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How I Stock My Shop

The past several weeks have been spent making sure my shop is fully stocked for this weekend’s big sale.

As I post my fun finds, I keep getting asked the same question:
“Where do you find all these things??”

I try my bet to include small tips from time to time on the best places to look for vintage, but though it was high time I devoted a whole post to it.

Estate Sales

One of my many estate sale finds.

By far my favorite place to find vintage clothes is at estate sales. I use to find the best sales in my area. Usually, I’ll devote an entire day to estate sale-ing and will be prepared for lots of driving.

Fair warning though: estate sales can get dirty. Like, allergy-inducing, makes-you-want-to-bathe-100-times dirty.

But it’s usually worth it. I’ve discovered decades of dresses, shoes and jewelry at these sales. All they need is a little tlc and you’ve got some great treasures!

Sometimes I’ll leave a sale empty-handed, but it’s always educational. I usually chat up the owner of the estate sale company. If I’m lucky, they’ll tell me the history of the person who used to live in the house, or point me in the direction of cool jewelry bin that I missed.

Thrift Stores

One of my many, many, many
thrift store finds.

The easiest places to find vintage clothes and accessories are thrift stores. Generally speaking, the stuff I find at thrift stores is not as old as the stuff I find at estate sales (think 1970s and 1980s instead of 1950s).

This isn’t alway true though. If I’ve arrived at a store just as new items go out, or find a really well-hidden dress, I can sometimes find really old pieces at thrift stores.

My favorite thrift stores are the non-chain ones. You know, the ones a town church will run or maybe one that benefits a women’s shelter. They are usually less picked through and have very reasonable prices.

After that, I really enjoy Goodwill and The Salvation Army. Their prices are comparable, though Goodwills are generally much, much cleaner. If you feel like digging, go to a Salvation Army.

I rarely run across them, but when I do I really like stopping at St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores. I’ve only been to a few, but the ones I have visited had a really nice selection and very good prices.

My best tip for vintage shopping at thrift stores is to be aware of the sale days. Most chain stores (and sometimes even the smaller stores) will have weekly sales.

Garage Sales & Yard Sales

My new obsession, this hand painted 1940s
slip is from an antique store.

If the weather is right, you can bet I’ll be on the
look out for some garage sales.

At the moment, I don’t think I have anything in my
shop that came from a garage sale, but I do have
several dresses and accessories in my own closet
that I scooped up for next to nothing. I’m talking
50 cents for a necklace, guys.

Antique Stores

Normally, I would caution against antique stores
because their prices can be so high. But I have had
some really good experiences at antique stores that
offer unique pieces at fair prices.

As with thrift stores, I would check and see if the
antique store has any sales going on. You can also
sometimes negotiate prices with the salesperson if they
are around.

If you’ve been eyeing an antique store but are nervous about the prices, I’d say go in and look, because you might be surprised.

Around Town(s)

This was a busy, busy week. My alma mater’s homecoming was last week, so I took some time to go back and visit with old friends…and hit up some of my favorite thrift and antique stores from college.

I found this beautiful 1940s slip at my favorite (and kind of secret) antique store.

The detail is hand painted! I’ve never seen anything like this before.

Not that far away, I found this fun 1960s dress:


Daisy details

Over the weekend, I also hopped on over to a bunch of estate sales and thrift stores with my boyfriend, who is sometimes better known as the best estate sale companion ever. He was the one who spotted both of these 1970s boots:

He also polished them up and got them very close to their original condition. Yes!!

Other estate sale finds included:

Amazing dress that makes me wish it was early summer.


Red, scalloped neck sweater

The best halter ever. Sorry duckies.



And then I went sweater-crazy at a thrift store.



Don’t worry though, all this (plus the things I didn’t even show you…I know…) will be at the Vintage Heaven sale on Saturday and Sunday!
Until then, I think I need to steer clear of thrift stores!

Big Exciting News

I know I promised some big, exciting news by the end of the week, so here it is…

Amy & Angie Vintage will be making its in-person sale debut next weekend! I will be participating in Vintage Heaven’s October and November sales with many other very talented ladies.


Besides myself, here are the other shops who will be there:

I. Am. So. Excited.

The sale will take place on the second floor of the Heaven Gallery at 1550 W. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park.

I’ll be there October 13 & 14 as well as November 17 & 18. The sale goes from noon to 6 p.m. on all days.

I hope some of you can make it out to see me and all these other wonderful shops!

Dating Vintage Clothes: Notions

Another easy (and fun!) way to help identify when an item was made is to make note of any notions on the garment.

“Notions” is a sewing term that refers to any small object that is affixed to the final product. This can include anything from buttons and zippers to bias tape and snaps.

Before the 1930s, snaps were the most common closure tool, in combination with hook-and-eye closures.

An example of snap closures used on a blouse.

When zippers were widely introduced in the late 1930s/early 1940s, usually only metal zippers were used until the late 1960s/early 1970s.

Remember the zipper fix I did on this dress?

It was a metal zipper. If you find a vintage garment with a metal zipper, you may be looking at something from the 1960s or earlier.

A metal zipper on a 1960s dress.

A metal zipper and hook-and-eye closure on
a 1950s dress.

Another way help you identify an item’s age is the use of elastic. Elastic was not widely used in garments until the 1940s, though it was invented much earlier than that. Up until the 1970s, many companies sewed “pillow tabs” over where the elastic pieces met to prevent chaffing.

An example of a “pillow tab” in vintage lingerie. Source

There are so many different kinds of notions that can be used on a garment that I could go on forever about it. Which is why I’ll include a part two on notions down the road a bit.

Keep in mind that you need to look at the entire piece when dating vintage clothes. Using these new guidelines on notions with the tips on dating seams from last week will give you a good shot to dating a piece accurately.

Stay tuned, though. Next week I’ll talk about labels! Exciting, I know 🙂

Stocking Up

I had a very exciting week that motivated me to stock up on vintage pieces as best I could. The surprise will have to wait until later in the week, but it’s a good one, guys!

Until then, here’s the pretty, pretty pieces I found.


My wonderful friend Maggie gave me this butter colored coat the other day. Isn’t that so nice? This girl has the best closest I have ever seen– it’s full of the coolest vintage clothes you could ever imagine!

I also stopped by the Salvation Army and found these.

Isn’t this dress amazing? Not sure I could pull it off, but I know a few of my friends it would great on!


And this fun dress from the 1970s with a lace top. The pink ribbon on this dress is just one of the many clues that I need to get my iron out. Or, as it were, buy an iron.
I also stopped by a thrift store by my sister’s place. She’s the best/worst shopping influence ever 🙂
Example #2 that I need an iron


That coat is my favorite find of the week! It’s super soft and not at all itchy. Best of all? The original silk lining is in perfect condition.

Can’t wait to fill you in on my surprise later in the week!

What did you guys find this week?

Sharing with Apron Thrift Girl

Vintage Chicago: Stanley Korshak

In my many (many, many) trips to thrift stores and estate sales, I often come across garments and accessories that not only have a designer listed on the tag, but the city in which they were made.

A few times I have been lucky enough to find some vintage Chicago pieces. Somehow finding a dress or hat that was made right here where I live is much more special than finding a nameless piece.

A few months ago I found this very unique hat at an estate sale:

Upon closer inspection, I found this tag on the inside:

I knew I had to get it, not just because of how pretty it is, but because it was made right here in Chicago!

Stanley Korshak was an actual person who lived in Chicago and owned and operated high end clothing  stores in the city. The first store opened around 1910. Korshak catered to the wealthiest women of Chicago, including the women of the Swift and Armour families, whose wealth came from the meatpacking industry.

After the last Chicago store closed in the early 1980s, the rights to the Korshak name were purchased by an heiress from Dallas, Texas. Today, Stanley Korshak is known as a designer clothing store in Dallas.

But I prefer the Chicago brand, don’t you? Here’s some fun examples I found from the 1950s and 1960s.



So you heard it here first (maybe). If you find a vintage piece with a Stanley Korshak label, scoop it up!

And then send it to me 🙂

Dating Vintage Clothes: Seams

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about how I date the vintage clothes I find. While I am by no standards an expert, I have been getting much better.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll share some tips on how I know when I’ve found something good.

First up is seams. The seams of a garment are where my eyes go first when I pick up a piece of clothing. Depending on the kind of seam, you can easily narrow down when the clothing was made.

Here are a few different kinds of seams:

Example of “pinking”

Example of a “serged” garment 

Simple, stitched seams

In the first photo, notice how the edges are cut into. This is called pinking and was a popular sewing method for seams in the 1950s. Finding a garment with pinked edges is usually a sure sign the item is from the 1950s.

In the second photo, you can see an example of a serged seam. Serging, or overlocking, is a type of seam finish that actually cuts the fabric and leaves overcast stitches to prevent unraveling. Machines commonly referred to as “sergers” are used to do this.

While the method of serging was invented in the late 1800s, it was very rare for it to be widely used on garments until the mid 1960s. Finding a piece of clothing with serged seams lets me know it’s probably from the 1960s or later.

The last photo is one of just simply stitched seams. While I am less familiar with dating clothes with these seams, it can be an indication that the item is pre-1950s. The red and white blouse pictured above is from the 1930s, well before sergers were commonly used.

While these are all good indicators of when an item was made, it’s never the full answer. I usually check the seams first, but then I move on to a whole list of other factors to help me date the piece. What other factors, you say? Well, I’ll get into that next week 🙂

Decisions, Decisions

Last week was a busy one for me, so I only had a chance to get out to shop a few times. Some weeks I’m definitely luckier than others, and this week I only walked away with a few treasures.

I’m really loving this dress. Just look at how lovely the buttons are with that print!

I also scooped up these Pyrex mixing bowls. Partly for my Ms. Fix It tutorial, but also because they’re kitchy and fun.

But my question for you is: should I keep them? I love the dress and I love the bowls, but I’m trying my best to stop myself from wanting to keep all the beautiful things I find. It can be really difficult! What would you do?

What are some of the great things you found this weekend?

Things I Love: Brown Butter & Sea Salt Cookies

Remember how great chocolate chip cookies are? Warm out of the oven cookies are up there as one of my favorite foods. And I had a serious craving for some this week.

Usually I’ll just follow the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag, but to be honest, I’ve been bored with that. I really wanted something special this week.

Good thing I found a recipe for brown butter & sea salt chocolate chip cookies over at Ambitious Kitchen. Reading the recipe, making the cookies and then quickly eating all of them left me with one thought:

Why have I not been baking with brown butter forever???


Photo from Ambitious Kitchen
These cookies are out of this world good. So good I’m contemplating making a second batch right now. Just kidding. I’m for sure making another batch.

They are very delicious and definitely my favorite thing this week!

Ms. Fix It: Dirty Pyrex

Good news! I was roaming thrift stores recently (as I often am) when I came across a beautiful set of Pyrex mixing bowls:

Sadly, the green one had seen much, much better days. See how scratched and dirty it was?

I set out to fix it, though! Did you know that you can use Bar Keeper’s Friend to easily remove most (if not all!) blemishes from Pyrex and other dishes?

Before you cover the entire dish in this powder, though, make sure you test it on a small area to make sure it won’t take off the paint. Being the (lazy) gambler that I am, I didn’t take my own advice. Luckily, it worked out just fine.

First, I doused the bowl in water and then covered the entire thing with a healthy coating of Bar Keeper’s Friend. By the way, you can find this stuff at any hardware store. After waiting a minute or so, I scrubbed. And scrubbed and scrubbed. Some areas required more than one application, but it was worth the effort. In the end I had a very good looking bowl!

Nice and shiny!

If you decide to try this, make sure not to leave the powder on for too long, as it can eat away at the paint. Also…it smells really strong. Fair warning.

This is by no means a fix-all, but it definitely makes a huge difference. This bowl went from unusable to something I am excited to use and show off!