The Ladybug is PrePPy in vintage!

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Who doesn’t like a bit of preppy style every now and then?

I must confess that I’m not a fan of preppy but I have a couple of cool preppy pieces and today I decided to wear them all together! When I looked at myself in the mirror I really felt like a preparation school girl (except for my wrinkles!).

Basically I’m wearing vintage/thrift head-to-toe (I’d better say head-to-ankle as shoes are not vintage!): let’s start from my navy double-breasted blazer with golden buttons, a real vintage thrifted piece and also one of my favorite bargains ever. I found it in NYC at the Salvation Army and I paid it only 6.99 dollars! I still wear this jacket a lot with many different styles and it is one of my wardrobe favorites!

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I paired the jacket with a vintage tartan skirt from A.N.G.E.L.O.: I bought it years ago during the Vintage Week event in Milan, as at the time I had a thing with vintage tartan. I sold most of my vintage tartan pieces since then but I still keep this one!

The bow shirt is an old find form a vintage/retro store in Naples and the shoes are from Lazzari.

The straw bag is another vintage piece that I adore: I bought it many years ago from Opherty & Ciocci during a vintage fair in Italy as I really love straw bags (I think I need more of them in my life actually!) and 70’s long horizontal bags; so two things that I love in the same bag!

PS: I also chose a typical brownstone building in Milan for this set of pictures, just to fit the whole preppy thing!!

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A Ladybug’s vintage aperitivo in Milan

The Ladybug Chronicles Let's Vintage Frida (3)

I don’t know if it’s just me or if it happens to you too but my weekends always start with a phone call from (or to) a friend saying: What are your plans for today?

Once we realize that we are free and that we have time to spend together we start checking online what’s on in town, trying to find the event that will be perfect for our couple of hours of chatting and – possibly – drinking! It can be a market, an exhibit, a shop opening, a lecture, a concert.

Milan is a town full of events of every kind and it is almost impossible not to find what you are looking for, it is just a bit harder than anywhere else due to the large offer. But when you have a lovely place (Frida bar in the Isola district) organizing a vintage event (Let’s Vintage) with special offers and bargains it is easier to pick up the perfect event that makes everybody happy!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Let's Vintage Frida (4)

It was indeed the perfect occasion to drink my favorite ice tea in town (Hanoi!) and to grab vintage bargains for really ridiculous prices.

It was also the perfect occasion to wear my new thrifted palazzo pant from Mary Portas charity shop in Edinburgh (never worn, still with tags, only 4 quid!), my new favorite fringed leather jacket from IL2L at Your Shores, Michael Kors bucket bag, Nike 4 & Other Stories white sneakers and Céline sunglasses.

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The Ladybug Does Vintage for Charity: Vogue’s Vintage Project at Serravalle Outlet

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“So this is Christmas and what have you done?”…sang John Lennon in 1971. A song that plays almost everywhere during the Christmas holidays, which I think is a good thing because when we are shopping madly or looking for Christmas presents for our families and friends we can allow ourselves some time to stop and think about what we’ve really done for those we don’t know who may be in need of our thoughts.

Last weekend I was entering the temple of shopping (Serravalle Designer Outlet) for the good prices to start officially my Christmas shopping season, when a big panel at the entry way caught my eye: The Vintage Project. When I read the word vintage, I got immediately intrigued and I couldn’t find peace until I finally found out what it was all about.

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The Vintage Project is a charity shop, inside the Outlet, in which the total proceeds are given to support and promote charity initiatives; and what you can buy there is pretty amazing: clothes and accessories from the biggest designers like Fendi and Roberto Cavalli with amazing pieces at affordable prices. Behind this initiative stands Vogue Italia and Franca Sozzani herself, who also donated some of her personal pieces.The charity shop is only open on weekends for three months. It places on sale new products given by fashion brands and vintage gems.

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Last weekend I had the chance to meet Antonio Capitani, who is not only a famous astrologist for Vanity Fair (I’ve always loved his horoscopes), but also a very special spokesman for Anlaids (www.anlaidsonlus.it), a charity association aiming to stop the spread of AIDS and help those affected by the disease (such a shame I didn’t think about a selfie with him… I simply got caught up in the things that he told me about the association and the cruel reality around AIDS).

I couldn’t find anything my size, even if I fell for some great pieces. But when I got home, I made a donation on their site. It is a small drop, but the sea is made by drops… right?

I wore Max&Co coat, Replay biker boots, & Other Stories scarf, Michael Kors bucket bag and a vintage hat.

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The Ladybug Queues Next: Next Vintage in Belgioioso!

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If you used to going to vintage fairs quite often, for years, the risk is that you may become… blasé.

But there are some fairs that bring a bit more to the table. They’re the same, but different at the same time. One of these, for sure, is Next Vintage in Belgioiso. I don’t go twice a year as they organize a Spring and Autumn edition, but indeed at least once a year, I need to be there.

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The atmosphere in Belgioioso has that certain something that you don’t find everywhere: maybe the location (the wonderful Belgioioso castle and garden that by itself worth a visit), maybe the selection of stallers from vintage to handmade, maybe the good vintage that can be found there, whatever it is… I think that if you love vintage you must go there!

It may not be easy to find a bargain there: I find it a bit pricey (especially some sellers who honestly sell over the regular price), but you can for sure admire many rare and hard-to-find pieces from different eras.

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This edition, a wonderful expo featuring Roberta di Camerino vintage pieces was offered to the visitors. The pieces came mostly from the Fondazione Sartirana Arte and from different vintage dealers (like A.N.G.E.L.O., Vintage Art, Aloe & Wolf, Viola vintage and many Others)…a dream for every vintage lover! I’ve never seen a lot of her pieces in real life, but those exposed there were absolutely amazing. The connection between them was the use of the “trompe-l’oeil” technique, very popular at the time and in her creations, and perfectly managed by the designer most of the time.

And for me, it was time for some shopping too: I got a late ’70s vintage doctor bag from Sculptures to Wear and a lovely handmade beret from Madame S, whom I met for the first time. She makes amazing headpieces and like me, usually attends fairs and vintage events.

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I also modeled for my friend Angela, of Sculptures to Wear, some of my favorite bags from her amazing vintage collection.

For the warm afternoon I wore my Rolling Stones’ tee from a charity shop in London (I got it for a few pounds in Oxfam, if I’m not wrong), vintage skirt from the Montagnola in Bologna, Marco Brogues and Cavalli & Nastri vintage bag from the ’70s.

By the way, I am also wearing my new Miu Miu glasses… since I found out that I need glasses, I decided to go for an eccentric pair of retro inspired cat-eye frames… what do you think?

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The Ladybug Discovers a New Magical Vintage Land: The Opening of Sofia Vintage in Como

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Of all the events that I am invited to, the opening of a vintage shop always thrills me greatly.

I am a vintage fan, of course, but the charge of all that’s happening around a vintage shop opening: first of all I feel blessed because in my country the culture of vintage is becoming more and more popular, and with this I already seeing and further hope that it will forge forward from what it is now and permeate people’s understanding of what wearing vintage means. Secondly, I know that every time I’m involved in the “discovery” of a magical new world, I’ll be sure to find a little piece of history and love for the past that will always surprise me. And this is what happened when I stepped into Sofia Vintage in Como: I felt as if I had gone into someone’s home from the warmth and the beauty of the place: wonderful location with old flavor, vintage floors, beautiful retro details, amazing clothes and accessories, vintage furniture and a real Singer sewing machine (still in use) for your vintage stitches and repairs. Roberta, the founder, is a real vintage addict and her passion and research can be tasted in the very air of her shop.

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I first came to know her from her beautiful shop called Glook in the center of Como. But with her new shop Sofia, she now has the space to present in greater depth her knowledge and passion for vintage. The pieces that she brought into her shop are accurately chosen and well displayed. I fell in love with the style and with her impeccable taste. When we talked about her love for vintage and how she started selecting clothes from all over the world, I felt as if we were Carrie and Samantha sharing stories over a cosmo, the conversation was just that intimate and I was amazed by her love for detail and quality.

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The masterpieces in her shop were multiple: from the houndstooth vinyl jacket, to the black and white ankle boots, and her amazing collection of perfectly cared for soft wool and cashmere jumpers (sweaters). Plus there were beautiful wool coats and shirts of amazing quality, sunglasses and a love for simple yet impressive lines.

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I also appreciated the honest and spot-on pricing, one of my biggest complaints in the pricey Italian vintage market. Honest pricing is a rare quality and I’ve always appreciated it because it is a clear sign of pure love and knowledge of the sector.

So whether you’re a vintage lover or not, if  ever you’re in Como, you must visit Sofia Vintage. I am sure that you will love it and you will also grab a quality bargain.

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It was also a pleasure meeting some of my fellow bloggers and to finally bring KNAGUI with me during this vintage excursion! It was a lovely event too, perfectly organized by News Eventi Como PR, with nice people, healthy drinks, popcorn and the elegance of Roberta, the founder of Sofia Vintage! Plus a beautiful goodie-bag with a vintage handbag that I am going to wear on the blog soon!

I wore a retro inspired outfit with a Miss Selfridge silk dungaree, charity shop silk blouse, retro t-bars from New York and a vintage handbag from Foxy Brown. I added Punti di Vista vintage cat-eye frames and Lazzari headband.

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[photo credit: KNAGUI]

What’s New in the Ladybug’s Vintage Closet? New Vintage Learning Old Tricks with Touch of Charity…

It has been a while since I last shared my vintage finds here… not that I bought any, of course!

Here in Milan, the vintage shops and fairs have multiplied… as has my vintage wardrobe, but the space within my wardrobe isn’t expanding as needed- so it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep everything in the same closet!

All of my lastest vintage “new-ins” come from my favorite charity shop so far in Milan: Humana Vintage (via Cappellari, 3). I already mentioned it before. Since finding it by chance that day, I followed my flower petals back to its door over and over… and over again!

I often go to Humana because they have new stock almost every day. And if you buy a piece there, you have 30% off on the next Friday… this happens every week!! Can you imagine what it means? Yes, that I go almost every week!!

And this is what I got in the last few weeks (for great prices too!):

–          Vintage hats….

–          Vintage dresses….

–          Vintage blouses and shirts….

–          Vintage jackets….

What are your favorite pieces?

I can’t wait to share all my vintage new outfits… maybe (but only maybe!!) in the meanwhile there will be more vintage “new-ins” to show you!

The Ladybug’s Pause for the Cause: NYC Charity Shops Review pt. 3 – “The Salvation Army”

My third and final review on this installment of NY-Charity shops is about the most famous and probably the widest charity community in the States and the world, The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army was born in 1865 as an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church. As they say on their site, www.salvationarmyusa.org, their aim is written on the Bible and its ministry is motivated by the love of God.  Their mission is helping people in need without any discrimination of need, race, religion, etc.

The net of these entities is so wide and complex that, as you can imagine, donations and thrift shops are just a part of it… but hey!, they are a great part! I was ready to find one of their stores in New York but, again, the answer came to me spontaneously without been asked!

During my interview with Sammy Davis, I asked her to tell me about her favorite vintage/thrift shops in New York and the first one she mentioned was the Salvation Army between 46th and 10th in Manhattan! Sammy also advised to go on Wednesday, as it’s family day and everything goes 50% off and, when the cameras were off, she told me not to be afraid of it from the outside… and I understood what she meant when I arrived there, alone, on that following Wednesday!

From the outside, the building and the whole area is quite abandoned and not taken care of and you can easily find homeless people hanging around, but nothing to be scared or afraid of! So I decided to go in and have a look around this three-story charity shop. This Salvation Army is not dressed to impress… this is a real charity shop with no ornaments, fitting rooms or anything beyond the bones… this is a charity shop in its pure essence! Nothing easy to find, people half naked behind the pillars trying some trousers or skirts on – I did it too!!  When I told “Mr. Bible” AKA KNAGUI about the experience he said with a big laugh, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there’s liberty… so you were free to be naked in your Salvation, Baby!”

Still, can you imagine a place described like that as Heaven? Well, it was… the Heaven of thrifters like me- for sure!!

I spent the bulk of my time on the second floor (women clothing!) more than 2 hours, plus 45 minutes on the third one (furniture and homeware) and I left the shop with two “Santa Klaus bags” full of things and I spent only $45… $90 with 50% off!!! This is what I got for this little price:

–       An adorable “country style” jacket-coat

–       A lovely double-buttoned ’80s jacket

–       A navy preppy jacket

–       A purple perfectly-fitting jacket

–       A fuchsia harem pant

–       A pair of pink Spanish vintage shoes

and, drum rolls please…..ladies and gentlemen…a rare gem….for $6.99…… this amazing pair of red vintage Bally shoes in perfect condition!!!

I came back home after this experience with some difficulties – due to the luggage restrictions! – but full of happiness… I also sent a sms to Sammy to show her my gratitude about the tips!

The Ladybug’s Pause for the Cause: NYC Charity Shops Review pt. 1 – “Housing Works”

Ask me what one of my favorite inventions is and I’ll probably reply, “charity shops!”

For real! Just think about it for a minute because the idea is amazing: you can donate your clothes to charity entities like The Red Cross or your local church for those who can’t afford to buy clothes. By giving them to a charity shop, you’re recycling them to someone else who’s going to love them, take care of them and maybe recycle them again.  All of this invariably feels good because you know that you’ve contributed to a good cause. On the other side you can buy rarities owned by other people at reasonable prices, reuse them (maybe recycling them again!) knowing that your money is going to help people in need. Isn’t it great?

I still wonder why, in Italy, this hasn’t been developed as much as it should (there’s only one big charity shop in Milan, maybe two but I still haven’t found the second one!).  So for now, I can enjoy completely my tour of charity shops only abroad.

Before going to New York I thought that London was the capital of charity shops: you can really find them at every corner, and if you read this blog regularly- you might have read my post last March in which I told you about my London tour of charity shops with Daisy, but my disappointment was the fact that they are still quite expensive for charity shopping.

When in New York, of course, I started my hunt for thrift/charity stores and it wasn’t a complicated hunt since, almost like London, New York is full of charities! But let’s start the review from the one that I didn’t know nor expect: Housing Works.

I was heading home from a busy vintage shopping session in the East Village when, just as I rounded the corner, this beautiful thrift store got my attention. It was actually the first charity shop that I saw in New York. As many thrift stores in London, this shop really looked and smelled good: very clean and bright, with beautiful vintage furniture and amazing designer clothes and accessories mixed with more accessible labels and a lot of interesting vintage pieces. It looked pricey, but in the end I realized that it wasn’t at all… I might even say that I got here some of the best bargains of my whole vintage shopping life!

Don’t believe me? Here are some great examples: I walked out from the shop leaving there (for charity, of course!) 54 dollars. Here is what I got with it:

–      This absolutely amazing original ’60s Pucci headband for $20 (yes, 20 DOLLARS!!!),

–      This adorable ’80s hat from French designer Philippe Model for $30,

–      This cute white leather and golden cuff for $4,

I don’t know what you think, but if all charity shops are like that in New York… I suggest we all pay more attention to what’s around the corners!

PS: Spoiler alert… what I found in during the next few days was even more exciting!!