Vintage Fashion Expo: WINNING

You know the saying, “It’s like finding a needle in a haystack”? Well, I found that needle twice, no, make that three times. Except that the haystack was the Vintage Fashion Expo, and the needles were my three vintageous purchases. After an S&M-ish detour around Folsom Street Festival, I arrived at the Expo late Sunday afternoon. I suppose it was due to the moat of bondage clad half naked bodies outside, and the fact that it was late in the day, but the exhibition center was surprisingly quiet. This meant less crowds to fight through, less rushed shopping, and overall more bargaining power.

My first stop was at Aubergine Vintage. Clearly, they brought everything with them as well as the kitchen sink. Racks among racks of dresses, skirts, maxi dresses, slips, sweaters, hats, vintage Dooney & Bourke, boots, 70s polyester, 80s shoulder pads, and so much more. Everything was tagged with pricing, which eliminated the need for bargaining. Additionally, their prices were surprising very reasonable. I talked to Sarah, the store manager, and found out that they obtain most of their treasures from Texas and Europe. Oooh la la, French laundry direct from the the City of Lights? Cowboy boots straight from the “everything is bigger” state? I wanted to know, what was the most amazing thing that they have come across? “Recently there was a pristine vintage Burberry quintessential trench coat, and those go for $3,000. It was spectacular; amazing,” gushed Sarah. Wow was all I could say to that. I made off with two dresses in impeccable condition for $32 – the fact that they were petite sized was an added bonus!

Energized from my purchases from Aubergine, I proceeded next door to Donnaland, where they had a wide range of clothing and a killer jewelry collection to boot. It was the ultimate one stop shop for a complete outfit. Although her price points were higher, they were still far better than some of the other vendors there, and fast talking Donna was ready to wheel n’ deal. Donna had a personality as big as her vintage collection, and after speaking with her I know why: she’s been in the business since 1982. “I used to have the world’s largest wholesale deadstock company in St. Louis, Missouri for 24 years. I would travel all over the world to buy whole factories of clothing,” she explained. I hovered over the jewelry trays for a long time and contemplated a pair of gold toned 60’s clip on earrings until my eyes landed on a lovely sequined number hanging by the fur coats. Initially I wasn’t thinking of buying it until an impromptu entourage of gals threw compliments my way as I tried it on. “Ooooh it looks good on you girl!” said one. “I see it with a pair of ripped jeans!” added another. With my ego inflated, I was convinced I needed it in my closet, and I tried my hand at wheeling and dealing but didn’t move the needle much. The verdict: $37 for a fully lined sequined wool top, and not a sequin out of place. Thank you Donnaland, I shall return next year.

All I could do for the remaining 15 minutes left until the Expo’s close was to drink up the sights with my eyes (and camera) as vendors began packing their worldly goods away. It was a successful day: I spent $69 for three awesome pieces and still had money leftover to buy a ticket to the Vintage Couture Ball. I don’t quote Charlie Sheen much (or ever), but it seems fitting in this case: WINNING.

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