“Shhh don’t tell her about it.” That’s what a girl said to her friend who was telling me about a vintage store on the Eastside that I just HAD to go check out.  I don’t blame her.  I used to be this way about vintage stores and pretty much anything that I thought was cool.  I felt like if I told other people about it then it would get too popular and instantly would lose it’s appeal.  It’s especially scary to tell other people about a vintage store because you fear that if it gets too popular then it will be harder for you to make your brilliant finds.  But, obviously I got over this fear because now I have a blog where I shout to the world (the world of Austin at least) my favorite places to shop.

And, I officially now have a new favorite one.  Sorry to the girl who didn’t want the world to know about Charm School Vintage… I’m writing about it anyway.  

Charm School Vintage is a small yet strategically stocked vintage boutique located in a house on the Eastside of Austin called Maison d’Etoile.  Maison d’Etoile is a stylish collective that houses not only Charm School Vintage, but also contains Salon d’Etoile, and Coco Coquette.  Coco Coquette is a wig boutique that contains makeup, accessories, and most importantly wigs! Allyson Garro, owner of Coco Coquette, says her clientele is anyone and everyone.  “Everyone wears wigs” says Garro. The walls of Coco Coquette are lined with wigs ranging from natural styles all the way to Marie Antoinette style costume wigs, so there is something for anyone who wants to change their look.

Salon d’Etoile and Coco Coquette have been in Maison d’Etoile for a year now, but Charm School Vintage has only been around for about 6 months.

Owner of Charm School Vintage, Shari Gerstenberger, loves owning Charm School because she “gets to travel around the country finding beautiful things.”  Although at first glance Charm School might seem small, the longer you stay the more of Shari’s beautiful things you will find.  My favorite thing about shopping at Charm School Vintage is that it’s like being on a treasure hunt.  With belts in cabinet drawers, and one of a kind necklaces spread throughout the store, there’s a fun find around every corner.

A lot of the jewelry at Charm School is actually made by owner Shari herself.   “I love finding very fierce, raw materials and making something delicate and ladylike out of them” says Shari.  Shari’s buffalo teeth necklace is a great example of this.  Where does one find such interesting materials to use?  Shari told me of an interesting flea market she went to outside of Denver.  “My friends and I had spent hours wading through this sea of Steven Segall VHSes and Baby Gap and then back in the corner was this tiny man who spoke no English and everything in his tent was Star Trek, Native American, and Egyptian. I bought fantastic scarab necklaces, studded knee high moccasins, giant 70’s porn playing cards, bags and bags of buffalo teeth which I used to make some of my first jewelry, and lots of other gems.”

I walked out of Maison d’Etoile with a fabulous white dress with fringe on it (so unique and cool) and a small snakeskin red belt for a total of $50.  The prices at Charm School are very reasonable!  So, if you haven’t made it over to this stylish house yet, I recommend you check out Maison d’Etoile and especially check out the vintage selection at Charm School Vintage.

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