Author Archives: Natalie Garza

Splendor Skirt

This is the skirt I ended up buying from Splendor after much deliberation. I found plenty of things that I wanted, but I only allowed myself to try on maxi skirts and a few belts. I felt inspired after seeing Stephanie, the owner, wearing hers. If I don’t limit myself to only one type of clothing item, I’ll go crazy and try on the whole store. Oh, the dangers of awesome vintage stores.

I have worn this skirt twice already since I bought it Friday. I immediately changed into it as soon as I arrived home. Then, I wore it again to work the next day. It’s made of lightweight cotton gauze so it’s super comfortable and perfect for the summer heat.

I decided to keep the rest of my outfit simple by pairing the skirt with a solid top. Then, I added a yellow headband, brown belt, and beige sandals to tie it all together.  Although I kept it simple at first, I can definitely see this skirt with some bold accessories next time.

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Splendor stays true to its name

100 W. North Loop Unit H. Austin, Texas 78751

I’m glad I saved this store for my last post. I’ve been wanting to visit Splendor since I first read about it on the Vintage Around Town Guide. I had a feeling it would be the perfect store for me. And I was right!

Stephanie Jimenez, the owner of Splendor, was nice enough to talk with me about her store during my visit Friday.

Isn't her outfit fantastic?

Stephanie said she wanted to open a store that offered customer’s top quality vintage clothing at the most affordable prices. She calls Splendor a “retrofit boutique” because the vintage pieces chosen for the store are influenced by the latest trends.

The store’s clothing and accessories are bought by Stephanie and her two sisters from around the country. Together, Stephanie, in her 30’s, her younger sister in her 20’s, and her older sister in her 40’s, make a great trio at handpicking the best quality vintage items.

Splendor really does feel more like a boutique, rather than a vintage store. It’s a single room with clothes neatly organized by style and era on racks around the walls with a centerpiece table of accessories. The prices were pretty affordable, considering that everything is handpicked by very stylish sisters and dry cleaned before it’s put on the floor.

In addition to the awesome hand-picked vintage items, Splendor offers feather hair extensions, which are the latest trend for Austinites. Although I haven’t tried them, they do look nice on everyone I’ve seen with them, including Stephanie.

Splendor may one of the newest vintage stores in town, but it’s sure to stick around. Even if you don’t normally shop for vintage clothing, because each item is chosen based on current trends, anyone can find something to fit their style in Splendor.

I’ll definitely be dropping in the store again soon to find my next vintage treasure!

Vintage All Day, Everyday

By Natalie Garza

I didn’t have time to visit another vintage store this week, so I decided to write a different kind of post. This is a recap of the vintage items I’ve worn recently.

#1

I chose this outfit specifically for this Oscar de la Renta blazer. I couldn’t believe when I found it at Cream Vintage. It fit perfectly and goes with plenty of things already in my closet.

#2

I bought this bright red-orange maxi skirt on Etsy. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea, but I had a gut feeling about it. And it only cost $10!

#3

This dress is another great Cream Vintage find. After I bought it, I realized it was a perfect Easter dress. Even though I didn’t do anything special to celebrate, I was able to wear it to work on that Sunday.

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.

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.

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.

On the Street: Vintage-Inspired Shoes

By Natalie Garza

A modern woman's shoe with vintage influences. Photo by Natalie Garza

When I saw these shoes on Jiwon Kim, a journalism student at UT Austin, I just had to ask her where she got them. Jiwon bought them in a store in Seoul, Korea, which is unfortunate for me because I could totally see myself wearing these mid-heeled oxfords. I can’t seem to be able to find a similar pair online. The shoelaces are ribbon, which gives them a nice feminine touch. They are the perfect shade of cognac, a color that is often hard to get just right on shoes.

Oxfords were a popular shoe style for men in the late 1800’s. They became popular for women in the mid-1900s as black and white saddle shoes to wear with poodle skirts. They’ve made a comeback in the last few years as a casual option for women. I own a pair of brown oxfords, but they are much more casual than Jiwon’s version. I’m definitely keeping an eye out for a pair like hers.