There is a science to vintage shopping. And, no doubt, an art. When you nab the rare record/chambray shirt-of-your-dreams — it's pure alchemy. We asked Jordan Blumberg – Austin native, DailyCandy editor, vintage maven — to share her shopping hot spots for oldies-but-goodies.
LAY OF THE LAND
AUSTIN, Texas – Most of Austin's best vintage shopping is on the three parallel thoroughfares South of Lady Bird Lake and North of Oltorf. Of the three, South Congress is the most popular and best for those on foot, though South First is quiet enough to not begrudge less-than-consistent sidewalks. I'd suggest bikes or cars for any trips to South Lamar. The North Loop above Austin's Hyde Park neighborhood is a solid ride or short drive from downtown, with a cluster of shops that practically blend together.
A word about vintage shopping in general: Always check the seams, smell, and only buy if your more buttoned-up friends will question the piece on some level. Interesting textures (knits of alternating thickness, sequins, fringe, anything fuzzy or with leather accents) are pure gold. A good rule of thumb: If you are torn, pass.
1700b S. Congress, entrance on Milton St.; +1-512-912-9779
The gem that outfitted my college years has gained a loyal following of bloggers, editors, and hip folk without losing any of its low-fi quirkiness and sex appeal.
The stock: Loud prints, rompers, oversize clutches, jorts, quality fur for under $100, and a case filled with indie and local jewelry.
Prototype Vintage Design
1700 1/2 S. Congress, entrance on Milton St.; +1-512-447-7686
If Elton John became the set decorator for a '70s sitcom, I think he would shop here.
The stock: Mod furniture, embroidered wall hangings, paisley dresses, kitschy housewares.
1606 S. Congress; +1-512-326-1238
When you see sidewalk racks of concert tees, turn in. A large, generally unedited selection of clothing and accessories for men and women makes this one for the masses. I find it has some of the best prices in town.
The stock: Brown cowboy boots, red cowboy boots, and black cowboy boots. I've also dug up a few '40s calico dresses that should really be in a museum.
1512 S. Congress Ave.; +1-512-442-4000
Have you ever had the feeling that an old knick-knack you snagged at the flea market is possessed and your life is about to turn into an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? I get it every time I visit this overstuffed ode to the past.
The stock: Antique jewelry (costume mainly), objects d'art, old letters and post cards, porcelain jewelry boxes to stash secrets.
Don't miss SoCo's best non-vintage shops: By George, Service Menswear, Tesoros Trading Co., and Lucy in Disguise With Diamonds.
1805 S. 1st St.; +1-512-445-6906
A creaky old house filled with dresses for retro babes with tattoos and bangs.
The stock: Tulle petticoats, pearl snap shirts for dudes, high-waist denim shorts, housewares, and the odd vintage book.
Amelia's Retro-Vogue & Relics
2213 S. 1st St.; +1-512-442-4446
If you're in the market for clothing from the '90s (as in 1890s) through the '50s, stop by. Brides will love the front room dedicated to wedding gear.
The stock: Vintage gowns, veils, gloves, hats, and tiaras.
Quick tips: If you're searching for a sign (as in neon), you'll find it at Roadhouse Relics. For a post-shopping bite, the new Lenoir is making a splash with locally-sourced tasting menus.
Austin Vintage Guitar
1112 S. Lamar; +1-512-428-9100
When it comes to music, I'm more of the listening type — and yet I love AVG's polished selection. Feel free to ask one million questions. They will answer them all.
The stock: Fender Stratocasters, Gibson Les Pauls, amps, and other high-end instruments I can't afford or play.
705b S. Lamar; +1-512-916-9961
Feathers' richer sister is technically a consignment shop but, hey, pre-owned is pre-owned.
The stock: Contemporary dresses, coats, bags, and shoes from brands like Jil Sander, Prada, Chanel, Lanvin, Alaia, Rachel Comey, and Phillip Lim.
Big Bertha's Bargain Basement
1050 S. Lamar; +1-512-444-5908
There is no Bertha (though owner Henry Tarin is enthusiastic and fabulous) and don't expect a bargain (Henry likes Jean Paul Gaultier, Halston, and Versace). That said, it's a fun time.
The stock: Statement everything. Think rainbow-colored feather hats by Dior, Indian breastplates, and structured dresses.
Blue Velvet Vintage
217 W. North Loop; +1-512-452-2583
Take the name at face value and you'll know what you're getting into.
The stock: Sunglasses, wacky '80s dresses, sequined everything, sombreros, tulle, and piles and piles of costume-ready duds.
Room Service Vintage
107 E. North Loop; +1-512-451-1057
100 E. North Loop; +1-512- 467-9453
When I think about the hours I've spent browsing both, the scene when Ariel sings about her endless supply of doo-dads and thingamabobs comes to mind. Great for decorators and interior design enthusiasts.
The stock: Refurbished light fixtures, typewriters, patches, sofas, and clothing for all types. A slightly more edited selection of antique home goods at the Hog.
Antone's Record Shop
2928 Guadalupe; +1-512-322-0660
Watching grad students geek out when they find an impossible record is a satisfying yet subtle form of entertainment.
The stock: All the rock, soul, and blues albums you'd want to listen to on vintage vinyl, LP's, 45s and 78s, and then some.
1600 Fort View Rd.; +1-512-762-8797
Cash only, out of the way, and very Western with a stage out back for intimate concerts.
The stock: Cowboy boots galore, beaded and tooled leather belts, embroidered button down shirts for men, vintage purses, and pottery.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
Got yourself a hot little outfit? Jordan has a few ideas about where to wear it around Austin.