Today I have a little interview I did with my friend Annette, the vintage and antique shopping expert and blogger behind A Vintage Splendor. She’s always wearing something amazing that she found at a thrift shop or instagramming a killer flea market find, so I asked her to share some of her shopping tips and secrets. Luckily she obliged and now I have some great new shops and websites to check out!
“Have you always been into vintage, or was there something specific that sparked your interest?”
I’ve always been interested in vintage clothing, jewelry, and decor. I love the craftsmanship of vintage pieces, plus I love the story of each piece. I used to go vintage shopping with my Mom when I was younger and she taught me the tricks of the trade as they say. She showed me where to shop, how to spot quality designer pieces, and most importantly have fun with the whole experience. Although Iris Apfel has the largest collection of vintage costume jewelry, my Mom and I collectively have an amazing collection!
I have to admit, in High School I did get weird looks from friends when I told them I snagged pieces from the thrift store. I’m so glad that there isn’t a weird stigma with buying vintage or second hand pieces anymore.
“What are your favorite vintage/antique shops in LA?”
My favorite vintage store for clothing is Sweet As Vintage in Echo Park and for furniture it has to be Sunbeam Vintage in Highland Park. Sweet As Vintage is owned by 2 best friends who put the cool in curate. Every single piece in their store is hand picked by them and each piece is simply beautiful. I like to swing by Sweet As when shopping for a dress for a fun fete or wedding. Sunbeam is curated, but it’s more of a warehouse and turnover in product is crazy. I like to visit every couple of weeks to check out new pieces and have bought a lot of great pieces for my home at Sunbeam. They carry a lot of mid century modern furniture and accessories and the prices are very reasonable.
“Do you have any favorite online resources (that you’ll share!)?”
I buy a lot of pieces on Etsy and eBay. Just like a trip to thrift store or flea market requires scouring for gems, it’s a lot of work finding vintage online, but it’s well worth it! Identify what items or pieces you want and then start your search being as specific as possible. From there broaden your search as needed, but you’ll be surprised by what you find even searching for really unique items. My husband calls this the black hole of vintage shopping because it sucks me in for hours at a time! I also shop Thriftwares online for dresses although I do pay a premium for it.
“Which items are best to buy secondhand, and are there any items that you think it’s best to just purchase new?”
Furniture, dresses, and jewelry are the best items to buy second hand in my opinion. The quality and craftsmanship is impeccable and they generally require little to no alterations or updates. My current dining chairs came from the flea market (with the original fabric) and only required a deep cleaning. Same goes for jewelry, which requires nominal cleaning before wear. Dresses sometimes require alterations, but it is money well spent because it’s for a unique, quality item that fits you perfectly. Much like shopping for new pieces, if you love a vintage piece and can’t imagine life without it, then buy it!
I wouldn’t buy shoes second hand. Shoes conform to the wearer’s sole so wearing someone else’s shoes means back pain and it’s simply not worth it. Save up and buy new shoes.
“Lastly – any other tips you might have?”
When visiting the flea market or a thrift store, you should definitely have an action plan before you start shopping. If not, you’ll be shopping around for hours and not walk away with anything. Of course, there is the off chance that you will find something but thrifting can be daunting because there is always so much going on at once. For example, if you’re looking to buy a credenza, then only stick to the furniture section at the Rose Bowl Flea! Although you’ll be tempted by the cute summer dresses, stick to your plan.