Dress That Mama: Vintage Bag


Hello there! Still feeling pretty crappy around here, but making it through the week and trying to rest when I can. I will admit that approximately 2 hours after taking this photo yesterday, I climbed back into bed and fell asleep for a bit while Emil napped and the big boys were at preschool. I mean, the skirt was wrinkly anyway… he, he!

But the good part is that while I was running an errand last weekend, I just so happened to drive past an estate sale at this really cool BIG old house and estate sales are a huge weakness of mine, so I had to drop in and check it out. It always makes me incredibly sad going through someone’s recent residence, full of reminders of who they were and what was important to them– family pictures on the walls, hospital bed still in a dusty room upstairs, small treasures that someone collected over years and years just stuck with small round price tags and sold to random strangers. So intimate and fragile. I actually teared up when I was inside this house, because I came across an amazing collection of old vintage cameras and underneath them a pile of black and white family photos that no one cared enough about to store somewhere and treasure. That, and the fact that this house was so clearly just recently occupied by an elderly, sick person who either died or was moved to a hospice, I suspect. So sad and haunting, really.

But. I spied a special something peeking out from underneath a lot of old manilla envelopes and papers: a vintage leather camera bag with a whole lot of dust on top. No price tag. I carried it downstairs and asked the lady working the checkout how much it was. She glanced at it dismissively, said, “What is it, just an old empty bag?” I nodded, feeling guilty because I saw its value. “5 dollars.” Um. Sold.


It needs just a couple of repairs, but the zippers and latches all work great, the interior is fine, and it fits not only my camera and flash, but also my wallet, a few extra diapers and wipes, lipstick, my phone, and address book (yes, I still have one of those- no smart phone, so I need it!). So I consider that a steal.

Other steals of recent: the following books scored while thrifting, each for 25 cents and in mint condition! The boys especially appreciate The Gas We Pass, surprise, surprise!


Do you ever check out consignment stores, thrift stores, or estate sales? I often do, and though I am very picky and often leave empty-handed, it is such a wonderful feeling to find treasures such as these!

17 thoughts on “Dress That Mama: Vintage Bag”
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  1. My son would love The Gas We Pass book too, and he’s eleven. (As would my husband.) Somethings never change, sadly.
    On a less pungent note, my kids also really liked Alice the Fairy. Although I was called the Wicked Duchess for a while…..

  2. I can’t believe you found a leather bag in such good condition. It’s like the authentic version of Proenza Schouler’s mini camera bag that they’re selling this season.

  3. Do I ever?! Yes! I’m not picky (I have a vintage store) and often rejoice in finding things that would never actually work for my personal wardrobe etc. But of course treasure poir moi is the best. That bag is such a find! I recently found the perfect 90s nubbly sweater and was over the moon. I might give it to my sister though. I hope you feel better soon and at least you look hella good ; )

  4. That bag is amazing! What a find.

    I’ve actually never been to an estate sale but I’ve always wanted to go to one. I imagine there are some pretty awesome ones here in New England! Maybe this summer….

  5. What an amazing bag- score! I like thrift shops and estate sales. I have a much better eye for housewares than clothes (surprise, surprise), and I’m also picky and often walk away with nothing… but it’s fun. Sounds like a fascinating peak into someone else’s home and life as well. It is always a bit sad, but I love getting glimpses if how someone lived and the history of a great old home.

  6. That bag is fantastic! And only $5!! What a score! My friend Becca (who I think you might know through her blog) found a pair of Frye boots for $5 at an estate sale and it still is the Holy Grail of estate finds to me.

    I am also fascinated with estate sales. I love secondhand stuff, but part of me is also really interested in the history of the person. I always want to ask a bunch of questions about what kind of person owned these things, and what were their likes and interests? What did they do for a living? Did they have children? But I always feel like it’s maybe too morbid and definitely too personal to ask, so I just wonder silently. A friend recently told me that estate sales are often plagued with thieves. People come in groups and distract the people working the sale, and split up and take things. Which is such crappy behavior.

  7. We live on estate sales and thrift stores, but just like you, we often leave empty-handed. All of the fruitless trips are so worth it though when you find a treasure, like this bag. Function meets fashion can be a difficult balance to strike with little guys in tow, so this is such a perfect steal!

  8. Lauren, that camera bag is amazing!! Don’t feel guilty for seeing the value – I’m sure it would make that person happy to know it was going to someone who truly treasured it.

    P.s. I have a smart phone but STILL keep a paper appointment book. I don’t think I’ll ever give it up! 😉


  9. Jamie, no! I haven’t been to any estate sales in your neck of the woods, but I would totally love to check one out with you sometime. Let me know if you hear of one! We can go treasure hunting together and I can finally meet that sweet baby girl of yours!

    And we found the books at the Kirkwood Goodwill store. They generally have some pretty great kids books!

  10. aw, such a sweet story to that bag. in home estate sales do have that sad quality you describe. i do love though, your reverence as you looked through things, and that bag! meant to go to someone who sees the value…in so many things.

  11. Awesome find. I have been to just about every type of sale out there, but estate sales are the last on my list. I always want to go, but have never found time to make it to one. I think it would be so strange and wonderful, but also a bit sad. Hopefully one day soon.

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