Western Party at Paper Moon

Well, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I got laid up with a really wretched cold right after Dapper Day, and only recently have I began to feel normal. And thank goodness, because Paper Moon was hosted their Full Moon party last night, and it was western themed!

Paper Moon is hands down one of the best vintage shops in LA. The wide range, age of many of the garments, and the way the shop is laid out makes you feel like you are shopping in the dressing room of an old Hollywood movie star. Every time you look around you find something that is simply stunning. Especially if you’re into 30s and older, Paper Moon is the place for you! Nicole, the owner, really knows how to throw a shop party, with tasty treats, libations, and even live music, where last night she featured Tiny & Mary, who sung classic western songs.

Outfit
Hat: Redlands Galleria, Redlands, California
Top: Buffalo Exchange…I think…
Tie: Joyride Vintage, Orange, California
Skirt: Dolly & Dotty
Tooled Leather Belt: Knott’s Berry Farm
Tooled Leather Heels: Re-Mix
Tooled Leather Clutch: Found by my dad
Rings: Various

Let’s Get Some Shoes!

Last night a little birdie told me that Re-Mix was having a warehouse sale that began yesterday and carried on through today. They were doing the sale in tandem with Loco Lindo at their warehouse. The sale for Re-Mix included “overstock, old stock, and second quality” pairs of shoes and prices between 40% to 75% off of regular retail! Since I adore Re-Mix’s shoes, I was elated over the opportunity to score more pairs, as I often get one pair about every other year due to their hefty price tag, that is unless I happen upon a pair at Buffalo Exchange or somewhere similar.

The sale was up in Glendale, about a 45 minute to one hour drive for us, and we left early as to arrive a little early, as I had some concerns that there may be quite the line, which is known to occur with other vintage inspired lines, like Pin-Up Girl Clothing‘s infamous yard sales. Thankfully, it was low key, with only a handful of girls already in line.

I felt there was little chance for me, as I am a fairly average size in shoes, a 7/7.5 depending on the shoe, but I walked out with four pairs of shoes!

I was so excited to find one pair that I had been ogling over for some time, the Spectator. Not only did I snag a pair in classic black and white, but also a pair in brown (which apparently is no longer offered) which I think will look swell with some of my Adventurer Chic ensembles.

I also picked up a pair of their Veronicas, a style I wasn’t necessarily on the hunt for, but since they were available in my size and in white I scooped them up, as I was in desperate need of a new pair of white shoes.

And a girl can never go wrong with a pair of classic pumps, which for Re-Mix is their Babydoll. I have many pairs of red shoes, but my classic pumps have been on their last legs for awhile, so I was pleased to get a pair to replace them.

I was a little bummed there were no pairs of their Pleated Toe shoe, as I practically live out of my pair that I have because they are incredibly comfortable. But I am so pleased we went! If I were to purchase all of these from their website, I would have been looking at a total of $698! But the total of all four pairs at the sale was $367! Talk about a deal! I can’t wait to step out in each of these!

San Diego Finds

Well, we are home from San Diego! What a trip! It was lots of fun, but I’m certainly glad to be home. I was planning on my “haul” post to be my last post about San Diego, but it seems y’all are just too impatient to hear about this vintage shop I’ve been hinting at on my Facebook and Twitter pages! So here we go!

I was delighted to find out that San Diego had a decent number of vintage shops and antique malls to visit during my stay. Three out of my four full days in San Diego I spent shopping with Carla of Tiny Angry Crafter. When shopping out of town, I have to be pickier, especially as we were flying back, and I loathe checking bags, but being pickier was a little bit easier as my wallet was on the slim side after two days at Expo, so I really didn’t come home with much, but boy did I want to! I wasn’t finding too much on day one and two, but on day three I fell in love. And let me tell you, if I had a bottomless pocketbook and drove to San Diego, I would have bought basically the entire store. What is this shop you ask? It’s The Girl Can’t Help It.

The Girl Can’t Help It is quite possibly the best vintage clothing store I have ever been to. It really encompasses everything a vintage shop should be, and carries items some of us only dream about. We’re talking novelty print skirts, amazing tiki dresses, true felt circle skirts with fabulous appliqués, adorable shorts, western wear, even showgirl outfits! Of course there are frocks galore, and they are stunning. There is also a plethora of Bakelite and jewelry, jaw-dropping hats and purses. There’s even a men’s section that is spectacular. Nearly every piece in the shop is a showstopper! And all of it is real vintage. Most (like 99.9%) being from the 1930s through the early 1960s, with the occasional 20s piece, 60s mod dress or 70s band tee. All of the items are in immaculate condition and the prices reflect the condition and rarity of the items in the shop.

I chatted with Gail, the shop owner, for a bit, as she shared her passion for vintage that spans the decades. Before opening the shop in San Diego, she had her business in London for 25 years, then relocated to California and has catered to some of the Hollywood elite among the avid vintage lovers and collectors.

Also noticed the shop were some of Vivian of Holloway items, including dresses, tops and shorts. Talk about a brilliant business move. I can’t tell you how often girls unfamiliar with vintage come into vintage shops wanting that perfect 50s sun dress with a full skirt, only to realize that very few still exist, and if there is one, it’s not in their size. Having vintage repro at the ready is super smart.

While I would have loved to have walked out with the entire rack of western wear, including the two gorgeous sets on the wall and much more, I instead walked out with only a (much needed) black blouse.

I especially love this black blouse as it has puff sleeves, which means it will pair well with some of my Mexican and western themed pieces.

If you aren’t in the San Diego area, take a peek at the shop’s Etsy page, where you will find over 200 items! You can also like The Girl Can’t Help It and find out more on Facebook.

So what else did I buy while in the fair city of San Diego? Here is the haul!

I scored another much needed piece – a red peasant blouse! I also found an extremely comfortable Hawaiian (that was $8!). Buffalo Exchange on 5th Avenue.

I picked up this wooden sombrero and metal charm bracelet at Ms. Vintage. Which I simply had to purchase as it matches my wooden sombrero necklace!

I found this Disneyland Hotel shot glass at Newport Avenue Antique Center. It’s a little worse-for-wear, but I love it.

I also picked up a tie for Patrick. This hand-painted hula girl, with fringe skirt was too good to pass up, even with its issues, at $15! La Mesa Antique Mall.

There are a few more posts about San Diego headed your way in the next few days!

Day Trip Treasures

Yesterday I took a little day trip down to Eugene to visit with my friend Lyndsie, owner of Retro Rejuvenation. Under grey clouds and sporadic downpours, we drove around town visiting vintage and thrift shops alike and when the day was done we nearly filled up my trunk! Here’s a peek at the treasures that came home…

I was thrilled to add to my western wardrobe with the vintage plaid western shirt and fringe leather vest, plus the plethora of belts! The pink tooled leather one especially made me happy!

I think this “Noel” hankie will be used more as a doily of sorts come Christmas time. I’m such a fan of chartreuse and pink for Christmas colors, and each year I tell myself I’d like to do more with those tones, so this hankie is a step in the right direction.

I seriously couldn’t pass up the mink and velvet bow choker. It was paired next two a blue satin garter with a mink bow as well, though as Lyndsie is getting married soon, she took it home. It will be perfect for her on her wedding day!

While I am tapering down my sweetheart/WWII themed jewelry collection, I couldn’t leave the little sailor brooch at Goodwill at $6.99. He needed a home! I also picked up a beautiful silver and turquoise ring. While I like larger, gaudier rings, I felt the need for a daintier one, and this fit the bill.

But I think my favorite find is this Golden Horseshoe Review album. It features such a marvelous cover of Betty Taylor as Slue Foot Sue, it was only 99 cents!

As much as I love shopping, I think I’m going to have to put it on hold for the remainder of June and the beginning of July, as Expo is in just under a month! And that always means saying goodbye to lots of dough! I think I’ll fill the in between time with listing pattern for my Etsy shop and working on my repairs pile that has slowly grown into a small mound over the last few weeks. *sigh* No rest for the vintage loving!

Miner 49er

As highlighted in our visit to Sutter’s Mill, my passion for the west continues into the history of the gold rush, and our recent travels through gold rush country influenced my wardrobe choices today as we ran did some much needed grocery shopping and errand running

I found this mining themed skirt featuring shovels, picks, pans, sieves, gold dust and pouches when searching “vintage novelty print” on Etsy, one of the most dangerous things one can do.  Some of my favorite road trip memories, including this last road trip, are driving through some of California’s gold rush towns.  Sutter Creek and Senora are just downright adorable, and I adore the tiny town of Mariposa where some of my family lives.  And while it doesn’t take place in California, but rather in the Dakotas, I am a big fan of the show Deadwood, which revolves around the gold rush in the Black Hills.  So I just had to have this little beauty to add to my growing western themed skirt collection.  A few days after the skirt arrived in the post I found myself looking at cowboy brooches on Etsy (another incredibly dangerous thing!) and then happened upon this gold miner! I’d like to think it was all just meant to be. Believe me, I considered wearing this outfit to Sutter’s Mill, but the extremely early start we had that day left me wanting to just wear a t-shirt and jeans. Maybe this outfit will get its day in true gold rush town one day.

Even though the Pendleton’s 49’er has nothing to do with the gold rush (it was named that because it was released in 1949), I couldn’t help paring it with the skirt ensemble, besides, the colors worked perfectly! This 49’er though happens to be a knock-off, for which there were many.  It’s funny, for living in Oregon I actually don’t own a true Pendleton 49’er.

It’s good to be home after such a long trip, and I was glad when the sun decided to show its face and warm up Portland today, allowing for a lightweight jacket such as a 49’er.  It’s really rough coming home to grey clouds and rain after days in the California sunshine.  Meanwhile I’m trying to find homes for some of the purchases we made during our trip, as well try to get back into my normal routine of things, including listing on Etsy.  I hope you all are having a lovely weekend!

Outfit
Fake ’49er by Western Star: Local rummage sale
Blouse: Living Threads, Portland, Oregon
Skirt: Trove Vintage Boutique
Boots: Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon
Purse: Retro Rejuvenation, Coburg, Oregon
Earrings: Don’t remember…
Miner Brooch: Thrift Pop

Beginners Guide to Vintage Shopping

In my numerous vintage shopping excursions I have observed many people coming into shops who are not familiar with vintage, and may be just starting out.  Some get overwhelmed, others confused, so I thought I’d offer up some of my personal tips that I know make for a better shopping experience.

Be Respectful

When you are at a vintage shop, most of the time, you are looking at items that have been hand selected by the person standing behind the counter.  Keep in mind that time and lots of consideration went into buying the pieces that fill these shops. So try to keep negative comments out of the conversation.  If you just popped into Starbucks before sweeping into the shop, and there is no clear “No Food or Drink” sign, be sure to ask if it’s okay to have your drink. Same goes for pets. Handling the garments with care (more on how to do that in a bit) also shows a sign of respect – you are respecting the garment and the shop owner’s hard work.

Know your measurements!

A lot of higher end vintage shops will have the measurements of their garments on the tags, and coming in knowing your measurements is going to make things a lot easier for you and for the shop owner.  While some shops may have a small/medium/large system, that sizing is relative and subject to the person tagging the garment.  What is small to one person may be a medium to another.  Bring a tape measure with you, so when you visit the shops that do not have the measurements noted you can measure the garment yourself to know if it is going to work out or not. This saves time, and avoids any likelihood of having an embarrassing moment of being stuck in a garment.  Also note that if you see a size 16 label inside of a vintage dress, don’t think it isn’t going to be your size. This is another reason why measurements are important.  Vanity sizing has skewed sizing over the years.  What was a size 12 in the 50s, is around a size 6 or so today.

Stick to your measurements!

While your bust and your waist may be a little squishy, it’s important to stay within one inch of your measurements.  If you’re a 28 inch waist, don’t try on a 24 inch waist dress! You may do harm to the dress, and that may annoy the shop owner.

If you get stuck ask for help

Even if a garment reads as if it will fit, you still might get stuck! I got stuck in a pair of pants once and could not, for the life of me, get them off! They were a pair of riding pants that were very tight in the calves. Thank goodness it happened at a friend’s shop, so her coming in wasn’t too terrible.  But a lot of shop owners are not phased all that much by seeing some skin. Asking for help means you are less likely to damage a garment too.

Handle with Care

Be careful when sifting through racks and when trying things on, as the items you are handling are 30+ years old, and some are going to be on the more delicate side. It’s best to move garments by the hanger, not by the garment itself. Tugging on the garment can cause seams to split or fabric to tear.  When you move by the hanger, you do not put any strain on the garment.  Be careful when stepping into skirts or dresses, as not to step into the hem, and be careful when pulling a garment off over your head, don’t yank.

If you damage a garment, let the shop owner know

There is nothing more annoying than a shop owner inspecting a garment after it has been tried on to see a busted zipper or ripped out hem.  But if you do damage something, let the shop owner know.  Many won’t have any repercussions, but it’s better to be honest, especially if you are planning on returning to that shop in the future.

Know your budget/It’s not okay to play dress up

If you’re wanting a dress for a special occasion, know your budget and stick to it. It’s not a good idea at any time to try on something you can’t afford.  You can hurt your own feelings that way, and you run the risk of annoying a shop owner by trying on something you cannot afford to buy.  Due to the age of some items, they may only have a few wearings left in them, and trying on with no intention of buying is an unnecessary risk, so try not to try things on “just for fun”. It’s also important to keep in mind that some of these shop owners are going to become pals of yours.  I am friends with numerous shop owners in Portland, and this friendship I have developed over being courteous has resulted in getting spectacular pieces and at great prices.

Buy what you like

Don’t let current trends affect how you buy vintage if you are going to turn yourself into a 24/7 vintage wearer.  Buy what you like. Buy what you feel good in.  Also, it’s okay to mix-and-match eras.  But you can also be a period perfectionist too. Once again, it comes down to what you want to do with your wardrobe.

When it doesn’t fit

One of the pluses to vintage shopping is also one of the biggest downsides: one-of-a-kind.  Yes, it’s wonderful to have something unique, but you are also going to come across items that are not going to fit.  You need to weigh your options when you find something like this.  Most often, the best option is to let the item go.  It’s important to check the seams of an item you think fits.  While it may appear that it fits perfectly, there is a chance that you are stressing the seams of a garment, and over time the seams will simply rip out, and the garment will then have to be made smaller to repair the seams.  If the item is too big or too small, alteration is an option, but can be costly if you don’t know how to do it yourself.  If the item just barely fits, don’t skip meals or diet just to get into one dress, that’s just silly.

Shop wearing proper undergarments

When I say “proper” I mean shop with your average undergarments.  I don’t know about you, but I have a few garments that require a “special” bra – meaning on that makes my boobs a little smaller, some of you may have one that makes your boobs a little bigger. It’s not a good idea to shop with these “special” bras on, as they will give you a false impression. Also in my Vintage Must Have series, I noted how the bullet bra revolutionized how I wore vintage.  For years I had fought with bust darts not being in the right place, but all that changed when I began wearing a bullet bra.  Keep this in mind when shopping for vintage.  Vintage garments were cut with the undergarment trends of the time, so 50s and 60s garments are going to feature higher bust darts.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

If you’re unsure about how to care for a specific garment, ask! Often shop owners are experts at cleaning items, and are going to know who to recommend in terms of dry-cleaning.  Many shop owners enjoy sharing their knowledge, and helping those who want to get more involved with vintage.  They are going to be able to offer all sorts of tips, from what jewelry may go with something, to what resources you have available with regards to vintage hair-dos!  They are also going to know of more vintage shops for you to check out!

Holiday Time in PDX

It has been insanely cold the last few days here in Portland, and the other day we even had a bit of snow! But today Patrick and I braved the below freezing temperatures (seriously, it never got above 29F!) to visit some of our favorite shops downtown to do a bit of Christmas shopping.

Despite getting constantly asked to sign one petition or another, and being panhandled, I still enjoy Portland’s downtown. There is a good combination of retail chains and local shops all within easy walking distance, even for a gal in heels.  There are lots of nifty buildings too, and someone thought it would be nice to get the fountains that feature Oregon animals sweaters…

And speaking of nifty buildings, the Benson Hotel recreated Portland, circa 1913, in gingerbread!

The evening culminated in us attending Wanderlust‘s holiday party, where shop owner Vanessa gave out gift bags full of goodies to the first 20 people, include ten dollars off a purchase of $40 or more at her shop! Which I promptly used.

I feel that Vanessa’s shop is a perfect representation of Portland.  She offers up a wonderful selection of vintage clothing and accessories, which highlights the keenness that Portlanders have to recycle, but she also partners up with local artisans and carries their items, which also shines a light on Portland’s creative streak.

I still didn’t get everyone crossed off my list, so I’m bound for some more shopping before Christmas! How’s your holiday shopping going?

Don’t forget to enter the What Katie Did book giveaway in the previous post, if you haven’t already that is! It closes Wednesday!

Outfit
Fur Coat and Belt: Gifts
Sweater Set and Hat: Antique Alley, Portland, Oregon
Deer Brooch, Purse and Shoes: Thrifted
Gloves: Don’t remember!
Tights: Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon