Collectors, designers, antique dealers and decorators are all doing it – amassing merchandise throughout the year for a seasonal or annual sale in their garages, on their front lawns or in rented spaces. It’s not a typical yard sale. It’s an event and with good cottage chic items at fair prices, it’s something patrons mark their calendars for. In ink.
Cottage Chic is a pretty vintage style of decorating. It’s elegant and fresh, themed in white or white with soft colors. White on white is timeless. So is using items for unintended purposes – a painted antique trunk as a coffee table, a set of painted suitcases as end tables, for examples.
Cottage Chic decorators and collectors might consider using vintage iron patio chairs in the dining room or perhaps a long plank bench with original chippy paint along one side of the table. Vintage bed linens are layered in lace and embroidery. If done well, it’s not over-the-top. The look is restful and pleasing to the eye. A vintage bedroom is a good investment as well as romantic.
How to find Vintage Cottage Chic Items
The best places to find antique and vintage cottage chic items is at yard sales, auctions and thrift shops. Imagine what all the things seen would look like if they were painted white – an ornate antique gesso frame, a small cupboard, a set of vintage hard suitcases, a set of old brass candlesticks, a simple wooden chair or a piece of interesting antique architectural salvage.
Purchase anything vintage or antique that might look good in a cottage chic room, on a porch or even in the garden. Rosy china, pastel art pottery vases, flower paintings, architectural salvage, and linens can all be found cheaply.
Auctions offer up some great finds. When antique furniture is being sold in “as found” condition, this generally means the piece is in rough shape. And the final bid before the auctioneers yell “sold,” could be very low. It’s possible a coat of paint will hide stains in the wood, a hinge could be replaced or a bit of wood glue could fix a loose leg. Study to piece carefully to see what will give it the desired cottage chic look.
Paint Things White
When in doubt, paint things white. Ornate lamp bases, chairs and tables all have appeal when painted white. Use a variety of white shades on different items to ensure the assortment is not too bright. Find some items with soft colors as well to break it up.
Selection and Fair Prices
A good sale should have fair prices. Selection and fair prices will bring people back next year. A good forager or “picker” as he or she is known in the antiques trade, will find things very cheaply to begin with. Pricing depends on value, but it also depends on how much work went into the piece.
Displaying the Cottage Chic Merchandise
Display the cottage chic merchandise like a designer would. Lean frames against tables. Fold a piece of linen over the frame. Think asymmetrical when arranging the displays. It’s more pleasing to the eye.
Hide anything unsightly like cardboard boxes from view. This takes away from the look of the displays.
Getting People to the Sale
The sale could be by invitation only, with invitations being sent out to designers, shop owners and private individuals the organizer knows will be interested in the merchandise she’s offering.
The other way is simply by newspaper advertising at least two weeks in advance of the sale day. Continue running the ads until the day before the sale.
The ad should note that it’s the first annual sale, and the type of merchandise, in this case vintage revival or shabby cottage style antiques and collectibles. Include directions, and a firm opening time with no early birds. There is nothing more irritating for a buyer than to get to a sale just before the scheduled opening and find they opened thirty minutes earlier.
Post signs around the neighborhood to help direct people to the sale.
Vintage Fashion Shopping Tips
Vintage clothes and accessories can be a fun, inexpensive, and eco-friendly way to spice up your wardrobe. Even though vintage clothes and accessories tend to be made better than current fashions, some vintage clothes may be hard to alter, repair, or clean.
Pass up Stained Clothes Many shoppers think that a stain on a vintage garment can just be removed with a stain removal stick or by dry cleaning. But, the previous owner probably tried to get rid of the stain before they sold or donated it. Avoid stained clothing and be sure to check the underarm area of vintage clothes for stains caused by perspiration.
Only Buy Clothes That Fit or Can be Altered Vintage clothes tend to run small and shoppers are sometimes drawn to clothes that do not fit. Be realistic about which clothes actually flatter your figure and do not fill your closet with clothes you may be able to wear one day if you just dropped 10 extra pounds. Alterations may be expensive and it is generally easier to take clothes in than it is to let them out.
Consider the Cost of Cleaning Cotton, polyester, lycra, and nylon fabrics can be machine washed and are generally more durable. Silk, rayon, and lace can be hand washed with a mild detergent. However, suede, wool, acetate velvet, and any vintage garment that has a decorative embellishment should be dry cleaned. When a care tag says “dry clean only,” is it not a recommendation.
Test Accessories and Zippers on Clothes When buying purses, be sure to check zippers, snaps and fasteners to make sure they are in good working order. Inspect the clasps on jewelry to make sure they are secure. Try on all vintage clothes to make sure the zipper stays up and does not get stuck.
Check Leather Products for Wear and Flaking Leather products such as belts, handbags, and shoes should be checked for wear and flaking. Cracked and flaking leather cannot be restored.
Beware of Beads Vintage beaded sweaters and purses are popular and beautiful. A vintage sweater that is missing a few beads might seem like a bargain but missing antique beads may be hard to find and match.
Avoid Vintage Fur Both faux and real fur has become popular over the past few years, especially with so many celebrities sporting it to red carpet events. But the care of a fur jacket can be expensive. Fur should be cleaned and repaired by a professional furrier, not a dry cleaner or a tailor.
Vintage shopping should be a fun experience. But keep in mind that dry cleaning costs and expensive repairs may drive the cost of a vintage bargain up. So, remember these tips next time you are out vintage shopping.