Vintage Shopping with Virginia Calderon in Los Angeles

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Virginia Calderon has explored every inch of the city to find the best (and we’re sure some of the worst) places to shop vintage. A fashion consultant and soon to be purveyor of her own shoe label, Virginia’s style has always been inspired by old family photo albums and vintage magazines. So searching for hidden treasures is just part of her regular shopping game. Of course as a self-described vintage denim hoarder, it’s probably safe to say it’s more of an obsession. Today, Virginia sums up her style as “French tomboy with a hint of Japanese minimalist grandma”. We couldn’t love it – or her – more.

Being the sweetheart that she is, Virginia took us along for a day of shopping in LA, stopping by our mutual friends at the boutique NONNA, to give us a peek into her world of vintage on the west coast.

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WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER A LOVE FOR VINTAGE? I fell in love with vintage when going through old family photo albums and magazines in high school. I would cut up the photographs (sorry mom), vintage magazines and make collages of the pieces I loved. This was before Pinterest. Then I would go searching for the item. I fell in love with the search of vintage treasures. When I found this paisley print dress that I adored, I was hooked.

WHY DO YOU SHOP VINTAGE? I believe vintage creates sustainability in fashion. The quality and craftsmanship of vintage wares is simply amazing. I love how you can have unique and beautiful pieces that no one else has. It’s fun to use your imagination and creativity when styling yourself. I like to have fun with it and vintage allows me to do that.

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WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST VINTAGE SCORE TO DATE? I would have to say it’s a toss up between a pair of $3 orange tab Levis I found with the most amazing wash and a vintage Chanel bracelet I found for $20 was pretty incredible. If I had to decide between the two I would lean towards the Levis because I am a lover of denim.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW TO VINTAGE SHOPPING? My advice would be don’t care about size or label. Don’t get hung up if you have to size up from your usual size. Finding that great fit is everything and searching through vintage is an adventure on its own.

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WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 TIPS FOR FINDING THAT PERFECT VINTAGE PIECE?

1) Again, don’t get stuck on the sizing. Honestly ignore sizing on labels. Sizing labels on vintage rarely match current sizing, so try pieces on. You may be a size 6 and need a 10 vintage. Or even higher, depending what era it’s from.

2) Double check that all fastenings are working. Make sure that no buttons are missing and the zippers are working properly. This may sound like common sense but a lot of vintage can have small issues that make them difficult to salvage.

3) Hold garments to the light to see if there are any holes or rips. Sometimes these can be fixed and other times it’s not worth it.

WHO DO YOU LOOK AT FOR INSPIRATION WHEN SHOPPING FOR VINTAGE? I look to my friends, strangers at coffee shops, films, and old family photos for inspiration. Sometimes it can be in the oddest photo or most unique place you wouldn’t expect so I’m always looking. Inspiration is everywhere.

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DO YOU THINK VINTAGE SHOPPING IN LA IS DIFFERENT THAN IN OTHER CITIES? I think Los Angeles has a mind of its own and plays a big part in vintage fashion. LA’s weather also encourages beautiful vintage 24/7 due to its incredible sunny days and refreshing nights. There are also just a limitless amount of amazingly cute vintage stores hidden in every corner. I also love how estate sales in LA generate many hidden gems. Los Angeles in a nutshell is a diverse, culture enrich city that is full of unique pieces that are all available at your fingertips.

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Follow Virginia for style inspo on the daily @_chicadero

Photos by Kourtney Jackson

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