I was lucky enough to visit New York last month and I loved every second. Today I am going to tell you about the most wonderful shop. If you love vintage, ribbons, trims and millinery flowers – read on!
One rainy morning my friend and I headed a 12 blocks south to West 37th St to the mecca of gorgeous ribbons, trims and prettiness – Tinsel Trading. I had read about this gem of a shop both online and in magazines such as Romantic Homes and American Country Living and had always wanted to go. I’d bought some little velvet pansies on their website a few years ago but its not everyday that you get a chance to actually visit such a wonderful shop so I went armed with my credit card and intended to make the most of my trip there ! I like to think if it as a form of research!
If you had no idea that Tinsel Trading was there and were minding your own business pottering down West 37th, you could very easily miss the storefront. I’d imagined it to be a riot of colour like V V Rouleaux in London but no, just an un-obtrusive, tasteful, dare I say it – minimal window . Don’t be fooled however, this shop is a beauty!
- ‘see, you could easily miss it!’
When I stepped inside my breath was literally taken away. The industrial type space was packed to the rafters with the most delicious selection of ribbons, flowers, glitter, vintage fittings and fixtures and decorations I think I have ever seen. It blows your mind and for several minutes I just wondered around like a child in a sweet shop, not knowing what to look at first.
'vintage shop fittings
Luckily, I was there with my friend Lou and she is a vintage and ribbon lover too, so was happy to while away a good hour or so looking at things.
I decided to work in a methodical fashion around the shop as I was worried I’d miss something vital! So, I decided to head to the trimmings section first at the far back right of the shop. Sectioned in colours and stacked on shelves almost floor to ceiling the choice is really quite overwhelming.
I picked some polka dot grosgrain ruffled trims in bubblegum pink and white from here, and the same in black with white polka dots and added them to my basket. Next, I worked my way around to the ribbon section, which again, is vast. Take a look below….So vast in fact that they need ladders to reach the ribbons at the top!
'how many metres of ribbon do we think there are here ?!'
From the ribbon row, i chose some gorgeous grosgrains in aqua with a turquoise saddle stitch edge and also a pale pink with a lime green saddle stitch edge. I also put in my basket a reel of the finest pale pink silk ribbon as it was just so pretty.
My visit was the week just after Easter and so there were a couple of lovely Easter displays still out. I had a good look and the things were gorgeous. Little wreaths made of speckled eggs, tiny glittery eggs and rabbits by Wendy Addison and tiny bunches of decorative flowers. If you dont know Wendy Addison’s work you must have a look at her website. She makes fantastic sparkly numbers, letters, animals and signs which are covered with glass glitter. The silver glass glitter dulls with age and almost looks tarnished and is fabulously vintage in appearance.
- ‘glitter is a girls best friend’
I put a gorgeous packed of tiny blue glittered eggs in a minute nest into my basket and a glittery pale pink rabbit decoration in too. I know Easter had passed but I couldnt leave them behind. I also bought a silver sparkly number 1 and 9 to hang in my house. I live at number 19! Plus a huge 3d glittered star for the top of my Christmas tree.
Next was the part of the shop I knew was going to cause me the most trouble! There was a whole wall of cardboard boxes stacked one of top of another and these are filled with all sorts of faux flowers in every colour in the rainbow. From big cabbage roses to tiny primroses and daisies. Some are silk, others leather or felt. It was just torture trying to decide what to buy! Most had pins on the back to they would be ready to wear on a dress or jacket but others were wired . The vintage velvet and paper flower bunches were my absolute favourite and I snapped up a couple of bunches. I also bought some sweet little peony brooches that were only $2 each, perfect for customising clothes or soft furnishings. Oh yes, I also popped a few bunches of chocolate-brown wired toadstools into my basket as I’d never seen brown ones before and couldn’t resist! In one of the boxes, Lou and I found a selection of tiny decorative birds, one of which you can see perching next to the Tinsel Trading business card.
My next stop in was a central island unit filled with little glass vases full of all manner of vintage notions. Lovely old pearl buttons still on their original cards, antique buckles and reels of old metallic threads and ribbons. I found a couple of beautiful moulded buckles made out of some sort of resin that was formed into tiny roses. These roses were in all the pastel colours and the buckles I chose were exquisite. I can imagine them being worn in the 1950’s on a pretty full-skirted dress. So gorgeous. I also picked up some fabulous reels of vintage grosgrain ribbon in various colours. Still on its original packaging it was manufactured in Dallas, Tx. I thought this would be awesome for photo shoots and styling, especially at christmas.
By this time I was getting in serious need of a Starbucks so had another quick walk round the shop to check that there was nothing else I had to have! I loved, but didn’t buy, the paper tubs of glass glitter and the lovely striped reels of ribbons…….
Just as I was going to the cashier to pay I spied this drawer full of vintage spools of metallic threads. How amazing do they look? I’m not totally sure what they would be used for but they do look wonderful. I can imagine them being used for weaving insignia or something to do with military uniforms but I think they would look equally as fabulous wrapping gifts at Christmas!
I paid for my basket of loveliness and did nearly have a heart attack at how much I spend but I don’t really mind as everything is so unusual and unique and who is to know when I will get a chance to go back and visit the shop again. Got to stock up when you can I say!
It wasnt until a few days later when I was back in Washington DC that I actually had a chance to have a close look at my bags of goodies. Everything comes in cellophane bags (like we do in Lexi loves!) and this just means that all the pretty flowers, ribbons and little birds look even more attractive. I took a few pictures of my items but some I have kept secret to use in photo shoot styling so will show you those later in the year.
I really would urge you to go and visit Tinsel Trading in you are in NYC, it is truly inspirational and awe-inspiring. Just make sure you save up before you go! I also visited a cute little button shop which I will blog about in my next post…..
'I cant bear to use anything yet...just going to look at these for a while!'
'look at those little buckles..'
- ‘reels of vintage grosgrain’
Thanks for reading.
Bye for now, lexi xx