Thrifting 101: A trip to the antique mall

When I was growing up, my mother, aunt and grandmother would embark on day trips to go antiquing. They'd travel from our Queens apartment to faraway destinations like the Berkshires in Massachusetts, or Cold Spring Harbor in Long Island, or the Upper East Side, or a garage sale down the street. Sometimes they returned home triumphant, clutching serving platters or paintings or jewelry. But more often than not, they came home empty-handed. I remember questioning my mother as to why she bothered driving three hours just to walk around a dusty store. What was the point, anyway?

Now, as a vintage enthusiast and mild antique hoarder, I get it. An afternoon spent wandering though displays of Depression glassware and vintage hats and dusty first editions of books can't be beat. There's something delightful about digging through booths filled with curiosities from the past. I adore the fact that I never know what I'll see. Truthfully, I rarely make a purchase. But I love the hunt.

Antique malls are a wonderful option for those squeamish about shopping at thrift stores. If you've never visited one, can best be described as indoor flea markets. Antique malls are especially prevalent in the South, where hot weather keeps people indoors. Items are generally in great condition and more fairly priced than in vintage boutiques. There's also a huge selection of things to be found - everything from decorative items, like the vintage buoys above, to housewares, collectables and vintage jewelry. Antique malls are a great place to pick up mason jars, or a 20th century pine farm table, or architectural salvage.

Of course, I'm most interested in vintage clothes and accessories. Unfortunately, pickings tend to be slim - most dealers have just a few pieces, often hats and jewelry - but occasionally you'll get lucky and find an entire booth dedicated to vintage clothing.

If you're unlikely to consider buying vintage lingerie at a thrift store, look for it at an antique mall. Pieces are very clean, well-displayed, and fairly priced. A vintage slip under a dress adds an extra bit of glamour to an otherwise ordinary outfit.

These hats were priced between eighteen and twenty-five dollars.

Racks and racks of vintage dresses. Most were from the 1970's and 1980's, and priced anywhere from $30 to $100 depending on the designer and style.

Do you shop at antique malls? Any favorites near where you live?

1 comment:

  1. I visited two this weekend with my boyfriend. We spent all day visiting garage sales, flea markets and antique malls. There are so many in Florida.


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