Interview with Penelope's Vintage

Dear Internet, please meet Penelope's Vintage, a new and very cool vintage and secondhand clothing shop started by the lovely Chanelle, who is based in LA.  

This offbeat enterprise emerged out of a simple love of thrift shopping and treasure hunting. Chanelle found herself to have a special talent for seeking out unique garments and piecing them into extraordinary outfits - and so began the start of her business.  

I'm very much sweatin' her style. Both she and her shop are easily becoming a favorite of mine.

Chanelle and I have been chatting about Penelope's Vintage for the last couple weeks. Here is what she had to say!

What's the story behind your business? How did you get started? A little background please. 
I LOVE shopping at Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. When I’m browsing, these amazing pieces just come out at me and immediately an outfit pops in my head. Every time I’d bring my friends I would have a whole cart full of clothes and they’d have nothing. They would always say, “I just don’t have an eye for it” or “I don’t have the patience.” After a while I was like I should use my “talent,” if you will, and do the work FOR the people. I’ll pick out the clothes, put them in an outfit, and then they can buy the items from me. I had been planning to jump on the eBay bandwagon and put up these clothes I found for a year or so, but setting it up overwhelmed me. I remember one night all my friends were over and we were watching a movie and I’m like, “You know what? I’m going to set up my eBay store” (probably not the best time, but it worked). And the rest is history. 

I love that you have standout pieces in your shop that are not just quality, they are unique. Where do you source your pieces and what are some of your qualifications when choosing items to stock? 
I try and go to different places all the time, A, so that I don’t get the same stuff all the time and, B, if I keep hitting up the same store there won’t be anything left that appeals to me (probably because I buy it all). I have to give the store time to get in more stock. The biggest qualification is: Do I like it? If I don’t like it I can’t put it with an outfit and then it has no appeal. I also think of the season, what’s big, what I think is going to be big, etc. I’ve recently reached out to everyone on our Twitter and Facebook page to see what THEY would like to see in the store, so I also like to take in everyone’s suggestions, as well. 

There are a number of emerging vintage shops these days - what sets your store apart from the rest?
I think what sets mine apart, or I would like to think, is that I offer a broad range of styles in my store. You want boho? I got it. You want 80s glam? Got it. You want a simple high wasted short for summer? Got it. Of course these aren’t always all in the store at once, but they do circulate. I love and appreciate so many different types of fashion, eras, and styles so I think my inventory really showcases that. 

What is your favorite piece that you have in stock? 
Right now my favorite item is the 90s skort overalls. I can't really explain my love for those but I can tell you when I saw them I grabbed them and hugged them for a minute and knew I had to share them with the world. I'm also super into the Kenny Rogers denim shirt. Who knew Kenny Rogers had clothing??? 

What would be your ultimate vintage find?
Wow. That’s like asking a chef what’s your favorite food to cook. I think my ultimate vintage find would be Chloe or Dior circa 1960s/1970s, or anything designer from those eras for that matter. I mean I get excited when I find Guess jeans from the 90s. That was their prime man. 

If you could live in any decade simply for its clothing, which would you pick? 
Honestly I appreciate every decade for its fashion, but to LIVE in, it’s a tie (and its cliche)- 60s and 70s. 

60s: The 60s still had the conservativeness of the 50s but also was breaking out of its shell and becoming rebellious and I love that transition. It was starting to push boundaries and become creative. Art was influencing fashion more and designers were taking risks. I’m almost positive it was AndrĂ© Courrèges that first came out with a space suit line and I remember thinking when I studied this how amazing it was that he took something like space and made it into fashion at that point in time. It was unheard of. 

70s: Why? High wasted jeans, prints, plaids, colors, sequins, platforms, bishop sleeves, jumpers, rompers, and spandex (just to name a few). My best friend found this channel that plays the original Soul Train and I TiVo it everyday. I watch it for hours and get inspired, upset because I want it all, and happy because these outfits existed all at once. It’s really emotional for me. 

In your opinion, who is the ultimate fashion icon? 
This is hard for me to answer because people pay stylists to dress them then they get the credit so it's hard to pinpoint who actually has the creativity and who pays for the creativity. I know I wish I could own Nicole Richie’s closet, and Rachel Zoe. Edie Sedgwick is a huge inspiration as is Karen O (she was wearing outfits like Lady Gaga WAY before there was a Lady Gaga). I love the Olsen twins’ style as well - they’re not afraid to try anything and I love that about them. I’m also obsessed with Jeremy Scott. And Karl Lagerfeld… what Marc Jacobs is doing with Louis Vuitton is impeccable. I can probably go on so I’m just going to stop while I’m ahead.

Any suggestions for those looking to add vintage pieces to their wardrobes? 
I started with vintage tees which I also suggest they do as well. They go with anything… jeans, leggings, shorts, skirts, you name it. Once you feel comfortable with those infiltrated in your wardrobe you can work your way up until you get into a full sequins jumpsuit from the 70s disco era! 

Thanks Chanelle!!

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Photography by Kayven.



March 25, 2010 at 10:48 PM Good Girls Studio said...

Love her excitement! I'm pretty excited over some '90's Guess jeans myself ;)

March 25, 2010 at 11:28 PM Anna said...

I know, she's great right?!!!

Gotta love old guess jeans, too. I keep picturing high-waisted, stonewash, with the old logo!

March 26, 2010 at 10:49 AM awful beautiful disarray said...

What a great post! And the pictures are gorgeous! I love your blog!

Ashley :)

March 26, 2010 at 11:31 PM Sher said...

I wish her lots of success with her shop. She has great style.

March 27, 2010 at 10:28 PM Hope Chella said...

Lots of great stuff :) xx