Please tell us your name and what city and state you live in.
Carrie Moriarity of Omaha, Nebraska. Carrie is the owner of The Magnolia Collection
The Magnolia Collection placed fifth in the 2014 Lulu's Vintage People's Choice Awards for Best Online Vintage Clothing Store
Please tell us a little about yourself. Hobbies, interests and work outside of the vintage world.
I’m an avid gardener in summer and hoarder of seed catalogs in winter. I play tennis and have been taking belly dance lessons for a few years. I recently started sewing again and have produced, with varying degrees of success, a few dresses made from vintage patterns.
What got you into vintage clothing? How long have you been collecting vintage clothing for?
Aside from a few wonderful family pieces, my first real introduction to the lure of vintage clothing came in the form of an emerald green 1940s hat in a shop in Pennsylvania in the 80s. I fell in love with it but my mom convinced me not to get it as it was impractical. I still regret not getting that hat! In 2001 I was transferred to Dallas TX and started to pick up a few pieces here and there and then in 2003 I was transferred to Pennsylvania and discovered a great country auction and that’s when I really started to collect.
How long have you been selling vintage clothing for? What avenues have you sold your vintage merchandise through? Your own web store, Etsy, eBay, Vintage Shows, Antique Malls, Flea Markets, Your Own Brick & Mortar?
I made the switch from antique silver and china over to vintage clothing in 2006. I sell primarily on ebay but do have my own website which I am currently working on redesigning. I have a very small presence on etsy under the name Magnolia Boudoir and also sell in an antique mall in the historic Old Market in downtown Omaha.
How much do you incorporate vintage clothing and accessories into your everyday wardrobe?
I wear vintage clothing about twice a week in the winter and almost daily in the summer since my summer wardrobe is more extensive. Even on days when I wear contemporary outfits many of my accessories: purse, jewelry, umbrella or coat are typically vintage. I’d guess almost every single day I’m sporting something vintage!
Do you source most of your vintage locally or do you shop online or travel to other cities and states to do your shopping?
When I first started selling I was still working a corporate job that included a lot of travel so I was very lucky to shop all over the country. Since I am now a full time vintage clothing seller, and am not traveling on an expense account, I tend to stay a bit closer to home. I do have two people in other parts of the country who do buy for me and of course I shop when on vacation, much to my husband’s chagrin!
What do you feel differentiates your store from others?
That’s a tough question! For years I really tried to emulate some of the other fantastic vintage shops. Over time The Magnolia Collection has evolved into a shop that has something for everyone, from the vintage beginner to designers and museums. I love the look of curated shops that specialize in niche eras or really magnificent high end items but that’s not who I am. I love that my offerings range from late 1800s to the 80s and that they tend to be really affordable. I hope that my customers see The Magnolia Collection as a friendly and knowledgeable place that is very accessible and without any sort of rarified airs that could be intimidating to those new to the vintage scene.
How do you feel the vintage selling market has evolved since you first began selling?
I think social media is probably the biggest difference. When I first started in 2006 all I had to worry about was writing great descriptions – now I spend a significant amount of time each week making sure I have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and try to keep my own blog going http://avintagelife-themagnoliacollection.blogspot.com/ The social media aspect of the job is important and it’s one we didn’t have years ago but it certainly takes time to manage.
How do you feel the vintage buying market has evolved since you first began selling?
It’s much tougher now. Not only is there more competition but I think so many television shows have convinced people that anything old is valuable.
Do you have any advice that you would like to offer people just starting out selling vintage clothing online?
Study! I think every successful vintage seller is successful because of their knowledge. For someone just starting out I’d recommend picking a specific era or type of clothing (for the first year I only sold vintage lingerie) and learn everything you can about that niche.
Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out shopping for vintage clothing online?
First and foremost, know your current measurements. I think that vintage sizing can be really confusing to new buyers but any good seller will include measurements. Secondly, find a seller who has a great track record and provides detailed descriptions and lots of photos! Never feel bad about asking questions.
What are your favorite eras of clothing for wearing? What are your favorite eras of clothing for admiring?
I adore 40s suits and knit skirt sets, 50s full skirted dresses and in the summer I wear a lot of 60s/70s preppy Lilly Pulitzer and Vested Gentress.
A look I love but don’t wear are the wiggle dresses from the 50s and early 60s.
What do you like about clothing from these eras?
They are all so feminine and they’re also very polished and complete looks. Today’s styles are all about separates which can look choppy and incongruous – there is something attractive about a complete head to toe look that suits and dresses afford.
Who are some of your favorite vintage designers?
The usual suspects I’m sure! Dior, Givenchy, Schiaparelli but for day dresses I also really love Vicky Vaughn, Toni Todd and of course as mentioned Vested Gentress.
Who are some of your favorite modern designers?
I’m still a huge fan of current Dior and Givenchy but also Ralph Lauren, Marchesa and Valentino whose reinterpretation of 60s mod meets preppy is right up my alley!
What would be your ultimate vintage fashion find?
There are a number of things on my vintage bucket list!! One that’s been there from the beginning is a fabulously dramatic Ceil Chapman ball gown.
Is vintage clothing popular in the city that you live in?
In the last three years or so quite a few vintage clothing shops have opened up but I rarely see anyone wearing vintage here.
Who are some of your favorite style icons?
Katherine Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly spring to mind. While all three had different styles they all had such amazing poise. They also combine my two favorite styles which are preppy/sporty and 50s feminine.
What are your favorite vintage movies, music and television programs?
I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show are still favorites. It’s hard to pin down my favorite vintage movies but anything with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy or anything with Cary Grant! As for music, my favorites would definitely include Billy Holiday and Frank Sinatra.
Do you collect any other types of collectibles or antiques?
I do still collect English and American silver – flatware and napkin rings mostly which is odd since I don’t host fancy dinner parties! Antique oil paintings are another thing I can’t pass up but I am running out of wall space.
Thanks to Carrie for participating in The Style Council! To check out my recent picks of favorite vintage clothing items from The Magnolia Collection check out this blog post: Lulu's Favorite Find from The Magnolia Collection 2014 Lulu's Vintage People's Choice #5 Award Winner
Stay tuned for Style Council interviews with all of the winners of the 2014 Lulu's Vintage People's Choice Awards, as well as Style Council interviews with my 2014 Lulu's Online Vintage Clothing Store Recommendation winners.
If you are interested in participating in The Style Council please contact me at lulusvintagepdx (at) gmail.com
This post was originally published on March 18, 2014.