It may come as no surprise if you’ve been following me on Instagram, that I’m developing an obsession with vintage shopping. I never really explored it before, but I’m falling in love particularly with the classic accessories and homeware that I’ve found in some local and online vintage shops over the summer. Today I’m talking about all things vintage — what I prefer to buy vintage, what the obstacles are, and the best and most trustworthy stores I’ve found thus far.
I’ve always worn my mom’s vintage clothing and accessories but to me, that felt different than going out and shopping for other people’s things. It wasn’t until I recently came into my new earring obsession that I became interested in taking my treasure hunting mainstream.
I first felt inspired to scour my local vintage shops after seeing some gorgeous, chunky gold earrings on Instagram. I had been seeing these old fashioned bobbles styled with classic outfits and thought they looked so elegant and old Italian style. I was determined to find my own, but as a vintage shopping novice, I didn’t know where to start.
I found some local vintage shops here in Chicago and noticed that quality and care can vary greatly from store to store. There’s really no other way to figure this out than going to check them out in person. Once I found a few that I loved, I talked a bit with the owners to understand how often they get new pieces in. Now I have a few great spots to circle back to whenever I feel finding some new treasures.
What I Shop For
Like I said, I’m really into vintage earrings right now. I really love looking through tray after tray of sparkly bobbles and picking out the styles and shapes that best suit me. It’s also pretty fun to see some of the funky patterns and designs out there. I really feel like you can’t easily find these chunky, old fashioned earrings in contemporary stores. They’re so classic and the best part is that no one will probably ever find the same pair as you. All vintage jewelry is so unique and it’s totally up to you to hunt for something special.
Another category I’m really enjoying shopping vintage is homeware and home accessories. I’m really enjoying photographing crystal pieces and how the light hits them for some of my clients and I’m finding the coolest dishes and salt cellars made of crystal that look so cute holding jewelry or beauty products. I’ve totally changed up my bathroom storage to use these elegant dishes for storage.
I’m slowly breaking into shopping for clothing, because I’m so picky here when it comes to quality. I haven’t yet found a store (besides some higher end designer vintage shops online) that has great quality and well taken care of clothing, so I’m reluctant to jump into clothing shopping. I do, however, love vintage purses! I’m having so much fun searching through antique shops and ebay for gorgeous, one-of-a-kind little bags. There are so many gorgeous and dainty bags out there, and they’re pretty cheap too!
Things To Look Out For
I have two hangups with vintage shopping. One is quality. I don’t like the idea of buying anything that’s worn down or visibly damaged or used, so I really inspect things for quality before buying. If you’re shopping online, I would advise reading all of the details in the product descriptions, as the reliable websites are honest about wear and tear. I really enjoy finding some small homeware accessories like teacups and saucers, but I find that bigger pieces of furniture are often too worn-looking for me to want to buy. Just a personal preference, but it comes into play more when shopping online since you have to rely on photos and descriptions.
My other issue with vintage shopping has always been wearing or using something that somebody else has previously, and therefore holds their energy to some degree. This is actually the reason why I wasn’t interested in vintage until now— I found it a little off-putting to think of someone else’s energy in my things. I feel like anything we own and use carries our energy, which is a positive thing. I love wearing my mother’s clothes and jewelry, for example, because I really feel her presence in them.
But with strangers, I’m not so into the idea because you never know. One way I work around this is to sage my things and/or my home after bringing new things home or to just set an intention of some kind to clear out any negative energy. I think setting intentions, even in your mind, does have an effect on the energy of your space and belongings, just like how many people bless their food before eating.
Stores I Love
If you’re in Chicago, here’s a list of stores I’m enjoying shopping at:
· Brownstone Antiques and Collectibles in Andersonville
· Vintage Underground in Wicker Park
· Randolph Street Antique Market in the West Loop
Here are some online shops I know are trustworthy and high quality:
· Susan Caplan :: This company is London based, so the international shipping is a few extra bucks but she has stunning and extremely well-curated jewelry that’s both designer and more affordable, vintage and contemporary. I bought my very first pair of vintage earrings from here and I still wear them regularly. I also have my eye on several pairs of incredible designer vintage pairs of hers. Cannot get enough!
· Treasures of NYC :: I found this shop on Instagram, and I know there are many prominent influencers who shop designer pieces from them. I have some big goals of a particular vintage designer bag, so I’ve been keeping tabs on their inventory.
· Vestiaire Collective :: This is a huge website for vintage and contemporary consignment pieces. I haven’t bought anything from them, but I check their inventory sometimes when I’m keeping a lookout for good deals since I know they are trustworthy and keep good care of their items.
If you have any other stores or advice on vintage shopping, I’d love to hear from you!