I was sorting through bins upon bins of vintage clothing I have collected over the years and realized I needed to let go of some of my treasures which I logically call inventory. Selling vintage is a very difficult process for those of us that see the beauty in items that others might not. We want to rescue it all – give it new life. We want to show it love and attention. We ignore the stains and rips and tell it it is beautiful in our eyes.
Sometimes I find a vintage garment or home good and I am conscious of its flaws. I know it will take some work to revive it or make it presentable. I know it’s probably best to pass it up. Just say no. But the potential! But it’s rare! But it’s almost perfect.
And as much mending, polishing, re-dying, re-painting as I put in, it is still going to be worth much less to everyone else than it is to me.
And my most valuable pieces? Yes, this is how hoarding starts my friends. They are too beautiful and too valuable to let go. It’s time to decide if I am a collector or dealer – a fine line always.
This is all a parallel of what my personal life has been for almost a year, which is why you haven’t heard from me. Letting go has been a painful process. It seems that as soon as you let go of one important thing in your life, it’s soon time to let go of another.
So I took some time off to let go of many things. And I realized that when I let go of personal human treasures from the past, it made me focus on letting go of the physical vintage treasures piling up and reviving the activities that make me happy like blogging and discussing vintage.
So I’m back.
The blog will be taking a new direction – not just focused on vintage clothing, but home and lifestyle as well. I hope you will revisit me and come along for the ride.
For now, I am letting go of the guilt of not blogging, letting go of a ton of vintage treasures, and letting go of any goals and expectations that aren’t a direct reflection of who I am and what I love. I hope you love it too.
February 13, 2014 3 Comments
Because I love to curate vintage news too…
The history of the Birkin bag – DoYouRemember.com give a history lesson on the most iconic luxury bag, the Hermes Birkin
The Department Store Museum is a great resource for learning about the history of department stores
$15 Flea Market Find to Fetch $300,000 – A rare Alexander Calder necklace from the 30s was found at a flea market and going to auction
Fashion journalist and owner of the vintage clothing shop Lovely’s Vintage Emporium shares her vintage shopping tips with Marie Claire UK (P.S. Lynnette Peck Bateman is also featured in my social media for vintage dealers guide)
A great feature and interview with Katie Thomas of vintage lingerie shop What Katie Did
image source: Exhile or Exhibit
August 16, 2013 No Comments
I’ve always said that I wish we could dress for travel. They way people used to dress before leggings and sweat pants were acceptable to board a plane. Well I’m not alone! A few weeks ago, I attended the opening of a new exhibition at the FIDM Museum. My friend Jessica Hastings of MyVintageVogue.com collaborated with Dave Temple, owner of Clever Vintage and the Helms Vintage Show, to create a super fun exhibit of travel styles and travel advertisements and fashion photography throughout the decades.
The exhibit is fabulous! Refined suits, practical and stylish luggage and wonderful images all depicting stylish and well traveled families jetsetting and road tripping.
The exhibition is still going on at the FIDM Museum. But hurry, it ends July 19. You’ll love it!
July 12, 2013 1 Comment
I love it when I am shopping for one thing, but I find something even better instead. I practically sprinted for this AMAZING mid century brass lamp last week. The brass color, the patina, the stylish bulbous head, the sexy curves. Oh it’s soooo good! And it works! The only thing is that it requires small round bulbs, like for chandeliers. So that’s a bit of an extra expense. But she is so worth it. She’s too pretty not to use. I have not rewired it. I don’t think I will either because the cord is in perfect condition and the base is covered in the hard plastic so I don’t think there is any damage. I love to shop at thrift stores for my home!
Do you rewire your vintage lamps? Leave me a comment!
June 27, 2013 2 Comments
I’m so excited to announce the launch of a new project – Vintagepreneur! Vintagepreneur.com is a platform for vintage and antiques dealers who really want to embrace social media, blogging and online marketing but are a bit overwhelmed. Owning a vintage business is overwhelming. Most dealers are too busy or overwhelmed to deal with social media and online marketing. But it’s sort of a catch 22 for most dealers – how will people find you and your merchandise if you aren’t putting yourself out there?
I’m a teacher by trade, so I have always tried to teach and coach my vintage colleagues about blogging and how to use these really cool internet tools to help them with business. So this new site came sort of organically. I teach so why not teach something I am passionate about – social media and vintage! I even adopted the title of Vintagepreneur. I think it describes me well! I am so excited about the possibilities for the platform. Mostly I wanted to create a space where I could share all the stuff I have learned, the mistakes I have made (and how to avoid them), and help people use social media to grow grow grow!
So if you are a vintage or antiques dealer, currently or aspiring, or know someone who is, please send them the link to Vintagepreneur.com. I’m really hoping, as vintage and antiques folks, we can learn from each other.
And I have a special launch gift. When you sign up for the mailing list, you get a free eguide! FREE! It’s my top three must use social media sites for your vintage business. I even give you examples of vintage dealers and influencers who are using the sites very effectively.
This is a scary, exciting, thrilling, feels right, announcement. Thank you for all your support and I look forward to seeing some of you vinties on the other site!
June 26, 2013 3 Comments
I have been blogging here as Debutante Clothing since 2005! Whoa. I’m an oldie, but a goodie. Which is why I want to make sure we don’t lose touch. If you are a subscriber to the RSS feed here and you use Google Reader, you will soon be missing out on any new updates to the blog because Google Reader will no longer exsist as of July 1. That means you will lose all your favorite blog feeds as well. So I had to find some alternatives for you if you want to continue to receive updates via a RSS reader.
My favorite is Bloglovin‘. It really is a pretty reader, and let’s face it – this is a visual blog and if you follow as many vintage, fashion, home decor and style blogs as I do, the images are just as important as the content.
Bloglovin’ really understands style consumers like me and you. This reader is clean, very well organized, easy to use, and it even makes really smart suggestions for other blogs you might like.
And the best part is that Bloglovin’ makes it super easy to transfer your Google Reader feeds over. So here is a checklist of things to do so you don’t miss this feed and so you don’t lose the rest of your fave blogs:
1. Sign up for Bloglovin’
2. Add DebutanteClothing.com to your feeds. (You can use the button on the right side of this page as well)
If you subscribe to my feed via email, no worries! I got you covered. MailChimp will now deliver my blog updates to your email box. I take care of ya!
June 24, 2013 2 Comments
Good things come to those who wait? How about good vintage stays with those who know how to take care of their stuff! Vintage clothing is great for the environment, sure, but you and I both know we love vintage clothing for the great design, uniqueness, and excellent construction. But if you want high quality clothing, you have to put in a little more effort than throwing it in the wash and tumbling dry, at least if you want your vintage treasures to last.
These are my recommended products for your vintage cleaning toolkit. Feel free to suggest your faves in the comments!
1. Folex – This is really a carpet stain remover, but it has been the only commercial product that I have used that can take arm pit stains right out. I have used it on very delicate fabrics and it works like a charm with no damage.
2. Eucalan - This is a fantastic product for very delicate or older fabrics. No rinsing is necessary so you don’t gave to worry about tearing delicate fabrics.
3. Magic Eraser – I use this on all hard surfaces such as vintage handbags and shoes. It’s especicially good for removing grease pencil and cleaning the bottoms of shoes.
4. Distilled White Vinegar – I spritz white vinegar on any smelly fabrics and hang them to dry. it really gets rid of that dreaded nicotine smell. I also use it on faint underarm stains and I use it in the rinse cycle to brighten colors.
5. Ivory Snow – I use the powder form when I can find it. I like it much better than Woolite. It seems to rinse out better.
6. All Free and Clear – For washable vintage, I use All Free and Clear as my detergent. It has no perfume and free of anything that causes allergies.
7. Kitty Litter – This is great for removing odors from vintage handbags and luggage. I grab a plastic bag, put some kitty litter in it, put my vintage in a pillow case, put the pillow case in the plastic bag and let it sit for a couple of days. Smells disappear.
8. Lavender or Cedar – Lavendar sachets or cedar chips or block are a must for keeping moths away. As much as you try to keep the doors closed, the little suckers can fly right in.
9. SoilLove – This is a miracle stain remover. It stinks a bit but it gets most stains out. The best part is you can find it at the dollar store. Yup. $1!
June 20, 2013 8 Comments
My sister won a an awesome contest. She won a photo session with photographer Trisha Alonzo for her engagement pictures. I mentioned before that my sister wants a rustic vintage themed wedding so she asked me for some ideas on some good locations for the photo shoot, locally. She knows I am an obsessed crazy woman when it comes to historical buildings and local history so this assignment was pretty easy for me. Luckily I love in the historical part of our little town, Ontario, California. Yes the city was founded by Canadians. You can imagine the confusion about my address since not very many people have heard of Ontario, Calif.
I have to say we are home to some very big names. The Sunkist factory (we were known for our citrus), the Hotpoint electric iron, one of the oldest wooden baseball fields, Jay Littleton Ball Park (The Babe and A League of Their Own filmed there), and of course, Mr. mid-century Americana, Mr. Charles Phoenix.
One location that I knew my sister would like is the Graber Olive House. The Graber Olive House sits in the middle of what is now a residential neighborhood. But it was at one point a thriving olive grove and packing plant.
After purchasing land in Ontario in 1892, C. C. Graber discovered olives, as cured by the earlier ranchers, to be one of the finest food delicacies of California. After research and study of this method, Mr. Graber cured several barrels and the following season a much greater quantity was demanded by neighbors and friends who had eaten from the original barrels. Thus began Ontario’s oldest existing business.
There are no longer olive trees on the premises, but the old, original buildings and machinery remain. It was fun to explore the living museum of such an old business, and a local treasure. It made a beautifully rustic backdrop for my sister and her fiance’s engagement pictures.
all images Copyright © 2013 Sandra Mendoza. All rights reserved.
June 12, 2013 2 Comments
When I moved into my little 1954 suburban ranch house, the sweet lady who lived here before had some very handy shelves installed in one of the rooms. This made it easy to decide that this would be my work station/desk area since I tend to be a clutter-bug and really could use the vertical space.
I have never liked modern office organizational products. They lack style and personality. So I quickly went hunting for affordable vintage objects that could double as desk accessories to help keep me organized. You don’t have to spend a fortune on cool office products. You just have to slightly reinvent. I was able to find these beauties at my local thrift stores.
A vintage record rack works perfectly as a file and paper holder. I’m very visual so I have to see my important papers.
A clear acrylic napkin holder makes a perfect stand for my computer. It’s equally as stylish and takes up zero visual space.
Another napkin holder, this time much more elegant, makes a pretty letter sorter.
How about you? Do you use vintage items to help you stay organized when you work? Tell me about it in the comments below!
June 6, 2013 6 Comments
I love shopping at antique malls for vintage clothing and accessories. Some malls are VERY organized, some, not so much. Regardless of how well merchandised a mall is, i love that I don’t have to dig too much to find real gems. As a vintage collector, most of the time the prices can’t be beat. As a vintage dealer, I would still rather pay a bit more for the convenience of it just being there waiting for me to take it home. If you are curious about shopping at an antique mall, here are my tips on how to find the best treasures and negotiate good deals.
1. Shop in the afternoons during the week
Dealers usually bring in fresh merchandise during the week when there aren’t too many crowds. Mornings, or opening time, are the best times for dealers to stock their shelves. Wait until the goodies are stocked and take your pick of the treasures! If you have to shop weekends, get there as soon as they open. You know the saying about the worm.
2. Return unwanted items to the front counter
I always walk around with my “maybe I want this” items. If you change your mind about an item, be kind and take it to the front counter instead of sticking it back just anywhere. I can’t tell you how many times I found random items in my booth with missing price tags indicating who they belong to. And I would find some of my missing items in other dealers booths as well. It’s just much easier to return items to their rightful spaces if you let the cashier know you have changed your mind.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount
At the antique mall where I rented a space, cashiers knew that a 10% discount was allowable for most of the dealers in the mall. If you want to ask for a further discount, or want to make an offer, ask the cashier. They will call the dealer and get an approval or rejection. Many times the dealers just want to move some inventory, and if your offer is reasonable, they will accept. But please don’t ask for a 50% discount because a dress has a broken zipper. The keyword here is REASONABLE.
4. Visit your favorite dealers frequently
Good dealers will replenish and merchandise their selections weekly. If you have purchased more than one item from the same dealer, visit them regularly to see if they have any new items. I visit one dealer at a small antique mall regularly because I always find at least one designer vintage item, very reasonably priced, each time I visit her space.
5. Got on the dealers mailing list
A smart dealer will include a website or email address on their signage in their booth or on their price tags. Get on that list to find out when the dealers has restocked or when they might be having sales or selling at flea markets or fairs. It’s always a good idea to stay in touch with dealers you like and trust.
Do you like shopping at antique malls as much as I do? Tell me about it! Leave a comment below.
June 4, 2013 2 Comments