One of the most intriguing aspects of fashion is its ability to transport people, whether it is to another era or another mindset. What we put on each morning can define how we feel about ourselves that day and how we want to interact with the world. Fashion allows us to mold ourselves, put on a costume, and live a fantasy. This blog is primarily about using styles and trends of the past to transport ourselves today.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vintage Shopping in Seattle

(Above) Me in my new Vintage Dress "next to" the Space Needle

For me, one of the highlights of traveling to a new city is...Exploring the Vintage Stores!While my hometown of Los Angeles has a substantial amount of vintage and antique stores for a wide range of budgets, it is always exciting to discover the vintage niches in other citites! You never know what you will find....

I recently visited Seattle, Washington for the first time on a vacation with my best friend. Of course, there are many sights to see- Museums, the Space Needle, and can't forget Pike's Place, but my heart belongs with the old, the antiquated, the one-of-a-kind piece that only exists in that particular store at that moment. Luckily, we were able to dedicate a day to exploring various neighborhoods and I plotted the Vintage hot-spots like oases in a desert.

Note: These "stops" are not intended to be a route followed in order, public transportation is needed as some of the destinations are not within walking distance.

Their gorgeous "pin-up" business card
Diva Dollz is located in historic Pioneer Square

Diva Dollz red, black, and white themed window display.

Diva Dollz is a cute store that focuses on vintage inspired pieces made for the Modern. The plethera of halter dress and classic rockabilly pieces including peddle pushers, corsets, circle skirts, and pencil skirts are new and wearable versus authentic vintage, which can be fragile and uncomfortable to the modern woman. The fabric choices are spot on with various shades of cotton gingham, vintage inspired florals, polka dots, plaids, and handkerchief prints that make caring for the garments a piece of cake!
One of the cutest thing about the store is the sales girls who are also decked out in full retro rockabilly style from head to toe. The store also sells custom  hats, shoes, handbags, vintage inspired and antique jewelry, as well as a full array of tights- seamed, fishnet and all of the above!
Le Frock, located on Capitol Hill, has a less stylized business card, reflecting the wide range of styles carried in their store that, in contrast to Diva Dollz, is not targeting a specific type of customer, ex: the classic Rockabilly girl

Why are there no pictures of the inside of the store and its merchandise?
Many stores will allow customers to take pictures of the outside of their store, but not the inside, due to the large market for vintage knock-offs. It is not in the store's best interest to have potential designers come in to a store, take only photos of what they like, and leave. Many vintage stores with that kind of clientele will charge designers a rental fee for the clothing or have them purchase it-It's only fair.
The outside of Le Frock- Well merchandised left window in contrast to the crowded right window, I think, captures the essence of the store. While there are some great vintage finds in this store, be prepared to rummage and be prepared to bump into people. The store is small, packed with racks, wallpapered in clothes. There is a small upstairs that has sale items and dressing rooms. It is also a consignment store

Merchandise: I was pleasantly surprised how much men's clothes Le Frock carries. It can be difficult to find great vintage men's clothes and in this store, I have to say, in my opinion, the men's section outdid the women's! Most of the women's clothes is thrift store quality, but if you look, you can find some amazing reasonably priced vintage labels. For example, I came across a Pucci dress priced at around $200. Other names I spotted were Diane Von Furstenberg and Betsey Johnson.

STOP #3: AREA 51
In walking distance to Le Frock, this store specializes in new and old Vintage Modern Furniture
The sign outside is an old Marquee
Inside- the store is very large and open space with a lot of windows. The furniture is arranged in rooms that make sense that mixes classic vintage pieces with artistic contemporary pieces. The modern accents are very unique and sometimes abstract, making the store feel almost like an art gallery.
One of the display windows at Area 51

Some items for sale- taken from their online store
Vintage Tugboat Search Light $900
How f*cking cool is this!
Talk about not only a conversation piece, but very original to have this in your home, hopefully you won't get blinded when you turn it on.

Bathurst Cabinet $1595
I chose this picture because of the drawing on the wall. It captures the essence of the store's artsy, yet scientific feel. I love diagrams.

Classic Danish Modern Credenza- $1200
One of these days I will own one and an amazing house to put it in!
You can quote me on that

New Factory Pallet Coffee Table- $595
I love the asymmetry and originality of this piece, reminds me of a wagon

The only item I purchased at Area 51!! A souvenir from the 1962 World's Fair
It's surprisingly durable, for being almost 50 year old glass! Ya, I already accidentally knocked it over...
I was going to use it to hold pencils, but I don't want to dirty the glass. Hmmm...

In short, I highly recommend this store!

Winner of most original and stylish Business card:
This is pictured on the outside of a card sized envelope

Inside the envelope is the real business card
ta' da!

This store is in walking distance to Area 51 and Le Frock
Outside of The Vutique- clean and sophisticated window display!
The friendly and put together sales girl gave us an idea of what The Vutique is all about. Not only is it a vintage store, but the owner, Vu, also re-designs vintage pieces, updating their wearability in a sustainable way.
I love the simplicity of this store. The clothes were organized in a way that makes sense, the racks were not crowded, and  it made me feel that every piece of clothing was special, had been thought about and has a purpose for being on the rack. In contrast to other vintage stores, I feel that The Vutique is very on trend.

Check out their blog:

The store's merchandise is mostly geared towards womenswear, but has a few men's pieces including shoes and accessories. I noticed clothing from the 1940's to contemporary pieces, a lot of beading, florals, and of course, some amazing black dresses.

The price point is justifiably higher than the average "thrift" store. Considering that The Vutique is in a class entirely above average, the prices make sense.

I bought this gorgeous classic black dress (Can you believe, until now I did not own a "little black dress!)
Scandalous! This knee length dress was priced at $225.00 and while it is not a label, I thought it was worth it!
Yay for pockets!

Detail of Beaded Hem of the black dress I bought

Are you hungry yet?
Located on Bainbridge Island
Of course, when there is a retro looking diner, I am pulled to it like a magnet and have to stop in!

Deliciousness! We went for lunch and I ordered a turkey sandwich. Sounds boring, but it was delish, as was the potato salad served on the side!

Tons and I mean TONS of vintage stuff. My eyes were so overwhelmed, I couldn't decide what to buy!

From the street level..this is what you see..a doorway with a long staircase underground..ooh!
So, of course we investigated! The walls down the stairwell are covered in cartoonish paintings and once you reach the bottom..oh my! Vintage heaven!
I snuck this picture...shhh!
The store is more like a warehouse with multiple levels of vintage-ness.
From Pyrex dishes, ashtrays, housewares, albums, clothes, more clothes, knick-knacks, jewelry, furniture,  this store has it all. 
fell flat....was closed when we :(
Next time....
Has a very appealing sign though!!! 


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