Madewell x Where I Was From: Meet the Duo Behind Our Latest Collab

Few things rival the feeling of slipping on a pair of jeans that fit perfectly…but if we had to come up with one, it’d be the feeling of stumbling upon an amazing vintage piece. One of our favorite sources for such pieces is Where I Was From, an expertly sourced vintage collection from Brooklyn-based friends and co-founders, Stacy Daily and Claire Lampert. We had a meeting to talk vintage denim with Stacy and Claire early last year, which led to the realization that we had to collaborate on an entire line—which is shoppable today. Here’s how it came together and how these two creative, vintage savants turned a moonlighting side-hustle into a dream full-time gig.

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The Vintage Denim Roundtable: A Convo with Expert Collectors, B Sides

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There’s a funny thing going on right now: everyone—us included—is obsessed with reworked vintage denim. And while there’s no denying that loved-and-lived-in jeans are imbued with a sense of mysterious cool, we wondered: What makes for a great vintage pair? We hooked up with B Sides’s Stacy and Claire, friends and denim obsessives who rework rare vintage jeans in their Brooklyn studio and turn them into one-of-a-kind works of art. We paid them a visit to chat about how two Midwestern gals (Claire’s from Minnesota and Stacy’s from Michigan) found each other in New York City and how they do the whole “making vintage even better” thing.

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Cody Foster Takes Christmas Seriously

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Attention, tree trimmers: You must get to know Cody Foster, purveyor of all things eye-catching and crafty. Nestled in a tiny town called Valentine, this Nebraska-based company draws influence from Midwestern charm—and believe it or not, its eponymous founder, Cody, actually got his start making ornaments back in ’91 while still in high school. So long story short: Grab a handful of these giraffes, elephants and metallic bulbs and your tree will instantly go from standard to standout.

P.S. Check out this amazing photo of Cody (age 4) getting in on the action.

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Found in SF: vintage paradise

by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)

The many wonderful wares to be coveted at the San Francisco Vintage Fashion Expo.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the mecca of secondhand shopping, the Vintage Fashion Expo in San Francisco. It’s a bonanza of vintage clothes, jewelry and accessories spanning just about every era, with upwards of 100 different vendors from all over California setting up camp in a giant exhibition hall.

You can find just about anything there—from high-end designer goods to little treasures lurking in $5 bins. (And part of the fun is that all the prices are negotiable.) Among other things, I scored an Edwardian blouse made of elaborate hand-crocheted lace (pictured at bottom right)—which I plan to wear with high-waisted skinnies and leopard flats)—and a delicate filigreed Moroccan necklace from the ’60s.

Don’t miss the next one this fall, September 23rd–24th.

Secondhand Superfan: A Trip Inside My Closet

by Jac Cameron (Madewell)

As soon as I was big enough to fit into my mother’s vintage collection—which consisted of the most amazing bell-bottoms, prairie skirts, jean jackets and batwing sweaters—I became obsessed with secondhand style. I’ve been collecting vintage most of my life (to the point where I own about 250 pairs of jeans, around 100 denim shirts and close to 200 denim shorts). What can I say? I’m totally obsessed with anything worn to death, and I just love the idea of clothes having past lives. So how fun would it be to dig out some of my favorite vintage treasures and tell their tales? Find out below!

Left: I got this floral onesie at Narnia on NYC’s Lower East Side. I’m in love with its bold, in-your-face print—even though it proved too much for one person. Back story: I was walking to brunch in the East Village and someone literally rolled down their car window to shout, “Did your granny throw up on you?” I was pretty gutted, but I still wear it with pride!

Right: Another score from Narnia. This easy-to-wear crochet dress is insane with a denim jacket! I definitely repeated this look multiple times on a very long trip to Europe this summer. (We hit London, Scotland, Berlin, Amsterdam, back to London and then finally back to New York. I packed superlight, so I wore this about a million times!)

Left: I got this railroad denim shirt at one of my absolute favorite spots in L.A., Chuck’s Vintage. It’s so perfectly oversized and pairs amazingly with skinny jeans! Because all my friends (male and female) are obsessed with this piece too and borrow it constantly, I’ve nicknamed it the communal shirt.

Right: These vintage Wrangler jeans came from Brit Eaton, owner of Carpe Denim Vintage, who scours America in search of the greatest well-loved stuff. The thing I love most about this pair in particular is that somebody really, really, really, really adored them—to pieces. And even though Brit keeps his sources top secret, he did hint that these were found in an abandoned farmhouse. Amazing!

Left: An all-time favorite! This red silk top goes with any and everything. I took it with me on a cross-country road trip in a tiny canvas bag. Though I couldn’t bring much, there was no way this guy wasn’t coming along for the ride.

Right: This vintage embroidered indigo kimono speaks for itself. Absolutely. Amazing. I will keep it forever and a day!

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Or How I Became Obsessed with Stamps

by Cristina Mueller (Berkeley)

A totally unhinged moment in 2009, about five hours into making personalized stamped envelopes for all 200+ guests I invited to my wedding.

A couple years ago, while preparing to send out wedding invitations, I came across an eBay site, SeaJay Stamp and Coin, that sold unused vintage stamps (which, in case you were wondering, can always be used on letters no matter how old they are—you just need way, way more to get to 44 cents). I honestly didn’t think I was one for philately (the study of stamps), but I fell hard for this store. You want a seven-cent 1959 airmail stamp in honor of Hawaii’s statehood? Done. An Ansel Adams–reminiscent Yosemite stamp from 1934 (which, incidentally, was before stamp perforation and adhesive even existed)? Right here. If you have a grandfather who went to West Point, there’s a 1937 stamp for him too. Or, you know, there’s the 1948 centennial stamp commemorating the American poultry industry. Trust me: They have everything.

But then, about a year ago, the store completely vanished and had some sad little announcement saying it would return in three months—then six months—then nine. I sent plaintive emails, but to no avail—until now! That’s right, it’s back. But hurry over and get obsessed before it mysteriously disappears again!

My burgeoning collection

My Most Triumphant Vintage Find

by Cristina Mueller (Berkeley)

Here it is: a perfectly soft, worn-in, army green short-sleeve button-down shirt I found lurking on a rack of men’s sweaters the other day. It is to my unending delight an old Boy Scout shirt—I’m guessing from the 50s or 60s. (He must have been a very big Boy Scout, the original owner, and a not very good one at that—the shirt’s slouchy and super-roomy, and there’s nary a patch or a badge to be found.)

It’s the sort of score that’s so exactly what you always wanted that (if you are anything like me) you instantly begin mourning the day—3, 5, 10 years down the road—when you inevitably leave the shirt somewhere, your friend borrows it and then “loses” it or it becomes stained beyond belief. Suffice it to say, I am presently guarding it VERY jealously.