I ran into David on 3rd Street, outside of Briar Vintage, and I really enjoyed chatting with him about vintage clothing, the workwear trend, and how he got into the vintage aesthetic. He’s one of the partners at Briar Vintage. He’s really happy to work there: “I used to dig ditches for a living, and now I get to put a tie on.” He told me that the shop is only one of four shops that he knows of on the East Coast that sells only pre-1970s vintage menswear.
Because of his height, he mixes and matches vintage and modern pieces. It’s hard to find all vintage pieces that fit taller people. His pants and shoes are modern, but made by companies that have been around since the 1920s. He’s also wearing a vintage Brooks Brothers shirt with a 1940s tie and a vintage Fred Perry shirt. His glasses are also vintage workwear that he found with green blanks in them. His eye doctor was able to pop out the blanks and insert prescription frames.
“I grew up and saw the way men were supposed to dress — suits and ties. But when I was coming up, the counterculture thing was to get heavily tattoed, so I have hand and neck tatts everywhere. But these days, what’s more counterculture than putting on a neck tie and a jacket?” He added, “It’s cool that people are championing the uniform of the American worker, because I used to be one.”
Outside of work, he likes to go swing dancing, see punk rock shows, go to vintage-themed events, and hang out with his friends.
When he was young, he told his grandfather that he wanted to dress like the swing dancers, so his grandfather took him to Goodwill. His first suit was a “three-roll, two-peak lapel with a double breasted waistcoat, same stuff you see in Boardwalk Empire.”
I met Desiree outside of Clover Market. I thought it seemed like the perfect place to encounter some interestingly dressed vintage lovers. I was right about that.
Desiree is from Philadelphia and now lives in Mount Airy. She loves going to craft fairs and enjoys music, film, and “being a mommy to a wonderful three year old!” Her other city love is Chicago, where she got her BFA in Arts Administration and Photography.
Desiree also loves thrifting and vintage shopping. She loves getting designer denim from resale shops, and describes her style and aesthetic as “grandma chic,” old fashioned, but new. She likes getting one of a kind pieces that you wouldn’t see in chain stores.
She would love to someday run a member-supported nonprofit gallery and studio space. Right now, she works for The Picasso Project, a nonprofit that does advocacy and gives grants to Philadelphia public school teachers who need funding for art projects in their schools.
I really enjoy the pattern of her coat and her bright denim. It’s hard to find an interesting winter coat, and bright jeans give color to an otherwise grey and frigid city. Also, those earrings and that topknot! So good!
Dominique is originally from Maryland and moved to Philly to attend the Art Institute. She spends her days working a 9-to-5 in insurance and the rest of her time working on freelance photography, styling, and blogging. She loves finding her clothes in consignment and vintage shops. Her belt is vintage Coach, and she thinks that this skirt is vintage Ralph Lauren. Most of this ensemble came from Buffalo Exchange, including her great statement necklace. Her boots were a recent purchase from Steve Madden.
I love her long wool skirt. Maxi skirts were such a big thing this year, but I haven’t seen as many long wool skirts this winter. I have a few vintage ones in my closet that I don’t wear that often, but Dominique inspired me to pull them out and see what I can do with them!
Nerissa’s had these shoes since she was in 10th grade! She got them from Buffalo Exchange. Her amazing coat is from the Sazz Vintage Warehouse. I wish I had gotten the scoop on her earrings, too. Alas. She’s one of the first people I stopped, and I was kind of flustered. I still am, to be honest. I’m looking forward to the day when I can talk to a stranger and think more quickly to be more engaging in conversation.
I happened to catch Nerissa on her lunch break. She told me that she works five different jobs right now. That’s a situation I’m familiar with, and I really respect and appreciate that she took time out of her busy day to let me snap a few shots.
Clark Park on Saturday mornings is like the town square of West Philly. We’ve gone out of town most weekends since we moved to the city, but when we’re home my favorite weekend activity is to walk to the Farmers’ Market with my husband, Chad, and/or my sister or friends.
I thought it’d be a great place to find people to photograph. I was right.
Meet Katie, an elementary school art teacher and photographer.
Katie gets her wardrobe inspiration from That Girl. Her dream is to be a combination of Ann Marie from That Girl and Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. She loves colors and doesn’t like to buy anything new. This dress came from Astro Vintage, which sadly has gone out of business. Most of Katie’s clothes are thrifted, and she used to get most of her favorite things from dumpsters and abandoned houses. “I love a million colors and if I could wear all of them at once, I would!” she told me, laughing.
I get nervous photographing photographers because I am quite new to taking photos and I certainly don’t presume to call myself a photographer, but Katie was super sweet and even suggested that we go on photography adventures together around the city! I might have to take her up on that offer.