You might be thinking: “Relatable? What’s relatable about decorating? I have no idea what I’m doing!” *starts sweating*
Relatable Decorating is basically about making a space cohesive - think of it like all the ingredients of a meal, or all the parts of a song - everything relates to one another so the end result as a whole works together. The key to good design is good relationships! So stop sweating and let me learn ya somethin...
Your Big Boys: I’m talking furniture here.
- DO: Invest in “forever” pieces. Your sofa, coffee table, dresser etc will all stick around for many years to come if you buy quality (hint: vintage) and buy classic (hint: vintage again…but also neutrals…that relate well to any color pallet - think wood grain, earth tones and greys)
- DONT: Shoot yourself in the foot by buying too many trendy/loud furniture pieces that fight for the spotlight in your space and limit you from future redecorating inspiration. No one likes a rogue lead guitar player.
- DO: Keep in mind the size of your space (wall space, floor space, layout, etc) and how the furniture you’re shopping for will relate to the room. Bring measuring tape to the store with you - we love a prepared shopper!
- DONT: Crowd your space with too many bulky pieces of furniture that weigh the room down. For instance, if you don’t have a lot of floor space then it helps to keep furniture elevated off the floor. Mid century is perfect for this because all of the skinny legs and open space under that sofa, table, etc keep the room feeling light and airy. Again, a good furniture-to-floor space relationship.
Your Smalls: Decorative pillows, rugs, knick knacks etc.
- DO: Play around with new colors, patterns, textures and shapes! Think of your smalls as accessories to an outfit. Yes they are important and yes they can “really tie the room together” But no they are not “forever” pieces. Which brings me to…
- DONT: Get in your head everytime you fall in love with a throw pillow that’s out of your current color palette and talk yourself out of buying it with something like “I love it but I don’t know where I’d put it??” Listen. Linda, listen, Linda…listen. Its a PILLOW. You put it on your couch. Oh, it wouldn’t relate well to the other pillows on your couch? Then add in yet ANOTHER pillow that *makes* it relate. Or try a blanket to tie your new pop of color in, or a couple candle holders, or a coffee table book, or…you get the picture. (Hot budget tip: to offset the hefty price tag of going out and purchasing a brand new full size area rug for your new color palette, try layering one or two small rugs at an angle on top of your current one to bring in new colors/textiles. It’s a good look.)
- DO: Use your smalls to show your personality. Just like with your wardrobe, your home decor is an expression of YOU. Do you like to travel? Pick up some knick knacks along the way and display THEM on a shelf in place of those trinkets you bought from IKEA. Create a space that you can relate to.
- DONT: Become a hoarder in the process of the above tip. Take some time here and there to edit your display shelves and give the small pieces that mean the most to you some space to breathe. But not *so* much space that they’re floating on lonely islands. Which brings me to my next tip…
Your Art: Framed, unframed, wall hangings and plants. Yes, I put plants in this category.
- DO: Group smaller/more moderately sized art together that relate to one another nicely (hint: use complimenting colors, not only in the art but in the frames as well, balance the grouping with square frames, circular frames and throw in a hanging plant to soften the edges and fill up space) Not sure where to start? Try laying your art out on the ground in front of the wall and grouping them there first. Take a photo when you get it right and reference that when you go to hang. This lil trick saves your poor wall from 747 “well that doesn’t look right there” holes as well.
- DONT: Take your only 5 pieces of smaller/more moderately sized art and spread them apart on 5 different walls. Remember, we don't want "lonely islands." That’s the opposite of getting your pieces to relate to one another or creating any kind of relationship between them. That’s full on art ghosting! Instead, let your collection build and grow organically as you find more pieces out in the wild that you love, and fill up the rest of the walls in your house as you do.
Your Lighting: Lamps, lamps, lamps, lamps and lamps. I saved this one for last because it’s so important and so over looked.
- DONT: Default to the overhead lights that your home or apartment came with. I know it’s hard to resist the convenience of walking in and flipping a switch and voila let there be light, but 9 out of 10 times this lighting is
SO. DANG. UNINSPIRED. Nope!
- DO: Use floor, table and swag lamps to create the mood that you want in your space. A mood with lighting levels that go from “I can barely see my hand in front of me” dim (think salt lamps) to “I’m tryna find my dogs chew toy under the sofa” bright (think all 3 table lamps and the floor lamp in a single room turned on at the same time) And you do this by having these multiple light sources in different corners of the room as well as at different levels. Use what you’ve learned from the tips above to decide what lamp size and style works best for the space. And just to consider - lamps can either function as classic “forever” pieces OR interchangeable “art.” They’re in a category of their own for a reason and they break all of the rules…but there is one rule that should (almost?) never be broken…
- DONT: Use fluorescent lighting in any of your lamps. Just don’t. This is your home, not a hospital.
- DO: Use soft white and warm lighting. Remember...we’re setting a mood here. A mood, a space and a feeling you can and *want to* relate to. Keep it cozy ;)
Pro Tip #1: Dont get hung up on original sizing tags when you’re shopping vintage. 99% of them are wonky as hell and entirely inaccurate to modern sizing. If it looks like it’ll fit, take a minute try it on. And if you love it but the fit is a *little off*, come out and show us —-> we can recommend a fantastic local tailor to take care of you
Pro Tip #2: Our team measures the waist of all of the denim, skirts, slacks etc before they go out. Check OUR tag for the true and accurate measurements of any bottoms in the shop. Note the rise (basically the length of the zipper) on pants and shorts - a 30” waist measurement on a mid rise will not sit the same as a 30” waist measurement on a high rise. And just like with modern denim, different brands fit differently and have varying percentages of cotton/elastane. We recommend bringing a few pairs into the fitting room to see which brand suits your body type the best. Not sure your measurements? We can help with that too!
Pro Tip #3: The clothes don’t care the gender of who wears them. The clothes don’t care the gender of who wears them. The clothes don’t care the gender of who wears them. I can’t say this enough. You are guaranteed to find the perfect look for you by shopping ALL sections of our store. We have a wide range of cuts, sizes and styles throughout - so don’t limit your shopping experience (or style!) by just browsing one area of our store. We separate to curate, not to segregate
Pro Tip #4: Don’t limit yourself to only browsing pieces fit for the current season when you’re in specialty boutiques - ESPECIALLY when you’re shopping vintage. You’ll likely score a much better price on the off-season item (they’re often on sale!) and you won’t keep yourself up at night wishing you got that one-of-a-kind gem when you had the chance. Its always gonna get cold and its always gonna get hot again ;)
Experience check - how many times have you been in a shop looking for a general *something* and one of the folks on the sales team asks you if they can help, to which you respond “I need some new *insert season here* tops”, to which THEY respond “okay cool, what’s your style?”…and your mind goes absolutely blank…
If this sounds like you, then please keep reading to find out WHY this is happening.
1: The most common reason to this problem is following too many trends at once
- So hear me out. The quote “trends come and go, but style is forever” isn’t just a cute blurb for self proclaimed fashionistas, it’s absolutely 100% the truth, and for good reason. Let’s use something we all own in our wardrobes as an example - jeans. Once upon a time, low rise jeans were all anyone ever wore, then high rise, then mid rise and then back to high rise and somewhere in the mix of the dizzying spin on denim trends, maybe you lost sight of YOUR body and YOUR preferences and next thing you know, your 5’3” short torso-ed self is walking around town wearing 11.5” high rise denim up to your under boobs looking like someone just used the top half of your body for an intense game of Whac-A-Mole. Pair that rise with a wide legged light wash jean, a dark oversized crop top and chunky sneakers and you’ve just taken your beautiful 5’3” short torso-ed body and turned it into a 4’ no torso-ed body. It’s no wonder you don’t feel confident or connected to your wardrobe. When the trends you’re wearing are working against you, it’s time to reevaluate the importance of following them. That look might work GREAT on another body, but your body is yours and your style is yours, so if mid-rise dark-wash straight-legged denim makes you feel like a boss bitch when you put it on, then keep putting it on and keep buying it…even when no one else is. Side note: “Dressing for your age/sex” is also a trend worth reevaluating but that deserves a post all on its own, so let’s continue…
2: The second most important reason is likely an unorganized wardrobe
- Whether you have 5 pieces or 500 pieces in your wardrobe, organizing those pieces is essential for recognizing and supporting your personal style. Not only does something like color coding/organizing by sleeve length/seasons keep your wardrobe *aesthetic AF* but it also helps you see a visual representation on a daily basis of what color/cut/season you buy for most. Do you have 10 little black dresses? 12 different washes of denim trucker jackets? 435 white tshirts? Do you wear them all? Do you feel good in them? Yes yes yes yes and yes? Then that’s your personal style and you should probably stop forcing yourself to wear neons because “everyone else is.” But on the flip side, if you have all of those things and never wear them or feel like a victim of Whac-A-Mole when you do, it’s time to hit the nearest donation box and fill your wardrobe with neons, or plaid mini dresses or blazers with shoulder pads out the whazzo or whatever else makes YOU feel like YOU. Again, personal style is personal.
3: Lastly, your wardrobe might not match your lifestyle
- These all tie into one another but this point especially ties into the disorganized wardrobe one - meaning if you work 60+ hours a week in an office and hit the gym on the weekends and spend all of the rest of the time off that you can at home with your kiddos/pets/Netflix, then you prooooobably don’t need 10 different little black dresses in your wardrobe. Maybe call it even at 4. Use the space that you’d gain from being realistic about your lifestyle and ditching those 6 unworn little black dresses for some work/active/lounge wear. Find ways to express your personal style through your lifestyle and vice versa. Treat yourself to special event pieces but don’t forget who YOU are and how important it is to create a capsule wardrobe for the life that you live.
And this is why:
So here’s the scoop - back in the day, the word “Vintage” was interchanged with the word “Antique” just as nowadays the word “Vintage” is interchanged with “Thrift.” And these three words are completely unique from one another…sort of.
Let’s start with definitions:
Antique Shop = curated items that are 100 years and older
Vintage Shop = curated items 20 years and older
Thrift Shop = donated items from all eras at a discounted price
Right off the bat, you can spot the difference. The first two are defined entirely by the year the pieces were made that the store carries, whereas a Thrift shop is not.
And how is this done? Curating! The biggest and most overlooked aspect of an Antique or Vintage shop is their unique process of curating each and every item presented to their customer (ie hand selecting a collection with a specific artistic focus in mind for the store’s brand and clientele) Simply put, on the contrary - a Thrift shop resells just about any and everything.
The next biggest overlooked and under-explained difference is the pricing. Gasp! I know, I know talking money on a small business’ social isn’t exactly applauded but I’m takin one for the team over here (and believe me, all of us Vintage shop owners cringe when we hear this)…”Why is this Thrift store SO expensive?!” *long moment of silence*… It’s because we aren’t a Thrift store. Sure, we may have some great pieces that are a total score for $10 but that’s a one-of-a-kind maxi dress that you’re holding from the 1960s that’s in pristine condition because we laundered, sewed, patched and saved it from getting tossed out in the moldy bin in West Virginia that we found it in. Curating takes time and knowledge, all of which are services that cost money.
Now here’s where the grey area comes in - Antique and Vintage pieces can absolutely be found in a Thrift shop, *if* you have the time and knowledge to find it! And if you do, GIRL GET IT! We love how widespread the love of Vintage has become over the last decade and we all dress so much better for it
And sometimes we dig there too, and markets and estate sales and hell, even the side of the road…for *Vintage, not Thrift