Archive for the ‘Vintage Shopping’ Category

Nika le butik is tres chic

July 21, 2009

Nika le butikFor suburban girls, a common complaint is lack of places to find unique and fashionable clothes that do not come from the mall. Most girls who do not live in downtown Chicago feel they have to go too far to find the clothes that they want and need to keep from looking like every other girl in their town. Nika le Butik offers those girls hope. This charming boutique is located in Park Ridge, a suburb of Chicago and offers suburban girls downtown worthy styles, in an easier to reach location. I visited the boutique to get a better look, and was very happy with what I saw. The boutique offers very friendly service, trendy clothing, a nice interior, and celebrity inspired fashion garments. All of the clothes are hand-picked for retail and are inspired by current trends worn by celebrities. The store offers an intimate and classy shopping experience that is easily accessible.

Nika le butik

I sat down with Nika le Butik owner Monika Crossin, to get some more information on the history behind her boutique, and the garments inside.


Is there any significance to the name of your boutique?

“Growing up I was called ‘Nika’ by all my family and friends. It is short for Monika.”

 Why did you pick Park Ridge as your location?

“I wanted an area that was up and coming, something close to downtown. I contemplated having the boutique downtown, but it was and is so saturated with stores already. I wanted to bring the unique vibe of a downtown boutique to the suburbs.”

 What demographic is your boutique targeted towards?

“[It is for] anyone who is totally trendy and loves to shop. I like to make everyone feel like they are shopping in their girlfriends’ store. But most my clients are 20-40 [years old].”

 What is the predominant style? Is there just one or many different styles?

“Style and fashion is continually evolving at Nika to keep up with the times. Jeans are always a for sure. I used to have plenty of dresses, more formal, but now I moved away from that. I have to ALWAYS keep things fresh, that means new styles, designers and up to the minute trends. For instance, this fall I have insane blazers galore arriving. They play well with skirts, denim, dresses, pretty much everything. Eventually, I will be bored with them, and then the next new obsession will make its way thru the doors at Nika. Having our online store also gives us a better opportunity to experiment, since we have a larger demographic.”

Nika le butik

 What makes your boutique special or what makes it standout from others in Chicago and its’ surrounding suburbs?

“We are so personable here at the store and try our best to go above and beyond in the shopping/selling experience. I want everyone happy, because that makes me happy. To have someone go out in their Nika outfit and get compliments, that is the best. I love hearing the stories from my clients. A lot of them are now personal friends.”

 What is your favorite garment/piece/outfit/accessory that you are selling at the moment?

“80’s rock and roll tees by Chaser. I love the nod to the 80’s right now, and really, any age can wear them and appreciate this rock and roll resurgence. I am really dying to get my new JBrand skinny acid wash jeans in too!”

 What got you started in this business?

“Fashion and clothing always made me feel so good, especially growing up and experimenting with various looks. I was always asked where I got things thru my entire life… It was just a ‘pastime’ that eventually turned into a passion. I eventually began a career in retail management, did buying for boutiques and learned the industry from the bottom up. Eventually I was like, ‘I can do this myself.'”

 What makes your garments different or unique?

“Everything is bought with love from Nika – everything in the store has a purpose and a reason. It is well thought out and trend right. I always am on the hunt for designers that are new and fresh, which means the body styles, cuts, prints are always the freshest out on the street. We take risks.”

Nika le butik

Have no fear suburban girls, you can still find the clothes you want without the long trip downtown, or without looking like a mall clone.

Nika le Butik is located at
143 N. Northwest Highway
Park Ridge, IL 60068

Store Hours:
Monday – Friday: 10:00am-6:00pm
Thursday: 10:00am-7:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am-5:00pm
Random Sunday’s: 12:00pm-5:00pm

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!

Sites We Love

July 13, 2009

Check out a few of our favorite Web sites this week…

Vintage Shopping Guide

Vintage Shopping Guide allows you to search by city or state to find local vintage stores specializing in vintage clothing and accessories in your area.  The site also has a search option to help you find  “web only” vintage stores.

Vintage Shopping Guide

This Charming Girl

TCG jewelry is delicate, but still makes a statement. Decidedly British in nature, feather charms and cameo brooches have been featured in Sugar and Vogue.

N.E.E.T. Magazine

Despite blogs and Flickr, it’s hard to create the look and feel of a magazine online and bridge the gap between 20th and 21st century. Enter NEET. Essentially a monthly lookbook with interviews and editorials interspersed, it’s more convenient than a fashion magazine and more detailed than a blog.


Bloglovin has been around for two years, but the concept is, well, revolutionary to me, as I used to use Sage for Firefox. It combines the best of Twitter and the best of an RSS feed. Instead of grouping blog posts by site and wasting time with those you’ve already seen before, see all new posts at once. The site really caters to the fashion community, as Fashion Toast and the Sartorialist both have the most followers. Best of all, you can now follow us on Bloglovin by clicking below!


Contemporary Vintage: “Log Cabin Chic”

July 10, 2009

WWD - Rustic MeasuresThe lastest trend for Fall 2009: vintage-inspired rustic and hard-working American styles. According to Women’s Wear Daily, retailer Steven Alan said, “It’s not something that’s just trendy…It’s a little bit ironic.” Design director of Earnest Sewn, Benjamin Talley Smith, also told WWD that the style is probably “a reaction to the overdressing of previous years: ‘People want to be casual, wearing something that’s been worn-in and beat-up.'”



What pieces should you add to your fall wardrobe in order to be a part of this rustic trend?

  • Plaid or flannel “lumberjack” shirts
  • Mechanic-style jumpsuits
  • Work boots
  • Hunting vests
  • Earflap hats

The key to following this trend is looking effortless.  If you’re trying too hard to look rustic and rural in an urban setting, it just doesn’t make sense. WWD adds:

“And while the log-cabin-chic pose can come across as inauthentic, these clothes have an undeniable appeal. Maybe it’s because these days, the new rock stars are people who work with their hands (especially for people whose only calluses come from correcting the auto-spell function on their iPhones.)”

You can obviously find the rustic, log cabin look on the runways

Marc by March Jacobs Fall 09 Ready-to-Wear

And on the streets The Wellie Brigade - The Best Looks from Glastonbury

Check out these vintage-inspired/log cabin chic looks from Urban Outfitters, Modcloth and more.

Log Cabin Chic

Log Cabin Chic by adriane

All You Need to Know about Vintage Clothing

July 9, 2009

What is the difference between antique, vintage and retro?

The earliest vintage items date back to the 1920s, meaning that antique items are anything dating before the 1920s.  Vintage continues for five more decades, up until the 1980s.  From there, ’80s and ’90s clothes are considered retro.  Whether antique, vintage or retro, all pieces are timeless in a way that they’re unique and can be given a modern twist.  This way you can have a look nobody else has.

What are some advantages of wearing vintage clothing?

The fact that it’s set apart from modern clothing, yet at the same time, is not.  I personally prefer vintage clothing to antique or retro clothing, because antique can be too outdated. Vintage clothing is elegant and classic.  I think the coolest thing about vintage is that it never gets old – you can recycle it as many times as needed. 

I was rummaging through my mother’s closet recently while she was at the grocery store and my eyes fell upon a jacket that melted into my eyes.  It was beautiful, with red leather push-up sleeves and a golden zipper!  I took it off the hanger to look at who made it and I literally fell over when I saw the Gucci tag.  Ahh!!  What struck me the most was that I could return to school in the fall wearing a jacket that nobody else has.  While people frivolously search the stores for a fall coat at American Eagle, I can walk confidently into school knowing that no one will ever have the same jacket.  It gives me confidence knowing this because the jacket is simply me.  This is why vintage clothing is the best.  It’s timeless, fashionable and sophisticated.

Where do I find vintage clothing?

You can find vintage clothing in a lot of places if you dedicate some time into finding the right pieces.  You could visit local boutiques that carry vintage clothing.  Boutiques in general often carry one-of-a-kind things, and you’d be surprised at what you find stuffed on a lonely, dusty shelf in the back of a store.  Thrift stores are also a good place to look because they’re unique.  A lot of people turn away form thrift stores because they’re previously owned clothes, but you’d be surprised at what you can find! (Check out where AG writer Caroline goes thrift shopping.)

Another trick of mine is to look in the obituary section of the newspaper because there are usually garage sales of the “stuff” they simply don’t need. Trust me, you can find outrageously awesome pieces at some of these garage sales you’ll find nowhere else.


Get the Look: Metallic Maxis

July 7, 2009

Are you inspired by runway looks but would rather wear an affordable vintage item? 

Check out this runway-inspired look featuring Avant Gaudy vintage clothing.

Inspiration: Roberto Cavalli Fall 2007 Ready to Wear

Roberto Cavalli Fall 2007 RTW

AG Piece: Silver Lame Maxi Dress

AG silver metallic dress, $58

How to Style It: long chain necklaces, colorful bracelets

Price Range: $58.00 at Avant Gaudy.

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…)

Cameron Silver: Vintage Couture

July 1, 2009

Cameron Silver knows his vintage. As the owner of Decades, a vintage boutique in Los Angeles, he nearly eat, sleeps and breathes vintage clothing. And, when he’s not, he’s usually thinking about something related to designs from decades past. But, his clients couldn’t be happier because when you think of vintage couture, you think Cameron Silver.

Ever since Decades opened more than 10 years ago, Silver’s clientele has become larger and more fabulous. Today, he’s dressed up some of Hollywood’s biggest stars like Katie Holmes, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lopez. While some might consider him a risk-taker, his immaculate eye for style makes the leap from everyday trends to slightly more unusual designs a little easier. For Silver, wearing vintage sends a message to others. “It says, ‘I own my style,’” said Silver.

His unique collection of couture ranges from Gucci from the 1960s to anything Hermes. He travels all around the world to find inspiration. And, in return, his collections have inspired a vintage come-back in recent years. For this, Silver was named one of Time’s “25 Most Influential Names and Faces in Fashion” in 2002.

To collect his original inventory, Silver travels to different thrift stores and attends auctions. Sometimes he is even invited to houses of wealthy women who would like to give him some of their memorable pieces. One notable woman was Catherine Deneuve, who gave Decades items like Hermes luggage. But, he says that when looking for the right pieces for his store, the best vintage looks don’t look vintage at all.

Silver wasn’t always into fashion. In fact, up until a few years before Decades opened, Silver was a cabaret singer. He while at UCLA, he studied Theatre Arts. After performing for a few years, he was introduced to the fashion world and has been hooked ever since.

Since opening Decades, Silver has made appearances on E! Entertainment and the Style Network and has written many fashion articles for and the UK-edition of Harpers Bazaar.

Anyone can tell that Silver is passionate about what he does. He is obsessed with finding clothes that are unique that tell their own stories, oh, and anything Hermes. He favors vintage over hot off the runway because he feels the pieces are on of a kind. When buying clothes based off of current trends, you always run the risk of wearing the same thing as someone else. This explains part of vintage clothing’s charm according to Silver. He also acknowledges today’s eco-friendly, recycling, hybrid-driving youth as a factor that lead to its sudden popularity.

Silver’s Thoughts:

Current Fashion Icon: Michelle Obama

Favorite Personal Items: Anything Hermes, but especially his Hermes traveling bags

Hot Decades Items: 50s, 60s and 70s gowns

The Decades Image: “Sexy, gorgeous and stunning”

Who Stays Timeless: Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga


You don’t have to dish out hundreds of dollars for fashionable vintage clothes like the ones at Decades. Avant Gaudy has pieces that are just as memorable as Yves Saint Laurent.

Pierre Cradin Sea Foam Cocktail

Here’s one of my favorite Decades’ pieces. It is a Pierre Cardin Aqua silk dress. I love the lightweight, flowing material—perfect for summer. And, the jeweled halter neckline really makes this dress stand out from the rest. You could have a similar look for much less with this fun summer dress here at Avant Gaudy:

Avant Gaudy Sea Foam Dress

This dress still has that lightweight, flowing look to it—it even has a similar color to the Pierre Cardin one. While it doesn’t have that same jeweled neckline, the neckline on this one makes the dress unique. And, if this doesn’t have enough sparkle for you, add statement making bracelets or earrings.

Eco-Friendly Is the New Black

July 1, 2009

For those who believe that vintage clothes are the only ones worth buying, vintage is not just a fashion trend- it’s a lifestyle. With an increase in awareness and many people choosing to live a “greener” lifestyle, vintage fashion fits perfectly into an environmentally-conscious fashionista’s closet. One might be wondering what puts vintage fashion into this category.

Designer Cynthia Davis’s collections are a perfect example of how vintage fashion is recycled fashion. Davis uses old fabrics and materials, and reworks them into new fashion pieces. When talking about creating her line Colorada, Davis says,

I especially love recycling vintage bed linens and vintage household fabrics like tablecloths and curtains with openwork lace and handwork such as embroidery and tucks. Many of my vintage fabrics are scouted from a local thrift store that supports an orphanage. I love…that I am rescuing wonderful fabrics and garments to be used again.

Cynthia Davis - Colorada on Etsy

In a world full of mass consumption and production, vintage is the one style that allows us to recycle our clothes and make use of old materials and fabrics. A torn dress that is deemed unwearable, can be carefully reconstructed into a new and unique garment, rather than just thrown in the trash. Since vintage fashion is usually made of reconstructed older pieces, the outcome is a never-before-seen item that is sure to stand out. Yes, one can wear organic cotton clothing or pieces made with natural fabrics and dyes, but recycling old clothing is the best way to help our planet.

The vintage lifestyle and fashions are unique, environmentally friendly, and provide long lasting garments. Vintage clothes look good, create a statement and help us express our individualities. When you are saving the planet and looking good while doing it, there’s nothing you can lose by buying vintage.

Avant Gaudy “Moving Sale” This Week Only!

June 30, 2009

Avant Gaudy is moving!  This week, Avant Gaudy is developing and launching a newly-designed web site that will make shopping even easier for you! 

Since we’re moving, we wanted to give you a special discount:

  • Free Shipping Internationally! No matter where you are, shipping is free (this week only!) and returns are a snap.
  • Get 20% purchases over $50!


Sale runs  through Sunday, July 5th at 11:59pm.

Avant Gaudy Photoshoot

Be sure to visit Avant Gaudy to see our newest stock of vintage items!