March 2, 2014

A wonderful vintage shopping road trip to Frugal Frocks in Armstrong


You might think that if we were going to drive two hours each way to visit a town, we'd make a whole day of it, but sometimes a single destination (or very nearly so) is reason enough to wear a little treed off the tires and embark on an exciting adventure.

This past November, while doing a spot of vintage shopping in Vernon, a chap at an antique (mostly furniture) shop casually mentioned that there was a store in Armstrong, B.C., a mere twenty minutes or so past Vernon itself (Vernon being 1.5 hours away from our town of Penticton), that sold vintage clothing. Hark!!! My ears perked up like a wolf's when he said this. I had not heard about this particular store, which the fellow didn't remember the name of, before but a quick Google search unearthed its name, and though it was too late in the day (nearly 4pm) that afternoon to make it to Armstrong before the shop closed, we vowed to head up that way lickety-split.

Jump ahead another couple of weeks and that is precisely what we did one very nippy, very damp late November Saturday (the same Saturday that we took the photos, indoors, for this fun poodle skirt filled outfit post).

Located towards the northern tip of the Okanagan Valley, Armstrong is a charming, history rich little town with roots, like much of the area, stretching back to the latter decades of the Victoria era. Named after one E.C. Heaton Armstrong, a banker for London, England who aided in financing local railroad and land development, this town of around 5,000 people is perhaps best known for its world famous cheese production, which has been lead for a good many years now by the eponymously named Armstrong Cheese company.

While it's not terribly far away from Penticton, I've honestly not been to Armstrong many times in my life. Typically it's merely been buzzed through en route to some further destination such as Prince George or Calgary, so it was especially nice to make a trip out there to visit an actual Armstrong destination itself. Located at 3450B Okanagan Street, Frugal Frocks is as as sweet and inviting a little store as the town of Armstrong itself is.

Online research hadn't unearthed too much about this shop, save for a Facebook page, so I was even more excited to see what it would hold in store once we arrived. On a day as grey as wet cement, we pulled into town and after visiting a couple of other small businesses in the same area, made a speedy beeline to Frugal Frocks.

Blending yesterday pieces with  modern fashions, this welcoming vintage and consignment store - which also boasts a delightful cappuccino bar - is both well stocked and very well priced (a much appreciated change of pass from many Canadian secondhand and vintage clothing stores). Founded in 1992, Frugal Frocks is at the heart of the old downtown Armstrong and is bursting with charm, character and lovely pieces.




Though there wasn't a huge selection of 1940s and 50s offerings on the day that we visited, there were certainly numerous pieces from that era, as well as a few older and plenty of newer (1960s - 90s) vintage offerings as well (In addition to many modern consigned garments, shoes and accessories). In fact, the shop has a special area off to the left hand side that they've specifically set aside for many of their older vintage items, which I - and no doubt other mid-century fashion shoppers - certainly appreciated.

The day we were there, the shop was being helmed by the owner's daughter, Megan (I hope I'm spelling that right, I only heard her name, I didn't see it written - my apologies if you spell it differently, Megan), pictured below with me. A vivacious, friendly young lady with a head of to-die-for curls and top-notch customer service. The three of us chatted for several minutes and she very graciously permitted us to grab some iPhone snaps, which are the photos you see in today's post.




Several items in Frugal Frocks caught my eye, including their beautiful array of yesteryear jewelry, and while I didn't leave with too much clothing that day (save for one splendidly pretty light blue cropped bed jacket pictured on the counter in the first photo above), I did - no surprise here! :) - pick up several pieces of jewelry, including two basic solid coloured Bakelite bangles and two terrific c. 1930s metal brooches, as well as a gorgeously vibrant 1950s blue AB crystal necklace.

You've likely heard me say it before, but I'll repeat it again. There are not many stores in the Okanagan that sell vintage clothing, let alone ones with the kind of selection, wallet friendly prices, and wonderful customer service of Frugal Frocks, so it was one of the highlights of 2013 for me to discover this fantastic shop. As Armstrong is nearly a four hour road trip all total, this isn't the kind of journey my health will permit me to take very often, but when it does, I eagerly look forward to visiting my new favourite Okanagan vintage clothing shop and hopefully adding a more stellar pieces from Frugal Frocks to my wardrobe.

Should you happen to be in the area yourself, I highly recommend you pop in and say hello to Susan and Megan. Frugal Frocks (ph. 250-546-3448) is open daily from 9:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Saturday, and will greet you with an intoxicating aroma of freshly brewed java and yesteryear history the moment you step through its lovely threshold.

39 comments:

  1. Oh I wanna go ! My family was un Vernon these last months I wished I could go. So cool if There is some vintage shops.
    By the Way Jessica I was so proud as one of your firm readers to see your appearance in vintage Life this month!
    Just received it in my letterbox and I was so happy. You deserved this article on your blog, They say : this lady got style ,
    And you sure do !
    Lots of Love From Paris,
    Lorna
    Xxx

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet dear, that means a great deal to me. I haven't seen the finished piece (they're kindly sending me a copy, but it hasn't arrived yet). I'm very excited to do so and will definitely be chatting about it online once I have.

      It's really cool that your family was in Vernon recently. It's one of my favourite parts of the Okanagan. It would be super fantastic if you could come out and visit this area one day, too. We'd have to get together and have a blast doing vintage related things in the area.

      Many heartfelt thank & joyful Sunday wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  2. Sounds like it was worth the drive. I seem to not even get around to the hour drive across my city to visit the vintage clothing shops! Just looking at your photos makes me want to go now:) Another lovely post.

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  3. You look fab, as always, but the color of your skirt is really, really great!!

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  4. looks like a really cool shop. I buy almost all my vintage online because the pricesin the NYC area shops are astronomical but when I lived in a smaller city, Buffalo, and before that Saratoga where I grew up I liked to shop in person


    retro rover

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  5. What a fun shopping trip! We just went vintage shopping recently and picked up a few more modern (1970's) dresses. Thanks for sharing!

    Brigid
    the Middle Sister and Singer

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  6. It took me 15 minutes just to un-glue myself from the first image. Oh, this is wonderful; I can't emphasize it enough: seeing a shop filled with everything (anything!) a vintage-loving girl could possibly want.. makes me feel a bit envious, but the feeling passes quickly..
    Isn't that green hat a darling?

    I'm swept off my feet, need to take a breath..

    I hope you have had massive fun there, Jessica!
    Marija

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  7. What a wonderful place! I wish to death i could go there. You look awesome and happy to be there.

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  8. You are wearing your absolutely beautiful poodle skirt again;) you look so lovely and it seems totally worth the visit in frugal frocks!
    wish you a relaxing sunday!
    lots of love and kisses,mary

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  9. Oh a nice shop and yayy you wear the poodle-skirt;-)
    I love the trueblue of it and I think I need a poodleskirt, too.
    My Betty Boop skirt wouldnt be so alone in my wardrobe if I had a poodleskirt ;-)
    I have very good news for you, your letter has arrived yesterday=) Thank you soo much for this long, long letter. It will be a lot of fun to answer, have so much to tell you.
    yours Jen

    PS: the stamps are awsome!

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  10. Isn't it great to find somewhere like that, that's not only wallet friendly, but just plain friendly?! Sounds like it's stlll a bit of a drive for you, but close enough to make the occasional trip. I find the great thing about these kind of places is that they'll often note down what you're looking for, and give you a ring if something comes in stock they think you'd like.

    P x

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  11. What a great little adventure you had! xox

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  12. What an exciting place to find! Those racks of clothes look extremely enticing!

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  13. Dear Jessica, you look absolutely darling and in your climate. :) So tickled for you because I so understand the thrill of walking into an establishment such as this and falling in love. Gentle Hugs my dear friend, Beverly

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  14. Isn't it wonderful to find a store filled with amazing vintage and great customer service! Definitely worth the drive I'd say. You look gorgeous as usual! XXX

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  15. living in a rural environment too i really understand how happy you are to find this store :-)
    now we are waiting to see all the finds from there in a post!

    bisous!

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  16. Oh wow, I wish there were anything like that near me. As of yet I've not found a store within easy driving distance that carries much vintage outside of a few pieces at local antique stores or the occasional find at a thrift store.
    You look gorgeous as usual, and I hope your health affords you many more trips in the near future.

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  17. Sounds like a wonderful shopping day. I love the color too! So cute. We have several shops in Austin (half hour drive), but they are too expensive. I miss the days where I could go thrift shopping or yard sailing and find great vintage items. Now I sew a lot, but still love to go shopping! How's it for finding shoes there?

    ~ Tam Francis ~
    www.girlinthejitterbugdress.com

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    1. Hi Tam,

      Thank you very much for your comment. During our trip that day, there wasn't a huge array of vintage shoes, but I did spot see a few pairs and tried on one (1940s oxford style shoes), which unfortunately was just a touch too narrow for me (had they not been, they would have come home with me in a flash). Still, they're one of the only places for a few hundred miles around that I know which have any vintage shoes, so perhaps I'll get lucky on a future trip and be able to bring a pair home with me.

      ♥ Jessica

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  18. What a lovely shop and a lovely lady!

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  19. Frugal Frocks, just the name makes it worth a visit. I wish we had such a shop here in DK, and it even has cappucino bar, amazing. I wish they had a web shop, as I'm sure you do too. You look lovely, as always. :)

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    1. Definitely (on both points)! I really wish they had an online shop or etsy store as well. Luckily though, they're a little under two hours away, so getting up that way to visit in person every now should be doable (as long as my health permits). I haven't been back since, but am hoping to head up that way again in the spring, once all this nearly endless snow decides to finally call it quits and the roads are good (safe) once more.

      Thank you very much for your great comment,
      ♥ Jessica

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  20. "Frugal Frocks"--now what an enticing name for a shop! It is hard to find vintage shops at all in our area, but they are very fun to explore!

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  21. What a fun experience! Glad you spotted some Bakelite!

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Joanna. It was a super fun day and one that I've been itching to blog about ever since. Definitely! I purchased both (they're plain, relatively narrow bangles in classic Bakelite shades of caramel-y yellow/orange) and am sure they'll appear here in outfit posts many times. It's always a thrill to find Bakelite at a reasonable (by Canadian standards) price in this part of the world. I really love the c. 1930s metal brooches and 1950s necklace (and quilted bed jacket) that I got there that day as well.

      Big hugs from ubre snowy Penticton,
      ♥ Jessica

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  22. I LOVE YOUR STYLE!A fun from Greece

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  23. I'm glad you got to go out and find a new shop. Always a treat! Looking forward to seeing your finds in future posts!

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  24. I wish I could visit this shop. Such a lovely space and young lady! Thank you share with us lovely Jessica ;-)

    Miss Beta xx

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  25. Ah, who doesn´t love when they find out about a great new shop? This one looks particularly nice, like one can spend hours and hours searching for hidden treasures in it. Those are my favorites :)

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  26. Eee I love discovering a new vintage store. My pet hate is when I pass one that I've never seen before and don't have time to stop. From then onwards it appears in my dreams (more like nightmares) showing me all the amazing things that I am missing out on because I didn't stop. Torture! Glad you found such a great store and some treasure too! xx

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    1. Oooh, I suspect that I would feel exactly the same way if I was in the position (heck, I did just knowing that there was one less than two hours away from me that I'd somehow never heard of before). In a way I wish that was a feeling I could experience more often though, as it would mean there were actually more vintage shops than there are around these parts. I hope you have lots of awesome ones in your area and that you're able to get into each new one that springs up lickety-split, dear gal.

      Thank you for your terrific comment,
      ♥ Jessica

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  27. It looks like a nice place where to spend some time to find out vintage clothes and lovable accessories!
    You are wearing a very beautiful skirt and look radiant! A very graceful lady and a perfect outfit...

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Dan. It was a great spot to spend time. It's not huge, but it's well stocked and very inviting feeling, so once you're inside you feel like you want to linger and really soak up the atmosphere for as long as possible (which is one of the hallmarks of a great vintage shop - or any shop, for that matter - if you ask me).

      ♥ Jessica

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  28. Looks like a lovely place to visit.
    I've all but given up on the vintage clothes shop I used to frequent, their prices are sky high and they've been sky high for years into decades. They were high enough when I first found them but the prices just seem to have increased despite no sale! They insist that the right person will come along one day and won't mind paying out.

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  29. I love it when I find a new place to pick up vintage treasures. I'm certainly lucky living in London to have so many nearby although the prices are usually pretty high. Sometimes it's nice to go further afield and make a trip of it. xxx

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  30. It's so nice when you find a new shop that stocks a good range and is well priced...I hope that your heakth allows you to make regular trip and find regular treasures.xx Shauna
    P.S- I'm loving that blue circle skirt on you!

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  31. I hear ya! There are no vintage shops in my Terre Haute. We have an antique shop which sells damaged vintage. It really breaks my heart. :-( So like you, when I see a vintage shop, a true vintage shop, I have to jump immediately on it.

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  32. I am soooo far away.. but i wish i could go through those racks.
    and you: as usual looking pretty.

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