as it gets around here. They advertise there are absolutely no reproductions allowed at this show, but I’m afraid this is not the case. At least three sellers had nothing but new stuff made to look old.

One of my very favorite vintage sellers, the great Nanette, was there. I’ve known and bought from her for many years, and she still has one of the best booths around.

What I love about Liberty is the chance to see things that just don’t make it to the average antique mall.

I know they must be at every garage sale in New England, but 19th century hatboxes are very rare in the South. There are some Southern-made ones, as the MESDA collection has a few. This one, as expected, was labeled as being from Maine, and was priced at around $500. One with a Southern provenance would have been more, and it would have sold very quickly.

 

 

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Shopping with the Vintage Traveler

Every once and a while I’ll go shopping. I try not to buy all the stuff, so here are the interesting bits that did not make it into my collection.

I usually won’t look through the never-ending stacks of sheet music that seem to inhabit every antique store in the land. But if there are just a few, I will take a peek because something you get interesting glimpses of period attitudes toward dress. I think I can safely say that this artist was a little too eager to portray the nakedness seen on beaches in the late 1920s.

If only we could all blame weight gain on an over-eager Scottie!

This Hush Puppies shoe rack was rather neat. If I were a collector of men’s shoes I’d have bought it.

Is there no end to the designs that came out of the Enid Collins studio? Just when I think I have seen them all, another one pops up. This one is called  “Posy Picker”, and it had a bargain price tag.

And here are even more Scotties, proof that I do not buy them all.

I really couldn’t decide on whether or not this bag is actually older than a few years. The basket itself looked to be newer, but the shell decorations looked older.

The graphics of the late 1960s always make me smile.

I posted this photo on Instagram and there we lots of people there feeling nostalgic about Fiorucci. There wasn’t a Fiorucci store in Western North Carolina so I missed that whole scene.

Yes, women did climb the Alps in skirts. Not every woman was Annie Peck.

This nice old majorette uniform had some issues, and I was glad because that kept me from caving into an impulse majorette uniform buy.

This lucite and metal bag with butterflies was really great, and it was, I thought, very under-priced. If you are a person in search of an affordable collecting hobby, I’d like to suggest evening bags. I’ve been noticing a drop in prices for some time, but at a show I went to last week the prices were insanely cheap. Supply exceeds demand.

If you grew up in the South then you are probably aware of the unique advertising of Rock City. They would pay farmers to let them paint “See Rock City” on their barn roofs, and you can still buy the concept in the form of a birdhouse. My family went to see Rock City around 1966, and it was the biggest thrill.

Okay.

Beacon blankets were made in this area, so they are commonly seen. Still, it’s nice to see one that still has the original paper label.

Wicker handbags were very popular in the mid to late 1960s, and this has to be the cutest one ever.

 

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Shopping with the Vintage Traveler: Atlanta

As any good trip does, my recent visit to Atlanta involved a bit of shopping for old stuff. Just as a good exhibition is a learning experience, so is a bit of browsing antique markets.  So here’s a bit of what I saw, but did not buy.

I’m not too sure about the practicality of a ceramic flask, but I thought the one above was cute, even if the Scottie was a bit pudgy.

I first did a bit of looking in Chamblee, a town that has been overtaken by the urban sprawl of Atlanta. For years the place has marketed itself as a destination for vintage and antique shoppers, and there are still several very good antique stores there. However, I was really dismayed to find two of my old favorites gone, one a victim of gentrification. What used to be an Aladdin’s cave of treasures is now a cafe and a “design center”.  Still, there was more than enough to spend several hours of looking.

You would think that the bathing cap above would have gone into my shopping cart, but I’m afraid it was a victim of age and deterioration. The rubber was brittle and there were bald spots. A real shame, as this one was really great.

I really blew this one. I was so bummed about the store across the street being gone that I had a hard time concentrating on the good stuff. This is just a great pin, with the DC-3 plane and the two parachutes. What was I thinking?

This was rather cute, and I do love the nautical look, but I had to pass due to the amateurish appearance of the design.

Nothing amateurish about this coat, though. The first tip-off that this was a Bonnie Cashin design was her signature stripe used for the lining. Then there are the turn-lock closures, and the leather trim, and it all adds up.

That stripe is often found in Cashin’s work for Coach. This coat was labeled “A Bonnie Cashin, Sills and Co.”

Click to enlarge.

Besides Chamblee, I was able to fit in a quick trip to the monthly Scott Antiques Market. Scott’s has never been my favorite market, as it tends to cater to the decorator rather than the collector. But there are some very good vendors there, and I have found a few treasures over the years. I wasn’t in the market for a handbag, but this seller also had hankies, including a terrific Tammis Keefe that I did buy.

For those of you who were inspired by the Met gala this year, one seller has you covered when it comes to Christian iconography.

Here’s help for the fashion indecisive in the form of a game.

All that was left of this salesman’s kit was the suitcase.

Most of Scott’s is held inside, but there are also spaces for people to set up outdoors. The seller uttered those magic words, “Feel free to dig.” Unfortunately, most of the stuff was from the 1980s and later.

There were vintage bargains to be had. This dress was an incredible $48.

These were framed fashion sketches made for Laura Ashley in 1970. They were really fantastic, and had price tags to match.

The vintage traveler in me wanted these LV suitcases.

I am a real sucker for crazy quilts, and this is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. That spider is the absolute best!

And here is part of the reason I don’t make much of an effort to go to the Scott Market more than every three or four years. The market opens at 9 am, but for the first hour many of the vendors are still not open. And this was on the second day of the show. For someone like me who needs to get on the road to home, this is a big inconvenience. Sellers! If you are at a show to sell, you need to be there so I can your stuff.

 

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Shopping with the Vintage Traveler, Spring 2018

I really think of April as the beginning of Shopping Season, because that’s when all the outdoor markets start up. I have managed to do a bit of antique malling recently. Here are the things I liked but did not, for the most part, buy.

I have a theory that you can tell if the proprietor of a mall booth is male or female just by examining the merchandise. Of course that’s not always true, but I’d bet money on the fact that this booth is stocked by a guy. I love booths like this one with all the sports stuff. I even found a pair of red and white saddle shoes for my collection.

This door stop is not as old as the era that the golfer portrays. It is a great example of how nostalgia-driven the 1960s and 70s were. For some reason I have it in my head that in the 1960s reproduction and fake door stops became a big problem in the antiques markets. People were after an “old” look, in home decor as well as in clothing.

I have a few cheerleading dresses so I probably should have bought this megaphone.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Google books archive of Life magazines, looking for one particular ad. What is striking about the ads before the mid 1960s is how few persons of color are represented. This early to mid 1960s advertising poster is a sign of change.

I spotted this wonderful 1920s dress in my favorite vintage store, Design Archives in Winston-Salem, NC. So beautiful, and the condition was exceptional.

And here’s a close-up of the embroidery. Wouldn’t this be a peachy wedding dress?

This little suitcase or hatbox is made of heavy cardboard, was was meant for a child. I see these on occasion, and they are almost always battered from play.

I have no idea what is going on in this illustration.

I was all ready to buy these when I realized the envelopes felt a bit thin. A quick look inside revealed multiple missing pieces. It’s a common problem with buying used sewing patterns, so I always take a look at the contents before spending much money on one.

 

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Shopping with the Vintage Traveler, Fall 2017

I recently read an article that pointed out the differences between materialism and consumerism. Maybe it was the part of me that wants to justify my own expenditures, but I liked the idea of buying what you love and, of course, buying less. I love to browse antique stores, partly for the education one gets while looking at old stuff, but I’ll admit that what I really love is finding a great new addition to my collection. I do buy less, and I buy better. So here are some things from recent trips that did not go into my shopping cart.

The handcrafted doggie above really was tempting. I love vintage crafts, and she was so adorable. But, cooler heads prevailed, and I left her for someone who needs a spotted friend.

This framed sewing montage was interesting, but I want my vintage buttons and threads and snaps in more accessible storage.  Still, a nice decoration for a sewing room.

In a moment of frugality I left these deadstock 1950s jeans in the store. That does not mean that I did not go back later for them. Blue Bell was/is a North Carolina company, and at the time they were made in Greensboro, NC. These were a real find.

I love a good Harris Tweed, and this one came with an extra surprise.

It also had this Pendleton label. It was clear that the jacket was not made by Pendleton, but it was offered for their store in Chicago. I really loved this because we stayed in the Palmer House this past spring.

Note the ice skate covers. I wanted them, but the skates came with them, and I already have a fantastic pair of 1950s skates (thanks Karen!) I’ll be looking for the covers until I find them.

Have I shown these ocean liner deck chairs already? It seems like I have, but several years later they are still in the store, and have now been discounted. Why are they so special?

Bargain bucket of photos!

There are times when the urge to collect children’s clothing is very strong. This was one of those times.

This is a sweater blocker. I’m sure it will be bought to decorate a wall, as it is quite interesting just for the shape and the materials. Still, it seems to me that it would be happier with a knitter.

This is a fragment of what it used to be. A 1940s or 50s sweater done wrong, chopped up into nothing but a panel with some letters and a football. The hole makes me hope that the sweater was completely ruined anyway.

Such a pretty frock, hanging forlornly in an antique mall. It needs to be loved, and I’m sure many people would want this lovely 1920s dress.

There was a time when I would have bought it just to rescue it, but I’m hoping a better owner will soon discover her. (Hint: Antique mall in Abingdon, VA)

And finally, I love early to mid 1960s dresses. They flatter many body types, and are easy to dress up with accessories. They are pretty much perfect, in my opinion. So why would a great example need a big old ugly spider applique? The answer is, it does not.

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Shopping with the Vintage Traveler – Fall 2017

I need to re-title this type post as Browsing with the VT, as I didn’t actually buy any of the items I’m showing here. Does the word “shopping” actually include “looking but not buying”?  That’s one of those tough Mensa questions.

Some of these photos, like that suitcase of buttons, date back to September. I love buttons but rarely buy them. That is probably because I have boxes full of them, you know, just in case I need one.

This cotton scarf was an almost buy. I loved the late 1950s graphics, but the fade was just too prevalent, and it was almost threadbare in spots. Still, it was hard to pass on a girl and her duck. That would be an inflatable float toy, right?

A seller in Hillsville, Virginia had a whole stack of antique men’s nightshirts. The trim on these was so beautiful that I wanted one for myself. Unfortunately, “LG”, the original owner, was not my size.

I really can’t afford to buy everything I want, so I reluctantly left this old print behind. It is such a great illustration of the mid 1890s divided skirt that was used by women who had taken up the wheel. What is this story about? Is it true that men have always had the reputation of not wanting to ask for directions?

There was a conversation on the Vintage Fashion Guild forums recently about the value of beaded and fancy handbags. It appears to many vintage sellers that these have dropped in value. It probably is a case of supply outpacing demand. If you have ever been to an estate sale you know that there might not be a single old garment, but there are almost always the hats and handbags that were saved.

An apron with cocktail recipes can come in very handy.

A couple of weeks ago I made a trip into downtown Asheville (a major mistake during leaf season…). I was on an errand for a friend, and ended up in my favorite Asheville old stuff shop, Magnolia Beauregard. Seriously, that place is like a treasure house, and though the shop is small, it takes a while to see it all. It’s worth a trip just to see the hat heads and the wax mannequins.

The hats are for sale; the heads are not.

A small look inside Aladdin’s cave.

These last photos are from an antique mall in Florence, South Carolina. One of the advantages of being retired is that when one of us makes an off-hand remark about always wanting to have seen a certain place, the possibility is great that a hotel room will be booked and we’ll be on the road the next day. In this case Tim mentioned that he’d always wanted to see the racetrack and museum in Darlington, SC. I’m not a fan of racing, but experience has taught me that even the most unlikely museums often have old clothes. And once again, I was correct.

Above is a mesh corset cover or bra-let of some type. I’d never seen anything like it.

You may not be able to tell from my photo, but this head and hat were five feet above my head. I understand that dealers who are renting a space want to make the best of it, but putting stuff that high up seems to be pointless unless it is something that a prospective buyer has on her wishlist. In this case, I thought the hat was interesting, but not interesting enough to get an employee to bring a ladder so I could get a closer look.

And finally, a very poor photo of a great 1950s dress. Look at those pockets. They are about fifteen inches deep, with a bow and a rhinestone button to boot. It was really adorable, and had a great label, Gigi Young. Gigi Young was the sister label to Suzy Perette. Both were made by Lombardy Frocks which was known for their Americanized versions of Dior’s New Look. Picture this dress with full petticoats, and you’ll get the picture.

Quite unbelievably, yesterday someone on Instagram posted a photo of the same, or very similar dress, but in pink.

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