This weekend I went to visit my girlfriend in Baltimore, and while I was there, I got to follow my favorite (unofficial) Vintage Crawl. I give Baltimore a lot of flack (some of which it deserves), but one thing I always loved about the city is its great selection of vintage, particularly on the famous 36th Street, also known as The Avenue, in Hampden.
Hampden is the charming neighborhood made famous by John Waters' films, and it's largely retained the distinct Baltimore "look"--cute row houses out of which could step a Hon, that unique Baltimore breed of beehived, bizarrely accented housewife. During the holidays, Hampden boasts a really awesome tradition-- Miracle on 34th Street. Two blocks from the main drag, the residents of 34th Street deck their houses with outrageous and intricate holiday decorations, stopping traffic for the whole month of December. It's insane, and I'll have to see if I can make it down this year to snap some photos.
Hampden is also home to some of the best vintage stores in the city. My very favorite is Avenue Antiques, a three-story behemoth:
It's a fairly nondescript red building, a neighbor to the thrift shop The Ideal, but inside it's a treasure trove. The first floor is dedicated to jewellery, housewares, and various vintage living pieces. This time, it had broken out the vintage Christmas decorations:
I generally don't approve of pre-Thanksgiving Yuletide decorations, but how could I not love this tree?
The second floor hosts vintage furniture and odds and ends:
Among the finds:
Now... I can't ice skate or swallow oysters, but for someone who does, wouldn't these be amazing?
For me, the basement floor is where it's at--vintage clothing as far as the eye can see.
Though of course, as with most stores, a lot of stock hails from the 80s and 90s, there's still a huge collection of 60s and 70s, as well as fantastic scores from the 40s and 50s. Here I found a blue wool Pendleton skirt with belt ($16), beautiful grey 1940s gloves ($5), three patterns ($3 each), and three millinery veils ($5 each). I also found three hair nets in original packaging ($8)-- I *adore* vintage hairstyling tools!
I also got in a visit to Dreamland, one of Baltimore's oldest vintage shops, at 30 years and counting. Though it used to be located on the avenue, its new owner, Maurice Lease, who bought Dreamland a few years ago at the previous owner's death, moved it to the more central Mount Vernon area. The shop is slowly shifting its focus more towards costumes, but that doesn't mean there aren't amazing pieces to be found--Dreamland has a great men's selection, as well as lots of hats, jewellery, and odds and ends including patterns (I'm on a bit of a binge; now I really have to ace my sewing classes!). Also very much worth mentioning is the charity Maurice recently founded, the Pink Safe Foundation, which, among other causes, helps members of the LGBTQ community with hospital bills in the wake of hate crimes. I was happy to contribute during my visit.
Finally, a few blocks from Dreamland is the Zone, with an eclectic selection of mostly 80s and 90s clothing, as well as lingerie, a sizable men's section, and, my favorite, a killer collection of Chrismas sweaters.
That's right, guys. I have a Christmas sweater collection. Get ready for some kick-a photos come Christmas week.
Well that's about it for my Baltimore vintage round-up. If you stop by Charm City, be sure to swing by these fantastic shops, and take care, hon.