She’s a true thrift queen and has one of the most exciting online vintage shops: Rachel from MouseVoxVintage has been chatting to us about her own love for vintage, her favourite thrift shops and what to watch out for when shopping for vintage online.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Rachel: I’m a 30 year old vintage retailer and freelance wardrobe stylist, currently residing in Nashville, TN. I love all things vintage, post-modern design, music on vinyl, Alfred Hitchcock films, used bookstores, sewing, cooking & wearing dresses everyday.

Tell us about Mousevox Vintage, your Ebay shop, when did you decide to set it up, and why?
Rachel:
Having been a vintage collector for over a decade, my collection of wares started to outgrow its closet space and I decided to try selling a few things on eBay just to downsize. After seeing just how lucrative a market there is in online vintage sales and having spent 3 years in a career that I wasn’t completely satisfied with, I decided to set up shop.

Getting started was no easy feat, as there was a period of time when I had to work both my day job and MouseVox. I worked 18 hour days for the first 6 months – it was definitely exhausting at times, but you have to be tenacious and eager to want it to make it work. MouseVox will celebrate its 3rd birthday on eBay this June and we’ve set up shop at Etsy this month at www.mousevox.etsy.com!

Where do you source all your amazing clothes?
Rachel:Vintage is my life’s blood, so I’m always on the hunt. I’m a beyond avid thrifter, so a lot of my pieces come from thrift stores & second hand shops, as well as antique stores. I’m also a sucker for a good estate sale – you can find some of the best pieces at estate sales, as most of the clothing has only had one previous owner.

In the Spring & Summer, I try to hit up as many yard sales / garage sales as possible, but I think the good stuff is usually gone once I get there – I can’t even remember the last time I woke up at 6AM and that’s usually when these types of sales get started!

Do you wear a lot of vintage? And if so, why?
Rachel: Of course! Practically everything I wear is vintage. I have a truly remarkable collection of vintage wares that were passed down to me by my grandmother – we were the same size when she was my age and she had a lot of things tailored to fit her. And, of course, since tracking down the best finds out there is my game, I’m bound to pick up a piece or 5 for myself here and there!

What’s your favourite ever piece of vintage clothing?
Rachel:
This is a tough call to make, as I have so many pieces that are truly special to me. My most coveted, vintage possession is a platinum & sapphire ring that my grandfather gave to my grandmother – it’s locked away in a safety deposit box though, so I don’t wear it frequently.

Other pieces in my collection that are special to me are a very rare Emilio Pucci for Formfit Rogers negligee that I found on a thrifting trip and one of my great-grandmother’s mink stoles (see picture). While, I don’t often wear either of these pieces, I truly treasure them and each one reminds me of why I love vintage – the excitement of finding that needle in a haystack kind of gem at a thriftstore, the emotional value of an heirloom and the history behind each piece.

If you are totally new to vintage and want to buy three things to get your vintage wardrobe going, what should you buy?
Rachel:
I think this really depends on your personality. If you’re not a reserved kind of girl, I say jump in headfirst and put yourself in the most fabulous dress you can find paired up with vintage shoes/boots and an amazing vintage handbag, to boot. If vintage is something you just want to test out to see if it’s for you, then I would say start out simple with a nice piece of vintage jewelry, such as a brooch or bracelet, a cute vintage clutch and a skirt or top that can be paired with your more modern pieces.

What’s your favourite vintage decade? And why?
Rachel:
Every decade has something interesting to offer that I appreciate, but I would have to say my favorite is the 1920s. The roaring 20s were such a liberating time for women – in America, we earned the right to vote. Women seemed to become more confident and, in my opinion, as a result of this they took more risks with their way of dressing.

Hemlines were raised, the textiles used were more innovative and modern and the trims on dresses were so much fun – hello, fringe! Though, the hemlines dropped in the 30s, 40s and 50s, the 20s set a new standard for design for decades to come that opened people up to ideas that hadn’t been in place before and are still being used today.

Who’s your vintage idol?
Rachel: I don’t really have an specific vintage idol, per say. I have found a lot of inspiration looking at family photographs and seeing my grandmother and great-grandmother wearing pieces they have passed down to me, but I’m more so inspired by everyday women who simply aren’t afraid to express themselves and be creative with their dress.

It’s easy to walk into a department store and emulate a look you saw in a magazine or ad, but that’s boring to me. It’s important to be yourself and express this by adding your personal touch to the way you appear whether it’s vintage or contemporary wares that you prefer.
Is there anything you should look out for when buying vintage online?
Rachel: First and foremost, it’s important to remember that a vintage piece is often decades old and is bound to show some wear, as it’s not factory new. Paying attention to measurements and reading all of the fine print and information in item descriptions is also so important.

As a vintage retailer, it’s important to me that my buyers are satisfied with their purchases – taking the time to read descriptions and all of the information provided will ensure that a buyer knows what they’re getting into.

Where do you shop for vintage?
Rachel:Most of my vintage shopping is done at thrift stores, but if I’m in need of a killer piece on the spot, my favorite local vintage shop is Venus & Mars, co-owned by Karen Elson, Italian Vogue cover model and wife to Jack White. Online, I love to peruse eBay & Etsy from time to time as well.

3 Responses

  1. Brian Hamblen

    I have seen this girl’s studio. Her taste permeates all the things around her. She truly lives her craft, and has been known to disappear with party guests only to have them come back clad in Rachel-wear. 🙂 She is a trip…

    Reply
  2. Jacqueline Shoemaker

    Rachel, I feel connected to you via members of your family that I know and love—–Pricilla for one. I will not take this any further until I know for certain you are the Rachel Combs from Virginia.

    I have heard wonderful things about you and was given your website. The more I browse through your lovely vintage clothing the more impressed I am. I wish you wonderful success with your endeavor—laughter in your life and peace in your soul —-a long life on this earth to indulge all these wishes. Jacqueline Shoemaker

    Reply

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