I grew up all over Southern California, spending my adolescent years in Malibu. Talk about eclectic! Many of the kids I went to school with had access to…well…pretty much anything their teenage hearts desired. While a lot of the guys wore designer surfer-chic and a lot of the girls wore designer EVERYTHING, a brave few chose another uniform: vintage. Not necessarily the type of vintage you’d see on the red carpet of a Hollywood premiere…more the type that got them branded with names like “goth” and “punk” and “freak”.
These “freaks” definitely did not purchase the bulk of their wardrobes in Malibu. No, they went at least as far as Santa Monica and Venice, where they scoured the racks of vintage stores for 1940s era prom gowns, 1950s saddle shoes, 1920s bowler hats, 1960s concert t-shirts, and 1970s tweed blazers. The girls accessorized with cameo necklaces and velvet chokers; the guys accessorized with pencil mustaches and suspenders. They listened to the music of everyone from Billie Holiday to Marilyn Manson, and they had more to say about the “corrupt U.S. government” than anyone else I knew. The spirit of forward-movement and progressive change emanated from these “freaks”, despite the fact that their clothing came from the past. They were future writers, actors, musicians, designers, inventors, and entrepreneurs.
Although highly artistic and creative, I was always a jeans-and-t-shirt girl, never bold enough to wear my vintage 1940s strapless peach taffeta prom dress to school (although I did wear it to prom). Instead, I looked on at my anarchistic peers with shy admiration. Vintage was a statement and a lifestyle for them, and I knew that wearing it head-to-toe would never feel like “me”.
That didn’t stop me from perusing every vintage and antique shop I happened upon, oohing and aahing over all the beautiful, interesting relics from times passed. It wasn’t until moving to Long Beach a year ago that I truly gave in and began incorporating vintage into my everyday life. It was love at first sight between me and Retro Row, and the relationship has been going strong ever since. Vintage purses and votives made from blue glass seem to be my weakness, and my hand-etched leather wallet is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I recently bought my first pair of cowboy boots, which I pretty much live in now. They’re beat up and broken in and perfect. I’d probably buy every pair I saw, but luckily for my bank account, I’m a women’s size 11…soooo hard to find. And silver jewelry? Fuggedaboudit. I try not to salivate, but I’m sure my facial expression is a little pathetic, which is only one of the reasons I prefer to shop alone.
In addition to helping bring more attention to some of the most amazing antique and vintage shops in the world, I am here to help you, the reader, track down exactly what you are looking for…and since sometimes, even YOU don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, we’ll be making your life a little easier by featuring a new Item of the Day for each of our featured shops. Feel free to send me all your questions, leads, and thoughts by clicking on the “Comment” link below this blog. I’d love to hear from you!