Nostalgia on the cheap
Ah, the vintage store. So foolishly overlooked by the holiday shopper. Nowhere else offers such a potent blend of originality and affordability. Find the right store — and the right item — and you come off as thoughtfully attuned to everyone on your gift list, honed in and appreciative of the quirks that make them stand out as individuals. And you do so for little more than $20.
But you gotta find the right vintage store. And Fried Bologna, which couple Sara and Ricky Kazee just opened this past July, is one of the best in the city. It’s all hits and no misses. We dare you to spend five minutes in there without grinning hysterically at the selection.
Both the name and the orange-and-yellow, Oscar Mayer color scheme reflect Ricky’s fondness for 1970s nostalgia. But the inventory spans multiple decades. We stumbled upon a matching wallet-and-cigarette-lighter set from the 1950s, both items clad in maroon, faux snakeskin ($15). It’s perfect for that sister of yours on the “Mad Men” kick.
Know someone who’s really into T-shirts? Talk to Ricky. The store, he says, grew out of his quest to find clever kids shirts when his son was born, and the short-sleeves are still the pride of his collection. For new parents, he has an entire clothing rack dedicated to toddlers’ duds. His current fave is a tyke-sized Dr. J tee by Converse, emblazoned with an enlarged head of the Afro-ed 70s basketball star and an action shot of a slam dunk ($15). For music heads, there’s a cartoonish, bootleg Prince T-shirt for $16 (“It looks like it was made in Pakistan,” says Ricky). And for the prideful Northeaster, there’s a Team Poland cycling tee, with red piping at the sleeves and neck and a Polish flag on the chest ($35).
But there are also retro eyeglasses, KangaROOS brand handbags, 1987 Homer Hankies, cowboy boots, hot pink boom boxes, and vintage kitchen and barware (which Sara says have proved most popular).
And best of all, you can get in and out on the cheap: “We have like five things over $50,” says Ricky.
158 13th Ave. NE
A Mecca for ‘Mid-Mod’
It doesn’t have the dust of an antique store, the must of a thrift store or the stripped-down minimalism of an art gallery, and yet Spinario Design is all of these things.
Essentially a furniture and art studio dedicated to mid-century modern design, Spinario is one of the most drool-worthy showrooms in the Twin Cities, artfully cluttered with objects of vintage glamour: Paul Frankl credenzas ($4,500), Frank Lloyd Wright sofas ($3,250) and shelving stuffed with rare books, Asian bric-a-brac, elegant ice buckets and cocktail shakers.
Sound expensive? It is. But push past the sticker shock, explore a bit, and you can find some wonderful gifty pieces for under $100.
Our choice was a set of celebrity autographs from the 1950s and 60s. At an auction in New York, Spinario co-owner Peter Dyste (who runs the studio with artist Caitlin Karolczak) bought a mysterious box of photos that used to belong to a pair of Broadway producers. Inside he found various headshots of old showbiz players, each one with a little handwritten message scrawled at the bottom. There’s a young Mikhail Baryshnikov, Julie Andrews and John Crawford, among others. Each is priced at $45.
“Vintage has become a lifestyle for some people,” Dyste says. And the retro elegance of mid-century modern is immensely popular right now, especially among those who didn’t grow up with the style. “It’s a generation thing. It’s big with people in their 20s and 30s. We get a lot of couples looking for their first dining room chairs. It’s functional, it’s fashionable. Victorian furniture is kind of passé.”
Paul doesn’t expect Spinario to be a hot spot for holiday shopping. (“I’m not sure people are confident buying these things as gifts.”) That could be all the more reason to check it out.
1300 2nd St. NE