Review: Eastown Antiques Grand Rapids

There are three main stores vintage in Eastown Grand Rapids that are all along Wealthy Street: Eastown Antiques, The Brass Owl, and Phil's Stuff. I took the number 6 bus Southbound on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to the Eastown, right by the popular hotdog restaurant Yesterdog, and then walked west down Wealthy St to visit the three stores. Today I'll talk about Eastown Antiques!

One of the bigger Antique stores, it is very well organized and has many different accessories, hats, tassels, and small nicknacks on the first floor. 

The bottom floor is entirely second hand clothing and furniture. I didn't find much for myself, but they do have nicer modern clothing. There wasn't too much vintage that was distinctly 80s and older, and their prices were in the medium range: $8-$20 per piece. They did have a wrack of vintage skinny ties that I picked a nice tie out of.

They also had a display of designer bags and shoes. I'm not a collector myself, but I'm sure someone out their is drooling over these finds.

The vendors working at the counter were very nice and made conversation with me about local antiques stores and directions. I would recommend this store in particular for people look for accessories, hats, ties, and menswear.

As a little bonus, look at this amazing vest! I love all the details and Rococo colors. Its more for an antique collection than wearable vintage. It would require special care, repair, and cleaning if worn, so I passed this one up. But the price was reasonable, I believe it was in the $20-30 range.


Vintage Finds: Floral Concealed Meat Fork!

Above is a strange find I came by this weekend while exploring Eastown Grand Rapids' vintage stores.  Between a bunch of antique photographs at Phil's Stuff, I saw this peeking through! A floral decorated sheath, that when opened I discovered it was a dagger/meat knife! It's 11.5 inches long and pretty scary looking! Anyone have any ideas for what it's original purpose may be? I honestly stumped. In anycase, I love how its feminine, aged, and secretly a deadly weapon. No one's messing with me in a dark alleyway!

I have been making the rounds in Grand Rapids, and I have almost visited every vintage and thrift store in the downtown area! Today after I post this blog I'm visiting the last to off my checklist: Salvation Army and St. Vincent DePaul down South Division street between classes. I think I'll have a week devoted entirely to Grand Rapids specifically for vintage clothing, and reviewing some of the shops around here.

I'm going to do this with some of Chicago's surburbs and the Chicago Downtown area when I get back home for the summer. My fellow blogger friend, Zoe who's been blogging about her last half year's experience in Spain as a foreign exchange student, also wants to do a guest blog where she talks about the vintage stores she's visited. Hope you look forward to it!


Upcoming Vintage/Antique Chicago Events

Here's a list of some upcoming shows and sales in Chicago I'm come across. I, unfortunately, will not be attending any of the first three shows. I'm going to try to arrange to make it to the Modern Vintage show.

Trunk Show. Dollparts: A Fabric and Vintage Sale
914 N. California (between Augusta and Chicago), Humboldt Park.
Saturday March 26th 12-6PM 
Sunday March 27th 1-7pm

Chez Mignon: A House of Pretty Things
At Elastic Arts Gallery in Logan Square
Elastic Arts Foundation, 2830 N Milwaukee Ave, 2nd Fl
Friday, April 1st 7pm -11:30pm

Chicago Botanical Garden Fair
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022  •  (847) 835-5440
Preview evening: Thursday, April 14, 6 – 10 p.m.
Friday – Sunday, April 15 – 17, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Modern Vintage Chicago: Spring Fashion & Jewels
Plumbers Hall
1340 W. Washington - Chicago, IL
Saturday, April 16, 2011 10am to 5pm
Sunday, April 17, 2011 10am to 5pm


Vintage Styles: Psychedelic Prints and Opt Art

That unicorn shirt is so crazy! Here are some pictures and links to some of my recent interest: strange atypical prints. Specifically, psychedelic and opt art prints.

Psychedelic art movement's main influence was the anti-war hippie movement and experimenting with mind altering drugs. Although the movement is more complex that just a bunch of hopped up teenagers, its more of a mindset, to quote Salvador Dali "I don’t take drugs, I am drugs.” Its about expanding your consciousness and embracing life on a higher plane of existence. Although I personally don't encourage it, or believe that, it's fascinating to see what other paths people take.

Opt Art is an abstract style create visual tension that can make a picture look like its moving or vibrating. Vivid colors and geometric, repeating patterns are often used. I don't have any examples of that here, the prints for these are very interesting as well. In fashion, the genre sometimes overlaps with pop art.

The fashion of the 60s and 70s reflects these art movements: swirling whimsical patterns shirts, reminiscent of The Beatle's Yellow Submarine Movie, and Prints of optical illusions and pop art patterns. I love prints that are out of the ordinary and stand alone are artwork. There's only so much paisley and floral prints you can have before it gets a little boring.

I recently bought a 70s Art Nouveau inspired shirt that's very Beatles-esque. I can't get enough of the crazy pattern! Pics to come!


Event: Vintage Heaven. Chicago Vintage Sale.

Last Saturday, I went with my friend and ChiCityTrend's blogger Luis to the monthly vendor vintage sale at Vintage Heaven in Wicker Park. To those of you unfamiliar with Wicker Park, this area is the best in Chicago for thrift and vintage. There's so many different kinds of shops and clothing there.

Vintage Heaven had an interesting selection for many different eras of dress. The shopping area was spread out between two rooms, and did have a dressing room in the back to try the clothing on if you were undecided on a piece.

My most memorable vendors were Adrienne from ShopNOV with her beautiful selection of wild dresses, and Karyn from Dethrow who looked gorgeous in her retro Gunne Sax day dress. Karyn is also putting together a dolly kei fashion show this weekend.

I also met the lovely ChicagoLooks fashion blogger Isa, and caught Dollparts' Michelle on a smoke break.


I highly recommend stopping by and visiting to anyone in the Chicago-land area who is looking for a unique and interesting addition to their wardrobe.


Who are the Odd Fellows? Some background info & history.

Example of Odd Fellows Regalia used in a outfit, and Odd Fellows Royal Guard Uniform Illustrations.

I talk about The Oddfellows frequently because of the many different beautiful and strange ceremonial objects that were made for their group. While originally their regalia, costumes, and vestments make for interesting additions to a vintage wardrobe, particularly those with a dolly kei bent. Also the collars, pins, and shriner's hats are popular accessories with the Grimoire shop girls.

While I claim no expertise in the subject, I vaguely know their background. There isn't much information online, so I'm going to have a find a history book somewhere to fill in the details.

Odd fellows started a fraternity of "odd fellows" in small villages in Europe, who had too few in numbers to start their own guild of trade. They formed a raggedy crew of differently talented individuals and from here they grew to become a large group that promotes community and charity. Eventually the fraternity moved to the US as well. They are very similar to Freemasons.

They have many symbols they use within their group but the most prominent ones that I have noticed on costumes and regalia are: three entwined chains, a hand holding a heart, a beehive, an eye, and the eastern star which looks like an inverted pentagram.

The Rebekah group seem to be a teenage fraternity, and sometimes a women's group. Their symbols are the moon, a dove, a lavender flower, a beehive, and use most of the other odd fellow symbols as well.

As I learn more information and background information I will blog about it. If you have any information or books to recommend don't hesitate to comment and message me!


Vintage Styles: Oddfellows Oddities

Recently I've stumbled across some strange finds on ebay for oddfellows items. Sure the typical robe and regalia passes through ebay... but these items are something else.

The top mask is listed as 1890s ODD FELLOWS painted mesh mask By DeMoulin Bros. I'm not quite sure what its use would be, perhaps some kind of ceremonial object? Very strange and very creepy.

Regalia is fairly easy to come by, but this particular collar is unique to what I normally see listed. Silver color and metallic prints is fairly uncommon, as opposed to the typical red with embroidery.

What a beautiful book! I couldn't resist putting it up here despite the staggering price.

And my favorite... these comical numbered "watch" uniforms! (oddfellows have different classes, such as guard, watch, king, high priest, ext. Depending on what class you are you where different uniforms). I like trying to imagine what kind of scenario would call for such a uniform. I can only hope its the oddfellows extended version of Dr. Suess's thing one and thing two.


Style Guide: Modern Stores

I'm crazy about vintage and antiques, especially how many items are one of kind. However, there are many opportunities to find brand new, mass produced clothing that have an intricate antiqued feel. It is also a safe and easy route for people not keen on the idea of wearing second hand clothes.

Some more upscale stores that definitely have a classic feminine feel: Anthropologie, Free People, Modcloth, and Lucky Brand jewelry.

These are the more common stores you will find at your mall and have a lot of things applicable, especially with spring rolling around: Forever 21, H&M, Macy's, Charlotte Rousse, Wet Seal, and shoes from Urban Outfitters.

In this post I'm featuring Forever 21 because this stores in particular change stock constantly and have a wide variety of styles they cater to, so anyone can find something perfect for their own style.

Currently, white lace dresses and scarves with layers of lace and crochet are in style for spring and are great for layering. I haven't seen any examples in online stores, but if you visit the various shops in person you're bound to find some.

You never know when you'll see something you like, so generally its best to peep into every store you can. Some of my favorite shoes and dresses I've found at stores you wouldn't necessarily go out of your way to visit like: Target, Sears, and Kohls. In my experience, for some odd reason usually the most unique and interesting stuff is in clearance.

Rule of thumb: If they sell clothes and isn't owned by the Abercrombie Company, Gap, or American Eagle, check out what they have!


Vintages Styles: Seashell Purses

I first discovered this particular style of retro purses while at an old warehouse turned vintage shop near my college and was looking through a giant box of vintage purses. I was surprised to see a wicker basket with a facade of glue on sand and seashells.

As I've been searching through vintage finds online, I was pleasantly surprised to repeatedly come across different variations of this design! Some of the pictures above link to recently posted seashell basket purses. 

Perfect for the upcoming summer and going to the beach. I also think it would make for an interesting DIY project.


Welcome to my Dolly Kei, Cult Party, Otome, Mori Girl, Vintage, and Antique Blog!

"The Tao that can be followed is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the origin of heaven and earth
While naming is the origin of the myriad things.
Therefore, always desireless, you see the mystery
Ever desiring, you see the manifestation.
These two are the same-
When they appear they are named differently.
The sameness is the mystery,
Mystery within mystery;
The door to all marvels." --Tao Te Ching

If I could make a melting pot of every place in the past I've ever thought was beautiful, and take back a piece of clothing home with me, that is my wardrobe.

One of the most influential style for my wardrobe is dolly kei, originally a japanese street fashion. What is dolly kei? Similar to how Britain's Orientalism art period romanticized the Middle East and Eastern hemispheres, this cult of street fashion romanticizes old world Europe. Dolly kei uses different elements of vintages clothes and ethnic/folk costume to create an entirely new and fresh look.

I know what drew me to this style was the history behind the clothes, and have lived a second life before you ever came across them. However, it is your hand that selects them and gives them a new meaning, and a new life. It is also the appreciation of detail in handmade, and rustic feeling of artisan made objects such are paintings, embroidery, crochet, lace, tapestries, pottery, and metalworking. These objects does what our current mass production culture tends to turn away from: encrusting with detail.

Don't get bogged up on trying to emulate style icons, or even follow everything that I'm telling you. Dissect what pieces you like from an outfit, and from there build your wardrobe with clothes that are flattering on you and suit your personality.

This blog's goal is to give advice on how to find your own inspiration through exploring the beauty and energy of world's past.