The year was 1986. I was an unassuming teenager, a sophomore in a regular high school, in a nothing special town in upstate New York. Then…I watched the movie Pretty In Pink. And that’s when it all began. The moment I saw Andie in all her crazy cool vintage outfits, scene after scene, right down to the cut-up prom dress, I was hooked. I loved vintage!
I immediately hit the local antique and vintage shops. The three cardigans in the photo above were some of my first buys. Another sentimental piece I still have is the pink cloche style 60’s hat pictured below. I still remember, I was so nervous to wear it to school. What would people think? Is it too weird? From that day on, I decided I didn’t care, I wanted my own style, and so vintage soon overtook my wardrobe.
Pretty early on, I hit up my Nana’s closets, attic, and jewelry box. As a vintage dealer, those few but cherished pieces of vintage that were actually from my grandmother are still my most prized possessions. They aren’t the most elaborate vintage pieces in my collection, or terribly unusual or exceptional, but they are from family, which make them real treasures.
The photo below is a cardigan that belonged to my grandmother that I used to wear to school all the time. That’s me in the middle photo from my high school yearbook, wearing the sweater, next to my friend Melanie. Notice the few little brooches setting on the corner on the book. All from Nana too!
Thrift shops, yard sales, relatives’ attics – I searched them all! I was infected by the thrill of the hunt. I marveled at the unique and interesting things I found, just waiting to be reused. I enjoyed creating my very own look. All things I continue to take pleasure in to this day.
The crocheted cardigan below was an early thrift shop find. Nothing better than finding gorgeous vintage, cheap! The cameo necklace came from my Aunt Kitty. When relatives found out I loved their old baubles, out came the old jewelry boxes – I was like a kid in a candy shop!
I look back and I must say, I am a little disappointed in my teenager vintage loving self. My prom dress choice was no cut-up Andie special. It wasn’t even vintage! (gasp) It was vintage inspired Gunne Sax and frankly, pretty ugly. However! My senior banquet dress was divine. A 1950’s tea length with a scoop neckline, ruched midriff, and a lacy full skirt.
Behold, the photo below showing it displayed today, as well as a picture of me in it in 1989. The picture of me is really blurry, but I thought it still looked kinda cool and ethereal.
Once college rolled around, my vintage closet was full, but there was no stopping me. It was no surprise that I ended up opening my first vintage shop pretty much right out of college.
In the meantime, I continued picking up things here and there, like the darling rose print number photographed below. And those great black and white wing tips? Much to my mother’s dismay, I walked all over campus in those in the early 90’s, worn with dresses, of course. That’s me lounging in roses. Ahhh, the classic “friend taking photography class needs model for cheesy pictures”. We had quite the vintage wardrobe to work with for that days photo shoot. (The other pictures are too embarrassing to share.)
This year was the 30th anniversary of the movie Pretty in Pink, which means, it’s been 30 years since I was introduced to the world of vintage. I’m proud of my teenager self who wore the heck out of that pink hat and created for herself a style, then a lifestyle, and eventually, a career in vintage.