To change one’s life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions.
– William James, American psychologist and philosopher
A few years ago, I became interested in vintage pins when I spied a simple but striking rhinestone pin on a young woman’s sweater. When I asked her where she got it, she proudly told me it was a vintage piece. Thus began my love of all things vintage.
My neighbor, who scours garage and estate sales and flea markets, and then sells her found treasures on eBay, introduced me to the addictive world of bidding and buying collectibles. It was a short addiction from which I’ve fully recovered, but I’ve amassed a beautiful collection of pins, earrings and necklaces from the likes of Eisenberg, Miriam Haskell, Vendome, Weiss and Whiting and Davis as a result. For one of my Christmas presents, my husband David gave me Julia C. Carroll’s Collecting Costume Jewelry 202: The Basics of Dating Jewelry 1935-1980, which provided wonderful backstory to my icy rhinestone and aurora borealis rhinestone jewelry! If only, however, I knew the history of the previous owners. That would be amazing.
The love of vintage evolved into a treasure hunt to find one vintage store in any city I happened to visit, which is mostly, but not always, as a result of a business trip. In the last couple of years, I’ve happily discovered N. 3rd Street in Old City Philadelphia (home to wonderful stores such as Sugarcube); Encore in Portland, Maine; Twentieth Century Limited in Boston; the Brooklyn Flea Market; and the U Street corridor in Washington, D.C., home to Treasury, Legendary Beast and GoodWood.
I’ll blog more about these places in the future – because each store has its own charm and story – but I just wanted to put out there that the idea of a treasure hunt for whatever suits your interests in visiting cities adds additional excitement to any trip. Who doesn’t love the childlike pleasure of a hunt? What is especially enjoyable is leisurely talking with the owners and sales people and learning about their stores and the stories behind their vintage finds.
Today’s photos focus on finds from Treasury, which was featured by Refinery29 and is nicely curated. I looked around the store, eyed some vintage pieces, went on to other treasure-hunt destinations, and then returned to Treasury. I spied an unusual necklace, which Ashley, the friendly salesperson, had just put out. It is a 1930s traveling sewing kit shaped as a walnut – with the original thimble, straight pins, safety pins, thread and mossy green felt lining still intact. What a find. It is in fantastic condition, which made me wonder about its owner and its 80-year journey – the care in keeping it safe and sound, or maybe it was put in a drawer or box and forgotten about for years.
The other find pays homage to the decade of my birth, the 60s, in the form of a faux fur dress, which is also in mint condition. Either the dress was well taken care of or never worn. I’ll never know, but this vintage dress – literally – has a new life with me. Referencing William James’s quote, how could one not be flamboyant in a 1960s faux fur dress?