Author Archive

Meet the “Gaudy” Girls: Caroline

August 11, 2009

carolineGet to know Caroline, a contributing writer for Avant Gaudy and our “Chicagoland thriftstore expert!”

Where are you from?
Hinsdale, IL 

Where do you live now?
Oak Park IL, but soon Ukie Village in Chicago!

What is your profession/major? What school do you go to?
Dominican University 09: apparel design major, studio art & photography minor.

Professional goals:
To continue my freelance apparel design & sculpture, eventually go to grad school to be able to teach, and lastly open up a cute boutique!

Favorite movies?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Romeo & Juliet, Eyes Wide Shut, Little Children and silent films!!

What TV shows are you currently watching/still addicted to?
True Blood. I love vampires!

What kind of music do you like? What bands are you listening to? 
Big Band and Swing, Spanish, surf/Polynesian, George Crumb, Animal Collective, Andrew Bird

What do you like to do for fun?
Thrift! Going jetskiing, playing tennis, going to restaurants and seeing live jazz!

Things you love?
Animals, flowers and mushrooms. They inspire me daily!

Favorite designer?
Jeremy Scott, Hussein Chalayan, Marc Jacobs, Chloé.

Jeremy Scott, Hussein Chalayan, Marc Jacobs, Chloé

Favorite clothing item/accessory that you own?
Tough, but I would say my large dark salmon colored ring.

How would you describe your personal style? 
Eclectic, vintage, textural, accessorized.

One thing you’ll never wear?

What is your most recent purchase?
A cookbook on flavored butter!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Obsessed with/can’t live without?
Cheese and pine nut hummus!

Your perfect day?
Wake up at 6:00 a.m., go out to breakfast, play on Lake Michigan, sew a dress in the late afternoon & then have a BBQ with the friends!

Guilty pleasure?
Researching astrology!

Favorite food/drink?
Freshly juiced blackberry limeade!

What are you an expert of/random knowledge?
I am attempting to be an expert at perceptions of women from 1915-present day. For now, I am just a 1920s expert! I also know a lot about baking!

What Web site do you have to check everyday?
Guilty of Facebook… and gmail!

Favorite Animal?
Leonberger! Or any baby animals!


Personal Quote:
“You love it.”

Weekly Thrifting with Caroline

July 30, 2009

This week’s shop:
1900 Harlem Ave # A
Riverside, IL 60546-1672
(708) 442-3606

 Ready to be worn finds!

*Green Heels. [$2.99] 

Once in awhile I will find some cute one & a half inchers! These heels are not too special, but the bright green color is a snazzy and rare find. They are in decent condition and have a nice pointy toe.


*Samsonite Briefcase [$3.00]

This briefcase got me super excited simply because I have been looking for a nifty, yet safe carrying case for my laptop for a good four years. It is light slate blue on the outside, but the inside is a crazy ’60s purple & brown floral print! It has sturdy locking notches on the outside and some compartments inside, which are great for cords.          

Pinecone Wall Hanging. [$1.99]
Since I am pretty big into nature and my apartment has a lot of natural shades, I thought this pinecone decoration would be great on my wall. It was falling apart slightly, but it was simple to fix with a glue gun. I’m thinking that this would be a fun idea in the winter, but instead I think I might try making huge pinecone sculpture pieces!


 8Glass Cups. [Small: $0.39, Large: $0.99, Goblet: $1.99]
Goodwill has some of the cheapest glass wear which is great because I only use glass cups. I am sort of clumsy so they do tend to break often while I am hand washing my dishes! So when I am running low I head to Goodwill over any other thrift store! They also have a great selection of glass vases too!


 Bowls. [Turquoise: $1.99, Green $0.99]
Sometimes I’ll find nice bowls and plates at Goodwill, but it really depends on the week! Luckily I was able to find a nice white and light turquoise cereal bowl and a cute little pale green fruit bowl. 




Records. [$0.99]
Goodwill has a great deal on records and I typically stop over there compared to other places that sell cheapest at $2-5 dollars per vinyl. I often find lots of composer work, Christmas music & soundtracks, but once in awhile I will luck out with a decent artist or some real fun Polynesian music!


 12Outfit: Snazzy Lady. 

The buttons were what got me, and at $4.99 the price was pretty average for a dress at Goodwill. I’m still not sure if I like the sleeves on this retro orange dress, but it would be pretty simple to shorten or take off the sleeves. Even hemming up this dress so its a bit more mini would make it real fun to go out in! Paired up with a $0.99 burgundy skinny belt at the waist makes it fit a bit better instead of being so boxy. Matched up with a burgundy clutch for $2.99 completes the outfit, along with a Solid Gold hits from the ’70s/’80s for $0.99.


5Outfit: City Walker.
A bit more casual, this lightweight blue & white stripe collared shirt with three buttons was a decent deal at $2.99. This $2.99 skirt is a bit of an unlikely match for summer, seeing as though it is made with a thicker fabric, but it works well considering it is a mini. With an elastic waist band and some stretch, this skirt could be worn both at the hip or waist. Worn with a $0.99 royal blue and white waist belt and a $1.99 plastic turquoise heart necklace, this outfit is complete with soundtrack to the film Gigi for $0.99.

Weekly Thrifting with Caroline

July 20, 2009

Background on Jackson Square Mall.

  • Jackson Square Mall is the place to go for antiques & vintage items!
  • The shop is set up by sections that are rented out by different vendors, which sell a mixture of items at a variety of price points.
  • There is some clothing, but not a large amount; I typically go there for kitchen items, furniture, fun accessories and silly odds & ends.
  • The shop is pretty large and has a secret stairway when you walk to the left past the cash-wrap, so be sure to check out the down stairs!

This week’s shops:

Salvation Army Thrift Store
1520 75th St
Downers Grove, IL 60516
    (630) 968-2270  

Jackson Square Mall
112 East Burlington Ave

LaGrange, IL 60525


Ready to be worn finds!
*gray & white square scarf. [$2.00]
*patriotic red & navy swirl scarf. [$0.90] scarves

I found these cute scarves hanging in the middle section of the Salvation Army Thrift store, they usually range from $0.40 to $4.00. I honestly own over a hundred from there alone, so if you are big into scarves, I recommend hitting up this thrift store!


*snazzy tan cocktail hat with feather [$12.00]


Jackson Square Mall is the place for vintage hats. There are some vendors that sell them at high rates, while others are pretty moderate. Every time I stop in I can’t resist adding to my collection. I even come across a wooden hat block which was in tip-top shape, which I use for my own millinery work.          

Bric-A-Brac: at Jackson Square Mallstrawberry
Strawberry Wall Hanging. [$3.00]
There was both a strawberry and a banana painted porcelain wall hanging sitting on top one of the shelves on the first floor. Considering I already own a banana wall hanging, I decided on the strawberry this time. In the back this piece has a small ribbon tie to get nailed up on the wall. I collect a vast amount of hang-able objects because my kitchen walls always need some more personality.


needleworkPoppy Needlework. [$7.00]
Yet another piece that I thought would look nice hanging on my wall. Typically, I like to arrange my wall hangings by color, with variance in shapes and sizes. I find that Jackson Square Mall has a lot of vintage signs and wooden crafts that are affordable.






bowlsFlower Bowls. [Large: $1.00, Small $0.50]
These bowls were a steal! Typically the vintage kitchenware I find is moderately pricey, but this vendor was selling them at a great price. My kitchenware collection is a mish-mash of different patterns and colors, so whenever I see cute glassware I usually can’t resist buying it!



Vintage Postcards. [$.50-$2.00]
I love looking through old postcards and reading what each traveler wrote to their loved ones. My interest in them began when I was living in Paris last July. I scavenged through Marche Aux Puces Market, only to come across a vast amount of vintage French postcards! Some of them were so bizarre, but really fun! Jackson Square Mall has a pretty decent amount of postcards that are well organized, alongside a large collection of old photos!


bobbinsBobbins. [$1.00]

Sort of a silly purchase, but for only a dollar I thought it would be cute to do something fun with these thread filled paper bobbins. I’ve never seen paper bobbins before, I’m so used to the metal and plastic ones, I thought these were pretty neat!




floralOutfit: Floral Explorer
Another trip to the Salvation Army for another fun outfit. I came across a sleeveless pastel floral dress with buttons in the front, for only $2.00. Paired up with a $3.00 short white vest adds a bit of a modern twist to the dress. A really neat navy/black braided belt I found, had a nifty metal buckle that I never came across before. The belt was $2.00 and luckily fits perfect around the waist although it has no way of adjusting the size. I had to splurge on the teal leather luggage for this outfit, at $12.00. When it comes to bags I have the hardest time resisting large leather luggage cases, this time the baggage I found was in great condition and had ample space for a weekend trip!

Weekly Thrifting with Caroline

July 7, 2009

I’ve been an avid thrifter for the past eight years. Thrift store shopping has been a part of my weekly schedule not only because of the potential outfits I can wear and objects I can have lounging with me in my apartment, but for a variety of other reasons. One might say I have a bit of a compulsive behavior because I never wear the same outfit twice, but fashion is an integral part of my life, being an apparel designer myself. I always felt that thrifting makes a huge impact on the things I design. I also have something against the mass-produced apparel industry in general and hate big department stores, so I try to do my part in making use of what is already here in an attempt to be semi-“green!” My kitchen and my closet are filled with about 70% secondhand items and my primary choice of fabrics I use in my apparel and artwork is secondhand as well.

I’ve been told various times by people how they enjoy seeing what outfit I’ll have on next, and the question of “Where did you find that?” pops up very frequently! My simple answer is typically thrifting, and their reply is always “I never find anything good when I go.” After hearing this so often, I thought it would be fun to help people thrift a bit more successfully! I hope that my suggestions for individual items will help stem some creativity in deciding what to purchase on your next thrift!

First let’s start off with some basic tips!

  • Be crafty! Seeing something on a hanger doesn’t really help in seeing the potential it has being worn as an outfit. I’m a sucker for silk tops and right-above-the-knee skirts – nothing too special, but when paired with a wool vest, scarf and belt, it can be way hip.
  • Be open-minded! I started going to thrift stores looking only for t-shirts and bags, then I started buying all different types of apparel, and now I always make sure to look though kitchenware and other bric-a-brac. You never know what things you will find and be able to give as silly gifts or the different ways you can use the items you find.
  • Lastly, go often! There are always new things coming in. I hit up a thrift store at least once a week, but I often end up going more than that!

This week’s shop:

Salvation Army Thrift Store
1520 75th St
Downers Grove, IL 60516
  (630) 968-2270 
Ready to be worn finds!
I found all these cute jewelry pieces were found in the half-off bin which is always a huge plus!
*colorful wood shape necklace. [$1.00]
*red & white circle disk necklace. [$1.25]
*gold horizontal textured triangle earrings [$0.45]
*beige circular protrusion earrings. [$0.45]

 block necklace      disk necklace                                              earrings (more…)