Vintage Mix 1
I often walk by Vintage Mix 1 (as it's on the way to a friend's house), and it speaks highly of its wares that I always stop to stare in the well-curated window.
Vintage Mix 1 has the lived-in look of a stylish vintagehound's apartment. Old trunks spill treasure all over the place, and customers can sit on a celery-green velvet chaise to try on shoes. Racks of dresses and stacks of vintage luggage are tucked into corners. (And if you see a piece you like? See if there's a pricetag. Owner Jose Paulino said that most of the trappings in the store are for sale.)
The shop has always had the look of a great vintage store, but shoppers can also enjoy what I see as a recent surge in quality. In the past, the clothes were hit-and-miss, with well-worn pieces or frocks with stains, buttons missing, or rips.
There are still a few pieces like that, but I was pleased to see that the overall quality of the clothes seems to have improved, catching up somewhat to the shop's ever-wonderful accessories such as shoes ($10-$150), boots, purses ($15-$200), vintage luggage ($25-$150), and scarves.
"Fresh Goods" are located near the door, where shoppers can check out new arrivals like a slinky white metal mesh purse ($19) or a pair of gray mid-calf folded-over boots.
Head over to the dresses for a variety of spunky cotton day dresses, and a big collection of eighties synthetic frocks. When it comes to vintage dresses, I find that these pieces are the easiest to wear (no delicate fabrics or old rickety seams or zippers to mind), but they can suffer from a lack of uniqueness or unflattering cuts.
But Vintage Mix 1 has a surprisingly high number of these pieces in lovely patterns and interesting, flattering cuts, such as a floral-patterned dress that ends with a lush garden along the hem of the dress, or a frock with a teal geometric pattern overlaid with a smattering of printed peonies. Sixties linen shifts also abound. "I like the designs of the past and the quality better," said Paulino. "And instead of throwing away, you're recycling."
(When it comes to other staff, the store is often minded by an employee who, by her own admission, speaks very little English, so if you happen to visit on one of her days and need any detailed information, you're probably out of luck.)
There are some nice separates here, too, such as a selection of nubby tweed skirts for fall, that would work well with a pair of shoes picked out from the store's extensive selection, like an electric-blue pair of pointed-toe kitten heels or a pair of navy, red, and white round-toed shoes. There are sturdy, worn-in cowboy boots for the guys to pair with a soft, worn-in vintage tee or cowboy shirt.
If you find yourself loaded down with purchases, just pick up one of the gorge old luggage pieces, whether it's a giant worn-in caramel leather weekender ($150) or a medium-sized currant suitcase, to lug home your treasure in style.