I do believe Hamilton is starting to get itself a little vintage scene. The thrifting has always been good but there seem to be more and more vintage shops popping up.
The following shops are some of the vintage and consignment boutiques I visit in the area. I can't believe I am telling you my secret haunts, please leave me the dresses... and the sequins... and the tulle... and some leather ankle boots. Thanks.
If you are new to shopping for second hand clothing, Modify is a good place to start. Items that make it to the floor have to be clean, in very, very good condition and seasonal. There is a mix of mid and high-end designer and vintage. And it's all displayed and organized in a shopper friendly way.
But my favourite thing about going to Modify, is hanging out with the people that work there. Melanie, who owns the store, is pretty fantastic and she shows me the new stuff she just got in that hasn't even been priced yet. That makes me feel special. And everyone likes to feel real special...
I just love chatting about good clothes and Melanie does too.
Girl on the Wing - This sweet little boutique just opened up a few doors down from Modify. The owner, Whitney, is a Ryerson girl like me, so we have solidarity on that point... She has plenty of fun vintage and some new goods, including Saltwater sandals and bathing suits from the amazing Andrea Iyamah (who is Hamilton based!).
Whitney also loves to throw shopping events. She makes a good sangria, just strong enough to convince Julie to buy the floral dress pictured above. That dress actually needs no sangria encouragement... It's pretty fabulous.
This Friday (today!!!! July 12, 6-9 pm) she is hosting a shopping party with all proceeds going to cover the vet costs of three rescue kittens she has taken in. A gal with a heart for cats and a love for vintage? My kinda lady...
Revolving Closet - I have to include Revolving Closet... It is totally unlike the two mentioned above. It's my kind of place; you need some time and some patience to dig through to find the treasures. It is not hipster, chic or perfectly merchandised (though the windows are always co-ordinated with the nearest holiday) but it is just two levels packed full of bad, good and amazing. Revolving Closet is all about the hunt. And so is Jentine (yeah, referring to myself in the 3rd person in writing... a new low).
Besides the good finds (like the suede and leather jacket above), the very best part of Revolving Closet is the lady who runs it. She is past retirement age and still comes in faithfully 6 days a week. I don't really know how to describe her besides salt of the earth. She is just super. Her prices are low, you can haggle if it seems fair (for example she lowered the price on a dress with some sun bleaching on it...) and she almost always has a dollar rack with some things worth checking out right at the front.
White Elephant - White Elephant doesn't always have a huge amount of vintage on the floor. Hollie and Jane, who own WE, focus primarily on carrying beautiful hand-made and Canadian-made accessories, gifts and jewelry, but in the back of the shop, there are always a few racks of carefully edited vintage. This vintage is all top notch; mostly from the 50's, 60's and some 70's... The quality is great and some pieces have been slightly altered to make them more wearable. The quality of this vintage is reflected in the prices but if you are looking for a fancy dress or a bridesmaids dress, you are making a good investment with some fanciness from White Elephant.
And if you have a chance to get to one of their dress sales, you will have access to a ridiculous amount of amazing and fancy vintage. Also amazing? The throngs of women going crazy for racks and racks of vintage.
Netty Vintage - I saved the best for last.
Yeah, Netty Vintage is not actually in Hamilton, it's in Brantford and that is probably a good thing. Because if Netty was walking distance from me, like some of the others on this list, there would be trouble...
Thanks Ginny for introducing me to Netty Vintage, I owe you big time!
But seriously... Netty Vintage takes up the bottom floor of a century home and you walk from room to room overwhelmed with vintage goodness. There is so much stuff! And her prices are great! When she has a sale, I break into cold sweats. I got the dress above (silk!) for $10! I walked out of her last sale with a giant bag for $45. I felt like I was stealing. So I ran to my car really fast to make a clean getaway...
Jacqueline, the proprietor (fancy words up in here...), named the store after her grandmother and knows her stuff. She herself is always impeccably dressed and I love her dedication to both vintage and Brantford.
When I started writing out this post, I noticed that each of these stores are run by some pretty cool women. Women who, if you meet them (and you should!), are as unique as their stores, but they all have the love for vintage clothing in common. I am 100% sure I have babbled excitedly about a seam or a design detail to each of these ladies and they have all responded with enthusiasm, not polite interest.
Yes, of course, the idea of starting my own shop has always niggled on my brain (you don't hoard clothing and not consider the idea at the very least), but for now I am content raiding Hamilton's finest of their finest...