I have been wanting to go shopping in Columbia, Missouri for a REALLY long time but it's over an hour long drive. We finally decided to go this past Saturday. Olivia stayed with my mom for the day so Pj would be free of wrangling her while I shop...plus- I don't think that much shopping would be fun for a little girl!
Columbia is a college town, located right between St. Louis and Kansas City."The District" is the city's bohemian cultural center, loaded with shops, art galleries, places to eat- and of course- all of the great vintage clothing stores! Lucky for us, they're all packed tightly together. We spent about 6 hours exploring Columbia. It's a really neat city with lots of old houses, trendy shops, great places to eat and vintage galore!!
923 East Broadway
Columbia, MO 65201-4857
Our first stop of the day was Absolute Vintage. We got to Columbia a bit early so we stopped outside to peek in the window of pretties before the shop opened.
Within a few minutes, the owner arrived and let us in to start our shopping adventures.
Absolute Vintage was absolutely wonderful! The colorful shop was very well organized according to size and garment type. All of the lovely hats, belts, crinolines and jewelry were neatly separated and displayed so that everything could be easily seen.
Even the shoes were organized according to size- which is something I -never- see in St Louis! With funky retro decor and the assortment of sparkly jewelry and vintage clothing, Absolute Vintage is a feast for the eyes.
The shop owner (which I regret, I didn't catch her name!) was very helpful in taking things to the dressing room for us. Her prices were very affordable and I left the shop with a few sale items! Absolute Vintage carries an excellent selection of clothing and accessories from the 1930's to a few modern day pieces. She really does have one of the best collections of older clothing in Columbia.
Everything is in wonderful vintage condition. She carries sizes extra small to extra large as well as a collection of men's clothing and accessories. I wish we had a shop like Absolute Vintage in St Louis! If you're in the Lincoln Nebraska area, be sure to visit Absolute Vintage's sister shop, Ruby Begonia's!
Oh, here I am, looking for a pair of gloves.
810 E. Broadway
Next, we walked right across the street to Maude Vintage Clothing.
Like the shop across the way, Maude was also very well organized, decorated and colorful. I really appreciate well organized shops. It makes finding what you need so much easier!
Maude Vintage caters more to the trendy college kids in the area than "old ladies" like us but she did have a lot of super cute shoes, blouses in every size and price range and a whole rack of gorgeous deadstock clothing!
Maude Vintage also rents out costumes and accessories for special events. Even out of season, Maude carries swimwear, rompers and warm weather wear to keep you inspired to build that summer wardrobe.
Leo's Old Clothes
9 N. Ninth St.
To be honest, neither of us thought that Leo's Old Clothes sounded like it would be a great find but wow, were we -wrong-! From the street, Leo's Old Clothes is only seen by the sign on the door, which lists regular store hours on weekends and for weekdays "when the door is open". A short climb up a yellow, sparkly staircase should have made it obvious that we were on our way to the "Land of Oz.
Leo's Old Clothes is located in a large attic space, which seems to go on forever. It's a wild, crazy jumble of antique clothes, vintage clothes, military surplus and everything in between. It's been around for about 40 years. We had no idea where to start so we asked the sweet gal behind the counter who said "we don't really do that here- it's kind of all over the place!"
She does her best to organize as much as she can but working for Jack, the owner of Leo's old clothes must be like working for a mad scientist. She explained that Jack is a really funny character who travels the world finding interesting things for his shop. You never know where you might find Jack or what Jack might find and bring home with him.
As we rummaged through racks of clothes, shelves of antique shoes and piles of clothes in every nook and cranny, Malcolm, one of the store cats followed us around, rubbing on our ankles trying to get some love. He joined us in the dressing room to make sure everything fit and directed our attention to the jewelry in the display case at the check out. Leo's Old Clothes also has a fluffy, white resident dog and shy gray kitty, all of which were very sweet and good company for shopping! :)
You never know what you will find at Leo's...or what you won't find. We fell in love with some of the 1930's shoes in the back corner but some were missing the matching shoe! The gal behind the counter said "I have no idea where that shoe is! It could be in a box, in Jack's van, who knows." After a few minutes of thinking it over, she recalled a wild party that took place in the shop a few nights before. She dove behind a couch and pulled out one of the missing shoes. *lol* That's Leo's Old Clothes, in a nutshell and I -LOVE- it!!
I was thrilled that Pj found something for himself too. Here he is in his -very- exciting, brand new gas mask. Aww, how cute!
Leo's is a must-do stop if you're ever traveling through Mid-Missouri. I left with an incredible vintage jacket- I guess it's from the 30's or 40's as well as 3 pairs of deadstock, high waist men's work trousers! Amanda caught the "epic find of the day" in a stunning 1930's brown dress with original belt and matching jacket for the bargain price of $25! She also found a mustard yellow knit top from the 50's, 4 pairs of deadstock jeans and a few other awesome finds, which I lost track of. One of my favorite things about Leo's is that they will do their best to work with you on the price of a lot of things. Jack is very firm on some of his prices (like his military surplus helmets) but he was able to cut us $5 off on each pair of jeans. You never know, so just ask! Here we are with our haul from Leo's Old Clothes:
16 S. Ninth
Just down the street from Leo's Old Clothes is the Blackberry Exchange. When we first walked in, we were hit by thumping trendy rap music and the gleam of sequins on super mini party dresses. I didn't think we'd have much luck but we hit the sale racks just in case. I was really surprised to find a ton of older items, mixed in with new and everything in between. During our visit, the 50% off winter sale was going on and I found a super cute 70's cape for just $8. It reminds me of Little Red Riding Hood. Inventory from Blackberry Exchange comes from people who bring in clothes to sell so you never know what you might find. They had a great selection of cute modern shoes, vintage sweaters and coats as well as a $1- and you know how I love a bargain! I imagine that shops like Blackberry Exchange change out their inventory for the seasons so it's good to visit these places frequently. Since it's vintage mixed with modern, we found clothes for all sizes and all tastes all for a great price, regardless of era. Places like Blackberry Exchange are a great option for the vintage loving gal (or guy) on a budget! Bonus about Blackberry Exchange- it's just a few doors down from "Get Lost! Bookshop" so Joe and Pj were able to escape the vintage shopping for a little while and find some goodies for themselves as well. I loved these knitted "sweaters" for the parking meters!
The Market Place Antiques
1100 Business Loop 70 West
Columbia, MO 65202
We didn't plan to stop at any antique malls on our trip but The Market Place was right off the highway on our way out of town. Our feet hurt like hell, our hair was all messed up from the windy day but we made 4 stops and still had a little cash so we decided to stop. The boys were such good sports all day too and they both love antique malls so it was fun for them to look at things to peak their interests also.
The Market Place was overwhelmingly huge but we actually did cover the whole 38,000 square feet in about an hour. I love off-the-highway antique malls because they always have such a great variety of things and usually good sales. Many booths had 20-50% off sales, which we took advantage of! Amanda found a case loaded with vintage compacts, bakelite, celluloid and other amazing jewelry pieces all marked 50% off. She bought a beautiful yellow bell bracelet and pink celluloid necklace for a song.
I love to dig through piles of stuff and corners of booths in the back of the store because that's where I always find my best treasures. I left the antique mall with an awesome lucite box purse (missing handles), which was marked "Old box with sewing contents $4.95", a vintage wicker purse with lucite handles, a new hat and a pair of vintage earrings to match my new dress from Absolute Vintage.
We all had a blast but I did miss my Livvie-Lu. When we got back to my mom's house, we showed off all of our pretties from the day. Olivia loved my new purse and hat: I hope that we get to go back to Columbia sometime soon- this time, hopefully we'll plan it during warmer weather and I'll bring flip flops! Our guys were SO tired by the end of the day, as you can tell by Joe yawning in the background! They're very good sports, though! Thanks, boys- we love you!
Next major road trip: Springfield, MO