We can all look good wearing a hat!!!

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Vintage Borsalino hat

I recently asked one of my friends what was her hat size. She looked at me strangely and the reason why I was asking her is because I have few vintage hats that are too small for me…I was just concerned that my head was oversize…seriously!

A lot of women think that they don’t look good in hats, or are not very adventurous when it comes to wearing something else than a tuque or a baseball hat…

I really believe that anybody can look good in a hat. Here are few tips on how to choose the right hat:

  • Select a hat that works with the shape of your face: For example if you have a round face, pick a hat that has a high crown. If your face is  more of an oblong shape, pick a hat with a wide brim instead.
  • Pick a color that compliments your skin. If you are very fair, do not pick a cream color hat. And don’t forget to try on the light in a natural light
  • Play around with your hair as the hat may look better if your hair is pull back, or in a  pony tail

And if you are serious about wearing a hat, invest in a quality piece. Most of the fashion hats that you buy in department stores are made in factories.  Unless you buy from a famous brand, such as Borsalino (as the vintage feather woman hat that you see above). For example the hat trim should be sewn on and not glued. Also, higher quality hats are usually lined (such as fedora type hats).

I have collected some interesting vintage hats thru the year. I wear some of them, but also use them for display. Remember that proper storage is important: use a hat box in order to keep them away from the sun and dust.

It takes a confident women to wear a hat, so just go for it! Do you have a favorite style of hat? Maybe a cloche, a derby, or a pill box hat…Please let me know and don’t hesitate to send a photo!

Isabelle V.


Leather resuscitation: or how to give your vintage leather a new life


I collect vintage purses and luggage and I usually have to give them an emergency treatment as they have been neglected.

It is very important to keep your leather items clean and also conditioned. Treat it the same way as you treat your skin…if you neglect it, …it will show!

The best place in Toronto for any kind of leather repair is at The Sandalman Leathercare (www.sandalman.com). They have great expertise and provide an above average customer service. They can recondition your items or they can tell you how to do it yourself. During my last visit, I purchased 3 products (see photo above) that I have been using on all of my leather bags, and it has made a huge difference!

  1. First step: Lexol (leather conditioner) –
  2. Second step: Mermac Mink oil (you may have to repeat this step  multiple times, depending on how dry is your leather)
  3. Third step: Meltonian Leather Lotion (for cleaning and polishing)

You will get more details on each steps when you purchase your products. It’s definitely a wise investment…If you spend $200 or more on a purse, don’t forget to take the time to give it a treatment at least twice a year…and your purse may outlast you!

Isabelle V.

Let’s go to the antique auction!

French antique tables Sep 2014 001It seems that every time that I turn on the television, there is a new program about  antiquing, picking or storage auctions! You may be familiar with  ‘American Pickers’, ‘Canadian Pickers’ or ‘Storage Wars’ etc…One of my favorite is ‘Flea market flip’, as the contestants need to buy various objects, re-purpose them, and sell them at the flea market. The winning team is the one that makes the biggest profit.

One of my favorite auction to attend, is the French Antique Auction that is held 4 times a year in Mississauga (http://www.frenchantiqueauction.ca/). It usually starts around 6:00pm and lasts until 11:00pm or midnight. They have an amazing selection of quality antique furniture, such as armoires, mirrors, tables, dishes, paintings etc…(No reproduction!)

I have bought many items thru the years, including the two mahogany side tables in the above photo. I have ‘converted’ few of my friends to become regular at the auction. I remember when I invited my friend Wendy for the first time (we called her the ‘auction virgin’ for a night!). She was quite nervous to bid, and kept asking me :”Should I bid? What do you think? Is it a good deal?” Well, once she started, she couldn’t be stopped! She ended up buying some great pieces for her cottage.

A lot of people are very intimidated by going to the auction… Don’t be!

  1. It’s a fun event: why not make it a ‘girls night out’! Try to come early so that you can attend the preview and check out the goods (especially if you are serious about buying ).
  2. It’s an opportunity to learn: about different style of furniture, their history…
  3. You don’t have to be wealthy to go to the auction! There are a lot of regulars, including antique shops owners, designers, and then…the rest of us!  You might be surprised by the kind of deals you can find. Keep in mind that those furniture are usually at least 100 years old, and that there were handmade…build to last!
  4. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay an extra 15% for the buyers premium

And…here is the site:  http://www.frenchantiqueauction.ca/ You can sign up for the mailing list to find out about the next auction!

Please let me know if you attend this auction or others and what your experience was like! Thanks in advance!

Happy antiquing!

Isabelle V.

Give the gift of vintage this holiday season…

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Vintage black beaded purse from 1930’s

Last holiday season I made a conscious decision to give as many vintage/recycle/up cycle/homemade gifts as possible…It was not only good for my wallet, but I always like to be different, and I know that my family and friends would appreciate it!

The photo  of the black beaded purse above is one of the gifts that I reserved for one of my friend’s Lynn’s daughters (each of them got a vintage beaded purse).  I bought Lynn a pair of milk glass candle holders in the shape of angels, which looked perfect in her century old stone house in the countryside. I’m glad to report that all of them were thrilled!

I would recommend to make a list, start today! Maybe your favorite niece collects vintage luggage, or your best friend is obsessed with vintage crystal necklaces! Whatever it is, I can guarantee that your gifts will be a hit, and that you will inspire some of the recipients to follow your example…

Here are few suggestions on where to find your gifts: Garage sales, Consignment shops, Vintage shops, Estate Sales, Kijiji.com, Varagesale.com, ValueVillage.com, Charity shops, KindExchange.ca, your local antique market (in Toronto check out the St Lawrence Market on Sundays at StLawrenceMarket.com) and of course etsy.com, including my shop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/VintageDeParis

I welcome your comments and questions. Please let me know if you like this idea, will you be buying or making some vintage or up cycle gifts this holiday season?

Isabelle V.

Finding new objects and learning about their history…

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 Half doll  pincushion

I picked up  a box of ‘decorative objects’ at an auction few months ago. The reason why I was interested is that there was 3 little figurines that caught my eye. There were slightly damage, but they had an Art Deco feel that I couldn’t ignore…What I learned is that there were actually porcelain ‘pin cushion’ dolls, and that they are highly collectible. I bought them for about $40  and I actually sold them online for over $200! I now always keep an eye open for those beauties…One of my favorite shows on television is ‘The Antique Roadshow’, especially the UK version. Their focus is always more on the history and provenance of the item than the actual monetary value (they don’t flash the estimate on the screen as they do in the US version of the show…). Whenever I am intrigued by an item, I love doing the research and  finding out as much as I can.I spend a lot of my free time going to garage sales, auctions, estate sales etc…I sometimes keep an item for a while and then decide to sell it in order to buy something else…I see myself as a vintage/antique custodian…

I like to visit the St Lawrence Antique Market in Toronto, which is held every Sunday (http://www.sundayantiquemarket.com/) from 5:00am to 5:00pm. When my children were younger, I would sometimes give them $5 or $10 to buy something, and tell them that they could even bargain! It was a really exciting game, and as they are now older, they still have fond memories of going to the antique market!

Have you been to the St Lawrence Antique Market before? Did you get any good bargain or find something interesting? Please share your stories!

My favorite vintage shop in Toronto is…

I remember the first time that I walked into this fabulous gem of a store! It was like stepping back in time, sneaking into your grandma closet and having ‘carte blanche’ to try on all the beautiful dresses and hats!

Cabaret Vintage (http://www.cabaretvintage.com/) is a very special place. The staff is uber friendly (and genuine), and they have a very good selection of vintage clothing and accessories (for ladies & gents as well). They also have a collection of reproductions dresses. My favorite are the the beaded flapper dresses, (from $125 to $450). Last time that I was in the store, there was a young woman trying them on for her wedding, what a fabulous idea!

Cabaret is always on my itinerary whenever I have friends or relatives visiting Toronto. From Tokyo, to Paris, to Los Angeles, I am proud to say that I have introduced Cabaret to most of my house guests! And as the Toronto International Film Festival (tiff.net) is just around the corner, you can bet that few celebrities and/or their stylists will be spotted at 672 Queen Street West…

Please let me know if you have ever been to Cabaret Vintage before and if you have a favorite vintage store and why…Thanks in advance!

Isabelle V.

When did my passion for vintage start?…

One of my first memories of wearing vintage clothing (even though I didn’t know the word at the time…) was when I received some hand me down from my young aunt when I was a teenager. She was only 14 years older than me and I was always trying to emulate her. Another very strong memory was when I went to the flea market (called ‘Les puces’) in Paris for the first time. It was SO overwhelming! Since then I have travelled to many places, and I always make a point of exploring the flea markets, antiques shops, consignment shops, charity shops, estate sales etc…

I hope that you will share stories about your vintage finds with me and that I’ll inspire you in giving a new life to an old coat or a forgotten suitcase…