Saturday, March 6, 2010

Vintage Show Confessions

So, today I went to my first Vintage Clothing and Textile Show and I must say it was a chaotic but very exciting experience! I didn’t bring my camera with me (wanted to be sure to have arms free to hold all the spoils), so aside from showing you an outfit pic taken before the show and some snaps of my goodies post-shopping, I shall have to paint a verbal picture. For the record, I must note that I was the only gal decked out in full vintage wear. I saw one other hip rockabilly dame with tats and red lips and Bettie Page hair, but that was all! Being a rather shy person in new environs, I was not prepared for the number of lovely compliments I got regarding my shoes, my dress, my purse, and even my hair! Very very flattering, but overwhelming!

Vintage Show Outfit 1930s knit dress


Now, as for the actual vintage stock, there were about 25 vendors, but only two of them ended up being the most of interest to me, in terms of stocking a few 1930s and 40s dresses (I’m pretty sure I scooped ALL of them up). I was really proud of myself from honing in on what I consider the good stuff almost immediately; however, I had to fight hard to let this rather pushy vintage dealer who was shopping her friend’s booth from literally grabbing three 40s dresses right out of my hand! Thankfully, I’m no shrinking violet when it comes to defending myself or protecting what’s mine, so was successfully able to scoop up and pay for my frocks before they could be pried from my grasp!!!! IN all fairness, after I ran into this same lady two more times in other booths, she introduced herself to me and gave me her card for her own business (she’s a vintage seller herself), so I may have ended up with a new source! I also scored some great 1930s vintage ephemera from the estate of a woman who was a dressmaker and costumer.

vintage show spoils


The frock tussling aside , I couldn’t get over the fact that, except for a couple of vendors with amazing Victorian dresses and beaver hats (and there was one 1880s plaid day dress on display that made me almost swoon on the spot …I didn’t even dare to ask the price), most stalls were filled with items from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Aside from the two vendors I spent most of my funds at, the sellers with anything from the 1950s and earlier were gouging customers, in my opinion. Example: for a 1920s flapper dress I’ve seen go for about $175 on Etsy, one vendor was asking $400 dollars. It made me start wondering whether Etsy pricing is more of an accurate reflection of the growing scarcity and value of these dresses or if the vendors are indeed hyperinflating their prices. Right now, my point is that, if this show is a reflection of a larger reality, especially in Canada, but possibly also elsewhere, Depression era and wartime frocks are becoming rare endangered species!. What this means is that, considering their growing scarcity and preciousness, the prices shops like mine on Etsy are actually offering are often much lower prices than elsewhere!

While scoring some lovely items for the shop made me very happy indeed, perhaps the most stellar thing to come out of this day was the fact that I ended up forging a few connections with people involved in costuming for the film industry (one of whom played a key role in costumes for the film Chicago!). Can’t say more about it right now, but fingers crossed this could yield some stellar future stock for the shop! WHEW what a DAY! Watch the shop for new arrivals over the next few days!

Music I'm Listening To: Nouvelle Vague again

22 comments:

Betty Lou said...

Wow! Congrats to the finds! And i love, love your dress!

Gingeyginge said...

You look amazing

Stefanie Valentine said...

That's the problem i find with vintage fairs, a lot of the stuff is from the 70s and 80s. It looks like you found some pretty stuff though, and well done on your clothes-defending skills!
I'm not surprised you got lots of compliments, you look lovely :)
xx

BomshellShocked said...

Wow! You really scored!!

Re: pricing. My sister and I were just discussing how we'd pay twice as much in person for as dress, than we would on line. No matter how many measurements are provided, you don't really know until its on your body. Add that to some seller's amazingly bad descriptions about condition issues.

Personally, in the last year I've found exactly 4 vintage 1920's pieces, and maybe 6-8 30's. They are an endangered species!

BaronessVonVintage said...

Thanks, dolls!

Bombshellshocked, you DO make a really good point about the trickiness of perfect fit when buying items online. I also agree that accurate descriptions can be lacking, especially on eBay, I've noticed. It's interesting (but sad) that you have noted a similar scarcity of 20s, 30s, and 40s. In Canada, that scarcity is even greater than such densely populated countries as the United States. Still, I have hope that I can continue to tap into quality sources!

Miss Rayne said...

Love the navy & white affair, classic combination!
British 30s/40s items are becoming rare too and many dealers import from the States. Prices are probably much higher here than canada.

Francy said...

You look incredible! I would love to go to something like this. I know what you mean about scarcity. I would love to own more authentic '20s pieces, but I can never find them in any vintage or antique shops where I live. So far, I have only found two.

pixiedrivein.blogspot.com

zuburbia.blogspot.com said...

I love vintage clothing shows too! And I've compiled a list of tips for vintage fashionistas to help make their time at these shows as fun and productive as possible:

http://zuburbia.com/blog/2010/02/09/shopping-at-the-vintage-fashion-expo-tips-for-vintage-fashionistas/

Mary Kincaid | Zuburbia.com

Rueby... said...

Pricing at shows is ALWAYS more than online/elsewhere. No matter what we're talking about. I am CHEAP...very, VERY cheap. But I can afford to be as I KNOW how much things go for at the thrift store, the antique store, or the antique show and how common they are. Yet...my entire house is from the 60s or earlier. I've never paid more than $30 for a vintage dress. And the kicker to all this is that I live in ALBERTA...we have NOTHING here. I go to Vancouver and nearly have a heart attack because of the sheer AMOUNT of vintage everything that there is.

30s/40s obviously are not going to remain cheap/abundant forever...but I wouldn't call them a rare breed by any means. I never see 30s/40s stuff in person, its just NOT around here mainly because in the 30s/40s Alberta only had maybe a million ppl across the whole province. Yet, I still wouldn't be willing to pay very much for items of that era! And online, I'd be able to get items for the prices I would be willing to pay.

Dizzy Dame said...

LOVE your dress!

Celestial Charms said...

Great dress your wearing. Happy you made some interesting connections too.
Maureen

1930s Girls About Town said...

I can see why you got so many compliments - even if there had been lots of girls dressed in vintage! Looks like you found some GREAT stuff -I hope (selfishly) some 30s in a 40-bust. I'm going to our local show, the Vintage Fashion Expo in San Francisco in a couple of weeks & would be pleased to do half as well as you did!

BaronessVonVintage said...

Rueby, that is so interesting, as I'm from Alberta originally and I just moved away from Vancouver after living there for 10 years. I have to say that I've just not seen what you've seen in Vancouver, when we're talking about availability and affordability of items from the 1940s and earlier that are in excellent or very good condition. What I saw happening in Vancouver was that (as with here in Ontario), most stuff from the 1950s and earlier was getting snapped out of thrift shops by a small number of vintage store dealers and then sold to the public at what I consider very high prices (much higher than $30). A similar thing is happening out in Ontario, which has an even bigger population than Vancouver and even more "older" vintage, due to its older history. The woman at my local goodwill told me that they have strict instructions to send anything that looks older or of value to headquarters where it is then baled up or cherry picked by certain dealers who have the monopoly. That is why, when I have gone to the two biggest vintage stores in Toronto, I saw 1950s dresses for $300 dollars that are being sold for $100 on Etsy and even eBay. Gadabout vintage DOES have a massive amount of "older" vintage, but you can expect to pay over $100 for a good quality 1940s rayon dress. Maybe slightly less than that if they're having a sale. In the case of the vintage show I went to, I actually was lucky enough to find some dresses in the most pristine condition EVER and at much less cost than the vintage shops I've been to.

Anywhoo, that is my experience: since you've had a different perspective, I'd love to know where in Vancouver one could get top quality frocks from the 40s or earlier for $30 or under (if you're willing to share this info, I'd be so eager to hear it). :)

BaronessVonVintage said...

Thank you so much again everyone for your kind words on my outfit and for your thoughts on my post.

1930s Girls: I will have a peek and see what the sizing on the 30s items might be!

I must add: OMG, as I was typing that post, it hit me: I'm bloody old. People can probably glean from my blog that I'm thirtysomething, so when I talk about vintage, I still have a hard time thinking of items from the 90s, 80s, 70s, and even 60s as vintage. I grew up with a grandmother whose house was pure 50s/60s retromania. My parents came of age in the 60s and 70s, so if I think of those time periods as "antique," then I must acknowledge my own advancing age ;) The point is: Rueby, when you say there is just an abundance of vintage in the West, are we talking about 40s and earlier or what one very prominent dealer calls "the good, old stuff." (Side note: this internationally acclaimed vintage dealer told me he refuses to bring 1950s and earlier items to shows because they are too valuable. He probably has all the goods).

reilly said...

Ooh, I can't wait for you to post more about your goodies! The shoes look excellent.

I definitely think it's the majority of Etsy and eBay sellers who have their prices right, not the people who have brick-and-mortar shops or go to shows like that. I think they count on people being uninformed about vintage clothing (so they don't realize they're paying out of their ears), or they're uninformed/out-of-touch themselves and don't realize how many sellers there are out there. They think they have no competition.

I went to a similar fair once and there was only one or two booths with the real old stuff as well. The pricing was sort of random, up and down, but luckily I could get a discount on my very full bag of treats, haha. I'd love to go to one again, I just need to remember to haggle and make sure to hold stuff up to the light, so you don't get surprised by holes or stains.

All in all, sounds like you had a good day! That's awesome about the connections you were able to make.

The Dreamstress said...

Love your outfit, love the stuff you got!

And I hate that charity shops siphon off the good stuff right away. When I give stuff to charity shops I want to support the charity, but also to support people who can't pay top dollar, and it makes me fume when I see my stuff go straight to resale designer and vintage stores. That wasn't the point!

Ms. B @ Millie Deel said...

Love your shopping outfit!! Looks like you got some great finds!!!

BomshellShocked said...

I just wanted to add a couple more thoughts....

First, when you consider the math on a 1930's dress, we're talking EIGHTY years ago. That goes a lot further back than some modern day grandma clearing out her house to move to Florida. This stuff has to have been in some serious deep storage AND that storage had to keep it in good condition. Heck, I've seen old rayon crepe shrivel up to nothing just from being in the same room with a faucet :)

Also, in the past few years I've seen more and more girls getting into the 30's look.

Not to mention the eye candy displayed on Turner Classic Movies on a regular basis.

Low supply + high demand = top prices.

Anyway, if you're ever in Chicago, we can take a stroll up the street to a local store that specializes in 80s and 90s vintage for a good giggle and then continue on to the one that has a huge rack of 30s and 40s gowns...and hit a dozen other vintage shops while we're at it...Without a car!!

lauren said...

what a fun day! it sounds like you got so much stuff. i find those vintage shows to be so pricey that i end up only buying a few things and even then only very special things, so congrats to you!

Poppy Gets a Life said...

Great to hear your experiences! I too liked your outfit very much.

Poppy xox

bellisimama said...

i LOVE your dress! so jealous of you getting to go to that. sounds so fun!

~ said...

I love your shopping outfit!!
Great snags also~ :-)