Nov 2, 2005 at 12:00 am

Vintage shopping is tricky. Some people relish the hunt, the possibility of discovering the impossibly perfect discontinued Hermes scarf in a sale bin. Others despise the sorting, frustrated by unpredictable selections and bad luck.

The Bloomfield Hills Antique Jewelry and Vintage Apparel Show is a happy compromise. It offers vintage — but it’s presorted. More than 25 local dealers and store owners have cherry-picked clothing, hats, purses, shoes and belts, as well as costume and designer jewelry, from their collections.

“I’m taking the best of the best,” says Tommy Door, owner of Royal Oak’s Lost and Found. “You’re getting the cream at the show; nothing in thrift. It gives a great view of vintage in the area.” Door has been collecting pieces for the show since he opened his double-wide storefront a little more than a year ago. He’s most excited about the minks and ’30s and ’40s suits he’s been hoarding, many that have never seen racks, stored instead in his grandma’s basement until showtime. Fancy silks and classy gabardine sets with wide shoulders, darted peplum waistlines, laundry jackets, all in perfect condition, will be going for $50 to $150. “I’ve never seen anything like them,” he says.

Eric Fletcher, owner of Mother Fletcher’s in Ferndale, is concentrating on gearing this year’s offerings toward all, instead of the high-end clientele usually associated with the show. He’s bringing funkier pieces, along with the usual furs — beaded bauble necklaces, chunky bracelets, Victorian buckles and pins, bias-cut ’30s nighties, ’20s dresses and trendy pieces that are making a comeback. He also has a lot of tweeds, velvets, plaids and ’80s clothing — little jackets with puffy shoulders, wide belts and stiletto boots.

“If you pay attention to Vogue and all the fashion magazines, vintage is more widespread than ever,” Fletcher says. “But just because something is on the runways doesn’t mean that’s what people really want.”

These days, fashion isn’t about matching outfits or coordinating handbags with pumps. Because there’s a stronger emphasis on individual pieces, vintage shows draw a lot of interest. “It’s about mixing old and new,” Fletcher says. “Anything goes, as long as you have the confidence to wear it.”


Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Birmingham Unitarian Church, 38651 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills. Call 248-988-0924. Admission is $5; children 12 and under free.

Meghan McEwen is a freelance writer. Send comments to [email protected]