Retrofitting Vintage

The Cutest Outfit You Never Saw

It’s spring in Chicago, so that means it’s time for Vintage Garage!

Chicago’s Vintage Garage is a monthly all-vintage flea market, held in a parking garage in the Uptown neighborhood through the warm months. Over a hundred vendors of vintage clothing, appliances, housewares, and various sundries gather, set up their wares, and sell to the vintage loving hordes. And for some reason, I had never gone. I always mean to go, then end up skipping it. Not this year!

Each month has a different theme, and May’s was Mid-Century Modern. Clearly, this requires a mid-century outfit. So I assembled one. It ended up being completely covered by my coat. It was so cold! While 50 degrees certainly isn’t the worst, inside a concrete parking garage it was much colder. I felt bad for the vendors. On the plus side, the people selling coats and sweaters probably had a great day.

This is the outfit I came up with. This is also the first time I got up the gumption to wear cigarette pants out in public. I think the whole thing is rather sweater girl and cute.

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Sweater: Vintage, thrifted.
Cigarette pants: Reproduction, from Collectif.
Scarf: Vintage, gift.
Basket purse: undetermined age, thrifted.
Shoes: Super cheap navy blue Keds knock-offs.

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Look, you can see my shoes! That’s what you were looking at, right? You can also see the lines of my new haircut, which is a real mid-century middy cut (more on that later), which I love.

Somehow, I managed to look at all that pretty stuff at the Garage, and walk away with but one thing. A 1950s black nylon petticoat, a thing I could argue I actually need, and at a price I couldn’t say no to.  Here are some things I saw that I had to work hard to remember I have no use for:

  • An adorable mid-century telephone table.
  • A very shiny old toaster.
  • Scottie dogs made of bakelite.
  • Souvenir scarves from lots of places I’ve never been, in colors that look bad on me.
  • A 1940’s tilt hat.
  • A lot of clip-on earrings that were super cute, but I hate clip-ons with the passion of a thousand fiery suns.
  • A gorgeous mint-colored Singer sewing machine, that looked to be in perfect condition.
  • Many beautiful suitcases.
  • Veritable truckloads of aprons. I already have my own truckload of aprons.

What kinds of things do you see at flea markets that you like a lot, but have no reason to own?


  1. Definitely cute and alluring at the same time! I hear you on the cigarette pants fronts. I have short, stubby little legs and find tight pants are often frighteningly unbecoming on me. They look fabulous on you though and give your legs length for days!

    ♥ Jessica

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