Poppin’ Tags

By Emilee Renwick

Emilee Renwick/The Buzz.
Emilee Renwick/The Buzz.

I hated antique shopping. In fact, it was used as a punishment from ages 6 to, well, now. My parents stopped at every little shop and huge antique mall whenever we were on vacation or simply driving somewhere. Painful. It was painful.

The smell. It was where old treasures were dying and the smell was the deterioration of their once loved lives. It was musty. These places had three levels and the worst was the basement. As if it didn’t smell bad enough, let’s add a nice moldy, mildew-ey cold very un-finished basement.

Nasty stuff.

As I grew up, however, I came to realize I liked the vintage look. The ways of yesteryear. The simplicity of it all. And the fashion of course–I’m a sucker for old Hollywood glamour. I’ve always said I was born in the wrong generation. People don’t really understand what I mean when I say that. They ask me: “Why would you not want to have any of the rights women have fought for?” “What would you do without a cell phone?” “You would just want to bake and baby make?”

I don’t really have any answers to those questions, but all I know is that I fell in love with a different time.

Soon my love of vintage paired with my more-than-just-a-hobby-but-a-lifestyle of shopping collided. I plugged my nose and walked into those antique stores. Now they were more like time machines than mortuaries. These treasures could be given another life. A fresh start. With me.

I found vintage pink elbow length gloves. I found pretty Pyrex dishes in immaculate condition. I found a very heavy white-rimmed mirror. All of these finds are random by themselves, but you transform the gloves in a shadow box and it’s a picture frame, use the Pyrex dishes for special occasions instead of paper plates and instead of a Target mirror there’s a better quality one with a little history behind it. Who else looked into that mirror? All these things are random, but together they make a style–a home.

Emilee Renwick/The Buzz.
Emilee Renwick/The Buzz.

This hunting trickled down from the little shops to the mainstream stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army. By the way, I am totally Team Goodwill. Salvo is great for Halloween costumes, but to find the real deals go to Goodwill. You can always find something with a story.

It’s really about what you are looking for, but often what you’re looking for finds you. You can go in for one thing. They might not have it that day, but look around, take your time; you never know what you might come across. Keep an open mind.

I’ll start with my most exciting purchase. This beauty (pictured) was found at the Goodwill in Davenport. It is a vintage Dooney & Bourke I got for $18.22. It’s all leather. This is how it came–in great condition. All I needed to do was take a damp washcloth and clean out the bottom. Retail in stores could range from $168-268. Savings on savings on savings.

Emilee Renwick/The Buzz.
Emilee Renwick/The Buzz.

Walk into the store. Turn to the left and there are purses zip-tied to a wire wall. I have seen another Dooney & Bourke there, but it was not in good condition; it was cloth and still $65. I’m not sure how the pricing gun works at Goodwill, or any second-hand store, but I just happened to be there at the right time. They turn things around pretty fast at that Goodwill. It really is the luck of the draw anytime you venture out.

Join me in the next five weeks for tips and tricks of the trade of popping tags. I’ll take you to my favorite stores from well-known Goodwill to little shops I’ve found around town. All purchases are for the college-kid budget with a little history behind it. If you have any purchases you want to share, with me let me know! I’m happy to talk shop with anyone. There’s always a story.

Have fun with it. Get out there and thrift.

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