Vintage adj. of high quality; characteristic of the best period of a person's or producer's work; characterized by excellence and lasting popularity.
My grandfather used to say, "one man's junk is another man's treasure." He was a salvage collector -- a junkman. He was the guy who drove around town picking up people's old stuff: furniture, clothing, car parts, appliances, tools, bicycles and other assorted discarded items. Sometimes he'd take the stuff directly to the salvage yard. Other times he'd fix things up and either resell them or keep a few items for himself, calling them classics. Grandpa was on to something.
These days, the job of town salvage guy no longer exists. We do, however, have vintage stores. Not quite thrift stores, not quite antique marts, vintage stores vary in personality, but basically house items wrought with nostalgia -- items we consider classic.
A classy step up from usual thrift shopping, vintage can be a bit more expensive. But there are definitely bargains to be found. Vintage is fun. Vintage is hip. Vintage is funky. And vintage can embellish your place of residence and wardrobe with items destined to be keepers.
Following are some of the local vintage stores which afford endless amounts of practical and fun items.
Twist & Shout - A Retro Emporium
30 Manitou Ave., 685-5757
Retro and emporium. They're not kidding. Our journey begins in quaint Manitou. If you've driven in or out of Manitou via Manitou Ave, then you've probably seen this place. There's usually an eclectic collection of patio furniture, kitchen tables, bar stools and other assorted fun, colorful furniture items out front. Occasionally a bald mannequin is also standing out front, holding a sign that says "open" or "sale."
This place isn't huge, but large enough to garner various collections of cool ashtrays, brandy snifters, cigarette lighters, old albums, funky coffee tables that could have been used on the set of The Dick Van Dyke Show, cool patio furniture, ties, shoes, cooking utensils, black lacy elbow-length gloves, dress hats, old luggage and phonographs.
This is a great place to find gifts for friends or family too. You know those people who you are never really sure of what to get because they have everything? They probably don't have a world globe which lights up, an old set of multi-colored, frosted barrel-shaped beer mugs or a two foot tall free-standing ash tray with brass bird beaks to hold the cigarettes.
Though they do from time to time have a decent selection of clothing, Twist and Shout is really best suited for quirky furnishings. Everything from full bar sets which looked like they could have belonged to James Bond, to Scarlet O'Hara's patio set, to lava lamps to funky floor lamps to kitchen tables.
403 N. Tejon Street, 635-4944
Two words come to mind with this place: hip and fun. With one room devoted entirely to knickknacks, home furnishings and decorations, and another solely to cool clothing, Rev 2 offers a little something for everyone.
Remember those velvety sad clown pictures hanging on the walls in your basement? Look no further. Missing those NFL mugs you used to drink your OJ out of every morning? This is your place. Last year I did almost all of my Christmas shopping here, cards included. I was able to finding matching dishes and glasses with pretty pictures on them, from various states. Friends got a set which corresponded with their home state.
And Rev 2's clothing selection, as far style goes, is probably the best. For both men and women, these are everyday clothes. Pants, skirts, jackets, sweaters, t-shirts, suits, shoes and a great selection of bow ties. All classy stuff and fashions you'll probably remember from grade school years.
Almost everything in the store is under $20. And when they have sales, truly, it's a sale (Back to School: 50 percent off!). Rev 2 gets bonus points for their young and friendly staff as well.
829 N. Union Blvd., 633-1325
Don't be intimidated. The first time in this place can be a little overwhelming. It's full title includes the words, Vintage Clothing and Antique Mart. They ain't kidding. Half of the store is literally wall-to-wall clothing and accessories.
This is the place to go if you're looking for truly vintage attire. Stuff from the '30s, '40s and '50s. Everything from sequined pumps to saddle shoes to flapper dresses to Zoot suits to bolo hats. And it doesn't stop there. Repeat Performance also has a stellar selection of vintage wedding attire and, oddly enough, a huge selection of racy lingerie -- the classic stuff that you probably won't find at Dillards but have seen in the movies.
Any good outfit is also going to need accessories. Luckily, this is a place where accessories abound. Old glasses frames, rhinestone pins, glass beaded necklaces, earrings, purses, wallets, tie pins and even old cigarette cases and make-up bags fill glass display cases which run along the walls.
The other half of the store is devoted to stuff. There's no other way to say it. Truly, things in the "Antique Mart" section of the store run the gamut. Everything from old magazines and postcards to four-poster beds. Some items are surprisingly cheap. Last time I was in there, they had a great selection of old cast iron pots and pans for fairly cheap. If you have the time, it's worth investigating every inch of the place.
Goodwill -- The Downtown Location
324 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 635-1215
Set off from the rest of the store, contained in its own little section, the downtown Goodwill harbors an always changing bevy of vintage items.
A better place for furnishings than vintage clothing, especially if you're handy with a sander and a paint brush. There are lots of antiquey little tables, desks and chairs for the taking, and occasionally, some old appliances and tools.
There's also a great selection of old books and oddly enough, framed pictures, empty picture frames and unframed prints. On one of my last trips, I found a Matisse print for $8. Framed. Also a Swiss Army watch, which was not vintage, but $12. Battery not included.
Which brings up another point. Make sure you check the glass cases in this section. They contain everything from old jewelry to Zippo lighters to Cross pens.
Dishes, glassware, silverware and old tablecloths are also abundant. If you're having a dinner party and want to add an element of class, I recommend visiting this particular Goodwill.
Prices here vary. As mentioned above, there are deals to be had, though there are a few overpriced items. In which case, be sure to barter.
2475 S. Academy Blvd., 574-8993
This is neither vintage nor thrift, but is worthy of mention for two reasons. First, if you have old jeans, particularly 501s that you're thinking about getting rid of, this place pays pretty decent cash (providing your pants are in good shape).
Secondly, and simply, this place has a wall-to-wall selection of reasonably priced, second-hand jeans (most brands), fatigues, carpenter pants and more. Everything is arranged by size, is in good shape and the pickin's are plentiful.
Don't let the South Academy address deter you. It's worth the trek.