I learned about the adorable MaryBeth and her store Top Drawer Vintage...the new old-fashioned way, browsing through blogs. The new mother of a 10 month-old has an on-line shop (don't you just love Etsy) that features really unique, retro-style...at super reasonable prices. So of course I had to ask her a few questions! And she was kind enough to answer.
Mash: Why the name Top Drawer Vintage?
MaryBeth: I went round and round and round about the name for my online vintage boutique. I wanted a name that was catchy enough to remember but still referenced vintage fashion or clothing or something someone might treasure. When I got stuck I started thinking of what you put clothes on or in. Like, a clothesline or basket, a closet ect. Then I thought of where I put things I treasure. Well, I put them in the top drawer. All of my things I need to have or get at on a daily basis. The top drawer is where I put the things that mean the most to me and can be most easily accessible.
Mash: How would you describe your style?
MaryBeth: My personal style is complicated at the moment. As a new Mom I am trying to find ways to be fashionable (and always affordable!), unique, and able to chase around my 10 month old. I almost always wear something vintage, whether it is a full on dress ensemble for church on Sunday or a rustic leather belt around my waist over my favorite t-shirt and jeans. I also love that one complimentary designer accessory to make me feel good, any day. On a typical day, I wear a pair of skinny jeans with my knee high flat boots, a top that is simple but has something “special”, like, a bow or rosette or ribbon of some sort, a skinny blazer or cardigan and I like to top it off with one piece of gaudy vintage jewelry. I am definitely the type of woman that is usually overdressed for every occasion.
Mash: What’s your favorite part about vintage shopping?
MaryBeth: Oh, the thrill of the find. I love to research pieces and designers to keep my eye on but most of the time it is just luck. I see the most fabulous vintage pairings from fellow vintage bloggers and friends, but there is an equal amount of luck that comes with the vintage shopping experience. You have to be in the right spot at the right time. I also love getting a good deal. There have been more than a handful of times I have walked away from a great piece due to the price. Part of the fun for me is not only finding a to die for piece, but also keeping it affordable. Why? So I can keep shopping, of course! I love the search for one-of-a-kind, beautiful garments to satisfy the retro junkie, the vintage wear extraordinaire, the uninhibited fashion enthusiasts and the “can’t live without it” thrifter.
Mash: What do you look for when shopping for vintage?
MaryBeth: In most cases (and part of the fun), vintage clothing doesn’t need to read “immediate wear-ability”. I like to look for the unique and unusual pieces that complete or compliment everyday looks. They can be a little “out there” because I imagine myself or the wearer actually wearing the piece with simple day-to-day items already in their closet. Most pieces, I feel, speak to me. As if I was meant to walk into that particular shop and find it. So often enough, I don’t feel I am looking for anything at all!
Mash: Is it tough to decide if an item belongs online or in your closet?
MaryBeth: Absolutely! Top Drawer Vintage began with me having to rid myself of the extremely oversized “collection” as I called it! I feel anyone who buys any Top Drawer Vintage piece actually takes a bit of my heart with it. I almost have to consider wearing a piece to love them as much as I do.
Mash: Do you have an ultimate all-time favorite find? If so, what was it?
MaryBeth: I have I found a Ceil Chapman 1950’s party dress at a little shop near my house that screamed Marilyn Monroe. However, when I bought it, I knew nothing of the label only thinking it was the chicest little black dress. I knew nothing about who designed it, who it was designed for or where it might have been worn. This is where the research part of vintage is so amazing. When I looked up the label I was pleasantly surprised to see it was a red carpet designer. To this day, celebrities are wearing vintage Ceil Chapman gowns. I was so proud of it I could barely let it go! However, I ended up selling it to a woman in London. I am still dreaming that is loved by her as much as me.
Mash: I’m new to vintage shopping (it became an addiction late last year J, what tips could you give me when looking for pieces?
MaryBeth: Like I said early, don’t look for an entire vintage ensemble when you go shopping. Think of each piece as you find and ask yourself, “What could I wear with this tomorrow?” Imagine yourself in a tank top and jeans, or a black pencil skirt and high heels. Let the clothing speak to you! What about the vintage piece can you see part of yourself in?
Mash: What’s new for Top Drawer?
MaryBeth: I am hoping to expand my sales locally! I am looking to do some dealing in antique shops and signing up for flea markets this summer. I love to meet people who love vintage as I do!
Mash: Where do you see Top Drawer in 5 years?
MaryBeth: I hope to adapt Top Drawer’s pieces to my own development in style. 5 years from now I will be in my early 30’s and hopefully a few more children. It will be interesting to keep a keen eye on fashion and still incorporate vintage wear-ability!
Mash: Finally, pinkpopmash is all about fashion, music, television and everything in between. So, who’s your favorite singer/band? What’s your favorite guilty pleasure television show?
MaryBeth: I am all about the classic rock. My baby and I jam out to some of my favorites like, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Mama’s and the Papa’s. As for television, we recently got Netflix for the Wii and I am obsessed with LOST! Even though so many people told me the ending was disappointing!
Top Drawer Vintage Stats:
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...And be sure to check out her everyday style on her Blog
photos by Sarah Meyer Photography