Tales of Chicago Natalie: Part One – Friday Morning
Ok… here we go:
Friday was a LOOONG and very adventurous day, so I decided to break it into three parts. Hops and I got up at 4:00 a.m.-ish to make it down to the Porter terminal in time for our 7:00 a.m. flight (we had some last-minute packing to do…). Porter is frigging AWESOME and we were greeted with absolutely delicious cappuccinos when we got to the lounge:
Yeah… we were preeetty excited on the plane:
We landed at 7:30 a.m. due to the time change, which meant that we had TONS of time in the morning to explore the city and bang off some vintage shops. First… brunch. We went to this cute little place that had mid-century retro furniture and some farm-house details called “Orange With a Peel”:
We really, really, really didn’t want to stay in the touristy area (which seemed to be overpopulated with women in Anne Klein button-down t-shirts, flared jeans, and hot pink stiletto heels… and circa 2001 martini bars), so we made a bee-line for Wicker Park, which people have described to me as the “Queen West of Chicago”. It definitely had the “industrial-meets-shithole-meets-hipster” vibe of Queen West… seemed to be a perfect area to stumble upon some thrift/vintage/consignment stores.
Which we eventually did! YEY! The vintage shopping was actually faaaacking awesome:
So. First shop we stopped at was really a true “thrift” store. The prices were DIRRRT cheap, and it had that “old people who keep clothes in attics with their old cod-fish-liver-oil smell”. AND, what visit to a thrift store would not be complete without a weirdo trying to hit on Hoppers. Some guy followed her around asking her opinion on this 1970′s leather jacket… over and over… poor girl. I guess that’s the price you pay for being hot.
While she was busy fighting off that guy, I was busy looking for stuff to buy in glorious “weirdo-less” solitude. I found this over-sized Cosby sweater that looked cool, but ended up realizing that it had some stains on it that looked suspiciously like poop… so… yeah. That went back on the rack. After about 20 minutes or so, I left with this pair of vintage oxfords from Neiman Marcus and an old chain-strap purse from Argentina. Total cost: $10.00:
Good warm-up. A couple of stores down, we went into a big space called Belmont Army - on the top floor, they sold a bunch of pretty cool lines like Dolce Vita, Cheap Monday, Alternative, etc. The basement had an o.k. selection of vintage clothing finds, but the real finds here were in the army surplus section:
DO YOU SEE THEM IN THIS PICTURE??? The fuggging AMAZING Swiss Army ammunition bags from the 1960s with leather closures and personalized stamps? I did. And my brain almost escaped through my nostrils from excitement:
I must admit… I’ve been looking for these EXACT bags for a little while. They are beautiful and exquisitely made, and the leather detailing is a really unique addition that is seldom seen on military gear. Those Swiss. So stylish. Anyhoo, I bought both of them because I want to steal this guy’s idea and affix them to the back of mylinus as saddle bags. I’ll be the coolest girl-who-looks-like-every-other-hipster chick on Queen West this fall:
So yeah. That was pretty exciting. I walked out of the store with a big “Wow, what a vintagely wonderful day!”, and if I didn’t have any other wicked-cool finds that day, I would have been a happy lassy.
But, to my delight, the day got even better. First, we walked into this mind-blowing store that had about 300 pairs of vintage boots that were all in unbelievable condition. They had some grrreat Frye boots, a few Justins, and about 100 other styles/brands that were all respectable and well-made:
I tried on about 25 pairs of boots to Hops’ chagrin… she found a pair that she liked in about 2 minutes. Apparently, my foot/ankle/calf is the size of a huge, puffy she-monster, because NOTHING fit. The poor salesgirl was literally bringing out pair after pair – I felt like an 17th century obese king whose servants were trying in vain to source a pair of silk clogs to cover his royal cankles. I left boot-less and defeated. On the way out, the salesgirl mentioned that they also own another vintage store across the street, and “they have more boots there…”. She didn’t add “…you puffy disgusting monster…”, but I know she was thinking it.
SO, we went across the street. The old man who owned the shop was the nicest guy in the world…
…and it was like the vintage gods decided to part their stormy clouds and shine down some boot-lovin’ down on me. The first two boots I picked up off the shelf fit me perfectly and were totally awesome. First, I got a pair of studded ankle boots:
THEN, I found a perfect, perfect, perfect pair of vintage G.H. Bass & Co. lace-up boots in amazing condition.
I was already ecstatic with the realization that I wasn’t an obese cankle-afflicted she-monster, so things were looking great. Then I spotted this wicked tooled leather wallet in perfect condition. GUADALAJARA, baby!
I loved it. I started to take out my wallet while Hops tried on some belts… when I saw it… calling to me from a top shelf at the side of the store. A huge, all-leather duffel with an intricate leather closure and an embossed logo:
He was charging $190.00 because it was in great condition, and was all-leather… and beautiful. We negotiated for a little bit, and since I am a totally shrewd barterer (and because everything in the store was already 30% off), I ended up getting the bag, the wallet, and BOTH pairs of boots for $150.00.
Now, I knew that the bag was a good deal. But like, ONE HOUR later, when we were relaxing with some beers in the sun (more on that tomorrow…), some guy from Germany stopped, looked at the bag, and told me it was this super-fancy company in Argentina that is really expensive. When I got home, I looked up the brand, and he was right. La Martina is like… a rich person’s brand. NO BIG DEAL. I have a feeling my bag is worth over $1000.00.
What a GREAT day of vintage shopping!
Tomorrow, we’ll move on to Friday afternoon… when I drank a whooooole bunch of beer, Hop-Bone almost lost her identity, and we both defaced our bodies. Stay tuned!