Janet's Vintage Finds

My Favorite Summer Estate Sale Finds

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This summer I spent a fair amount of time at estate sales and tag/garage sales searching for inventory for my vintage Etsy shop and also just because I enjoy browsing for unique decor for my own home. My tastes lean towards eclectic with a mix of vintage and modern. For example, my living room contains a modern looking white leather sectional and glass and chrome shelving mixed with  early-to-mid century pieces, including a 1920s reupholstered armchair, an antique clock, and midcentury marble-topped side table (one of my summer finds).

I love finding interesting pieces that become focal points and conversation pieces in a room. And I relish the search. It’s so much fun to browse when you never know what you might find.

Here are a few of my favorite recent finds. Some link to current listings while others are things I kept for my own home or have already sold.

Midcentury Madness

Midcentury canister set
I spotted this canister set at the Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, MA, just before summer started. I especially love the pink color and the retro font used on the labels. They now sit on my kitchen counter where we use them everyday.
Midcentury side table
Another treasure from the Brimfield show that is now prominently featured in my living room. I absolutely loved the rounded, midcentury cupboard and removable marble top on this side table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Kitsch!

Antique wicker hen baskets
Love these wicker hen baskets that I found at an estate sale. Perfect for a farmhouse kitchen!
McDonald's good morning fireking coffee mugs
I couldn’t resist these 1970s McDonald’s “Good Morning” coffee mugs. Can you believe that the fast food giant used to serve its java in FireKing/ Anchor Hocking milk glass mugs? Times have changed.
Inarco coffee pot daisy pattern 1960s
Another retro kitchen find made by Japan’s Inarco in the 1960s. The bright daisy pattern on this coffee pot is so pretty against the glazed olive brown backdrop. So many nice details, including a handle textured to resemble a stem and a pumpkin on the tip of the cover.

1950s Fashion Statements

1950s red suede clutch by Holzman
I love this 1950s Style-Art clutch by Holzman that I picked up at an estate sale. Cherry-red suede with black leather piping and wrist strap and a fabulous rhinestone snap closure. I was so pleased when I opened it and found a compact mirror, comb, and change purse tucked inside! (still listed in my shop).

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Red and gold rhinestone brooch 1950s.
I used to pass by the jewelry cases at estate sales but lately I can’t resist. There are so many pretty brooches, earrings, and necklaces from the 1950s-era. This one was special with sparkling red rhinestones on antique gold. It sold soon after the listing went up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retro Rustic Decor

Marble stone rustic coasters
I’m loving rustic decor lately so my eye was immediately drawn to these textured marble stone coasters that were on display at an estate sale. Vintage Set of Studio Vertu marble coasters with weathered metal stand. I later found out they were hand made by Studio Vertu in the 1990s in Cincinnati, Ohio. (click photo to see listing)

 

 

 

Stan Langtwait clay and ash owl wall plaque
I have an obsession with owls and I seriously considered keeping this wall plaque for myself. But I am trying to restrain myself from accumulating (hoarding?) too much stuff so it is now listed in my shop. This piece also has an interesting history as it was made with clay mixed with volcanic ash from Mt. St. Helen’s in Washington State, and signed by the artist Stan Langtwait.

Women Who Wore Hats: Pulling off the Vintage Look

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Stylish hats are back in style for women who like a vintage look.  But it’s hard for some of us pull off the looks that women achieved in the early decades of the 1900s. Back then, hats were part of everyday styles, whether at the office, nightclub, or Sunday church. Looking back at some pictures from that era illustrates just how adept these women were at picking the perfect hat for any occasion. Below are some photos that I think showcase some of the most attractive pairings.

Vintage Everyday, which stores a trove of nostalgic photos on its web site, recently posted, “50 Vintage Fashion Photos that Reveal Just How Awesome People Used to Dress.” There are so many fun photos in this feature, including some that highlight fashionable hats.

Check out this picture of a crowd on the streets of London in 1908 — people going about their daily business in hats of all shapes and sizes. Note how they pair long dresses and boas with appropriately large brimmed hats with feathers. Even the kids are wearing hats.

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Hats in the crowd

This model at a photo shoot in New York City in 1956 sports a jaunty tam. I love how it looks with the cape. I haven’t seen many capes among vintage clothing today but it looks so stylish and comfortable.

new york model vintage hats
A model in NYC in 1956

“A woman’s hat is a part of her outfit as a whole, not an afterthought,” says Solanah at Vixen Vintage. She posted a collection of vintage hat looks on her blog that is worth checking out. She makes the important point that unlike men, women didn’t remove their hats when they entered a room. The hat was not only a necessary complement to her outfit but also integrated with her hairstyle. Hats were often pinned on with the woman’s hair arranged to suit her hat style.

Audrey Hepburn provides a case in point. She didn’t need a hat to look great but she definitely rocks this pink bowler. Note the positioning pinned on the back of her head rather than perched on top. I think it really accentuates her beautiful face and simple pearl earrings.

audrey hepburn pink hat
Audrey in 1962

African American women routinely wore hats to church and on other special occasions in the early part of the century, and some still do today. Vintage Everyday recently posted photos of some of those women from the 1920s-1940s. I was struck by how well they pitched them at the perfect angle and paired them with just the right outfits. Here’s one who appears to be waiting to leave for church, sporting a wide-brimmed straw hat.

vintage wide brimmed hat.
The wide-brimmed hat, perfect for dressing up in hot weather.

Kristina Uriegas-Reyes at xojane has blogged about her love for the pillbox hat. Finding the perfect positioning is key, she says, rightly pointing out that a lot of older hats are too small for the average woman’s head. However many can be worn at an angle using pins or combs.

Here are some of the hats I’ve collected in my recent travels to thrift shops and estate sales. What are your favorites?

vintage hat glenover
The Glenover Beret by Henry Pollack
vintage hat bowler
A wool bowler with front flower embellishment
vintage straw hat
A straw sunhat with open top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

vintage pillbox hat
Taupe pillbox hat with veil
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