Category: Shopping

Brimfield Antique Show

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Two and a half hours from Manhattan sits the little New England town of Brimfield; a quaint community surrounded by apple orchards, horse farms and rolling grassy hills. If you were visiting the area on a normal weekend it would appear as a simple charming small town, but three weekends a year this town actually holds one of the largest and best-known antique shows in the country.

Picture over a mile of tents, lining a hilly tree-lined road in Massachusetts. Brimfield Antique Show features more than 5,000 different vendors and sells anything from antique furniture and decor to one of a kind vintage fashion items.

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When the handbag design team invited me to come with on their trip to Brimfield I couldn’t wait. It is the perfect place to find design inspiration and draw new ideas from vintage pieces of the past… Of course, I had to do a little shopping there too!

The show had everything you could imagine. From weird and quirky yard art, to trendy dishware, to spunky vintage clothing and accessories it was a maze of amusement. I loved wandering from tent to tent and exploring all of the old items. Some were weird and hilarious, some were dainty and beautiful and some were just plain historic… but I loved experiencing every angle of the show.

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When it comes to eating there, they have any type of food vendor you could think of. a mac n’ cheese truck, lobster rolls, tacos, bbq, Italian paninis, wraps.. just about anything you could crave! Not to mention ice cream and treats of course. I had a fabulous lunch there mid-day, and was perfectly fueled to finish my antique hunt in the afternoon.

If you live in the area, or have an apartment in NYC, Brimfield would be the perfect place to shop for home decor and antique furniture. The prices, for the most part, are awesome, and incorporating a vintage piece into any apartment adds instant character. Unfortunately I will have to fly back home to the midwest soon, so I only shopped for things that I could realistically fit in my luggage… I think I did pretty well though!

Check out my little Brimfield haul below.

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A Petite Girl’s Guide to Boyfriend Jeans

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Being 5’2″ is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, I can still get away with the kids menu sometimes, but boy is shopping for pants a headache. Very few stores carry short enough jeans, and I have had so much trouble in the past adapting the latest trends to work with my tiny legs. Flared jeans.. nope… Boot cut… nope… culottes.. absolutely not.

When I first heard of the boyfriend jean trend a few years ago I instantly wrote it off too. My first thought was, “Oh my gosh, I would swim in boyfriend jeans..” I envied the tall, thin, models in the magazines and on the runway working the trend, and wished I had their physique.

Then one day when I was out shopping I decided to take a risk and try on a pair. They looked so loose and comfy…I caved and snatched up my size to slip on.

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When I first looked in the mirror with the boyfriend style on I initially was doubtful, i’m not going to lie… but then I played around with them a bit by adding a belt, cuffing the bottoms, and throwing on a pair of heels and instantly saw a difference.

“IT’S A MIRACLE…” I thought, “I CAN ACTUALLY WEAR A TRENDY PAIR OF JEANS!”

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When I style my boyfriend jeans now I typically pair the looser pants with a tighter or more structured shirt (like the one in this photo). I like to belt the jeans to sit a little higher on my waist, and usually roll the bottoms 2-3 times to get them to sit right above my ankles. A half-tucked shirt shows off my belt and waistline a little, but still keeps with that laid-back style of the oversized jeans.

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This shopping discovery of mine goes to show that you should never be afraid to experiment with different fashion trends, no matter what your height or size is. Every girl can rock the same trends, it’s just all about your confidence and creativity.

How To Shop For Quality: 10 Things to Check Before Checkout

1. Check if fabric is ‘on grain’ – the lengthwise (vertical) and crosswise (horizontal) yarns will be at a 90 degree angle

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2. Rub fabric together to check if it pills easily (small balls of fibers will form if it does)

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3. Seams have tight stitching without loose ends (more than 9 spi, stitches per inch, is strong and 6 is weak)

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4. Check to make sure buttons do not have loose threads (image 1) and also check to ensure that buttonholes have thread bindings (image 2), this will keep the buttonhole from stretching or ripping over time

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5. Look for zipper quality – Metal zippers will last longer than plastic

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6. Try buttoning and zipping items a few times, check for difficulty and catches

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7. If there is a design on the outside surface of the fabric, check if it is on both sides or just printed on the surface

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8. Check lining for sagging or unraveling – This could affect fit and how long it will last

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9. Plaids should always match at seams if it is a good quality garment

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10. Look at seam finishes… a double folded hem, an enclosed seam or a seam hidden inside a lining will last much longer than an edge-finished seam. you should not see a jagged edge of fabric.

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How to Shop Vintage

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Throughout my college journey thus far, I have learned to become confident in my own personal style and no longer be afraid to step outside of my comfort zone and buy those ‘weird’ items. One appreciation I have gained as a fashion student is vintage clothing. Having taken various fashion history courses at my university, I have enjoyed learning how silhouettes, materials and construction methods have changed throughout the decades. I have also taken note on how these old, vintage, styles recycle through the years and become a fashion forward option for the current times.

When shopping at a vintage boutique, it is important to analyze certain aspects of the piece you are interested in. You want to look closely at the quality of construction, level of previous wear, brand listed, estimated time period the the item was intended for and price they are asking for the item.

If you plan to wear a vintage item on a regular basis, it is important that you avoid buying something that is already damaged or too fragile.  Too often, vintage shoppers will fall in love with a garment’s silhouette and uniqueness, and avoid to notice the hidden stains, iffy smells, or weakness of the materials. It may be a great piece to buy and collect, but as far as adding it to your everyday wardrobe, it may only end up lasting one or two wears.

Speaking of materials, it is important for vintage shoppers to understand that because these garments are older, the textiles have most likely become less strong than they once were. You should try on items first if at all possible, and make sure they fit comfortably. Buying an item too small could lead to various rips and tears down the road. It is important to know that sizes have changed throughout the years as well, and just because the size listed may be what you wear today, it could end up fitting very differently than expected.

If you’re not much of a fashion history buff, and don’t always know what time period certain items are from, it never hurts to do a little research. You never know what you may come across, and though finding items dating before 1950 is rare, finding a gem like that could be a worth-while investment. Doing research on a vintage item can also add to your appreciation for what you are buying. Think of each vintage item as a historical artifact with a story. Knowing its past could be a great conversation starter if someone compliments you on it later!

Finally… let’s talk money. If you’re looking for a vintage, designer brand, item in perfect condition, expect to pay a pretty penny for it. Just because these items are old, does NOT mean they are all going to be cheap. If you’re willing to wear something less high-end though, and something that has a little wear to it, you can find some awesome deals. I found that dress and jacket pair above at a great vintage boutique and paid $36 total for both items. Had a little bit of wear, but wasn’t anything that I couldn’t work with.

Hope these tips help! Happy shopping to all!

CocoKouture: Brand Spotter // London Times

London Times is a fashion-forward brand that is well-known for its unique and modern dresses. The brand was established in 2004 and since then, it has grown to become a thriving apparel business. “London Times was developed to address the void in the market of affordable fashion where the customer has access to current and trend right product, but not necessarily contemporary,” says London Times president Heidi Helstrom.

The London Times customer can be described as ageless and modern. According to Helstrom, this customer is typically an individual who is looking to feel fashionable and stylish while still dressing in a tasteful manner. London Times prides itself on offering great quality, on-trend products at affordable prices. With most items ranging between $50 and $100, London Times is an appealing brand to women of all ages.

Not only does the brand attract women of any age, but it also allows women of all shapes and sizes to experience the garments. London Times addresses that women of all sizes enjoy wearing the same looks and trends. The brand offers its bold and distinctive items in sizes ranging from 4-22.

The styles offered through London Times address all aspects of a woman’s life. The brand categorizes its offerings into Daytime, Wear to Work, Parties, Weddings and Plus Sizes. The items range from elegant to casual and can be versatile from day to night. London Times’ Spring 2013 collection consists of bold and vibrant colors in classic and modern cuts. Many of the dresses feature a high-scooped neckline and hit just above the knee. Intriguing floral prints were widely used, as well as various stripes and geometric designs. If you’re looking for a more simple item, the brand also carries many solid colored pieces.

With the perfect London Times dress, any woman can feel feminine, modern, and beautiful!