Flash of Colour
Yesterdays Vintage shopping trip with American Gal was a great. We met up in the Marais, a hot Zone for Vintage stores, and plunged right in. I usually get a bit lost in this area, so I was grateful for Google Maps on my iPhone. Luckily lots of stores are bunched together, or on the same streets, which makes things much easier (and drier) considering the drizzle.
Something I was prepared for was riffling. If you’re not in the mood for it, or it’s not your style, then Vintage Shopping here is probably not for you. You’d have to be pretty lucky to find the good stuff, by just walking up to it. Clothing is packed tightly and the stores are usually busy. It takes time, so devoting a day or half-day to the exercise is recommended.
If something kinda appeals, try it on. Load yourself up at each rail/rack or bin. Don’t leave something you are considering on the rail. Chances are there will be someone right behind you to snap it up if you don’t. In example to this, yesterday, a girl was trying on some awesome, suede, thigh-high boots, I overheard her say to the man in the store that they were slightly big on her. My ears pricked up as shoe size was discussed, and as she was unsure, I subsequently kept my eye on her. Sadly, the girl understood the bargain, and left with quite the find. Had she decided against them, I would have snapped them up.
Be realistic. If it is yellowed with age, stained, or torn in a critical place. Leave it. Too small. Leave it. If you like it, and it can be altered to fit without losing too much of that vintage charm. Snap it up.
Go digging. Chances are there is a cheap bin, and these should not be missed, they often contain hidden treasures.
Go often. Stock is constantly being replenished, and your eye for the good stuff will improve.
Go early. The stores get busier as the hours pass by.
American Gal and I covered a fair few stores. And had success in a few. Here are the stores we visited and what we thought of them.
Fripes Star – 1, Rue de la Verrerie – This is one of the bigger stores and we both made purchases here. It’s packed tight, and there is only one change-room. At the back there are several bargain bins, and a small mezzanine with another bargain bin and a rack of longer dresses. They have a good mix of garments, and huge sacks of yet-to-be-released stock are all about the store (don’t go opening them, the owners won’t like it). They will be opened soon enough, and their contents added to the already bulging racks.
The King of Frip – 33, Rue du Roi de Sicile – The King is another big store. They also stock a good range of clothing, and a huge selection of shoes and hats. They have a decent stock of army jackets and sailor tops. I found a few pieces I liked, but I didn’t go for them.
Noir Kennedy – 22, Rue du Roi de Sicile – This was our first store for the day. Prices were a bit higher than the other stores, but it was more spacious and better decorated. They also have a few change rooms (which is nice) in the form of British Telephone Booths.
Frip’irium – 2, Rue de la Verrerie – A smaller store, with a nice selection. It was fairly crowded when we were there, which was in the early afternoon. I found some nice pieces, and made a few purchases here. It was tidier than some of the other stores, which makes it a more relaxing, shopping experience (despite the crowds). I will definitely check this one out again.
Vintage Bar – 16 Rue de la Verrerie – Vintage Bar was not on my list of stores to visit, we just happened upon it. It’s not the same genre of vintage store, but they had a good selection of pre-loved, designer shoes, which held my attention for some time. I drooled over a pair of Christian Louboutin boots. They were my size, nice and high, and in excellent condition. Sigh, maybe one day. Don’t miss the spiral staircase toward the back, it leads down to more shoes and jackets.
Coiffeur Vintage – 32, Rue de Rosiers – Coiffeur is tiny. It’s packed, and very crowded. I literally have had to climb over people in this store before. Access to the racks is difficult, so I was lucky that an item pretty much jumped out at me. I have yet to go in the a.m, but I’m certain this store is always busy.
For me, yesterday’s purchases totalled seven items, many costing only €1/piece. I will incorporate them into outfits soon enough (some require alterations, or warmer weather), but for now here is a taster. Some of the shots don’t do the colours justice, especially the two last items.