Posted in Nostalgia, Vintage Collecting, Vintage decor, Vintage Terms

My Love Affair with Kitch

Definately CUTE!
Kitschy Pixie Lamp


Kitsch (/ˈkɪtʃ/; loanword from German) is a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons. Kitsch generally includes unsubstantial or gaudy works or decoration, or works that are calculated to have popular appeal.

I adore midcentury design for its sleek atomic lines and beautiful wood and structure.  I appreciate the craftsmanship put into so many of the midcentury designer pieces that are now timeless, highly sought and still functional after 50 or 60 years or more. I have been on the midcentury home tours  and ooohed and ahhed over the time capsule houses full of beautiful perfectly refinished, restored or never-touched-because-it-was-already-perfect mod Danish or Eames furniture and fixtures. But if I am honest, what really makes my heart sing-  is KITSCH. Call it gaudy, call it tacky, call it garish…I don’t care!  It’s nothing but complete fun; I adore it and will always seek it out in my vintage travels!

Not everyone sees the humor and fun in kitsch and many people toss it aside, lucky for me. These zany items are readily available at ReStores, just waiting to go home with you! Here are some favorite examples of the kitsch I personally adore:


Chalkware: fruit and veggies with faces, swimming mermaids, bathing fish, devil children (yes, you read that correctly).

Chalkware takes all forms:  fish, devil children, sexy fruit, redheaded mermaids, fawn

All things ELVIS (see Below):

Oh bust of E, are you ever begging to be a lamp!

Velvet paintings of any kind- BONUS if they are Elvis:

Can’t ever have too much Elvis…or mod velvet paintings.

Mod tourist souvenirs from theme parks or beaches-especially if I’ve been there-BONUS if it is a vacation spot from my childhood:

Wahoo, they are all from Myrtle Beach, South Cackalack, ya’ll!

Anything with a Poodle-and BONUS if it’s pink or some other not-found-in-nature dog color:

Poodles are irresistible to me- especially the pink ones!

Tretchikoff prints:

The Green Lady

Novelty barware with retro graphics and fonts. BONUS if they have faces or witty sayings.

These tipsy martinis make me smile

Anything with a saying on it that makes me laugh. Bonus if it’s somewhat sexist in nature- ’cause that just seems so Mad Men:

Just in case you cannot read it, the rolling pin on the top left says “Husband Tamer”…

I could go on, but you get general idea. I find it fun and uplifting to be surrounded by these sassy, clever and silly items!

Kitsch is just way too much fun to ignore. Let me encourage you to put aside the worry about choosing that ‘just right item’ and instead, go for that thing that makes you smile–it keeps giving back.  Embrace the kitsch! And fab style and tastemaker Diana Vreeland said it best:

“A little bad taste is like a splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste…I think we could all use more of it. No taste  is what I’m against.”

I’d really love to see and hear about your kitschy finds from the ReStore too…


Posted in Vintage Terms

Retro vs. Vintage vs. Antique: Glossary term & Acronyms REVEALED

This has been one of the most popular guest posts I have written for the Metrolina Restore Blog.

When you first start shopping around for vintage items you quickly realize that there is a entire language devoted to the states and conditions in which these items are found.  I did a lot of my early vintage education by searching selling sites on the web because I wanted to be able to quickly identify things in resale stores–and the terms became mind boggling.  I certainly  wish I had been more familiar with these terms when I first started shopping around for my midcentury treasures – and so now I am going to quickly give you the advantage of my extensive research!

The first three you should know are the differences between the use of the terms “retro”, “vintage” and “antique”. These words are often used interchangeably for items but the correct definitions, according to my research are: Antique is any item 100+ years old. Vintage is an item that is at least 20 years old. Retro is a word often used to describe a style of something that is actually new (possibly a reproduction) but has an older vintage feel to it. Retro is also often used when age is unknown-so be aware.

There is an entire group of acronyms used in relation to condition of vintage items. As I said above, many are used on selling sites like Ebay and Etsy which is where I got a lot of my early education about midcentury items. Many people also use these terms on Instagram- my very favorite site to share pics of midcentury finds! (Check me out there at @modbettie)

Lots of these terms are extremely subjective like the following:

EVC/ EUVC– Excellent Vintage Condition / Excellent Used Vintage Condition

also often substituted are

VGVC– Very Good Vintage Condition and GVC-Good Vintage Condition

I don’t tend to personally find these terms too helpful, but people do often use them so it’s good general knowledge to know what they mean.

The following terms are the ones I have found very useful when doing vintage research on midcentury items. (Many of these I just die over when I find! )

IOP/IOB or NIOP/ NIOB– In Original Packaging / In Original Box or New In Original Packaging/ In Original Box.

I adore the colors and graphics on these kitchen items that were found IOP.

I just ADORE midcentury packaging: the colors! the graphics! the kitschy sales pitches! So I just completely geek out over finding items IOB or IOP, even if the packaging shows wear:

Midcentury Novelty Barware, found IOB
Soufflé dish IOB and with original paperwork and 1960s recipes

NWT/ NWOT– New With Tag/ New With Out Tag- This one tricked me for a long time; I thought NWOT meant “new with original tag”. This term is often also used in the reselling world for non-vintage items.

These beautiful linens from Penny’s were found NWT and are also NOS.

NOS– New old stock/ Deadstock –Refers to new, unused vintage items

NOC/MOC- New on card/ Mint on Card (often refers to toys or items in a bubble package)

Cocktail pics NOC, or possibly deadstock.

HTF-Hard To Find- this is a term often misused. I suggest using your favorite search engine to verify exactly how HTF and item actually is.

The Pyrex Duchess Promotional Casserole on the top is HTF; the  two pieces on the bottom are not.

MIB-Mint in Box

MIOB/ MIOP- Mint in Original Box/Packaging

LTD-Limited edition

MIJ-Made in Japan – often denotes midcentury time period

and one last one for when you find that really great haul:

BIA-Buy it All – Good for use especially at the ReStores when the deals are overwhelming!

I hope this has helped you understand a bit more about the terms and acronyms used for conditions of vintage and midcentury items. Remember- when in doubt, use your favorite search engine!

What great IOP or IOB items have you found? I’d love to see….