Portland Favorites – Living Threads Vintage

Living T

Living Threads Vintage is one of my favorite stores in Portland. The adorable, friendly couple who own it, Christine and Travis, sell vintage men and women’s clothing both in the store and in their Etsy shop. Their wares include pretty dresses from a wide range of eras, a wonderful collection of hats, Pendleton woolens for men, a nicely edited collection of jewelry, vintage shoes, ties, and the odd antique treasure you didn’t know you needed. (A lipstick case from the 1920s? So pretty!)

Walking into the cute little shop is always a treat because Christine or Travis greet you warmly and you can tell they care about their customers. They love talking about vintage clothing but let you shop quietly if that’s what you prefer. The store is very clean; no musty mothball, smoke, or other off-putting scents. They put a lot of thought into curating a collection of interesting clothes and other objects. The clothing is in excellent condition and has been cleaned or steamed.

The merchandise available varies widely depending on what they’ve sourced – you might find a flapper dress in beautiful condition, a dapper gentlemen’s silk scarf, a polyester Nik-Nik shirt from the 70s, or a chartreuse dirndl skirt. It’s a wonderful place for a treasure hunt, and the service is warm and friendly. If you like vintage clothing, do stop by – they’re downtown right across from the Central Library.


Display case full of goodies.

Living Threads interior

Pretty objects artfully displayed

alligator shoes

1940s Alligator Pumps

Photo by Living Threads Vintage

Early 1920s dress with velvet applique. Photo by Living Threads Vintage

Victorian bag

Victorian pocketbook

Art deco sterling silver necklace with glass stones

Art deco sterling silver necklace with glass stones

Living Threads Vintage
1008 SW Taylor Portland, OR 97205


Portland Favorites – Eden: A Garden of Opulent Curiosities

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In this season of buying gifts and the occasional party outfit, I’ve been focusing on buying from local independent stores. I like supporting our local economy – it’s better for local people who make and sell things here, it’s better for the environment (in contrast to that sweater made in China I had my eye on) and I think it fosters a sense of community. In the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve, I’ll highlight a few of my local favorites, starting with Eden: A Garden of Opulent Delights.

This little shop in the Pearl is so much fun to wander through. The proprietress, Cindy Rokoff, stocks the stores with a nice selection of books, jewelry, perfume, vintage clothing, and wonderful ephemera and oddities. The salespeople are really friendly but not at all overbearing or pushy.
It’s hard to know where to start. The store has a nice selection of fragrances, including  Serge Lutens. The great thing about the store’s perfume displays is that they type up little cards that list the scents in each perfume. I can skip right by anything with patchouli or jasmine in it – really, such a great idea.There are scented candles, fancy shampoos, green lip gloss, and lovely soaps. The librarian in me likes looking at the nice selection of books, mainly art, fashion and design. You can also find bottle openers in fun shapes, Bolivian shawls, colorful pillows, a small selection of candy, and rugs.

My favorite merchandise to drool over is the small but stylish selection of vintage clothes, the jewelry, and vintage accessories. There’s a rack of Little Black Dresses of all kinds with a decent variety of sizes, a rack of vintage kimonos, and a rack of pretty coats. The prices are reasonable and you’ll be wearing something unusual and recycled. They just published their annual Holiday Look Book – it’s beautifully done.

They also carry Sonia Kasparian’s stunning Urchin Re.Design dresses, which she creates (upcycles?) from old vintage pieces. They’re couture quality, and beaded and decorated by hand, truly works of art.


Then there’s the jewelry – it’s a nice variety ranging from modern silver cuffs to hand-crafted jewelry from local designers to vintage pieces. I tried on a vintage 1920s necklace with amber glass stones, and the modern statement necklace above by Kiowa Rose that incorporates old findings and stones.

My recent visit was a gift buying foray so I’m not going to reveal what I bought just yet. The store is great fun to wander through – if you’re near Powell’s, it’s just a few blocks away. Right now they have some interesting Christmas ornaments – scarabs, birds, and Chinese lamps. You can always find something curious to look at – the oddest is the stuffed peacock but the resin raccoon skull is a close second.

Eden Door crop

Eden: A Garden of Opulent Curiosities
221 Northwest 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

Favorite PDX Places – Xtabay Vintage

Xtabay Vintage Clothing Boutique/ 2515 SE Clinton St./ Portland, Oregon

One of my very favorite stores in Portland is Xtabay Vintage; I love to “play dress up” with the pretty clothes, which I wrote about in this earlier post. The owner, Liz Gross, has a wonderful eye for beautiful vintage clothing and accessories. Her store’s atmosphere is pretty and feminine, and is a calming place to browse after a hard day at work. The vintage goodies she selects are in wonderful condition, and range from the Edwardian era to the oughties, with most from the 1940s to the 1960s. This isn’t a thrift store and doesn’t pretend to be but her prices are very reasonable for the high quality of the merchandise. If you’re on a very tight budget, she has a nice selection of very inexpensive vintage earrings, candles, and nail polish. Here are a few things I’ve purchased from Xtabay in the past few years:

Aurora borealis brooch with watermelon rhinestones

vintage dress clips

Vintage dress clips

Vintage Dress

Rhinestone collar on an atomic print dress

And here are a few things in the store recently; sadly, I can’t buy them all!

Green hat with orange feather. ©2011 Xtabay Vintage

Beautiful purple coat. ©2011 Xtabay Vintage

Bakelite clamper bracelet. ©2011 Xtabay vintage