Girl Scouts represent with this vintage blouse

Girl Scout Blouse 1980s

A few weeks ago I enlisted Julie to help me reboot the Etsy shop, and she brought a few items she had found on a trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Among the pretty pieces was this Girl Scout uniform shirt that I recognized right away. As a cookie-selling veteran with a lifetime membership card (they do exist), I’m a huge fan of Girl Scouting. It runs in the family, too—I knew I had seen my mother or sister wearing this exact blouse in photos!

My trusty Girl Scout leader (who had to deal with me in my difficult teen years, bless her heart!) had a lightbulb moment when she saw the blouse. Once I told her it was by Bill Blass, she put two-and-two together and dug up this photo from the uniform catalog archives:

Girl Scout Catalog 1986

Pretty amazing, right? From 1984 to 1990, stripes and kelly green were all the rage for adults in Scouting. My leader, Cheryl, recalled, “the blouse was wicked hot (like wearing a plastic bag), so I bought the dress uniform.” Luckily the blouse Julie found is short-sleeved, so slightly less wicked hot (I hope)!

This uniform from yesteryear is in the Etsy shop now. I have to admit, the cuffed sleeves are pretty sweet.

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Where’s Quarter Life?

Dear readers, customers and friends,

You may have noticed my blog posts are sparse, my events are few and far-between, and my Etsy shop is on vacation.

Fear not, vintage lovers. There are exciting changes ahead.

But first, I’m slogging through some business as usual. I’m finishing up my graduate degree, which means writing my thesis on—no surprise to you, I’m sure—the apparel manufacturing industry. At the same time, I’m juggling multiple gigs in order to make Quarter Life my “full-time” career sooner, rather than later.

And Quarter Life itself is changing. Later this year, you’ll see this familiar blog redesigned with a new name, a new look, and a new walk (but the same ‘ol attitude). It’ll be paired with an Etsy relaunch that I hope will make you proud of my visual merchandising skills, among other fine qualities!

So I’m off the grid to an extent, but not unavailable. You can find some transitional vintage pieces at Ginger Root Design through the end of April. This summer, I’ll be appearing at the brand new Grant Avenue Market, which I’m very excited about. I hope to see you soon, and we can chat about what’s next for this here little shop on the move!


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Field Trip: Pennsylvania and Ohio

Weddings mean road trips, and MC and I shared a drive to and from eastern Ohio a few weeks back with a really fun stop in Pittsburgh. Our intent was to eat, but serendipity struck and we got to shop, too.


I made friends at Mahla Antiques, where MC found a decanter he loved (of course), I found an awesome bar set that I’m itching to sell to a Mad Men-inspired bar, and I found the Best Fashion Book Ever.


One of the sections at Mahla featured this amazing, amazing pink kitchen counter. There were even some pans in the oven! If only I had space at home for such a beauty.


Meanwhile, in Ohio, I learned where suitcases go for their final trip around the luggage carousel: Youngstown, Ohio. The Liberty Goodwill store had tons of fun pieces to look through.


This is just half the Goodwill haul. I was carrying the other half. Thaaaaanks, MC!

Stay tuned for some really fun and awesome announcements about where you can find Quarter Life vintage this summer and beyond! Until then, I’ll keep buying….

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Filed under Field Trip, travel, Vintage

Tossed & Found this weekend!


Junior League Tossed and Found 2013

I know thrifty style mavens who live and die for the Tossed & Found sale every year. (Seriously. Ask Jen.) It’s this weekend, so get ready to haul some giant bags of goodies out of the Junior League of Washington’s annual sale.

From JLW: Tossed and Found is the Junior League of Washington’s annual weekend sale that provides many families in our community with quality, gently used household goods at bargain prices. In 2012, the sale attracted more than 3,000 shoppers and raised more than $118,000. Proceeds from the sale are used to fund the Junior League of Washington’s community-based programs and literacy activities.

I’ll miss it once again due to fun family obligations, but I encourage you to go shop!

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The power of Borax

I do this far too often.

I bring a batch of vintage back from the thrift or the rummage or whatnot, and sort the “to the cleaner’s” pile away from the washable stuff. But something always sneaks by me into the washer when it should probably be hand-washed on its own.

Case in point: The fuschia blouse that went into the same load as this once-white toaster cover.


Before Borax

To the Borax bucket we went. I dumped the pink water every few hours and let a final round of soaking sit overnight. A good rinse, a spin through the wash (with the whites this time), and voila:

After Borax

Love you, Borax. Forever and ever.

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Winter highlights from the DCGF blog

Wondering what my thrifty alter-ego has been up to these days? No hibernating for this Fashionista…

Shopping at Goodwill

Wear the Color of the Year without breaking your budget

Style confession: I love huge sweaters

Fashionista tip: Keep jewelry sparkling with this easy solution

New York Fashion Week: Ladies’ highlights

Goodwill field trip: Horizon Goodwill

Take me to Goodwill with you, Macklemore!

Goodwill field trip: Goodwill Boston

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Exploring Western Maryland

Earlier this month we took a little road trip to Western MD for a ski trip. Since I don’t ski, I shopped! I’m saving some of the best finds for the DCGF blog, but here’s a peek at some other cool items:


I loved this mini iron. It still works-and matches my outfit!


An amazing little treasure trove called Cobwebs had tons of old appliances, all that still work. I tried to convince MC that we needed an old-school waffle-maker, but no luck.


I couldn’t resist a set of two groovy coffee cups. They’re made in Japan and nest together so nicely in the cabinet. They just make me smile!

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Last chance to get Quarter Life vintage at Ginger Root Design

Quarter Life Vintage at Ginger Root Design

Photo by Ginger Root Design

It’s your last chance to find Quarter Life vintage at Ginger Root Design! The ladies are making space in The Back Room for new vintage vendors, but you still have time to mix, mingle, and shop before QL waves goodbye.

Stop by for a vintage mixer and meet-the-artist night on Friday, February 22! I’ll be absent, but you’ll be able to shop vintage and handcrafted goodies all night. Just be sure to RSVP (because there will be wine)!

Thanks so much to the staff at Ginger Root Design for hosting me for the past two months!


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A new vintage favorite and my super-80s look

vintage patent bagHow awesome is this clutch? I just sent it to Ginger Root Design this weekend, and it’s definitely one of my favorite pieces there right now. There’s no label inside, so I don’t even know where to start guessing who made it, where it’s from, what time period it’s from. I’m guessing it’s from the late 80s, since it’s in really good shape. The handle finish has faded over time, but it’s still a really neat feature. Take a closer look:

vintage patent purse metal handle

It’s pretty great. That’s all I can say.

I also would like to share my look from a crazy nostalgic party I attended over the weekend. You had to choose a look from the ’80s, ’90s, or the ’00s. I went with the late 80s, thanks to Quarter Life vintage, some inspiration from my big sister, and a whole lot of hair spray:

80s costume

As much as I love the “serious” side of wearing vintage (you know, the elegant, timeless side), I also really love the costume side. Here’s to playing dress-up!

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The find: Vintage dress clip

vintage dress clip

When this beautiful piece arrived from my vintage fairy grandmother, I had no idea what it was. It lacked the traditional pin-back in order to be an ornate brooch. It didn’t have a mate, or I would have thought they were shoe clips. I might have tried to clip it into my hair like a big barette. It almost worked.

But lo and behold, this here is a dress clip. A little research tells me that these were popular from the 1920s through the 1950s, and were used to dress up any ol’ garment you please.

Take a look at the back:

vintage dress clip back

Those little teeth on the clip are the kicker—how I know it’s a dress clip. If this were a shoe clip, the prongs would be sharper. If this was a fur clip, specifically for accentuating voluminous fur coats, there would be no clip on the back—just two long (and sharp!) metal rods.

When dress clips were popular, you could wear one to show off a plunging neckline, or to make your coat or blazer lapel stand out from the crowd. If you were really fancy, you had a set. Some dress clips came in pairs and could be worn together or separately. The Love of Vintage shows a few examples of “duette” dress clips. If you wore the two clips on each lapel, on a dress collar, etc., you could really dress up a piece that had been hanging out in your wardrobe for a while. And think about the 1930s—maybe you couldn’t afford a new dress, but you might have a few dress clips from the roaring 1920s that you could put on to make a dress or coat look new again. Even in the Great Depression, people still had reasons to dress up and look (and feel!) their best.

You can still wear dress clips in these traditional ways, but don’t be afraid to branch out, either. 52nd Street Vintage has a few ideas, although I wouldn’t recommend sticking a vintage dress clip on the pocket of your jeans. I would love to see this clip worn in someone’s hair, maybe with the aid of a thin headband.

This piece is now available on Storenvy and Etsy.

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Filed under Accessories, Jewelry, Vintage