To all my well~dressed gentlemen readers (and ladies of the club):
If you do anything today, check out The Sartorialist's post to see what a proper men's shop should look like. If this won't make you weep, nothing will. (This has nothing to do with my Nordic ancestry, really.)
"Be it a jewel or toy, not the prize gives the joy, but the striving to win the prize." ~ Owen Meredith (Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton)
While true in many instances of life, this may be one exception to Sir Bulwer-Lytton's poetic quote. A few weeks ago I learned of a Give~Away via Lily Lemontree. The host was Sarah of My Little Boudoir, and she was generous enough to host a give~away to win a signed copy of this fabulous book:
Having a rare spare minute or two, I entered the give~away and spent a few hours day dreaming (while ironing, that is) about how great it would be if I actually won...just the cover photograph had sent me reeling into old~world New York...
Half awake, waiting for the coffee to finish perking just after 6:00 o'clock this morning, I opened my "mail" and found this:
A last~minute gallavant/treasure hunting expedition landed me this fabulous vintage swimsuit. The tag has (sadly) been removed, but there is a little tiny bit left that only the finest, most experienced in the art of vintage swimsuit history could identify. So who do you call? GLAMOURSURF, of course! I sent the photos to Pam and hopefully she will be able to help me out with this. Christine of Carmen & Ginger thinks it would make a great pin~up photo shoot suit, and I have to agree. You'll find it in the SWIMWEAR department as soon as I have more information about it. Sometimes it just pays to let the ironing wait and take a ride . . .
"Hello, I'd like to learn more about this pretty, classy hat you're selling, and have some questions. Please send a copy of your answers to my home email.
Where/from whom did you acquire this hat?
Is it in completely mint condition?
How do you price this hat (why is it worth $XX.00)
Is this a rare hat design?
Is it more dressy, or do you think it could be worn casually?
So there are no stains, smudges, pilling, moth bites/grazes, inner sweat marks ,etc. present on this hat?
Are the ends of the polka dot bow frayed/coming undone, or is the whole ribbon intact?
Any flaws/stains on the ribbon?
Could you send a photo or two of this coat on a real person, so I can imagine what it looks like when worn?
Do you have any more hats similar to this one (designer vintage hats) that you'll be adding soon?
Do you ship via USPS Priority mail?
Do you use Pay Pal?
How much extra is shipping/insurance for this hat?
Do you accept returns? Thanks again, I look forward to learning more about this pretty hat. " Sara
This "convo" arrived in my Etsy mail box many months ago. It was in regard to a Halston hat I had listed. I suppose the fact that I'm posting about it shows that it still irks me. It felt like a vintage police interrogation, bright white light and all.
Here is the response I sent:
Dear Sara ,
Thank you for the inquiry. Many of your questions are answered in my listing and under "Shop Policies". This hat was purchased at a second hand/resale shop. It is in excellent condition. There is a bit of glue on the ribbon~~there may have been some sort of attachment at some point, although I do not know if that was part of the original design. If you are looking for a pristine, absolutely spotless, brand new condition hat, you may be better off not shopping vintage. This hat is some 30 years old, and although it is immaculate, it's still not a brand new hat. Every item sold at The Red Velvet Shoe is of the highest quality and is presented in my boutique with full disclosure of it's condition. If an item is not in pristine condition, I am very clear about it in the listing and it is priced accordingly.
Michelle @ The Red Velvet Shoe
This is what I really wanted to say:
Where/from whom did you acquire this hat? Sorry, #1 rule of a vintage huntress, never disclose the source, and why do you care anyway??
Is it in completely mint condition? Hmm, what's the difference between "completely mint" & "mint"~~I thought mint meant just that.
How do you price this hat (why is it worth $XX.00) 1. It's Halston 2. Research 3. Do you ask this question about everything you buy?
Is this a rare hat design? Unfortunately, the manager of the Halston hat factory wasn't free for an interview so I couldn't find out exactly how many were made.
Is it more dressy, or do you think it could be worn casually? It's a hat. You can wear it when/however you want.
So there are no stains, smudges, pilling, moth bites/grazes, inner sweat marks ,etc. present on this hat?You really know how to insult a gal.
Are the ends of the polka dot bow frayed/coming undone, or is the whole ribbon intact?You do know you can zoom in on photos, don't you?
Any flaws/stains on the ribbon?Again, there is a zoom option. And thanks for another insult.
Could you send a photo or two of this coat on a real person, so I can imagine what it looks like when worn?Are you sure you know what your looking at? A form letter none~the~less!
Do you have any more hats similar to this one (designer vintage hats) that you'll be adding soon?Not if I have to put up with this from you again.
Do you ship via USPS Priority mail?I have three words for you: SEE SHOP POLICIES!
Do you use Pay Pal? Same three words...
How much extra is shipping/insurance for this hat?Repetition for emphasis. See last two answers.
Do you accept returns? You don't have to worry about that, I'm not selling it to you. Thanks again, I look forward to learning more about this pretty hat. "Do nothin' till you hear from me.
I never heard from her again, and the hat sold to a wonderful buyer in Canada who was thrilled with it and the transaction was interrogation~free! I understand when shopping on~line, and especially shopping vintage on~line, questions and details are important & neccessary components. The shop owner has the huge responsibility to provide accurate, detailed, and honest information about each and every item, a responsibility I take very seriously. The shopper has the responsibility to thoroughly read the item description, check the measurements, zoom in on photos if you question the condition, and read the Shop Policies. If you still have a question, then contact the shop owner. And try not to insult her, if you can help it.
And who knew fellow vintage/thrift shopperSJP was going to jump on the Halston band wagon anyway? I could have sold it to her! Unless, of course, the "Sara" involved is one and the same . . . would I sell out on my on~line vintage shopping etiquette rules to accomodate a super~star? Would you?
The day dawned bright, hot and early... and not nearly long enough after I finally crawled into bed @ 2:15 am. My sister's arrival at 9:00 pm the night before with a chilled bottle of Prosecco were just what I needed to get my second wind. With the truck packed to it's gills, we called it a night, desperate for sleep & yet eager for the sun to rise, to get on the road to Boston.
Sunday the 2nd of May just happened to be one of those crazy New England days when the temperature was already 80 degrees by 10:00 am, and would continue to rise to 90 degrees by some reports I heard. My mantra all the way to Boston? "Please let this VFW hall have air conditioning...Please let this VFW hall have air conditioning..."
We arrive at 11:00 on the dot, and for a moment it looks like a mini~version of the New York Garment District back in it's hey~day.
Racks of fabulous vintage clothing being wheeled across the parking lot by men in suits with bow ties and ladies dressed to the nines . . . my heart begins to pound. The clock ticks away, and before we knew it, the crowd had pushed through the door well before high noon and the pandemonium began. My heart begins to pound again~~we were nowhere even close to ready for the torrential crowd of vintage~treasure~hunters streaming in.
The crowd was, I believe, far above and beyond what any of us expected. The fabulous Christine of Carmen & Ginger is a seasoned Flea~Market queen and said she had never experienced anything like it. So you can only imagine what the experience was like for this Flea~Market virgin.
In actuality, these photos were snapped much later in the day, when we finally had a moment to step out from behind our booths.
I met this adorable vintage~loving gal who gladly obliged my request to snap her photo in these fabulous "SULTRY" sunglasses handmade in England (I'm quite sure she told me her name and I apoligize for forgetting).
The lovely Taylor spent quite a bit of time at The Red Velvet Shoe, and she was a pleasure to behold. A vision of vintage fashion and was one of three awarded the "Top Shelf Flea Market 2010 Best Dressed Award" by Red Bird Vintage. I would have to agree. She bought one of my favorite dresses and I am hoping she will manage to share a photo of her wearing it someday!
It was such a pleasure to meet some "fans", if you will, of The Red Velvet Shoe. "Julie", the winner of my Springtime Vintage Give~Away, was one of the first through the door and was just thrilled that the vintage swimsuit she had her eye on was on the rack~a pleasure meeting you, Julie! I also met the adorable "Sarah" who found "The Shoe" via a friend on Facebook and made her way down to Somerville to come say hello & show her support. I hope those of you who found something make good on your word to send photos & keep in touch!
My friend Brooke checking out the goods.
(Jay & David)
The boys were fine, there was beer.
(Brooke, Kelsi & Brandi~Lynn)
And lots of pretty girls...
Fellow comrades of vintage Amy of Artifaktori & Christine of Carmen & Ginger looking fabulous in their vintage ensembles (Amy was freezing, thus the bizarre color combo & hangtag hanging off her sleeve.) I can't really explain the hat, you'll have to ask her.
My amazing sister & assistant for the day Brandi~Lynn, with friends & supporters Merrie & Michelle.
You know you have great friends when they drive over an hour on the hottest day of the year to show their support. Not to mention sticking around to help pack up & making it fun despite the sensation you could possibly tip over from exhaustion at any moment. My sister Brandi~Lynn was above and beyond the best assistant I could have ever had and it is quite clear I could not have done it without her. Of course I have to mention my DH & my adorable daughter for all their help & support for making this day possible for The Red Velvet Shoe. Suffice it to say that my domestic duties have seriously fallen by the wayside & they did a great job trying to keep things together while I prepared for this fabulous vintage extravaganza.
I dressed Coco my dressform in one of my favorite ensembles that belonged to my grandmother. Apparently, my grandmother had great taste, I think over 50 shoppers asked to purchase this dress, which I had to disappoint them with those heart~breaking words: "It's not for sale." They found other treasures, though, and shop they did!
I also brought this great photo of my grandparents & displayed it on an easel. As you may know, my grandmother played a major part in nurturing my adoration for vintage clothing & finery, so I had to have her there, if only in a photograph. One of the highlights of my day was when this lovely girl came up to me with it in her hand and said "How much is this? I love it!" (Note to self: mark things that aren't for sale as NOT FOR SALE next time) I took it as the ultimate compliment.
There were so many vendors with fabulous vintage treasures I didn't even have a chance to properly meet or photograph. Here are some links to a few other great reviews about The Top Shelf Flea Market which I will add to as I come accross them.
We're a bit behind schedule with getting things packed up for The Top Shelf Flea, will try to post the Give~Away winner by 9:00 am tomorrow. Apologies for the delay, stay tuned to find out who our winner will be! Now, back to readying that never ending rack of vintage wonderful . . .