Monthly Archives: April 2011

Top Drawer Thrift

By Natalie Garza

I decided to visit a different kind of store this week. After supporting two friends who participated in the Hill Country Ride for AIDS this weekend, I wanted to do my own part in supporting the cause.

I stopped by Top Drawer Thrift  just before closing on Saturday. I ended up having a great time getting to know the Stephanie, the assistant manager, and Stanton, who has been a volunteer for 10 at Top Drawer for 10 years.

Top Drawer Thrift, managed by Karin Kokinda, funds Project Transitions, a local non-profit organization.  According to the website, “Project Transitions is dedicated to serving people with HIV and AIDS by providing hospice, housing, and support in a compassionate and caring environment. We have been serving Central Texas since 1988.”

Top Drawer sells men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, accessories, art, books, records, housewares, electronics, linens, and furniture. It’s a great place for people who aren’t used to shopping at thrift stores, especially larger ones like Goodwill and Savers, because it’s not very big. Another really cool thing about the store is that only three employees are actually paid. The rest are all volunteers, like Stanton.

The store offers really great deals on its items, especially the longer it’s been in the store. When an item is first put on the floor, it’s marked with a pink tag at regular price (which is still a thrift store price!). The more time that passes, the bigger a discount on the item, as shown on the board below. If the item is still in the store after four months, it’s passed on to be sold or donated somewhere else.

Stanton said, “Nothing goes to waste.”

Texas Swing is Project Transitions’ music festival and sideshow held the first Friday of every June. This year’s 16th annual fundraiser is held on June 3. According to Stephanie and Stanton, it’s sure to be a fun event that you won’t want to miss.

One of the most interesting and fun things about the store are the trannequins. That’s right; male mannequins in women’s clothing. Check out some of the best photos on the Project Transitions website.

Check out Top Drawer Thrift on Facebook.


Room Service Vintage

By Destinee Hodge

107 East North Loop Boulevard Austin, TX 78751

The more I visit local vintage stores, the more I realize that “vintage” is really an entire culture. I finally went to Room Service Vintage this week after passing by the store for almost a month.

When you walk into the store there is so much to take in, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed.The best way to describe this store would be labyrinth-like. The photos really cannot capture exactly how many twists and turns there are, and how many shelves are inside.  You would be honestly hard-pressed to find empty space on any of the walls.

But, the minute you stop obsessing over how much stuff is in there, you can take a look around and are sure to find a plethora of vintage treasures.

“A lot of it’s nostalgia” said  Bill Goodpasture, who works in and helps manage the store. “A lot of people come in here because they remember something from their youth that they had and they want to relive that or it’s something that their grandmother had.”

The store’s main focus is furniture/decorative pieces but they have clothes and accessories as well. Goodpasture said that he’s seen a diversification of their clientele over the last few years.

“In the past, our clientele was mostly kids on the edge- hippie or doom and gloomers,” he said with a laugh. “But now, sorority girls and frat boys are coming in and have discovered us whereas before they would have never set foot in here because they would only buy new stuff. But now they’re shopping vintage, which is great.”

For some people, Room Service probably represents the paradox of choice;  you have everything you could possibly want to choose from, which can be overwhelming. However, for those who can get past the sheer volume of material, they are bound to find something that is one of a kind.

Room Service is open from 11a.m.-7p.m. daily and located on 107 East North Loop Boulevard Austin, TX 78751.

Vintage Timeline: Women’s Now and Then

By Pauline Lee

So why do people love vintage so much? Just like Marketplace states, it is the idea of each item unlocking a little piece of wearable history. Click the image below to see what was popular in different eras and how women still wear it today!


Flashback to the Past

1805 South First Street in Austin TX 78704 / Photo by Pauline Lee

By Pauline Lee

Founded by Marsha Laine in 1982, Flashback has been one of top places vintage lovers find unique items in Austin. Styles ranging from the 20s to the late 80s, clothing and accessories are located in a house-style store that has different rooms. I’ve noticed they have a lot of spring/summer dresses in-stock. Flower-print dresses caught my eye when I first walked into the store.

The first room you see when you walk into the store. / Photo by Pauline Lee

Other customers seem to look at the dresses at first as well. The first room is really colorful and clothing of similar styles are also displayed. As you walk to the right, there is another room with antique accessories as well as clothing from the 20s to the 40s.

One section located in the second room. / Photo by Pauline Lee

The fun comes from finding unexpected items. Throughout the whole store, you can find unique vintage items like disco balls and Elvis Presley posters. As I explored the store, I really felt like I was taking a journey to the past. Flashback fits perfectly with its literal definition stated in a dictionary: a past incident recurring vividly in the mind. The store has many items from pop culture of different era as well as items for Austinites. Cowboy boots are displayed in three different rooms.

Cowboy boots and hat displayed in one of the rooms with men's clothing. / Photo by Pauline Lee

Cheap accessories! / Photo by Pauline Lee

Outdoor look of the store. / Photo by Pauline Lee

Entrance to other rooms. / Photo by Pauline Lee

Feeling Fancy at Big Bertha’s Bargain Basement

By Natalie Garza

Located at 1050 South Lamar in Austin, Texas. Photo by Natalie Garza

Although it’s the name of the store, Big Bertha’s is not a basement and most of the clothing isn’t at a price that I’d normally consider a bargain. But I can say that this store is like a fashion museum. If you’re ever looking for something special, I’d definitely recommend heading to Big Bertha’s.

Henry described his store as a collection of recycled designer clothing, which I couldn’t agree with more.  He’s been collecting vintage clothing for more than 20 years and opened Big Bertha’s in 1996. Henry buys the clothing from vintage trade shows around the country and only buys what he considers the “best of the best”.

As I walked around the store, I was in awe at everything on the racks and on the shelves. It’s obvious that Henry has great taste,which is a key quality in owning and running a vintage store. I found at least five or six items that I absolutely loved and had to force myself not to try on. I’m not exactly rolling in the dough right now and everything I picked up was between $38 and $100.

Bette O’ Callaghan, recently featured on the cover of Tribeza, was shopping in Big Bertha’s while I was there. She’s considered somewhat of a celebrity in Austin. We only exchanged a few words, but by far, the best thing that came out of her mouth was “There is no such thing as being too fabulous.”

Jane Aldridge, the style icon behind the fashion blog Sea of Shoes, is another one of his many loyal customers. Henry said she’s one of his favorite clients because she often features clothing from his store on her blog.

What about vintage clothing inspires you?

By Destinee Hodge and Natalie Garza

We took a look around to find out why some people opt to buy vintage clothing. Three ladies give their perspective in this video.

On the Street: Animal Kingdom

By Natalie Garza

Meet Jackie Kennedy, a stylish student teacher. She looks professional and pulled together with just the right accessories. At first glance, you might miss the animals around her waist, but it’s definitely worth a closer look!

Jackie got this fun belt at Goodwill for only $3. It was the perfect addition to her wardrobe because a) Jackie adores animals and b) she just recently realized how useful belts could be in creating an outfit. Using a small, unique accessory is the easiest way to make an outfit more interesting. Jackie also knew that this belt would come in handy when she becomes an elementary school teacher.

“Kids love anything related to animals,” Jackie said.

This belt can be worn with a variety of outfits because it’s a neutral brown color. Jackie wore it for student teaching with a white button down, Forever 21 skirt, and Bakers shoes.