Archive for the ‘Thrifting’ Category

Think Global, Shop Local

Monday, September 10th, 2012

I haven’t been out of the country in almost two years, but the home accessories I’ve found thrifting the past few weeks will help convince visitors otherwise.

Weathered Roman busts, Balinese brass and bamboo basket-bowls, crackled Chinese pots, and wooden Mongolian pipsqueak shoes are but some of the little treasures giving Tudor Mansion a sense of worldly beauty.

Although I never really left, it’s definitely good to be home.

Holiday Haul pt. 1

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Two years ago, I felt I had to meticulously photograph all of my Christmas gifts before I could properly use or enjoy any of them. And out of that sudden, strong urge I launched The Treasury just a few days later.

The way I see it, there’s no point in something being delightful unless it’s dutifully documented.

My yuletide tradition continues for a third year. I present to you (and, really, to myself) a selection of the Christmas gifts I was lucky enough to have given and received this happy, holiday season.

1. Vintage French Workbooks.

2. Rogues Gallery Key Fob.

3. Gem-like Game Dice.

4. Bandit Boy Screen Print.

5. Retro-Perfect Stabilo Pens.

6. Not Chocolate-Covered Cherries, but Chocolate-Flavored Cherries!

7. Vintage Book on Style.

8. Made-In-America Robin’s Egg Colored Duct Tape.

More and more it’s the little things – the ones that typically show up in my stocking – that give me the biggest smiles at Christmas.

Yesterday’s Fashions Today

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Other than shoes and obscene amounts of boots, I haven’t been buying as much vintage wear as I once did. When you’re young and broke and free, it’s easier to find the patience to flip through racks of Aeropostale polo shirts and Deee-Lite-ful polyester pants for hours on end to find the one rare and worthwhile wearable.

But, of course, if you never shoot, you’ll never score, and so now and then I return to my thrift-store roots in hopes I’ll hit the jackpot.

Last week’s find was a late 70s/early 80s mystery shirt by a brand called CAMPUS® Easy Life.

Its safari and sorta shutter-buggy at first glance, but the shirt’s quilted shoulders & pocket flaps, plus its rounded shawl collar take it to an almost Luke Skywalker-like universe.

It’s just the sort of unusual and interesting piece no label would have reason to design today, and which simply must be rescued from the fading force of yesterday.

So remind me not to forget again about the merits of valiant thrifting. Cause had I not flipped past hanger after hanger of irrelevant vintage for like a whole hour last Friday, I never would’ve nabbed the perfect top for photographing Ewoks or Elaine Irwin in some outer-spacy outback.

But now I do!

On The Scene: Junk Bonanza

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

The beat-up best from around the country is once again up for grabs just south of the Twin Cities in Shakopee at the fifth annual Junk Bonanza.

Vendors and vintage-vultures alike are known to descend upon the epic event from as far away as Australia to witness hundreds of booths worth of weathered old wonders.

From emptied bottles of fizzled out soda pop brands to tattered telegrams to faded dressmaker’s forms the event is more or less an antiques assault on all one’s senses and a one-stop shop for battered but beautiful bargains.

The Junk Bonanza continues through September 18th down at Canterbury Park, so if you can see Minnesota from out your front window, you best U-Haul it on over there and stock up on other people’s old stuff.

On The Scene: Northern Grade Men’s Market

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Sitting smack-dab between the two coasts, Minneapolis isn’t often invited into the big fashion action, but Saturday’s Northern Grade Ad-Hoc Men’s Market proved that both the men and the makers of Minnesota are sturdy and style-minded supporters of the Made-In-The-USA movement.

With manufacturers Red Wing Shoes, J.W. Hulme, and Duluth Pack but three of Minnesota’s revered and revived brand names, there really was no better state in the Union to celebrate the return of American Style to its rugged, well-made roots on a September afternoon.

Hosted within the Architectural Antiques store in Northeast Minneapolis, local mens boutique MartinPatrick3 anchored the handsome action with checked selections from Gitman Bros. Vintage and luscious leather overnighter bags from J.W. Hulme.

A black-to-brick rainbow of Red Wing boots rose over a salvaged fireplace mantle and past two rows of pre-war, movie theatre seats. (I hadn’t seen so many crepe soles in one place since I stomped out of my closet just three hours earlier.)

The Kansas City boys behind Baldwin Denim were among the friendliest at the retail event, offering expert advice on achieving the perfect dude-denim fit.

One of the brands I hadn’t recalled bumping into on the boy blogs before, Taylor Stitch, showcased the fine fabrics behind their shirting with a stash of swatches set all around our big, black world.

The rocking and most of the rolling at Northern Grade was provided by Erik Kosinken and his back-up band, featuring Your Lord Jesus Christ on (invisible) drums.

These two-toned Hulme bags were my favorite find at all of Northern Grade, although I hadn’t realized it until after I’d left. Soft and unstructured like a weathered old windbreaker, they couldn’t look better had you dug some out of the trunk of your Dad’s sedan and snatched ’em without telling him.

The Rock-Ola jukebox wasn’t up or running during the event, but with Dolly Parton and Dean Martin both trapped somewhere deep inside, don’t think I didn’t consider plugging the old puppy back in.

Carefully curated vintage watches and antique books on topics including sailing and stables were stashed near the back of the MartinPatrick3 station. Their mix of old and new items, as at their North 1st Street shop, always emphasizes the beauty of both yesterday and today’s goods.

I’d received a reminder e-mail from MP3 halfway through the afternoon making me wonder (then full-on worry) that the event wasn’t going so well, attendance-wise. But when I arrived I was plum pleased to see how buzzy and bustling the mini-market was.

Man, oh man, the place was alive!

Minnesota, you done made me proud.

A Secret About Sears

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

These days it seems like only the few, fawned over brands bother with building goods handsome and built to last. But once upon a time that wasn’t the case, and even at not-so-chic Sears you’d find scrumptious sweaters made by Ohio Knitting Mills and wingtips as deadly and dapper as the four in my collection.

The first pair wound up in my possession randomly, as part of a costume for a film, and a size and a half too large for me. But the second set were selected because they were the most striking of all the brown wingtips in my size at a local vintage shop.

The rest were sought out specifically on e-bay, and although the era and interior Sears emblem varies a bit from style to style, each pair is rock-solid outside and pillow soft inside. With vintage wingtips, if the leather is too pebbly or too dull the shoe reads as too dusty, dated and drab – but the Sears shoes are grained and glossed just perfectly so.

And, apropos for a Sears shoe, even a rare vintage one, I’ve never paid more than $19.99 for a pair. If Alden or Trickers wingtips elude you economically, go see the softer side of Sears.

Shine On

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Recent foraging through my favorite thrift store had proved fruitless for months on end, but the curse was finally broken this week with some shiny, fine finds.

Totally “Hot” bling – for my house, not me.

The “family portrait” of all I found including a massive quartz crystal that Speidi would die for.

The fine print on my ‘lil British tin.

I found a place for all my shiny finds in almost no time; although the lamp is resting in a closet, waiting for some shade.

Filed Under Awesome

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Last weekend for 75 cents I found a plastic bag of these vote-baiting nail file freebies from the late 1980s.

I don’t know how effective they really would’ve been as a campaigning tool, but as retro mementos they are clear winners. The powder of the blue and the brick of the red in these specific shades are a thing of the past.

I’m thinking of going back to where I got the first bag of files, buying about ten more, then sticking them like bouquets in a quartet of metal vases. But I’d need to host a party with some sort of coinciding theme in order to be that dweeby about dumb old nail files – and I can’t think of a logical enough link.


Homemade Vintage

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Ever since this winter, Monday morning through Friday afternoon I pretty much won’t pop a single thing into my mouth unless the chick from Clueless says it’s okay.

As a result, I’m now a walking punchline – and half of my clothes are now too big for me and my plant-fueled body.

Thankfully, for the past ten years I haven’t been able to throw out any adorable article of clothing too large or too small without first saying to myself, “You know, you’re either gonna be one of those people who get thicker and thicker the older they get, or you’re gonna be one of those people who get skinnier and skinnier the older they get. So, self, you better save that sweater/tuxedo shirt/tattoo-ed pair of 1999 CK jeans, just in case you grow a little bit thicker or a little skinnier anytime between now and the year 2062.”

I now have five ‘n a half coffin-sized bins of my former fashion hits and misses messing up my attic which I rummage through every few months. It’s like my own personal thrift store but with far fewer Hilfiger hoodies.

I might not get to eat anything fried or frosted during the week because of that damned vegan has-been, but I can fit into my favorite jeans from Fall of 2000 again which I never thought would happen.

It’s not quite as delicious as Thai chicken with basil was, or salted caramel milkshakes were, but digging into a heaping mound of well-worn clothing classics you yourself turned vintage is tasty in its own way

Only In France…

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

After five hours of traveling we capped off our 95 minute sprint through Mt. St. Michel with a cone of crispy Chu-Chis, deep fried twigs of dough that are then doused in a dramatic downpour of sugar. Like a funnel cake, but tough and crunchier.

We were held up by Mean Mickey at the Porte de Vanves flea market. It’s a drastic makeover, but he wears armed & insane surprisingly well.

Flower-buddy spices at the Galleries Lafayette über-market.

I assumed the golden nose on this $1400 McClown lamp was its on switch, but, sadly, the joke was on me.

France is the land of 10,000 carousels. We saw many, rode one, and photographed most of them.

Down in Nice there was a strong Italian influence and so we strolled around the city with gelatto cones twice a day. At our favorite shop, if you ordered two flavors, they didn’t just plop one down on the other, snow-man style, but created radial little blossoms of creamy coolness.

Whenever I’m in a foreign land, I like to hunt down grocery market finds by brands we have back at home of specific products which we do not. I even sacrificed precious room in my suitcase to pack in a big box of Kellogg’s Tresor cereal.

The daffy door leading to the unisex restrooms at Colette.

As you can see, France isn’t all fussy refinement. It can flash a little crass and whole lot of sass.

American Legion Chorus – 1948

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Sometimes I’ll see an old black & white photograph of soldiers and think about taking it home and tacking it up on my wall. But it seems slightly insensitive, turning their wartime tasks and troubles into trend-ified decor.

Photographs of rugby or rowing jocks seem safer and equally as stylish, but, really have no place padding the walls of anywhere I live – there’s nothing about me that’s ever been slightly sportsman-like.


So it was such a score to come upon this American Legion Chorus image. Former soldiers singing on stage, dressed up to the nines – that sits with me just fine.


I’m really hypnotized by the regal pomp of the image. It has such a magical mood to it that today is all but extinct, I think.


If directors of Jenny Lewis or The National music videos don’t read this and cop the concept themselves, I’m gonna dress one of my gal pals up in a Lady Liberty look and set her on stage with some white-tuxed tenors and baritones and shoot something similar myself.

So inspiring…

Sweatin’ to the Oldies

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I’ve recently purchased a trio of vintage military sweatshirts over the past weeks. I’d been envisioning wearing them in one of two ways:


1. With short shorts and either my new Common Projects sneakers or some sort of boots – as if I’ve been running up and down Mt. Currahee with my band of brothers in Easy Company. Or…

2. Dressed up, over a white oxford, with khakis and black or brown wingtips. The mash-up of the politely preppy with the mucho-macho military delivers the real thrill.


Unfortunately, the two S/M shirts pictured here proved a titch too S and not enough M for me. So I tried to pawn them off on the e-baying public but only the red one proved popular.

(I’ll post an image of the third sweatshirt I pulled the trigger on once it arrives later this week. Hopefully that one’ll fit.)