The Sneaky Girl’s Guide to eBay

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Hello all! I apologize for being MIA lately – I have been having a test every week in school lately and plus I have been horribly ill with some type of intestinal malady that has really taken the life out of me. But don’t worry – I’m not abandoning all of you! As a matter of fact, due to my recent addiction to eBay, I decided I would dedicate a whole post on how to find, decipher, and sneakily bid on items, particularly of a vintage nature.

First, we will touch upon how and what to search for, then picking through what you find with a deciphering eye. Then comes the fun part – how to bid on the item of your lust in a way that will turn the tables in your favour from others. Ready? Let’s go!

1. What do I need to search for?

This is a labour of love for many. You can’t just expect to find what you want automatically upon the first search in the first few results. It happens, but rarely. What the key here is, is to use language and words to your advantage to bring you the best results. Keep in mind some people call things by different names, like here where I live we call it soda; out in the Midwest it’s called pop; and in the south it is indiscriminately called Coke no matter if it is Pepsi, Seven Up, or otherwise.

Here are some ideas for search terms:

Vintage: retro, midcentury, New Look, forties, fifties, sixties, 40s, 50s, 60s, atomic, rockabilly

Shirt: Blouse, pull over, button up, tee shirt, chemise, tunic

Shoes: loafer, heels, sandals, pumps, boot, foot wear

Pants: Slacks, trousers, jeans, britches

So as you can see, there are many different names that one particular item can be called. Don’t limit yourself by sticking to only one word. Also, feel free to mix and match different terms to see what you get. It’s kind of like a slot machine – you will get that big payoff if you keep trying! I also highly recommend having a thesaurus at the ready for just such efforts.

2. How do I know what I am bidding on is the real deal?

I have noticed that a lot of sellers have misleadingly posted that their items are vintage from the fifties, but upon closer inspection and other various details it is easy to see that what is being sold is a frock from the eighties. Some do this unknowingly, since they are not entirely educated themselves on the subject and just see very common elements of a time period and assume that it is so; others do this purposefully, in order for their item to move faster or to get the higher price they want in saying it is from the fifties, and assuming most can’t tell the difference. Well, I am here to educate you so you know what you are dealing with! And educated consumer is the happiest consumer.

❎ No pre-1950s item should have a plastic zipper. If anything, it should have a metal zipper. The best tellers are if you find buttons and hooks and eyes as the only way to fasten the garment.

✅ Most vintage clothing did not have cut seams until around the 1960s. Clothing before that should have raw seam edges, and hemlines should have a fairly large amount of fabric folded over compared to what we are used to seeing today.

❎ Don’t be fooled by common elements repeated in time. Have you ever noticed how styles from however many years ago seem to come back around? Look at skinny jeans now – they were popular back in the 80s, but the difference between then and now is the lack of a high waist. Those are the little nuances that you have to educate yourself on and look for in items you may purchase. In the 60s there was a throwback to the 20s in the short dresses that seem to look best on boyish figures; the 70s had a throwback to the 30s in the revival of the bias cut and jeweled earthy tones; and the 80s had a resurgence of both the 40s and 50s in peplums, shoulder pads, full skirts, and large florals. Lets think about those 80s shoulder pads for a minute: remember how obscenely large they were, like you were a member of some galactic army? You never saw that in the 40s – shoulder pads then were small and just added some structure to that area, rather than looking ridiculous. Most anything style-wise from the 80s was big and oversized; if any garment you are looking at has such qualities, as well as being made of fabrics like polyester, then keep looking and avoid that 80s knockoff!

✅ Do as much research as you can about the fashions of whatever particular era you are passionate about. The more you find out the more you will be able to decipher what a dress is or isn’t. Also, please do some research on the era that emulated it too – knowing what was common in the 70s for fashion will help you in deciphering what are 70s recreations and what are real 30s frocks.

❎ Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find what you are looking for immediately. Sometimes it has taken me months to find exactly what I want, but I’m not willing to just cave in on something that is sub-par or not entirely what I was looking for.

✅ Do save searches for items that you are on the hunt for. eBay lets you know when new items are posted with the terms you searched for since you last checked. This way you can always have your eyes peeled and not miss out on that fabulous frock because you didn’t check!

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3. How do I place a bid?

Bidding is all about strategy. I have noticed a lot of people just place a bid to their maximum amount that they are willing to spend. That is all well a good, but it leaves a door open for people to still outbid you. What you want to do is to place an initial bid where the maximum amount is about $2 to $5 over the starting price. That way, if anyone outbids you, they will just be over your limit by fifty cents or a dollar. I have noticed that people placing secondary bids oftentimes just bid a small amount over your threshold, and nothing too exorbitant.

Let them be lulled into almost a false sense of security by this, and just sit on the item until it gets down to the last few minutes of the auction. What I do is around five minutes before the end, I place a two to ten dollar bid (depending upon the current price) and wait. Sometimes no bids will be placed afterwards, and then you’ve won! But if some annoying jerk swoops in and tries to steal your item, let them think they have it until the last minute or thirty seconds of the auction. This is where having a fast phone or Internet speed is rather important! At this point, place a maximum bid for your item that is five to ten dollars over what the real maximum is that you are willing to spend. If you do a little research on similar items, you will be likely to find that most people have the same maximum threshold that you are willing to pay, and therefore see a lot of similar ending prices. Most people will have the same max as you. Let’s say you have a dress that you would be willing to spend a maximum of $50 for – when you are placing that last bid, put in your maximum bid for around $60, if not a bit more. Like I said, most people will have around the same maximum threshold, so you going a bit over that in the last few seconds should ensure you being the winner of your fabulous new addition! This also does not allow much time for anyone to counter your bid, so the closer to quittin’ time you place that bid, the better.

I am not saying that this is a fool proof way to win every item, as there are a few people out there who are just willing to spend insane amounts for certain things. These people really have no maximum amount that they are willing to spend, so regardless of what you bid they will do their damnedest to outbid you. These types are a lost cause, but they are not common. I have found that my method seems to work more often than not, so I decided I would pass my bidology on to you (possibly to my disadvantage! 😉 ).

Bidding on eBay is more of a science and an art combined. Between finding what you want, deciphering between what is authentic and what isn’t, and using time and psychology to your bidding advantage makes for quite a stressful yet exciting experience! But like me, you will probably find some fabulous finds for some fabulous prices. Good luck, and have fun!

Review: Dollsville NYC

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I had the pleasure of coming in to contact with Dollsville NYC at the Burlesque Festival Teaser Party. They had a huge booth open as a vendor at the event, and they had an enormous range of goodies. I introduced myself, and said that I would love to review their products, and the fact that they are based here in New York is awesome, since most companies the are rockabilly/retro are based in southern California.

I chose the leopard print bow with a nautical anchor center, and the vendor was more than happy to let me try it. The very next day, I wore it to both of my Friday classes and I must say, it was a hit! I received a few comments/compliments on it, and I loved the cohesive look it gave my ensemble (I was wearing leopard print jeans and a black shirt). It is very unique, and very well made too, might I add.

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The bow is made of a vinyl type of fabric, which is great since that means more durability, less chance of staining or fraying, and it keeps its shape much better. The nautical addition in the center is very well anchored (no pun intended – okay, maybe a little 😉 ), and the ribbed ribbon that covers part of the clip (pin curl clip) helps to grip your hair better. I love me some alligator clips, but when you have an updo like victory rolls, if you want to adjust your embellishment, it really screws up your ‘do. The way they used the double prong pin curl clip with the ribbon is the best of both worlds, and I never once had to adjust my bow.

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Dollsville NYC is definitely a company I hope to order more from in the future! They do fascinators, bows, custom work, bridal, veils, and so much more! Go check out their website here – tell them I sent you!

P.S. – I have created my first YouTube video for y’all! I just need to figure out how to send it to my phone so I can upload it. Stay tuned!

NY Burlesque Festival Special Interview – Miss Truvy Trollop!

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I have been wanting to go to at least one show of the 10th Annual New York Burlesque Festival for at least two months now, and I was undecided as to what show to attend. But when I heard the fab Miss Truvy Trollop would be performing at the Teaser Party on the first night, I was excited – I saw her at the Burlesque Bingo event at Viva, and both me and my friend I went with thought her personality and humour made the show just that much more fun.

As it happened to turn out, I won tickets from Time Out magazine to go to that very show! I was beyond excited, and I was just itching to get out of class that day so I could get on to the fun!

When I found out I won tickets, I sent Truvy a list of interview questions that I had hoped she would answer so I could share them with you, my readers, on my blog. I wasn’t expecting a response – she’s a busy gal, after all – but not only did she reply, she gave meaty responses! I was elated.

When I got to the Bell House, I was right in front, directly behind the professional photographers. There were two guys behind us, and I saw a woman chatting with them. I looked again. Was it Truvy? It was! But she just left before I could say hi, but then my friend Eric turned around to ask one of the guys Truvy was talking to (coincidentally also named Eryk!) if it was her then introduced me. Her friend said I could meet her, and we did. She is a sweet girl, and we took a picture together. I didn’t want to bother her too much, I knew she was there with her friends and also wanted to enjoy the show, so I said thank you and good luck!

Here is the interview of Truvy Trollop that lets you know more about who she is, what she does, and the reality of burlesque!

Veronica Vintage: What made you want to get into burlesque?

Truvy Trollop: Since I was a baby I have been involved in the song and dance world in some way. When I went to my first burlesque show I felt like I had been training my whole life to do it. I had instantly found my calling the minute I stepped foot on stage as Truvy Trollop. It was incredible.

VV: Who is an inspiration for you?

TT:My biggest inspiration in life is my mother and her sisters. Six of the most beautiful, talented, intelligent women you will ever meet.

In burlesque, I was inspired firstly, by Dirty Martini and Jennie Lee. From there, when I really dove in, I began to learn about other amazing legends of burlesque. My favorite performers are our legends who are still at it. Women like Tempest Storm, Tiffany Carter, Judith Stein, Madame E, Satans Angel and so many more. I could literally go on and on. Those women inspire me to do better and to do it with love.

VV: How long have you been performing and what was your first show?

TT: The first burlesque show I ever did was in Nashville at Music City Burlesque’s 1st Annual Boo-lesque at the Belcourt in 2007.

VV: How long does it take for you to make your stage outfits since you make them by hand?

TT: My costumes are a team effort. I am no seamstress and do not claim to be but I am a master embellisher. Meaning, I can lay down some rhinestones like no one you have ever seen! My best friend, Lauren Cohen, makes most of my gowns and customs pieces. She is super talented. A fully customized and embellished costume takes a while to create. You can never have enough rhinestones.

VV: Beyoncé has an on stage persona of Sasha Fierce. Do you have one, or are you just who you are off stage as on?

TT: Truvy Trollop is a persona I created for burlesque. It’s my stripper name. Ha! Truvy, is an extension of my personality. She is me, but turned all the way up to ten.

VV: What inspires new acts for you?

TT: I want to be new and different and do things people have not seen. I am working on a new signature act right now that involves a lot of new elements that I have yet to bring to the stage. I want to make sure people know that I am no one trick pony. I am not just a pretty dancer.

VV: What is difficult about being a mother in your profession? A plus?

TT: I had just started doing burlesque when I got pregnant with my first and only child. I performed at four months pregnant, co-produced and co-hosted a show four days before I gave birth and then started doing burlesque again only a month after I had my daughter. Burlesque made me feel like I could conquer the world and my fellow burlesque mamas gave me the inspiration, will and power. Seriously, the other moms I met through burlesque have been life changing. I have made some of life’s greatest friends in these last few years and I met them through my burlesque life. They are the plus. I am lucky I haven’t had to deal with much negativity.

VV: What is your favourite part of being in burlesque ?

TT: I love so many things about it but I will give you my top two. One:All the amazing people I have met So many fascinating people are a part of this industry. Doctors, lawyers, professors, moms, dads, and on and on. Its wild!
Two: The opportunity to expand my creative self. I love entertaining people. The chance to put on shows is a dream come true.

VV: What is the biggest negative in your profession for you?

TT: Body glue! Its not easy or fun getting pasties to stick to your nipples! Ouch!

VV: What has burlesque taught you that you wish other women could experience and embrace?

TT: Another one of my favorite things in burlesque. I wish more women today could realize that they are so beautiful just the size they are today. Now, don’t get me wrong, we all have fat days and we all look at a picture sometimes and say, “Damn, I should have sucked my gut in more” but I feel like today there is such a warped sense of pretty. I just see some many women in burlesque of different shapes and sizes and I like that. It’s like Honey Boo Boo child says, “Pretty comes in all sizes, and my size is cute!”

VV: What is one of the biggest stereotypes of burlesque?

TT: That its like the movie “Burlesque.” Burlesque shows are so varied. Some are small local shows in dive bars with crappy lights and sound. Some are in major venues with millions in productions. Some big shows suck and some little shows blow you away. It’s like going to see live bands. Some are great and some are not so great. You have to hunt down the good ones.

VV: What is one of your greatest moments that comes to mind as a performer?

TT: I am performing at the 10TH ANNUAL NEW YORK BURLESQUE FESTIVAL IN MERE HOURS…I will have to get back to you on this question! HA!

And she was fabulous! My friend and I discussed all of the acts we saw (at least 20 in all!), and we mutually agreed Truvy’s performance was the one that was the most classic and old school burlesque, and oozed class. Check out the performance for yourself below!

Check out more about Truvy here.

A big thank you goes out to Truvy for being gracious enough to respond and being a great sport for helping to highlight burlesque on this blog. The best of luck to you, keep doing what you do! Thanks again 🙂

The 10th Annual New York Burlesque Festival: The Teaser Party – Part Two

Here we are, the final installment of my coverage of the Teaser Party of the 10th Annual New York Burlesque Festival! I took so many pictures and videos that I did not want to pollute an entire post with it and cause it to take forever for you to see. So let’s get started!

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This next girl had an awesome Theda Bara type costume – it was cool and spooky at the same time.

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Here is the video of her performance…

This next girl had an ode to her home country, France…

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This next girl had a very cool gothic bird type dance. Her performance is below!

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This next girl – she had quite the umm, rare talent for tassels. You’ll see below!

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See! And she made those things twirl in opposite directions, and could make them stop on the drop of a dime and just make one twirl. Now that’s talent! LOL.

This next girl is straight out of Milan, and as a result had a totally Italian-themed performance.

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This next performer is a man – yes, guys can be burlesque performers! They call it “boy-lesque” 🙂 He had quite a funny skit, and definitely was extreme! I think the men have to work a little harder than the women in this area for attention and accolades. He did well, and immediately upon seeing him I saw an Errol Flynn look to him.

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This next performer had a very unique mermaid inspired performance. Towards the end she was wearing a shell-type undergarment, and as you can tell it opened right up to strings of pearls! Definitely a way to end the night!

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All in all, it was a fabulous night. Despite my foot killing me, my back hurting, and being super tired, I just couldn’t leave until it was all over. I left feeling inspired and feeling proud of my body and that – hey – maybe it ain’t that bad. After every burlesque show I feel this way! These ladies are amazing for doing what they do and showing us gals that we need to be proud of what we have, no matter what!