Friday, January 6, 2012

Xtabay: A Portland Vintage Gem

Every trip that I make to Portland elicits a mandatory visit to Xtabay, my personal vintage mecca. My first trip to the store was about six years ago, when my style was defined by the Urban Outfitters spring catalogue. I walked in and was immediately greeted by a dog whose bark far outstripped his bite. When his yapping calmed down, I proceeded to try on the entire store and thus began my infatuation with everything vintage.

In a vintage-saturated city, Xtabay has carved out a niche for itself with couture gowns and high end dresses particularly from the 1930’s through 1970’s. The owner, Liz Gross, has an excellent eye and enough stamina for the Portland estate sale scene to amass an enviable collection. You will not find a 90s flannel masquerading as vintage here.

On this visit, I was immediately drawn to a 1940s silk floral dress that made me feel like I was on a tropical vacation (And yes, I live vicariously through my clothing).  I guess I really need some warm weather because my second pick was a 1960s shift with one of the coolest prints I’ve ever seen, a vibrant palm set against a glowing red background. My last pick, a red tutu of a dress, was two sizes too small but made me feel like I was Ms. Popular at the 1962 prom. The only problem that I’ve run into at Xtabay is that there are not enough occasions to wear a floor length Egyptian-inspired beaded cocktail dress… damn the informality of today!

This past December, Xtabay expanded with a vintage bridal salon. The salon is available by appointment only but I was able to get a sneak peak of the salon with these lovely photos. I can guarantee that you will find the dress of your dreams here, now you just need to find yourself a man.


  1. These are awesome picks! Do you think the red tutu would fit me????

  2. It's probably a size 2, pretty awesome dress eh!

  3. You're right-- not nearly enough occasions for these amazing clothes. Did you check Xtabay's top 10? Va Va Voom!