I discovered the Goodwill as a teenager and my wardrobe has been a random-ass playground since then. Once a month they hosted a “fill a bag for $1” sale. We’re talking brown grocery bag–not the insubstantial plastic blow-away variety. Predictably, my friends and I would fill it to bursting with old men’s silk boxer shorts, leather belts, hats, 4H and God’s Gym T-shirts, glittery brooches, dress shoes (never sneakers), and get lucky with an occasional pair of Levi’s or a kimono. Vintage and thrift became the solution for my lack of income coupled with a desire to express myself through eclectic style.
Once I had a drivers license, my friends and I trekked to Baltimore on the weekends to shop at Oh Susannah! and Minas in Fells Point and The Zone, still going strong in Mount Vernon. Louie’s Bookstore Cafe was a final stop of the day and a great spot to admire cool, smart, and fashionable Baltimoreans.
Contrary to what John Waters has wrought (beehive hairdo–JUST NO.), Baltimore owns a sartorial edge. Whether black leather and tattoos, streetwear and sneakers, or over-the-top self-taught glam (Bishme Cromartie, I’m looking at you), Baltimore is a creative laboratory for those who want to experiment with unusual, classic, and inventive style. Well-sourced vintage plays an essential part of the fashion landscape and recently, with the help of Instagram, has generated a diverse and talented group of curators/shop owners, so I had high expectations for the 2019 Baltimore Antique and Vintage Expo. Hosted at Union Brewing’s cavernous space and featuring vintage clothing, furniture, and decor from some of the best retailers and private dealers in the Baltimore/DC metro area, as well as some from further away, the fifth iteration organized by Milk & Ice Vintage (Hampden) and Bottle of Bread (Mount Vernon) was a sprawling, colorful event full of people interested in well-sourced vintage clothing and furniture.
Whether they support the environmental and political advantages of vintage over fast fashion or just enjoy wearing standout and well-made clothing, this year’s Baltimore Vintage Expo was the perfect environment to showcase a range of on-point wardrobe decisions and to capture some of Baltimore’s more fashion-forward individuals. (Cara Ober)
Photos by Jill Fannon.
Sophia, 26, works at Common Ground and SPCA
Wearing: Vintage jeans from an antique shop in Bedford, PA, hand-me-down top, $3 suede boots
Mai, 27, translator
Wearing: 1960s thigh-high boots, 1930s 2-piece velvet costume, antique doll laundry bag
Maxine K. Davis, 70, retired educator
Wearing: Irish Linen top from Chalet, pants by FLAX from Something Else boutique in Mt. Washington, Grandmother’s brooch and earrings (vintage), shoes from Comfort One Shoes on Falls Road, vintage Coach bag
Nolen Strals, 40, art director, and Cornelia Beckett, 27, librarian
Wearing: (Left) Aileen Wuornos T-shirt (Come On Strong), pants from Target, Birkenstock sandals, Wuxtry Records tote bag, vintage sunglasses; (Right) Dwight Yoakam 2019 tour shirt, Rustic Dime pants, Diegos Espadrilles, 3 Taverns Brewing hat
Tiaret, 18, tattoo artist (@tiarettee) and Tahirih, 17, student
Wearing: (Left) American Vintage top, American Apparel jeans, Birkenstocks; (Right) Cactus Collective dress, vintage union platform boots
Kelli, 26, dog walker
Wearing: Lucky brand ringer T-shirt, jeans, red lipstick, red glasses
Alexandra Deutsch, 48, VP of Collections and Interpretation at the Maryland Historical Society
Wearing: 1970s dress from Laura’s Vintage (Glensfalls, NY), 1950s purse from Keepers Vintage, necklace from Milk & Ice Vintage, bracelet and yellow necklace from the Parisian Flea, eyeglasses from Paris West, ring from Bijoux Jewelry
Helena St. Tearer, 31, designer, rapper, meme-er and Christy Dinner, 25, retail store manager for Vans
@lilperc666 and @ttarantuula
Wearing: (Left) Forever 21 Line jacket, striped dress, Adidas, jewelry from Fidelity Tattoo; (Right) Free People top, Hollister shorts, hoop earrings with deer vertebrae by Muse of Monstrea, Doc Martens, Baggu bag, vintage Coach purse
Anie, 23 and Maya, 22
Wearing: (Left) F21 top, skirt from Hunting Ground, Stan Smith Adidas, and Collins Avenue Thrift bag; (Right) Levi’s shorts, vintage top from Bottle of Bread with Toulouse-Lautrec pattern, loafers from Goodwill
Christine Hallenbeck, 27, Union Beer-tender and Event Planner
Wearing: Vintage Star Wars T-shirt, Doc Martens
This photo essay is a collaboration between writer/editor Cara Ober and photographer Jill Fannon. If you have other events where interesting, creative, and fashion-forward Baltimoreans will be, shoot us an email and let us know! We love showing off the culture and style in our city.