Posts Tagged ‘Vintage Clothing’

New Dresses on!

August 5, 2009

We’ve just updated Avant Gaudy with 24+ new dresses!  Go check them out now before you miss out on one of these one of a kind dresses!

There are even more dresses for you to check out… Take a look!

Avant Gaudy photo shoot!

July 29, 2009

Check out a few exclusive photos from one of Avant Gaudy’s latest photo shoots…

And be sure to visit Avant Gaudy to check out what’s new in our latest inventory of unique, modern vintage clothing and accessories.

“Truth be Told”: Interview with Stylist, Kim Shimkus

July 24, 2009

The world of fashion can be shallow yet blatantly honest, new and hip, yet so last season.  Upon interviewing stylist Kim Shimkus, the truth of fashion became uncovered through an insider’s perspective of our trendy ever-changing world.

Q:  What do you do for a living?

A: Right now I’m an assistant buyer for Ananas in Oak Park, and I work on the sales part of the store like client logs.  I worked a lot of years with Utopia, been store manger and I used to own a clothing boutique.

Anana's, 109 N Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 60301

 Q: Tell me a little bit of your background.

A:   Well I studied agriculture at Southern Illinois years ago, before universities had environmental science as a major, and had aspirations of having an organic cotton farm…

Q:  Then how has your degree in agriculture helped you out in fashion?

A:  Well when I had my store we had a lot of eco friendly products.  The store in Oak Park I’m at now, is getting organic products, and I’m educated on these fabrics.  Anytime I can, I buy organic products, I do.  Fashion is a growing industry of organic products.  You look at all these celebrity’s recyling trends, just like the Green movement, which I think a lot of the hype has to do with. Organic products like wool, cotton, I’m educated on and I think people are becoming more aware of the benefits of these products.

Q: Why are you interested in fashion?

A:  Well right out of college I found a job working at a clothing boutique.  Ironically, the clothing boutique I’m at now.  Worked there 6 years, managed it, and just loved it.  I’m interested in fashion because I’m big into feminism.  I love fashion because that was the way women expressed themselves nonverbally.  It was used and is now used to express their own individuality.  I love making people feel confident and beautiful- women have so many body issue nowadays, it’s so nice to take an everyday women and make her feel beautiful. 

Q: I hear you collect vintage clothing.  Why do you do so?

A:  Oh, it’s just so beautiful.  When I was younger I’d go shopping at these second hand stores in the city, and I’d hunt for labels.  It was a rather affordable hobby.  You could buy vintage cashmere for twenty bucks.  I just love the beauty of vintage and I think it’s such a fun and unique hobby.

Q: What is so great about vintage clothing?

A: Vintage clothing is popular, because again, it sort of ties in with the Green Movement.  People are realizing we as humans have a clothing habit, we just have so much clothing.   Things you see in magazines can go out of style, but with vintage we can wear something then reuse it.  People are buying vintage American garments made by hand and then they realize the quality of other clothes doesn’t compare.  People in magazines dress hipster now with a vintage flair.  So quality, timelessness, flexibility.  I think it’s a combination of all ot that.

Q:  What makes the perfect outfit?

A:  Well I would definitely say accessories.  I have a pair of Levis I’ve had for 20 years, and I’ve worn them for 20 years with every kind of shoe, white blouse, or a black turtleneck.  The shoes and the earrings are what changes.  If you’re you’re gonna be a super urban dresser, you should be trend driven. You know, [the] shoulder padded jacket, people aren’t buying that this year, only Kate Moss is wearing it.  If you’re not going to be following these trends religiously, that’s alright, just get yourself a nice handbag and you should be okay.

Q:  Do the clothes make the outfit, or does the person wearing the clothes?

A:  I definitely think the person.  The clothes don’t hurt, but the attitude of the person wearing the clothes it what makes the outfit work.  You can have the most fantastic looking person, amazingly dressed with a stylist and all, but if she feels miserably about herself it’s not going to be as amazing if she doesn’t feel comfortable with who she is.  So, the person definitely is in charge of making the outfit work or else there’s no real reason to dress nice in the first place, clothes are all about expressing that individuality.

Q:  How do you find the right clothes?

A:  I think having dressed for 20 years, you have to look at yourself honestly with kindness.  Depending on your body shape, you’ve got to be realistic as to what you can wear.  No one can wear everything, but there are definitely things that look good on everyone.  If you want to put an effort into the way you dress, you need to be honest with yourself and put some time into it to try out things that work and know the things that don’t work.

Q: What are your future plans?

A:  I would like to have a personal shopping/wardrobe business.  Where I fit people properly with a handful of stores.  I don’t think I’d want to own a store again, but I do miss my store.  Every time I want to get away from the fashion industry, the more I want to get back into it.  It’s like a trap.  Once you start, you never leave it.  Same goes for advertising or whatever it may be.  But when I think about leaving it, I think about doing something more spiritually fulfilling, like becoming a yoga instructor.  But then you always go back to what you’re familiar with.  But I do like where I am and I’m happy being in something that makes me feel good about myself and also helping others.

Shop Avant Gaudy on Etsy!

July 21, 2009

While we’re still working on getting the new and improved Web site ready for you, feel free to check out a few of our special items on Avant Gaudy’s Etsy shop until then!

Here are just a few of the one-of-a-kind vintage pieces featured on our Etsy store.

Vintage Black Velvet Strapless Dress, $58

Vintage Silver Metallic Dress, $58

We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as is back!

Under Construction – But Not for Long!

July 20, 2009

Avant Gaudy may be under construction, for now, but be sure to check the site daily to check out Avant Gaudy’s newest inventory. 

We’re hard at work and will be updating the site each day with one-of-a-kind vintage clothing and accessories! Be sure to check it out soon!

Avant Gaudy: vintage modern/modern vintage

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.


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.