why I love the Rose Bowl flea market October 7, 2006

Yay, it’s the second weekend of the month! Tomorrow I’m heading out to to the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena. I go whenever I’m in town, and I’ve found some of my favorite stuff there, from a mint-condition Lilly Pulitzer patchwork wrap skirt for $18 to a perfect black cashmere cardigan for $5. The vintage clothes are incredible, especially the dresses, but the jewelry, collectibles and books are a close second too. I’m such a magpie and I love to look at everything.

My main tips for happy shopping are as follows…

1. Go early if you can. The perfect time is 9 am, in my opinion — the admission drops from $10 to $7 right at 9, but it’s still not too crowded. By noon it’s pretty crazy.

2. Bring snacks and water with you — refreshments are expensive, and it sure gets hot in a parking lot after a few hours of wandering around looking at cool stuff.

3. Hit the ATM before you go — there is one there, but it socks you with an extra-high fee. Worth it if you find a bargain Eames chair you didn’t budget for, not worth it if you want that last pair of Levi’s cords and you’re a couple bucks short.

Last month I found an adorable 1970s Official Preppy Handbook-esque black wrap skirt with a bright poppy applique, reversing to polka dots, for $10. The only problem was that it was teeny-tiny and barely went around me once, let alone with any kind of overlap for successful wrapping. I try not to buy too many things that need lots of work, but I just couldn’t resist its cuteness… so I brought it home and commenced major skirt surgery. I took the back apart completely and added a zipper, stitching the back seams together as I went. I saved the curved detail at the bottom, and finished by re-sewing the cute zig-zag stitching pattern by hand all the way around the seam.

skirt re-do

I ended up wearing it to film my episode of Craft Lab, and at least five or six times since. The old wrap ties are a perfect little belt, or I can tie them in a bow at the back. I just love it.

This month I’m on the lookout for T-shirts for Andrew, vintage jewelry to take apart and (as always) cashmere sweaters… maybe blue this time? And of course I’m stopping by Felt Club on the way home.

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