When is vintage shopping not a thrill? Suddenly unearthing a 1950s sundress or a pair of white trousers in an outrageous print circa-1986 in the back room of a vintage shop can induce a kind of runner's high. Stumbling upon several packed vintage goldmines over a stretch of just a few blocks can lead to an addiction.
If we can extend this metaphor still further, Louisville's Highlands neighborhood, rich in secondhand shops, might be considered something of a vintage opium den. And local Hannah Rae Montgomery is hooked. Montgomery is the resident dramaturg at Louisville's Actors Theater, renowned for its yearly Humana Festival of New American Plays, at which six previously unproduced plays are premiered each year. Montgomery spends much of her time reading and editing new work by emerging playwrights from around the country, and helping the theater's creative teams flesh out the worlds of each play. "It's kind of like working in publishing, being a curator, and being a collaborative artist in the rehearsal room, all rolled into one," she explains.
It makes sense that Montgomery would love vintage stores, trying on the costume of one decade after another, ultimately pulling together looks that still feel current. And when Sweet heads out for an afternoon of scouring the vintage shop of the Highlands, we tap Montgomery as our guide.
Here are her vintage guidelines—screenshot time!
1. "Don't be afraid to mix pieces from different eras. The most fashion-forward outfits are often a collage of styles and influences."
2. "Don't be afraid to wear an item in a different way than it was originally designed to be worn. For example: a vintage nightgown could be paired with a cami to make a bohemian slip dress."
3. "Think about the craft and durability of a piece. We live in an age of fast fashion. A pair of vintage leather boots might cost more than a similar-looking pair at Zara, but it's worth the investment."
4. "Even if you identify or present as female, don't forget to scope out the men's section as well. Otherwise, you might miss out on some great finds!"
Here are our favorite vintage finds from Louisville, from festival-ready denim to lacey blouses to statement pieces that will keep you cool all summer long. Visit each store's website or Etsy page for info on how to boost your wardrobe, wherever you are!
Walk down a narrow walkway beside an old brick wall and you'll find Vintage Banana, a small store with a robust collection of super soft tees, tons of handbags, and some funky denim.
1507 Bardstown Road;etsy.com
Fringe shorts, $20.
1960s floral jumper, $18.
"I like a shorter boot for summer. I have a lot of short '70s dresses with long, flowy sleeves I'd wear these with."
This boutique offers a mix of ultra-feminine clothes, shoes, and eyewear, as well as accessories by local designers and artisans.
1572 Bardstown Road;shopheytiger.com
Floral pants, $18.
1960s or '70s gingham patchwork dress, $38.
Boasting the largest selection of any of the vintage shops in the area, Acorn's three rooms are full of gorgeous showstoppers (such as '80s gowns and '60s cocktail dresses), quirky one-of-a-kind pieces your friends will want to borrow, and every accessory imaginable to achieve your desired, decade-specific look.
Where: 1602 Bardstown Road;facebook.com/acornapparel
Purple foil dress, $30.
'60s negligee, $20.