Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Trip to Bygones in Richmond, Virginia

Last week, I went to visit my parents in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. I stayed for three days while the husband was away on business. I do not like being home alone (especially at night) so I figured a nice visit with Mom and Dad would be a good way to spend the time.

During the visit, my parents kindly indulged my vintage obsession. On the first day, we went to an antique mall where I bought a 50s era glass dish to display on my foyer table. It is a light seafoam green swirled with shades of blue and teal. I paid just over 15.00 USD.

The next day, we visited the historic Westhampton district and walked along Grove Avenue. We also ate at the famous Phil's Continental Lounge for lunch. Phil's has been a Richmond institution since 1934. The food is standard diner/pub fare and they make fantastic french fries. After eating lunch, the three of us browsed a few antique shops that carried mostly china and furniture. I saw a lot of Victorian and Civil War era items. I did not find anything that 'jumped at me.' Due to the oppressive heat and the lack of vintage goodies, we decided it was time to go home for a well-deserved cool down and a cocktail.

On my final day, my mom and I traveled to Richmond's indie darling, Carytown. Dad stayed at home. I think he needed a break! Carytown has been known for its shops since the late 1930s. However, in 1928, the historic Byrd Theatre was opened and has been in continuous operation since. Next door to the Byrd is Bygones Vintage Clothing. As Mom and I walked towards the shop, we were greeted by a lovely blue and white polka dot Trashy Diva dress on display outside the entrance. The lovely lady in the photo is my wonderful mommy!

Upon walking inside, I wanted to just die. The layout of the store along with its hefty cache of merchandise made me want to go get a loan from my bank. I could totally see myself buying everything here from the 40s and 50s.

Bygones not only carries vintage clothing and accessories, it also has vintage reproduction items from Trashy Diva and Esther Williams. I was impressed with the vast selection of Trashy Diva dresses but I do not feel comfortable shelling out $148.00 USD for a cotton and/or rayon frock. Yes, I do love Candace Gwynn's stuff but her prices are too high for this gal. Besides, I found a black cotton, 1950s shirtwaist dress for $58.00 USD instead! It has a ruffle placket down the front and a cute, peter-pan collar with a little red rosebud embroidered on one side. The dress was in stellar condition and came with its own matching belt. When it comes to vintage clothing, I would rather have the real deal anyway. Maybe one day I win the lottery and then I would buy myself some Trashy Diva. But until I hit the jackpot, I will refrain from the 150 dollar, repro dresses.

One of the most impressive features of Bygones is their jewelry case! Their bakelite selection is awesome and like most bakelite, it's expensive! Most bangles on display cost anywhere from $18 (the thinnest) to $130+ (thicker and beyond). I did buy a red accent bangle for $18. It is about 2.5 millimeters thick on its edges and 5 millimeters wide across the surface. I tried on a red, floral-carved bangle that was $110. I quietly slipped it on, sighed, and politely put it back on its display form. Oh, to be rich! However, I have seen a ton of good-quality bakelite lately on Etsy that cost so much less. When payday comes this week, I am going to browse for some goodies!

I know I stated that the jewelry case is Bygones most impressive asset, but I have to say that the actual best element is the staff. I had a fabulous experience with Tina, one of the vintage gals working here. She was such a joy to talk to and so wonderful when it came to helping me pick items. Tina was not only kind and patient, her knowledge of vintage was quite amazing. She recognized my Re-Mix vintage wedges too and was also wearing Re-Mix wedges herself!

When it was time to wrap up my shopping (Mom and I were hungry for lunch), I bought a pair of back-seamed stockings, a chiffon scarf, the black cotton dress, and the red bakelite. My total came to about 105.00 USD. I could have bought more but I am trying to be more thrifty these days. (My house needs new carpet upstairs and I am saving for some Hawaiian barkcloth fabric to revamp my tiki-themed sun room).

Overall, I really enjoyed my Bygones Vintage experience. Yes, the prices for most items were high. The store is right on Cary Street and I am sure the rent is not cheap. As a result, each price tag is going to reflect this. Despite the higher costs, I loved visiting a proper, well-stocked vintage boutique staffed with people who wear vintage daily and have a passion for it just like me. It just reminds me that I am not the only vintage enthusiast in this modern world!

So, if you are ever in Carytown, be sure to make a trip to Bygones part of your visit!


  1. I went here last summer on my trip to Virginia. I LOVED IT!!! I came home with way too much stuff. I got two lucite purses (didnt they have a great selection?), a walet, and a couple pieces of clothing. That place was so charming. I hope to make it back out there soon.

    Greetings from California!

  2. Yes, Miss Dollie, Bygones is amazing! I saw a few lucite purses, including a pearly silver clutch, that made me swoon. They even had a great selection of vintage compacts. I have a thing for vintage compacts and lipstick tubes. I wish they had more vintage sunglasses but other than that, Bygones is a complete head-to-toe vintage paradise. Again, I just wish I had more money. But my house needs to be prettied right now so I need to be 'good.' lol

    I live about 90 minutes north of Richmond and I visit my parents often so I know I will be back again to Bygones.

  3. I understand what you are saying about previously spending all of your money on stuff for yourself, like clothes, shoes, purses, and now youhave to spend money on your house. I am in the same spot at the moment. We are in the process of buying our first home, and we want to do it head to toe midcentury. So, I also have to be good and not spend money on me. ha ha.

  4. Miss Dollie,

    Congratulations on your new home! How exciting! I wish I could have started my vintage theme the day I moved in 14 years ago. But for the last 5 years or so, I have been slowly transforming things from modern boring to vintage chic!

    Now, I just need to stay good but I did see a 50s party dress on etsy today. I am trying really hard to not buy it!

  5. Im going there this week!!!!! :D i live so 2 hours away!! and i didnt even know about it!! YAY!! i cant wait!!!!