vintagin’ usa

one of the biggest benefits of my job at a children’s book publisher is the not-infrequent travel all over the usa and sometimes europe. this past week took me to sunny dallas, texas — to ala midwinter and vintage emporium dolly python.

prior to leaving on my trip my boss asked me to book a lunch and dinner for a few librarians we were trying to woo. i spent a bit of time online looking for recommended restaurants, and a little more time looking for recommended shops. a few store descriptions grabbed my attention:

  1. greenville ave is home to one of dallas’ only indie record stores, good records. according to the store philosophy, they carry whatever’s ‘good.’
  2. dolly python is a vintage clothing store for women and men with carefully, hand selected items from 1940’s-1980’s. the store itself umbrellas over 20 different antique dealers and consignors, who restock and edit their booths almost daily.
  3. also on greenville avenue, the dallas outpost of buffalo exchange, which claims to be “not the usual thrift store!”

i landed in dallas midday on thursday and decided i’d take my first afternoon to check out these shops, sneaking in a little tourist time before my real work started with the cocktail hour. i had googled public transit directions before departure and i planned to visit dolly python first, since it was on the way to the others. i waited for the #1 bus at the corner of lane and commerce streets for about 45 minutes, passing the time with sets of calf lifts on the curb, and finally the right bus pulled up and i was on my way.

the bus dropped me at the corner of live oak and north haskell and i was becoming keenly aware of the fact that i hadn’t eaten anything since my pre-flight grapefruit. i was in a real nowhere part of town though — an a&t building, car dealerships, and empty lots made up the scenery. no tex-mex in sight.

and so, starving as i was, i began walking north on north haskell, beginning to have my doubts about the destination. even after i spotted a cvs and went in to purchase a single serving of dry cheerios and 48 plastic spoons with which to eat them (now walking a desolate strip in cowgirl boots, spooning up mouthfuls of dry cheerios), my doubts not only remained — they grew. what the hell was i doing out here anyways?

and then:

dolly python is located at 1917-1919 north haskell

yes, dolly python was pretty much a vintage lover’s wet dream. from boots to art, from clothing and jewelry and hats and trinkets to records, furniture, scarves, bowties, and more. over the three hours i spent inside fingering absolutely everything, i felt increasingly that the shop had been curated especially for me.

costume jewelry for as little as $2

i spent $400 (that’s pierre you hear in the background saying, “what?!?”), but my trip to dallas was otherwise 100% funded by work, so i felt the spree was justified. however, since i was in texas with only a suitcase for transportation purposes, i had to draw the line at some bulkier items.

this pair of antlers was a mere $28

but yes, i felt these deer antlers were on the “can buy” side of the line. they look amazing on our dining room table (and they mean i don’t need to buy fresh flowers for the table for every special occasion).

these locker baskets were $25 a piece

the stack of metal locker baskets fell on the “cannot buy” side of the line, though three or four would have been perfect for holding the scarves and mittens in our mudroom. but a single basket wouldn’t be too onerous to cart home, i figured, so i bought just one for our foyer — the perfect holder for daily mail.

giant springs and a propeller

i also purchased four dresses — one from the ’50s and three from the ’60s. something good about not having eaten all day was everything i tried on looked great. i also bought my first brooch, a pair of half-hoop earrings, two well-worn and plaid shirts for pierre (both from the ’70s and both $28), a ’70s button-down for myself to help me blend in at any rodeo, a pretty scarf (some girls have too many bags or shoes — i have a scarf addiction), and a varsity letter sweater formerly belonging to w. rivercomb.

needless to say, weighed down by a locker basket, antlers, and two bags of clothes — not to mention $400 poorer — i didn’t make it to either of the other two stores on my list. but if you can’t go big in texas…you might as well go home. which is where i am now, hanging up my new dresses.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Lorna and Gord MacFarlane says:

    Another great post! I quite enjoy your writing style Kendal. We chuckled when we read that $28 was spent on plaid shirts from the 70s. We recall that that was all we wore…plaid shirts in the 70s…only they weren’t ‘vintage’ then and we certainly wouldn’t have had $28 to spend on one! Ha!
    Gord also wondered how you got the antlers home as he says it is illegal to transport animal body parts across the border without a permit.
    FYI we have a few of those antlers ‘hanging’ around our house. One is still attached to the head of the deer and stares down at me all day long! 🙂

  2. I wanted to go shed hunting up North with Tyler in the spring but Kendal just couldn’t wait. In her defense, the antler was a good price; not the $60 they are sold for at Toronto decor stores!

  3. kendalgerard says:

    $28 on ’70s shirts seemed fair to me! it’s pricey to be retro these days. with regards to getting the antlers across the border, i’ll plead the fifth. but they don’t call me “smuggler” for nothin’ (no one calls me that).

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