Vancouver is home to a thriving fashion industry made up of individuals committed to its growth and success. Get to know these personalities in The Inseam and discover what makes the Vancouver Fashion scene so awesome.

Photo: courtesy Kelsey Dundon

When Kelsey Dundon walks into the room, I am immediately struck by her amazing sense of style and the aura of warmth that she exudes. Clad in a gorgeous black dress, layered pieces and the most perfect vintage-inspired jewelry, she appears to be thoughtful and controlled while maintaining a laid-back spirit. She is just the kind of girl that you want to hang out with.

Kelsey is best known for her fashion blog, The Anthology, which takes a fresh approach to personal style while maintaining a nostalgic and retro feel. Kelsey documents her musings along with pretty pictures of her latest vintage finds and re-creations of one-off pieces.

We meet over coffee to chat about our love for vintage fashion, thrifting in Vancouver and Celine Dion.

Valerie Tiu: How did you come up with the concept for The Anthology? How did it all get started?

Kelsey Dundon: It started out of a passion that I have for reading blogs. I love getting someone’s personal take on style, arts, film, music…. I just love reading all the blogs that are out there. Being a writer and being someone who is really in love with photography, it just seemed like a natural extension for me. So it just started as a hobby and now it’s become a huge passion for me.

VT: You have a very cool, retro and eclectic sense of style. What initiated your fascination with vintage fashion?

KD: I have nostalgia for an era that was long before my time. I think that there is a real romance and a story that comes from vintage clothes. There is always some sort of hidden history behind it. I love that you can find pieces that are a little bit more unusual, a little bit weirder. You’re not going to see them on someone else at the party you’re going to. It’s a lot of fun. I don’t think there was one defining moment for me that made me fall in love with vintage clothes – I’ve always been playing around with it. In high school, my girlfriends and I would go vintage shopping. We always mixed things in our wardrobe. And we would steal stuff out of our moms’ closets too.

VT: If you could go back in time, what era would you live in?

KD: For a night out on the town, I would want cocktail dresses from the sixties. If I were going to music festivals, I would want to be in the seventies. If I were going to a concert, I would want to be in the eighties. I think I would want to be really greedy and travel back to many decades, depending on the occasion.

VT: Why do you think thrifting and vintage shopping has become such a huge movement in recent years?

KD: I think the reason for that is because of the green story – it is recycling. It’s very eco-friendly in that sense. The bigger, broader green movement that’s come up lately is a big part of it. I think that it results from the globalization of trends and the easy access that everyone on the street now has to what people are doing in Paris and Berlin. There is a gravitational pull towards being little bit different. People like that you can have a vintage piece and that it can freshen up your look. So I think it’s a search for the unique as well. And also, Kate Moss loving it doesn’t hurt either!

VT: Where are your favourite places to score vintage in Vancouver?

KD: I love Deluxe Junk in Gastown and Burcu’s Angels on 16th, just off Main. I have a lot of patience, so I don’t mind sifting through the stuff at the giant thrift stores like Value Village and Salvation Army. I also find shopping online really rewarding. Etsy is great if there is anything in particular that I am looking for. Girl On a Vine, she’s based out of LA and I love her online vintage shop. I also find that locally, at church thrift sales, you can get all sorts of gorgeous things and also at private school fundraisers. You’ll find a lot of designer gear that mums and grandmas are clearing out their closet from the sixties, seventies and eighties.

VT: That’s really interesting because I like vintage shopping too, but I’ve never gravitated towards the church sales before.

KD: Yeah. For those, you have to be location-specific. You want to get into an area that’s a little bit ritzier. You’ll find better quality, more designer stuff. I’ve had so much success. At the St. George’s fundraiser every spring, I would go and come back with garbage bags full!

VT: Can you name a few of your favourite vintage finds?

KD: This Yves Saint Laurent scarf. I have no idea what time it’s from, but it’s definitely one of my favourites. A wedding dress that I found, which I think was probably from the fifties. Actually, it has my initials sewn into the inside – which is very creepy but also kind of cool. So that has a soft spot in my heart and closet. This jacket – this is a men’s battle jacket from 1967. Those are a few of my finds that have stuck out for me. These are the types of pieces that I keep because they have sentimental value, or are just beautiful and will keep as part of my collection.

VT: Many people are overwhelmed by the idea of thrifting and shopping second-hand. Do you have any words of advice for the vintage shopping illiterate?

KD: I would start at a place that is going to be curated. I wouldn’t start at Value Village or the Salvation Army. I would maybe start at Deluxe Junk, or one of the places where people have pulled through items. Then I would go in with an open mind because you’ll never really find something that you would have already envisioned. Be a little bit fearless. Know that you’ll find weirder pieces but once you mix and match with what you’ve got in your wardrobe, you can create a fresh look. You don’t have to dress in head-to-toe vintage to start. Look for quality. You don’t want to get anything that is stained or ripped or has buttons missing, unless you feel like really doing a repair job, but that’s never fun. Make sure that you’ve eaten and had your caffeine for the day before you go so that you’re in a good mood and ready to hunt.

VT: Are there any items that you wouldn’t recommend buying second-hand?

KD: Personally, I don’t buy second-hand shoes. And that’s just me. I have girlfriends that do and they find amazing pieces. Lingerie is something that I also stay away from. I think other than that, I would go for just about anything! Leathers are very tricky because they cost so much to get dry-cleaned, so that’s another thing to keep in mind. I always dry clean my stuff before I wear it, and I’ll often get it tailored too. Anything that is kind of complicated (like beading) is going to cost quite a bit to get tailored and cleaned. But anything else – whether it’s simple, beautiful, wacky or tacky is fun to match and work into your wardrobe.

VT: What are the top fashion essentials that every Vancouverite should own?

KD: I would say a beautiful pair of boots. They don’t have to be rubber rain boots, but just any pair that you can actually wear out in the rain. Does an umbrella count as a fashion accessory? That would be a must! For women, I would say an accessory that inspires you and that has some sort of sentimental value. I’m such a huge fan of buying accessories as souvenirs, so that it will always remind you of whatever sunny or gorgeous place you’ve been to when you’re in nasty rainy Vancouver weather.

VT: Can you share something about yourself that people may not know?

KD: I’m a huge Celine Dion fan.