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

New York’s Anna Gray Shares Her Vintage Shopping Tips

When it comes to vintage shopping, we trust everything Anna Gray has to say. As a writer and model living in New York City, she knows the ins and outs of shopping for vintage on a budget. Anna moved to New York when she was 18 and has since filled her plate with anything she could get her hands on. From studying literature to working four jobs at once, she was a quick study of the city’s hustle. With her “say yes to everything” motto (including hand-me-downs) and family influence (the eccentric closet of her grandmother and her mom’s love of vintage), there’s always a ton of inspiration to find in Anna’s unique approach to style.

Lucky for us (and you, naturally) we caught up with her to chat about personal style and get an honest play by play of shopping vintage. Just three of her tips and we promise you’ll be ready to thrift!

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WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER A LOVE FOR VINTAGE? Being a small kid/late bloomer, hand-me-downs have always had a majority stake in my wardrobe. My mom loves vintage and my Grandma’s closet is INSANE (neon orange paisley jumpsuits, costume jewelry, leopard print everything, etc.) so I was always dipping into their reserves. It makes me very sad that their feet are smaller than mine.

WHY DO YOU SHOP VINTAGE? I like recycling old clothes and wearing things no one else is wearing!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST VINTAGE SCORE TO DATE? Oh wow so many things. Men’s red suede cropped bell bottoms, a gigantic black velvet Norma Kamali turtleneck, my black sueded and fox fur winter coat…

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW TO VINTAGE SHOPPING? Know your size! Seriously, measure your entire body and commit the inches (or centimetres) to memory. This goes for shoes too. Vintage shoes run smaller than contemporary sizes. And be mindful of fabrics – it should look and feel nice.

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TOP 3 TIPS FOR FINDING THAT PERFECT VINTAGE PIECE:

  1. I try not to buy any synthetic materials. I touch everything looking for silk, cotton, wool blends, cashmere and the like because they feel nice on the skin and are usually better quality.
  2. Try it on!
  3. It’s taken me years to actually practice this but I try to have an idea of what I want before I start browsing. Can be as vague as “pants” or as specific as “metallic gogo boot” but it helps narrow the playing field. Vintage shopping is pretty exhausting (in a good way).

WHO DO YOU LOOK AT FOR INSPIRATION WHEN SHOPPING FOR VINTAGE? I like to wear ’60s and ’70s silhouettes – mod dresses, flared jeans. I love looks from the ’50s but feel a little matronly when I actually find similarly evocative pieces. We all have the same cool-girl heroes: Jane Birkin, Jackie Kennedy, Bianca Jagger, Francoise Hardy…. I buy whatever makes me feel like a babe.

WHERE DO YOU SHOP VINTAGE? The only “vintage” store I frequent in NYC is Salvation Army (a treasure trove) and maybe some little hole-in-the-walls. I love finding good vintage stores in other cities. I just polled all of my Canadian friends for their favorite Toronto spots and that is where I found previously mentioned Norma Kamali velvet turtleneck!

Check out Anna’s picks from our Vintage Pop-Up before they get away:

Woman We Love: Nikisha Brunson

We’re in love with Nikisha Brunson. Reasons why? Well, not only does she approach her public and private life with an inspiring amount of honesty and bravery (she’s been very open about her experiences with abuse, anxiety and depression), she is one of those women you discover on Instagram and instantly want to be friends. By day she is the co-founder of Urban Bush Babes and runs her own apothecary line Folie (100% natural and handcrafted in small batches). And of course, she also has a killer sense of style. Effortless basics and understated cool is her jam — you’ll find her keeping busy in casual silhouettes like jumpsuits and t-shirts, in muted hues like gray and navy. We first got to know her when she worked with some of our favorite fashion pals in Texas and, obviously, we were dying to learn more about this Austin-based beauty. We caught up with Nikisha to get her lowdown on style and the city.

Woman We Love: Anna Gray

From her travel diaries and interviews with cool girls, to her effortless style and penchant for expensive things, there’s a lot we love about New Yorker Anna Gray. When we learned that she loved us right back, we obviously had to get to know more about this woman we love. Check out our interview as she shares all the things she loves and words of wisdom on how to keep your style cool in the heat of summer in the city. Plus, she shows us how its done by styling her own Garmentory wish list featuring pieces from other people we love like Nikki Chasin, Wray, Intentionally Blank, Luz Ortiz, RHOI, Nettie Kent and Vincetta. Read on, you’re gonna to love her too.

Our favorite traveling Instagrammers share style tips and hidden gems

You know that saying, “Seize the day”? Sure, it’s a cliché, but it’s also something that can seem less and less possible in adult life with jobs and mortgages and responsibilities. Luckily we get to live vicariously (and get inspired) by these women who are doing just that — living their lives out to the very fullest as they step out of their comfort zones, travel the world and share their inspired adventures with us all through Instagram. We caught up with our favorite traveling Instagrammers to quiz them on hidden gems, travel essentials and what to wear on the road.

JILL MANN AND KYLE TRETHEWEY of @ourwildabandon

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In 2013, Kyle and Jill sold everything they owned and decided to live their lives on the road. Originally from Vancouver, the two friends now call their fixed up trailer (affectionately named Billy the Kit), and wherever the wind blows them that day, home. Their Instagram feed is like a travel diary, documenting their experiences through dreamy shots of landscape and sky.

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Follow @ourwildabandon >

GO-TO ADVENTURING OUTFIT: (General) We live in vintage sundresses and a good pair of jeans and a t-shirt. (Specific) Richer Poorer just made the perfect girls shirt and it’s all we’ve been living in. Most of our denim, and Jill’s favorite overalls, are Madewell. For accessories we keep it simple, we love Wasted Effort‘s geometric necklaces (our friend from Vancouver’s line). For shoes, we love our Nisolos, they’re beautiful but super comfortable which is key since we are always on the move.

5 ESSENTIALS TO BRING ON ANY TRIP: Camera, road atlas, iPod, BB gun and dry shampoo.

FAVORITE HIDDEN GEM YOU’VE DISCOVERED: The Alvord Desert in Oregon. You can barely find this place on a map but we heard about it through friends of friends and made our way there for the last full moon. It’s stunning and vast and there are hot springs right beside it! (And you can camp for free.)

 

KARISSA HOCHBERG of @pacificgypsy

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Karissa is one half of the brains behind Pacifique Swim, a luxury swimwear line she created with her childhood best friend. She’s also quite the adventurer, as her Instagram can attest — filled with gorgeous snaps of lush green trails, snowcapped mountains and sandy stretches of beach, the feed shows this beauty literally living the free-spirited philosophy of her designs.

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Follow @pacificgypsy >

GO-TO ADVENTURING OUTFIT: Depends on the environment. If I’m somewhere hot and humid, like Central America or Southeast Asia, you’ll usually find me in this pair of faded black harem pants I bought in Thailand when I was living there, paired with a cropped tank or Pacifique bikini top and sandals. If I’m somewhere more mountainous or woodsy, I’ll be in an old pair of Levis and a vintage t-shirt. That’s kind of my daily uniform too. I never go anywhere without either my trusty leather backpack I scored at a market in Italy (which has a massive oil stain on it from me carrying leftover macaroni and cheese around inside of it… oops), or this basket purse I picked up recently on a work trip to Bali. I’m really into baskets-as-purses right now. I also usually have a pretty vintage slip that I can wear as a dress for dinner or a night out if that presents itself along the way.

5 ESSENTIALS TO BRING ON ANY TRIP:

  1. 35mm camera… even if it’s disposable from a drugstore! There is something really special about film photos that just can’t be replicated.
  2. A good book. I love Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, or anything by Kerouac or Paul Theroux.
  3. A hat, either straw or baseball.
  4. A Pacifique bikini!
  5. An open mind… be ready to seize adventures and opportunities as they present themselves!

FAVORITE HIDDEN GEM YOU’VE DISCOVERED: If I told you I’d have to kill you! Jk 🙂 Most recently I would have to say this little village outside of Ubud, Bali. There is this home that my fiancé and I rented there that is totally open air with the most beautiful, minimalistic design aesthetic and hammocks everywhere on the edge of this massive cliff into a river gorge. To top it all off, there is this unbelievable swing attached to two palm trees that swings out over the cliff… the whole experience was pure bliss, and I’m totally plotting to go back!

 

NURIA VAL of @frecklesnur

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A “restless globetrotter,” Nuria’s free-spirited approach to life has caught the attention of brands like Stussy, Volcom and Komono, for which she’s lent her inspired vision as a creative director, photographer and model. It’s not surprising, because we’re totally obsessed with her too — her Instagram feed shows her diving into gorgeous watering holes, leaving footprints in sand dunes, and eating copious amounts of watermelon, all while staying as stylish as ever and looking like the girl of our dreams.

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Follow @frecklesnur > 

GO-TO ADVENTURING OUTFIT: Denim overalls, sneakers and some hat!

5 ESSENTIALS TO BRING ON ANY TRIP: Music, cameras, map, sunglasses and some watermelon.

FAVORITE HIDDEN GEM YOU’VE DISCOVERED: A wonderful cenote in Mexico where we swam alone and naked, the nicest place and moment in my life.

 

MANON MEYERING HANSSEN of @thelifetraveller

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In 2014, Manon’s life completely changed — she left behind a career at a magazine and moved to Kenya with her husband for the adoption of their son. Inspired by the warmth of the Kenyan people and their talents, she created a co-op that sells handicrafts and supports her new friends. The collection, called Naramatisho (meaning ‘the one who cares,’ a name given to Manon from her Masai sisters), includes beadwork, sculpture and scarves, and each piece is as unique as it is beautiful. Take one look at Manon’s Instagram and you can feel the love radiating from the screen.

Follow @thelifetraveller > 

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GO-TO ADVENTURING OUTFIT: I love wearing simple but elegant jumpsuits/playsuits in a safari color/print or wide African dresses combined with a sporty sandal, although I mostly walk barefoot.

5 ESSENTIALS TO BRING ON ANY TRIP: I like the idea of not ‘needing’ much when going on a trip and often remove things from my luggage before leaving. Also because I love bringing cultural souvenirs with me back home to support the local community and to fill my home with stories. Always with me on a trip: an open mind, a passport, a camera plus a khanga, an African garment that can be worn as a wrap skirt, dress, (head) scarf or you can use it as a beach towel.  Nice to take with me up in the air: Alaska Essentials Travel Ease Journey Spray and a tiny rose quartz stone for good vibrations.

FAVORITE HIDDEN GEM YOU’VE DISCOVERED: The hidden village of my Masai friends in Kenya situated near Mount Kilimanjaro. In this area I feel closest to nature. I learned a lot about their lives while spending time with them and have a deep respect for the way they live. Especially the women, who make jewellery for my fair label, Naramatisho by The Life Traveller. Naramatisho means ‘the one who cares’ in Masai language and was given to me by the Masai community.

Another favorite hidden gem is a ‘sacred’ place in the south of Bali where my husband and I got married.

 

Brittany Bathgate shares her top 5 wardrobe staples

You’ve seen her around these parts. She told us how she wears her favorite jeans (Levis 501s, of course) and imparted some advice on how to find the perfect cropped pant. This week our fave UK-based cool girl Brittany Bathgate discovered a few new go-with-anything, wear-forever pieces from our friends at Olderbrother, Pari Desai and LOQ. Here, we get to know our girl a little bit better.