In addition to this post’s review, the Thrifty Snicker has bad news and good news. First the bad….practically ripped from the headlines the Thriftstress was dismayed to see that our friends at Next-to-New on Burnet (reviewed May, 2013) have been the victim of vandals here recently. It’s a proven fact that the surest way to screw up your karma is to mess with the thrift fairy but some people simply haven’t received the memo. So warm wishes and thrift power to the good folks at St. David’s Episcopal Church who run the store, and to those good-looking guys and gals in blue who are working to find the people responsible for kicking in the door, graffiti, and siphoning gas out of the donation truck. May the Force be with you!
On a much happier note, theThriftstress wants to report on the imminent opening of a brand new thrift store! More on that in just a moment but meanwhile, on to the latest thrift store review.
If you’ve always wanted enough closets to dedicate one to each fashion decade then you’re probably already a fanatic for Flashback – a vintage clothing hotspot on South 1st Street.
As if you needed another reason to hang out in the fabulously eccentric, historic and gastric Bouldin Creek area, my goodness, Sugar Mama’s alone is worth the trip, there’s the enticement of dresses and gowns fluttering in the breeze in front of the cheerful house that houses Flashback Vintage. Originally located on Lamar, an unpleasant little contretemps with a landlord precipitated owner Marsha Laine to move her empire of attire to 1906 South 1st. But Lamar’s loss is your gain what with six rooms jam-packed with fabulous representations of every fashion era since the Charleston was all the rage!
In the interest of full disclosure, the Countess of Discount knows little about vintage – she doesn’t know her cocoa from her Chanel. But she does know this: there’s many a store that claims the vintage title based solely on bell bottoms and love beads. Not so with Flashback…June Cleaver, Rosie the Riveter and Janis Joplin would feel equally at home among the racks sporting everything from vintage undergarments to office attire, formal ware, and sports clothes. Even the guys get their own room with vintage guy fashions.
Flashback’s own Ruler of Retro is Marsha Laine – a vintage aficionada since her teens. She and a friend originally considered opening a restaurant but to the everlasting gratitude of Austinites, costumers, moviemakers, artists, and the late, great Leslie Cochran, she decided to indulge her passion for fashion instead. Marsha’s expertise is evident in every nook and cranny and she’s in-house every Saturday if you want to stop by with something you’re interested in selling or trading. On other days she’s likely scouting around for fashion finds or hobnobbing with wholesalers to keep stock fresh and exciting. A recent purchase is a glamorous Italian swimsuit found in France.
Prices at Flashback are reasonable for the fine vintage pieces that have been assembled. You might pay $80 or more for a frock and $40 to $50 for a great skirt. Your Thriftstress must have had brocade on the brain as both a full-length brocade gown in canary yellow and a brocade pencil skirt in shades of burgundy and grey made her twirl in front of a mirror. Unfortunately, much of the stock is on the small side making shopping more challenging for those bigger than a size 10 or without alterations skills. However, one of the shop’s many strengths is its sales staff who are helpful without being obtrusive and who will absolutely outfit you for any occasion in something absolutely perfect! Go ahead…put ‘em to the test. You’ll end up in something terrific that looks terrific on you – and you can be sure you won’t see anyone else in the same style. If there’s something special you want but can’t find – either a size or fashion – Marsha will gladly tap into her prodigious sources to accommodate you. Don’t be afraid to ask as Flashback prides itself on its accessible and non-pretentious vibe. A small collection of jewelry, accessories, and vintage knickknacks help reinforce the store’s charm and the sale rack on the front porch is a must-see. On her most recent visit the deal of the day was the winter white, wool coatdress from Neiman Marcus that would have made Jackie O swoon. A mere $10!
Now you might think that Her Thriftiness is the only celebrity that browses at Flashback but its national reputation makes it a fav for many an actor and artist. Drew Barrymore, Mary Kay Place, Winona Ryder, Lyle Lovett, Johnny Depp, Bob Dylan, and Kate Moss have all dropped in as do those looking to costume plays, commercials and even movies. Not surprising, Flashback is also a popular destination for the burlesque crowd. The Thrifty Snicker is now ready for her close up!
Flashback Vintage has watched 1st Street remake itself from a quiet retail area to the uber-desirable hiptown south of downtown it is today and happily is geographically secure for at least the next several years. Marsha is quick to point out that shops in the area help one another out – a shout-out to next-door-neighbor Mercedes Flowers as well as Bouldin Creek Café. In fact, Flashback now opens early on Sundays just to handle the overflow crowd from Bouldin as it seems that waiting for a table is a lot easier while browsing vintage fashions…and the pagers work even inside the store!
To stay up-to-date in the world of yesteryear fashions, like them on FB or visit their website at http://www.austinvintageclothing.com/. Parking’s a breeze, all major credit cards are accepted and a ramp makes those vintage fashions accessible to everyone. Store hours are a bit of a mystery – Marsha dear, could you get those posted on your website? But give them a quick call at 512.445.6906 if you’re not sure of the times.
Now for New News…Style Encore, an upscale resale shop for working women is planning on its grand opening in March! Located in north Austin at 2929 West Anderson Lane, the store is buying “like crazy” and would welcome your upscale castoffs – think Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, Michael Kor and Donney & Burke. It’s also hiring so if you want more information give them a buzz at 512.592.0886 and keep an eye on The Thrifty Snicker for updates.
As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift. What are your favorite places and best bargains?
Until the next find!
The Thrifty Snicker