The A-list | Vintage shopping cheat sheet

Some might say my vintage shopping is a little out of control. But I do it all for you. I swear.

How else could I answer Nicole’s question? She asked via Facebook which Vancouver vintage shops are my favourite. The short answer is Deluxe Junk in Gastown, F as in Frank on Main Street and Burcu’s Angels off Main, among many, many others.

See? My shopping is selfless.


Now, because I want nothing but the best for all y’all, I thought I’d update my guide to vintage shopping. (If you want a crash course, watch this clip where I take the camera crew from The Express on one of my excursions.) Below, you’ll find The Anthology’s top ten tips to sourcing spectacular vintage finds:

10. Be happy. If you’re not, it’s probably not the best time to wade through the peach palazzo pants in search of a treasure.

9. Hunt with an open mind. You can’t go searching for a midnight-blue floor-length sequin gown, you have to wait for it to find you. And when you do find a beauty, buy it. Even if it’s out of season. You’ll always need another dress to wear to the ballet.

8. Bring a friend. I would have never found this red leather skirt if my girlfriend Laura hadn’t spotted it. Just don’t bring your boyfriend. Or your mother. Or anyone who’s going to rush you. These things take time.


7. Short on time? Head for the accessories section — you don’t have to hit the change room to figure out if a belt, scarf or handbag is perfect for you.

6. Be adventurous. Thrift stores, which don’t curate their offerings the same way vintage stores do, can also have amazing finds. You just need to be a little elitist. Thrift stores in the ritzier parts of town tend to get donations from the ritzier parts of town (which means you’re more likely to find an Yves Saint Laurent scarf or, for that matter, an Yves Saint Laurent belt). My sister Larissa never fails to find the wacky and wonderful at the Sally Ann on fourth avenue in Vancouver.

5. Think outside the shop. You can’t even imagine the gems I’ve found at antique fairs, church sales and private school fairs (like Saint George’s and York House, to name a few).

4. Become best friends with your tailor. It’s so much easier than learning to use a sewing machine. I take almost every one of my vintage treasures to Oakridge Tailors before I wear it. That’s how my vintage wedding dress (pictured below) became a ballet-length beauty. But don’t forget that can add anywhere from $20 to $120 to the price of the piece.


3. Seek perfection. If it’s not in pristine, like-it-was-only-worn-once condition, put it back on the rack. But don’t worry if it doesn’t fit you perfectly. Your tailor is your best friend, remember?

2. Wash before you wear. Take your new-to-you skirt/dress/jacket to the dry cleaner. But this too can add big bucks ($50 for a leather skirt, $150 for a leather jacket).

1. And last, but not least… if you’re not into the hunting part of the treasure hunt, head straight to online supershops like Shrimpton Couture and Girl on a Vine where you’ll find nothing but amazing pieces. And if you’ve got something specific in mind, like, say, an eel skin purse, try Etsy.

Many of you are vintage connoisseurs — have anything to add to my list? Leave a comment. And if you have any questions about anything vintage or otherwise, ask via Facebook or send me an email at

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  • Reply Melissa March 2, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Hahaha number 8 made me laugh. On Saturday I wanted to go to F as in Frank but I was with my boyfriend so I told him i’d go another time. He insisted I could go and he wouldn’t rush me but I had to explain that I would need hours, not minutes. His idea of “not rushing” would probably be to give me a half an hour of guilt free time… not enough! hahaha

    Thanks for updating this love. You are my vintage inspiration :)

  • Reply MizzJ March 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Great guide Kelsey! I so want to do a day of vintage shopping, but none of my girl friends are into like I am, so I’m afraid it will be a solo journey. Do you have any idea where True Value Vintage is moving to?

  • Reply Alinka March 2, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Love this! Number 8 is my absolute favorite!! Sometimes the husband thinks he’s being sweet offering to take me thrifting and I’m like…uh, no thanks. It’s the worst feeling thinking of all those gorgeous finds left on the rack because “he’s tired”!

  • Reply camille March 3, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Good point about being a little selective with what thrift stores you visit – not just because the donors will match the neighbourhood the store is in, but also because a thrift store in the part of town where people shop there by necessity, rather than by choice, will be a lot more picked over. And I am also the mayor of feeling guilty, so I’d rather take clothes out of the hands of folks that don’t really need them rather than folks that do.

  • Reply Niki March 3, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Oh my gosh! I just discovered this blog….
    and I have been backreading……
    and I totally find you effortless and fascinating!
    I am totally taking no. 9 from this list to heart in so many aspects in my life!

  • Reply slk March 3, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Such a smart list, from such a smart gal!

  • Reply Kelsey Dundon March 4, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Melissa — Baha! I love that you’re living the list.

    MizzJ — Good question about True Value. Let me investigate that one.

    Alinka — It’s the worst, isn’t it?

    Camille — The mayor of feeling guilty, eh? Luckily vintage shopping is environmentally friendly!

    Niki — You’re so sweet. I’m so happy to hear that!

    SLK — You’re the best, ladybird!

  • Reply Chelle March 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    So happy you posted this! I am quite intimidated by vintage shopping but now I’m kind of anxious to try these places out and see what beautiful things I can find!

    Xo Chelle

  • Reply aliciafashionista March 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Was just at F as in Frank yesterday and thought of your tv appearance! Thanks for doing a post about where you like to vintage shop, I’m always looking for new spots around town. Melissa and I plan to go vintage shopping in a few weeks…you should come!!!

  • Reply #TBT | Vintage Shopping Cheat Sheet | The Anthology September 21, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    […] I look back at posts like this one from several years ago, I am reminded of the vintage wedding dresses and leather skirts and sequin […]

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