Vee Vintage

Curated vintage goods & style inspirations to brighten your world.

My Weekend at Ladies Rock Camp

Virginia Frances1 Comment

Three weeks after Ladies Rock Camp I'm still totally blown away by what four complete strangers can accomplish in just two and a half days. 


In my 33 years on this planet, one might say I've dabbled in music. I played the clarinet in middle school (what 90s girl didn't?!). I took piano lessons. I sang in my high school choir. I learned acoustic guitar and was pretty into the youth group worship thing for a while. I've had a number of jam session phases in my life with various people. For a few years in my early twenties I was sort of in a band.....and by that I mean, I stood quietly side-stage (or sometimes in the mosh pit) at countless hardcore shows as a "band groupie" for the guy I was dating. All my life I've been craving a rock band experience of my own and the opportunity just never quite presented itself to me.......until Rain City Rock Camp!!!! 

On my Rock Camp application I had selected drums as my first choice instrument (the aforementioned boyfriend was a drummer), vocals as second choice, guitar as third. As such, I had been mentally preparing myself to be a drummer for months but when I arrived on the first day of Camp and saw the word "vocalist" on my name tag my heart dropped. I mean...I can sing, but the thought of being the front woman for a rock and roll band totally terrified me. But, as the great Rolling Stones say, "You can't always get what you want.....but you get what you need." Throughout the weekend I realized that finding my voice, both literally and figuratively, was exactly what I needed. 

To put it simply, Ladies Rock Camp exceeded all my wildest expectations. It's hard to put into words the many feelings from that weekend but I'd like to share 7 REASONS WHY ROCK CAMP ROCKED MY WORLD in hopes that I might convince you to participate in the next one so that you can feel all those magical feelings for yourself!

1. The vibe! Imagine a room full of 40+ womxn diverse in age, sexual orientation, racial identity, and of various professional/life experiences all coming together to ROCK. More importantly, coming together to share in a new experience and encourage and empower one another. We started each morning with rock aerobics and ended the day with a dance parties and karaoke. What happened in between was pure magic. 


2. The process! From Friday to Sunday our daily Camp schedule included everything we needed to progress toward our live show. Over the course of 2.5 days we had 4 band rehearsals, 2 instrument specific coaching sessions, a song writing workshop, a pedal workshop, as well as some super rad bonus workshops (can't give everything away on here!) Plus all our delicious meals and snacks were prepared for us all weekend, which was awesome!

3. The coaches! Each band was assigned a coach or team of coaches. My band had the most amazing coaches (shoutout to Darcey & Lisa!!!) who knew exactly when to jump in when we needed support and also when to hold back when they trusted we could work it out on our own. They were the best cheerleaders/behind-the-scenes photographers/word-smithers/hypebeasts we could have ever asked for. In addition to band coaches, each instrument was assigned a coach. In my case, I got to work with the other six band vocalists coached by the incredible Shaina Shephard (singer for BearAxe). Shaina was amazing! She helped me learn new breathing techniques and also helped me work through a serious mental block I was having in unleashing my power voice.

4. Karaoke night! Hands down THE BEST karaoke I've ever witnessed happened on Saturday night of Rock Camp. Notable performances included Adra Boo KILLING Cardi B Bodak Yellow, Caley Murray slaying us with Alicia Keys and Selena Whitake-Paquit's EPIC dramatization of the Beatles Come Together. It was so much FUN!!!

5. Glam squad!  We had pro hair and makeup artists onsite before our big debut show. This was a surprise to me that day and it totally made me feel like a rock star. I LOVED my 90s gothglam look! Andi Puzl did band photos for each band, which made it all so official!

6. The bands! My band was 1 of 7 that formed that weekend. Every single one of the bands blew me away on performance night. It was so inspiring to see how each individual person grew (many learned their instruments for the first time that weekend!) and how each band really truly came together. I've had the lines of all the bands' songs replaying in my head ever since, like an anthem to a theme song I've been waiting for my entire life. "Burn it down!"........"I won't be contained"...... "All is mind."..... "The sun's gonna rise up, will you rise too?" My band though, something very special happened between us that weekend. At our first band practice we just sort of stood around staring at each other for the first 30 minutes, not sure where to begin. And then slowly over each practice we started to build our song. It was a truly collaborative process that kept me in the moment the entire time. It felt really good. By our final rehearsal we had our song down and even threw in some last minute changes that really pulled it all together. I'm so grateful for Bunnie, Ilsa and Amy T for being so incredibly amazing in every way and for empowering me throughout the weekend and especially on performance night! 

7. The LRC staff! Seriously, Rain City staff and volunteers thought of everything to make the weekend as wonderful as it was! Plus they're all amazing people, badass musicians, and I want to become best friends with all of them (especially Jeanne Mitchell who makes the most hilarious faces!) SUPER DUPER SHOUTOUT TO OUR CAMP DIRECTOR  EXTRAORDINAIRE THE ONE AND ONLY ADRA BOO!!! Thank you for giving us so much of yourself!! You are truly AH-MAZING!

So, that's it! I hope you're at least a little curious about Ladies Rock Camp after all that. Check out the Rain City Rock Camp website where you can find out more info and apply to be a part of the next one!! And....maybe I'll see you there, because I still want to show those drums whose boss!

And lastly.....without further adieu I give you VELVET VOLTAGE!!! The video below is from the world debut of our song we wrote at Camp. Thanks to our band coach, Darcey, for the footage- even if it is sideways :)


7 Modern TV Shows for Vintage Style Inspiration

Virginia FrancesComment

I grew up on Nick At Nite. Mostly because my parents were super protective of what our developing little minds consumed and they could really only vouch for the shows they grew up watching. We were strictly a G-rated household and that meant I was totally out of the loop on all the hit 90s shows my friends were talking about: Friends, Buffy, Dawson’s Creek- I had no flipping clue! The plus side though was the vintage fashion schooling I gained at a very young age which has influenced me to this day. I can thank the Bradys, Lucille Ball and Mary Tyler Moore for much of my own sense of style. And I suppose I really have my parents to thank for that. 

While I still watch old movies and tv shows for inspiration, the last few years of modern television have been an incredible time for period-based storytelling and the amazing wardrobe that comes with it. Below are my top seven new(ish) shows for vintage fashion inspiration (in no particular order). These also happen to be some of the greatest productions featuring strong female leads and for that reason too they are some of my all time favs <3

1. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (1958)


2. GLOW (1980s)


3. The Crown (1947-1964) 


4. Mad Men (March 1960-November 1970)


5. Downton Abby (1912-1926)


6. Stranger Things (1980s) 


7. Godless (1880s)  


33 years of Wisdom

Virginia FrancesComment

Roughly every 29.5 years the planet Saturn returns to the place it was in orbit on the day you were born. From an astrological standpoint, Saturn Return is known as a sort of 'wake up' call in one's life**. About a year and a half ago, I participated in a 5 week group, with four other women who had just turned 30, called Saturn Returns. Facilitated by the amazing Laura Close, the premise behind this group is to reflect on our lives thus far, illuminate areas for growth, and make steps toward the things we really want to accomplishment in the next decade. I especially loved that this group was centered around sexism- how it's impacted our lives thus far and how we can work through it moving forward.

At our first session, we were asked to reflect and share some personal wisdom. It was the first time in my life that I actually thought about the fact that I've now lived long enough to "know some shit" about living life. I joined the group because I had just started making a real GO at this business thing (transitioning from my full-time government job) and while I was feeling super excited I was also feeling sort of lost (thanks Saturn!). Since then, though, my business has grown a lot and so have I. 

I've continued to think a lot about this question of WISDOM and have decided to share my list with the world. Thirty three words of wisdom from this now 33 year old.  Happy Birthday to me :)

  1. Do everything you can to explore and utilize all your skills and passions. Use both sides of your brain as much as possible and you will be fulfilled in life. 
  2. Make lists.
  3. Take care of your body. 
  4. Friendships are all about quality over quantity.
  5. Get a dog.
  6. Learn how to truly listen to others. Listening requires full attention without judgement. 
  7. Listen to yourself. Trust your gut and the life experience you have that helps you make informed decisions.
  8. Never stop learning new things.
  9. Keep your parents and siblings (or whomever you consider family) close at heart. Make time for them and get to know them as people. 
  10. Be open to multiple life paths. Life isn't meant to be linear.  
  11. Take time to reflect. When things go well and even more importantly when things go wrong. 
  12. See as much of the world as you possibly can.
  13. Be with people who bring out the best in you. Weed out the people that don't.
  14. Help bring out the best in others.
  15. Go outside!
  16. Marry the person who supports your (ever evolving) dreams- and I mean really, actively, helps you make them happen.
  17. Before you marry that person, travel with them. Experience new things with them. See what they're like when they are outside of their own comfortable world.
  18. Own your privileges in life and take responsibility to fight for changes to the system that was built to make life easier on you and harder on others.
  19. Spend time alone. It's difficult at first but get into the zen of it and you might discover something new about yourself.
  20. Get your finances in order! Educate yourself about student loans and debt management. Save money but don't be so frugal that you don't enjoy life now.
  21. Learn to say YES! And then learn to say NO.
  22. Leave your phone at home. This isn't practical most of the time but do it when you can (even if its an accident) and embrace the freedom.
  23. Seek opportunities to be inspired. Music, art, theater, dance, books, podcasts, whatever it is be open to the inspiration it brings. 
  24. Eat well.
  25. Embrace endings. Be okay with closing the door on one thing and starting anew. 
  26. Give your time, money, talent to make the world a better place.
  27. Put your $ where your mouth is. Buy local and support small businesses. Resist the urge order everything on Amazon!
  28. Do everything you can to support, encourage, and lift up other women. Women supporting women can change the world. 
  29. Learn how to separate work life and personal life.
  30. Smile. Or don't. But at the very least try not to make anyone else's day worse by your own bad attitude.
  31. Connect with people. And connect those people with other people. Life is all about connecting.
  32. Be informed on politics. Educate yourself on the issues, vote, and actively participate. But...don't get sucked into the daily minutia of it all.
  33. The World is your RUNWAY!! Dress like you mean it. 

What's on your list? I encourage you to make your own and share it too :) You are much wiser than you probably even know.

**FUN FACT! No Doubt's 4th studio album was titled "Return of Saturn". Accourding to Wikipedia: The album's working title was originally announced as Magic's in the Makeup in May 1998[3] and later as Saturn Returns in November 1999.[12]Stefani was confused by her feelings of depression and interest in Sylvia Plath while recording the album. Her boyfriend Gavin Rossdale told her that she was going through her Saturn returnSaturn's orbit takes 29.4 Earth years and, in astrology, the time when Saturn returns to its position during a person's birth is believed to be a period of self-evaluation. Stefani was born October 3, 1969, and many of the songs were written during her Saturn return.[8]

Photo by Nate Watters <3

Happy National Thrift Shop Day!!!

Virginia FrancesComment

The question I get asked most by all you lovely people is: What are your favorite thrift shops? I can't believe its taken me this long to publicly respond, but better late than never right?! Above all, I strive to shop at thrift stores that support the work of non-profit organizations. It’s a win-win because I get rad stuff and the money I spend goes back into the community to support things like after-school programs for kids and emergency shelter for women fleeing domestic violence.

So...without further ado, here’s my list. You can click on the links to see photos of some of the fab (mostly vintage) items I’ve purchased and to learn more about each thrift shop and the Organizations they support <3

Seattle, WA

Olympia, WA

Longview, WA

Montana (from the Great Vintage Road Trip!)


That's it for now! Feel free to leave a comment with some of your fav spots to thrift. Let's spread the thrift shop love!! Queue Macklemore! HAPPY THRIFTING!!!!


The Unicorn Files

Virginia FrancesComment

I've been outed as a Trekkie and I couldn't be prouder :) The Unicorn Files magazine has launched and I'm so honored to have been featured alongside so many amazing geeky women! My best friend, Terra Clarke Olsen, teamed up with my other best friend (aka husband), Nate Watters, to create The Unicorn Files: giving voice to lady nerds! 

Just so you know......Vee Vintage grew from Thrifting With Vee which grew from Have you Nerd, a blog my best friend Terra started where I featured my thrifted outfits and wrote about women of Star Trek. Funny how things grow, evolve, and circle back around when you follow your heart.

Live long and style :) RIP Tasha Yar. 



Virginia FrancesComment

My husband and I visited The Neon Museum while in Las Vegas this weekend. Besides my vintage shopping excursion, it was the highlight of the trip for me! Located near old town Vegas, it’s a great excuse to get out of the madness of the strip and learn about the history of Sin City and the science & art behind neon signs. They have a pretty strict "photo-shoot" policy but we managed to get a few shots. When you visit the museum for yourself be sure to book your tickets in advance and don’t forget to tip your tour guide! 

The 1980s floral dress featured in these photos, along with other fab vintage from the VEE VINTAGE VEGAS COLLECTION, will be available soon at a POPUP SHOP near you!

Photos of me by Nate Watters (all others by me)

Happy Earth Day!!!

Virginia FrancesComment

Happy Earth Day, Friends! We made it yet another year without destroying the planet. Congratulations....I guess

Those of you who know me personally know that I recently made a switch with my "day job" that has allowed me to work less (more time for Vee Vintage, YAY!!!) and has physically moved me from a cubicle on the 56th floor of the 2nd tallest building downtown Seattle to working literally and figuratively on the ground at the most beautiful park in the City, Discovery Park.  For the last two years I'd been feeling what I suspected were the impacts of the daily urban grind and it wasn't until my first day on the job at Discovery a few weeks ago that I realized just how much of an impact downtown cubicle life was having on me. When I arrived at the park that first day, I got out of my car, excited to begin this new chapter, and low-and-behold I heard nothing but birds, smelled nothing but fresh forest air and took a long deep breath, almost bursting into tears at how in touch with the earth I felt. And now, the 2.5 days that I'm there each week feel like such an incredible gift. Every sense of me feels more whole. I can think clearly, my body feels lighter, brilliant ideas seem to come easier, and I just feel good. 

You guys, natural environments and real life experiences in nature are critical, for humans and animals alike***. In a society that is increasingly more logged-in than ever we cannot take Earth (in real life) for granted. You can read more of my thoughts on sustainability related to vintage fashion on my homepage. But for now.....turn off your computer, phone or whatever futuristic device you're using to read this and go outside, even if for only a minute. Breath deep. Listen hard. Just be.

Photo by Wild Rosemarie <3 


***Have you seen Planet Earth II yet? It's pretty amazing I just might watch it again today. My fav part is where the bird steals the heart. The ending is really great too! 


Style Q&A with Javier

Virginia FrancesComment

Javier is my male style counterpart. He's one of the few people I've met that share many of my views on fashion. The day I met him I was being interviewed for a job and he was one of the three people on the panel ready to drill me with questions and judge my worth. The second I saw him in his carefully crafted ensemble (which of course included a bow-tie) I just knew that everything would be a-ok! Needless to say, I got the job and we've been hanging out-critiquing each other's outfits ever since.**

Hey Javier! What advice do you have for men who are trying to step up their style game?  Be Bold!  But be yourself.

What (or who) inspires you most in terms of how you dress?  Nature (a plant, for example), other men (I say, “I’ve got something similar, but pair it with . . . “), women’s fashion (not style, but colors).

How do you decide what to wear each day?  It depends.  Sometimes, I can plan a week in advance, or sometimes even, weeks in advance.  I may have an idea of an item I want to wear on a given day (shirt, tie, vest);  and use that as an anchor to build the rest of the outfit around it.  Also, I may be inspired by a time of season (Fall, Christmas) or a specific day (Independence Day or St. Patrick’s Day, for example) and find clothes that reflect the occasion.

What’s your all-time fav outfit combination?  Trick question?  There are lots.  Comments from others make certain combinations more memorable. 

How has your style grown/changed/developed over the years?  It’s gotten more colorful and bold.  I’m far more willing to take chances as the years go by.

If your closet caught fire and you only had time to grab one thing, what would it be?  Nothing!  It’ll give me an opportunity to buy from the ground up.

Your top 3 places to shop?  H&M. Macy’s. Vee Vintage, of course!! But of course!

What decade of style do you love most/wear most?  Current, with splashes from other eras.

Anything else you'd like to say about your style?  I love wearing hats and vests.  I believe my style is eclectic.  I love wearing “hand-me-downs” that other people would send for donation.  I don’t know what is not my style, because I like to co-op other looks and make it mine. I get a lot of comments from total strangers on the elevator [at work], on the streets and even in a parking lot from people still in their cars, rolling down their windows to make a comment.

In the photos above Javier is modeling his own styled look wearing a burgundy velvet blazer, a black floral print dress shirt, white denim pants (who says you can't wear white after labor day!), black buckle dress shoes, and a black & white bow-tie and pocket square. A perfect look for winter months at the office. 

**We also did a lip sync to Phantom of the Opera at our work Summer BBQ in 2015!

The Therapeutic Art of Mending

Virginia Frances5 Comments

I’ve learned so much since I set out on this venture into the vintage clothing world. What I didn’t fully anticipate was the insane amount of time I would spend preparing items for the racks. Every item I sell is professionally dry-cleaned or hand/machine washed by yours truly. I’ve revived some amazing vintage pieces, eliminating the 40-60 years of wear, smell and stains. I'll just go ahead and state the obvious: don’t wear vintage without a proper cleaning. Even if it “looks clean” or “doesn’t smell too bad” it’s probably extremely filthy. I’ve soaked items multiple times that resulted in dark brown water (and a god awful smell permeating the room) within seconds. Yeah…don’t wear that shit. Then there’s the sewing. You wouldn’t believe the number of rips, tears, snags, moth holes, etc. that I’ve repaired in the last year. I now have quite the selection of thread colors, sewing needles, and vintage buttons as a bonus. Then there's the de-pilling, the replacing of buttons, zipper, snaps, etc. The list just goes on. The truth is though, this entire process, while tedious, has become a bit of a therapeutic art form for me. 

Like many of you, I've been feeling really down lately. On top of my usual winter blues I’ve felt the heavy weight of the election results and it’s been hard to feel hopeful about the future (although yesterday’s news of the Dakota Access Pipeline being denied was a bit of a boost). So, I’ve been staying in more than usual, keeping warm by the fireplace, and staking claim on the couch with my pile of imperfect garments, needle and thread in hand, carefully tackling them piece by piece.

The act of renewing something flawed and giving life to something old with my very own hands has given me comfort and even a little hope. Some evenings I’ll sew the night away listening to music (the new Head and the Heart is currently on repeat). Other nights I’ll binge watch a show without feeling quite as guilty because hey, at least I’m being productive. I finished the first season of The Crown* while repairing about a dozen vintage sweaters. Now I'm on to the new Gilmore Girls (OMG!), tackling perhaps my biggest challenge yet.

The sweater above is from the 1970s. There are a total of 8 moth holes (two of them I can fit my hand through) and at least three will require multiple colors of mending yarn. I found the sweater on my GREAT VINTAGE ROAD TRIP this past Summer and it’s been sitting at the bottom of the “to be mended pile” since because it just seemed too daunting to deal with. If the post-election weeks have awoken me to anything its that we must accept the hardest challenges coming our way and face them head-on and armed with the right tools to revitalize what’s good and true in the world. So, I'm ready. I’ll be armed with my needle and thread and I’ll show that moth whose boss and give that sweater the life it deserves! And…I’ll take that lesson to heart because humanity is precious and we’ve come too far to give up now. Together, we must mend what's been broken.

Tools for mending your clothes: Fix Your Clothes by Raleigh Briggs

*A few thoughts on The Crown: 1) John Lithgow better win an Emmy! 2) The actress playing young Queen Elizabeth II looks EXACTLY how the actress playing the older Queen Elizabeth II would have looked at that age! 3) THE CLOTHES!!! *swoon*


Five Ways to Mix Vintage into Your Wardrobe

Virginia FrancesComment

If you haven't yet watched the segment I did for New Day Northwest, check it out here. The tips below are an elaborated version of my talking points from my conversation on the show. 

  1. Trend reversal. While I always encourage moving away from fly by night fashion trends, a good place to start incorporating vintage to your closet is to look at what’s trendy now and get the true vintage version of that. After all, today’s trends are usually just a re-run or spinoff from the past. The 70s are currently in, so start there. 
  2. Accessories! Add a vintage necklace, handbag, scarf, hat, necktie, etc. Mix it with something simple and modern and you’ve just added a little fun (and piece history) to your look. 
  3. Modernize the vintage piece. For example, remove those god forsaken monster size shoulder pads from that dress or shirt from the 80s. And, don’t wear both pieces of a two-piece suit at once. Wear them separately and pair them with something modern on the top or bottom.
  4. Fit is key to any look, vintage or modern. Vintage fit can be tricky though. Learn what decades of style fit with your body type. You can always have something altered if you need to.  I don’t recommend buying vintage clothing online to start. Go into a shop to get a feel for what eras fit you best. When you have a real sense of what styles you love on your body, take your measurements and have them handy so that you can compare them to the measurements listed for items in online vintage shops. 
  5. Get inspired! Follow bloggers or instagrammers (like yours truly). Watch old TV shows or movies- I loved watching Downton Abby for inspiration (so sad it's over!). Nerd out over vintage fashion magazines. Most of all, keep your eyes/mind open, inspiration is everywhere!

The photos above feature the outfit modeled in the New Day Northwest segment by model #3, the most beautiful Nhi Tran.  I ran out of time to talk about the entire outfit so I thought I'd feature it in this post. Nhi is wearing this beautiful rust colored 1970s trench from Life Long Thrift Store in Capitol Hill where all proceeds support services to people living with HIV/Aids and other chronic illness. Under the jacket, I paired a modern fitted tee with a pleated skirt from the 70s, boots inspired by the early 1900s, and a 1960s gold necklace. A perfect way to add some vintage style to your wardrobe.  

Behind the scenes at King 5 New Day Northwest.

Behind the scenes at King 5 New Day Northwest.




My Wedding Dress

Virginia Frances6 Comments

So much has happened in my life this year. I’ve been running one marathon after the next, training for the metaphorical iron woman. When life gets busy, it becomes harder for me to be truly present in the current moment and to reflect on all that’s happened.  I just got back from the most amazing two-week vacation, or should I say HONEYMOON, in Greece. This gave me the much-needed time to put my “to-do” list aside, relax and be with my Love each day. I’ve come back with a fresh perspective, ready to do a bit of self-reflection, ready to hit the pavement in a more thoughtful way than I may have been operating before.

Reflecting on our recent wedding, Nathan and I agreed from the beginning that we wanted to steer as far away as possible from the wedding industrial complex - the notion that your wedding day is the most important, most defining, moment in your life (especially for women) and it should be absolutely picture perfect, no matter the cost. We also didn’t want to get sucked into the ultra gendered roles that tend to play out in the man/woman wedding planning process. We didn’t want to agonize over a mile long guest list (which is harder to avoid than I would have expected) and then have to decide who should sit by whom. We wanted to keep it simple. We wanted to have fun in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest outdoors. We wanted our energy to focus on the things that truly matter, and not get too lost in the details. We wanted to share our love with family and friends who we love. And of course…..I WANTED A VINTAGE DRESS! 

I couldn’t wait to wear that dress after it sat so patiently in the box for nearly ten months. I found it at Pretty Parlor in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle just two months after we got engaged. I had strolled in there after work one day to scope out their bridal boutique, which is fabulously decorated in vintage golds, pinks and florals with an incredible white fur rug in the dressing room that makes any lady feel totally glam. My intention was to browse (and get a sense of pricing) but the shop woman insisted that I tried some dresses on, so I did. None of them fit quite right. Most were traditional white 1950s style; lovely but just not…me. I let the woman know I wasn’t in any rush but I’d be back.

As I was just about to leave the dressing room I glanced up and noticed the most amazing golden yellow and lace gown hanging high up on the wall, and must has gasped out loud.  “Oh those are our really old and delicate dresses,” the shop woman said. “If you want to try it on I’m required to help you.” So she carefully helped me pull that dress over my head and down my body and OMG it fit me like a gorgeous satin glove! The great thing about 1930s slip style gowns is that they have no buttons or zippers, which often break or quit working with age. In fact, most garments from the earlier decades of the 20th century are new edging on antiquity, collected but not worn, because they're so fragile. Lucky for me my dress was in incredible shape, proving that vintage garments can far outlast new ones due to high quality materials and impeccable craftsmanship. 

Thrifty shopper that I am I had given myself a budget of $300 for a dress. I have a rule that I don’t look at a price tag of something until after I’ve tried it on, that way I don’t trick myself into thinking it fits properly or looks amazing just because it has a low price tag. In this case, I slipped that dress on, fell in love with it in an instant, grit my teeth as I peaked at the price tag, and couldn’t believe my eyes when it said $340. SOLD!!! Okay, I know I cheated a bit, but $340 for a wedding dress is a steal! Not to mention this was an incredible 1930s gem that was basically MADE for me!

The best part of the story is that I called my best friend in a panic because I wanted her second opinion and didn’t want anyone else to snatch that dress up. Looking back on this I suppose this was one of the few inevitable “bride moments" I had- at least this one didn't bring me to tears. Terra had recently returned to work after having a baby (my handsome little godson, Rainer) and her crazy schedule didn’t allow her to come with me to the shop until 5 days later. They graciously held that dress for me until then. And then of course, the second Terra saw the dress on me she was like, “That’s it! That’s the one!” I never really thought I’d get totally gaga over a dress. But, I now stand corrected.

So there you have it: The story of my dress. The rest of the wedding went off without a hitch. I managed to deal with the strange tensions I felt leading up to it. Planning of the event wasn’t without stress that’s for sure, but as the days drew closer we both were pretty excited for the wedding weekend to arrive. I’m happy to say that our wedding day was everything we had wanted it to be, imperfections and all. While I may have cringed at the idea of this one day being the best day of my life, I think it’s up there. I’ve never felt so much love; from my now husband, from our families, our friends, and even from strangers who helped make our special weekend happen. It was simply wonderful. A total whirlwind, but a really, really wonderful one!

I would like to give a shoutout to Laura Close, founder of the Women’s Intelligence Project, for being a support to me during so much transition happening in my life this year, wedding and otherwise, and for giving me this book during a time that I needed it most. I highly recommend The Conscious Bride to those who are grappling with societal, familial, or even your own internalized ideologies of all things related to weddings and marriage itself. 

Also, HUGE THANKS to Wild RoseMarie Photography for the amazing photos and to my bestest best friend Mandy Westfall for her mad hair and makeup skills!

Shoes by John Fluevog. Necklace and fur coat from the Vee Vintage private collection.

If you're in need of some vintage style assistance for your upcoming wedding look no further than Vee Vintage! Email Virginia at for all your styling needs.

The Great vintage road trip

Virginia FrancesComment

I’m back in Seattle after nine days of the great #vintageroadtrip. If you’ve been following me on social media, you’re aware of this fun little adventure I’ve been on, but I’m here to tell you a bit more of the intimate details.

Nothing helps clear my head more than driving on the open road. I always find a sense of clarity and new perspective on long road trips. Living in an ever-growing city and working in the hustle & bustle of its downtown slowly wears on me. The funny thing is that I truly do love big city life, yet the minute I start to drive away with that skyline in my rearview, I feel a huge weight beginning to lift. The further down the road I go, I feel like the truest version of myself.

Here’s the complete list of all the little (and big) towns I stopped in.

Washington: Roslyn, Thorp, Moses Lake, Spokane

Idaho: Coeur d’Alene, Kellogg, Wallace,

Montana: Missoula, Bozeman, Livingston, Red Lodge, Bridger, Fromburg, Joliet, Billings

I took four days getting to my “basecamp” in Bridger, Montana and then spent another four days exploring the area there. Just about everyday I scouted inventory, doing my best to shop at small non-profit thrift stores that put the dollars spent back into the local community. I’m also a sucker for yard/garage sales as I love learning a bit about the people putting them on. One old sun-worn hippy guy in Billings was managing the sale of his “lady friend’s” eclectic collection of stuff to help her out while dealing with a “nasty divorce”. He was quite a character and I walked away with some great finds!

A few observations and highlights from my trip:

  1. I have the best travel buddy in the world! My dog, Maddie, was just so awesome and fun to travel with. Because of her I explored more parks than I would have and that’s pretty cool.
  2. I listened to a lot of Dear Sugar Radio. Do yourself a favor and check it out if you haven’t already!
  3. You guys, there are far too many Trump Campaign signs in Eastern Washington. Living in our little liberal bubble of Seattle we tend to forget about the rest of the state.
  4. The best roadtunes are: Lucero, Robyn, Blitzen Trapper, Creedance Clear Water Revival, Daft Punk, Frank Ocean, Jenny Lewis, Rocky Votolato, Sylvan Esso….to name a few J
  5. Yard sales were the absolute best I’ve ever witnessed in Billings, MT. Every intersection of every street had 3-4 signs pointing in all different directions. And they all had pretty sweet stuff!
  6. I spent some quality time with my future mother-in-law, Jean. How did I get so lucky in that department?! She’s just so great in so many ways! Not only did she raise an amazing son she’s an incredible artist and photographer. We did a super fun photoshoot one evening which I can't wait to share with you all soon!
  7. Oh and two other highlights: I read a great book, Brain On Fire, which I highly recommend!! Also, I made a cherry pie. From scratch! With cherries from our yard in Seattle that traveled with me all the way to MT. It was beautiful (with fancy lattice crust top) and delicious!!

Flying home yesterday (thank God I didn’t have to drive another 14 hours home!), I felt like I was ready to tackle the world again. I’ve got big exciting things coming up and it feels good to sort of start with a fresh perspective on things.

As far as all the STUFF goes: Seattle area friends, come to my First Thursday Pop-Up in North Beacon Hill on July 7th for first dibs on some of the most amazing vintage finds from my #roadtripcollection!

Vee Pro Tip: Let your shoes inspire you

Virginia FrancesComment
If you are going to splurge on one thing you wear, be it shoes.  Shoes are the catalyst to incredible outfits.

Vintage or not, of everything I buy I am most thoughtful about what I put on my feet. They must be comfortable. They must be well-made. And they must make me very happy when I look down at them. 

The outfit above was inspired by the shoes (close-up photo below). The pastel blue and distinctly pointed toe lead me to choose the wide legged peach-colored pants, which then lead me to select the white and yellow striped duster (also known as the 1970s Sunshine Duster now available in my shop *wink*). The white vintage sunglasses just topped off the look perfectly. The more unique and colorful your shoes are, the more they inspire incredible new outfits! John Fluevog is my favorite shoe designer for this reason. Fluevogs are always innovative and sometimes edgy, never lack incredible color options and do not follow traditional fashion trends each season. Let's just say that John Fluevog might be my spirit animal. 

A personal note on these particular blue shoes: I sort of knew all along that I wanted to wear Fluevogs on my wedding day. But as usual, I was open to fate. Working downtown Seattle I often walk past JF on my lunch break "just to look". Well this one day I walked by and I spotted these beauties in the window and my heart skipped a beat. You guys, it was the first day they were put on the sales floor- they weren't even online yet! (And, they are named Vivian! I'm a sucker for 'V' names for obvious reasons.) So.... I listened to my heart, went inside, tried them on......gave it the ole' time test....and bought them a week later. At that point my wedding was still 8 months away. I just couldn't stand for them to sit in the box until then, so I've been wearing them around the house, and for photo shoots :) 

Support the Troops

Virginia Frances

As a kid I had always wanted to be a girl scout. I dreamt of wearing the cute little brown uniform, earning the cool looking badges and making friendship bracelets with the other girls at camp. Even selling cookies in front of the store in our little town seemed like a novel ambition!

So finally, in my thirties, I earned my first uniform. I spotted this 1960s gem at an early morning Estate Sale in South Seattle and immediately snatched it up.

The Girl Scouts are an amazing organization that is so much more than I even could have understood as a young girl. Their mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Heck yes!

There are 2.7 million girls and women involved nationwide (1.9 million girls and 800,000 adult volunteers) who believe girls can change the world. Girl Scouts began over 100 years ago with one woman, founder Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low, who organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia. Every year since, Girl Scouts has made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents. Today, Girl Scouts goes above and beyond camps and cookies offering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Arts, Culture, World Travel, Leadership and Social Justice programming.

Be sure to buy some cookies from your local girl scout or donate today to support their amazing mission! 

‘Sweater Weather’ featuring the Seattle Goodwill Outlet

Virginia FrancesComment

Here’s an oldie but a goodie. This outfit was first featured on Have You Nerd in January 2012. It has served me well the last three winters. Those beautiful boots have since been re-soled, so they’re in even better shape now.

In other news: Last week I enjoyed a Thrifted Black Friday, which has become a tradition in my family. I look forward to featuring some of these amazing finds very soon! Also, I watched Iris tonight. OMG, she is the STYLE QUEEN! I highly recommend the film. It’s on Netflix so watch it now!

 The Specs

  • 1970’s Sweater/Skirt Combo- Seattle Goodwill Outlet
  • Frye Boots- Buffalo Exchange in Ballard, Seattle

Featured Thrift Shop

If you’ve never been to a Goodwill Outlet, allow me to educate you. I actually refer to it as ‘The Bins’ because literally, everything is just thrown loose into these giant rolling bins from which you shop from. I’m not totally certain as to where all the stuff comes from (perhaps its reject or overstock from the other GW stores?) but you can find some great items if you’re willing to dig. Seriously, bring gloves (and hand sanitizer) and just get into the zen of it! Fun Fact: the Seattle Bins are featured in Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’ music video.

Photos by the amazing Nate Watters

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‘Pleather’ featuring the Buy Nothing Project

Virginia FrancesComment

Buy Nothing, Give Freely, Share Creatively. This is the mission of the Buy Nothing Project. The Project started on Bainbridge Island, Washington and has become a global movement which offers people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors. How amazing is this?!

Chances are, the community you live in has a Buy Nothing Facebook group just waiting for you to join. Through my local Buy Nothing Beacon Hill group, I’ve scored some pretty rad stuff: a sweet pleather dress (exhibit A above), a set of orange retro arm chairs, the entire series of Star Trek on DVD (Yes to Kirk and Spock!), to name a few. I’ve also given away many items: a ridiculous collection of hats and scarves I didn’t need, 2 dozen eggs we couldn’t finish before the expiration date, some mint from our garden, etc.  Its so great to know that someone in your neighborhood or community will put the items to good use. And unlike Craigslist, you don’t have to schedule a time to meet up. With the ‘porch pickup’ approach giving and receiving items is super easy.

If you aren’t already connected to Buy Nothing, click here to find your local group. What an amazing way to recycle, reduce, and reuse in a society that seems to be more and more obsessed with buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff. (Speaking of ‘stuff’ if you haven’t watched The Story of Stuff, hold the phone and watch it now!)

 The Specs

  • Black Pleather Dress- Buy Nothing Beacon Hill
  • Black Leggings- Goodwill, Burien, WA
  • Black long-sleeve fitted tee- Goodwill Outlet, Seattle, WA
  • John Fluevog shoes (not thrifted)

Photos by the amazing Nate Watters

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‘Inspirational Green Dress’ featuring Dumpster Values in Olympia, WA

Virginia FrancesComment

We are well into November and all I can say is, where the heck did the time go?! Ya know how your parents always said, “Time just goes by so fast” and in the moment all your 11-year-old self could think about was playing wiffle ball outside for what seemed like eternity. Well, mom and dad, I get it now. Even without children in the picture, my weeks just zoom by. At this age, it’s easy to get caught up in daily routine, to let work suck all our energy, to become complacent and binge-watch reruns of The Office, to let life just sort of happen to us rather than making life happen. I’ve found that I must make a conscious daily effort to break the cycle of the mundane, to mix things up, to challenge myself, to continue to learn, to grow, and to have some freaking fun already!

A few things I have found inspiring over the last few weeks:

  • Stephen King’s Memoir ‘On Writing’
  • New York City (although I do believe that time in Manhattan goes by at 10x the speed of most other places)
  • Gloria Steinem- I had the privilege of seeing her live at Beneroya Hall in all her 82 years of wisdom and brilliance. When asked by two adorable pre-teens how to know if you're doing what you're meant to be doing in life, Gloria responded..
Do the thing that makes you forget about time.
— Gloria Steinem

What’s inspired you lately?

 The Specs

  • Vintage Green Dress- Dumpster Values in Olympia
  • Belt- Goodwill in Ballard, Seattle
  • Shoes- Not Thrifted. Remember what I said on September 18thIf you are going to splurge on one thing you wear, be it shoes. Well, I meant it.

Featured Thrift Shop

I love Olympia. It’s the perfect stopover between Seattle and Portland and there are some really fun places to explore. Dumpster Values is a must! They have a large selection of vintage clothes for men, women, children and everyone in between. They also have nice big fitting rooms,  a vinyl record collection, a larger-than-most vintage shoe selection, and right next door is my all-time favorite by-the-slice pizza joint, Old School Pizzeria! I would also recommend walking a few blocks over to Archibald Sisters where they make custom fragrances. There’s much more to see in Oly, so check it out and maybe even find something that inspires you :)

Photo by Pete Templin. (Thanks Pete!)

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