Vintage Perfumes & Antique Shopping

Micanopy Florida is our regional "antique store town", and it's where I headed yesterday in search of vintage perfumes. I'm sure that there are towns like this all over the country: small towns with 2 or 3 small streets with historic houses that have been converted into stores selling 1930s glassware, old world war 2 memorabilia, old books, and antique dolls with splotchy, discolored faces. I hadn't gone since college, but I've reading about perfume lovers finding vintage perfumes in these antique stores, so I decided to give it a shot. If you have a town like this near you, it's time to jump in the car and go!

vintage perfume bottles
What was I looking for? Two things: vintage Ralph Lauren Lauren (aka "Classic Lauren" by Ralph Lauren) and vintage Chanel perfumes. I've always loved the former and recently posted a mini perfume review of vintage Ralph Lauren Lauren on this blog. I've loved it for two decades and hate the reformulation. I've more recently discovered that I love Chanel (especially vintage Chanel perfumes). It took me a long time to decide this, even though I love the pre-exclusif Chanel Cuir de Russie. My aunt gave me her bottle last year, and at first, I thought little of it. At first, it was all gasoline and heavy leather jacket, plus a touch of fence varnish. It took 4 or 5 wearings for my nose to suss out the iris, the flowers, the light buttery leather-- and then I was hooked. I swapped for small samples of the other exclusifs and a few vintage perfumes like Chanel No. 19, Chanel No. 22, etc. Those arrive next week. I'll also get a small sample of the Exclusif version of Chanel Cuir de Russie, and I'll compare it with the vintage version and report back soon.

There are two types of antique stores in Micanopy: single-owner antique shops and a large, oversized antique mall that has little "nooks" that singular sellers rent and sell their goods out of. Surprisingly, ALL of the good perfume finds were in the antique mall and not in the singular stores. This might be in part because in the shops, there's sunlight. So the bottles that I found there had turned. The photos below are all shot on my camera phone in the antique mall.

So what did I find? Good stuff. Check out these pictures:

In this photo, you can see a small (10-15ml?) 2/3rd full bottle of vintage Givenchy L'Interdit pure parfum in a baggie and an empty bottle of what appears to have been Coty Chloe (though the top didn't look like my early 1980s bottle). There was a sign that said to try them, so I did! I tried the vintage L'Interdit, which I would never have had the chance to see or smell. Pretty incredible! And only $19.
vintage Givenchy L'interdit parfum perfume bottleThis pretty cabinet had a large selection of mini vintage perfumes, plus a few larger bottles. There was vintage Lou Lou by Cacharel and Coty Emeraude, right next to some old bottles of Victoria's Secret perfumes (here's one of the things you learn when shopping for vintage perfumes in antique stores: it's not all going to be gems!). There was an old bottle of Ralph Lauren Sarari. There were lots of old Avon perfume bottles, too. In the middle, that's a gorgeous bottle of vintage Guerlain L'heure Bleue. How much? $49 for the half-full looking bottle. I didn't buy it since I wasn't on the hunt for Guerlain. vintage Guerlain L'Heure Bleue perfume bottle

vintage perfume Guerlain L'Heure BleueI also found a sealed (strings still tied around the box) vintage Bal de Versailles parfum.
Most of the good perfumes were found in glass cabinets, but there was a large rack in the back of the antique store that was open and on shelves. The photo of the mini perfume bottles (at the top of this post) was from that section of the store, along with the rest below. There, I found a TON of great stuff. First, you'll see in the photo below the old bottle of Chanel No. 5 lotion. I'm not a huge fan of No. 5, and lotions don't keep well over time, so I didn't buy this one. It was next to Anais Anais, Oscar de la Renta, Aramis and vintage Yves Saint Laurent M7 After Shave which I considering purchasing for my husband.

vintage chanel perfume lotionvintage Yves Saint Laurent m7Here's where I found the vintage bottle of Ralph Lauren Lauren Classic Sport Tonic spray with sunscreen, which smelled like Classic Lauren plus that early 1980s chemical that they used to put in sunscreen. Amazing stuff. I held the metal can in my hand and shook it a little. It was about 1/3 full. I think it was priced at $9 or $19. I passed, because in the minis, I found two bottles that I had to buy.

Here's what I came home with (below). The smaller bottle is a 1.8ml vintage Cabochard by Gres pure parfum bottle with stopper. This is one of those strange, vintage leather perfumes that everyone should have in their collection: it's slightly masculine and incredibly long lasting. That bow is a grey plastic decoration like you used to find on 1980s Barbie dolls. It was $9.

Next to it is a small mini bottle of vintage Ralph Lauren Lauren Perfume. It literally says "perfume" on the bottom (not eau de parfum or parfum). I think it's an edp, but I'm not sure. If you know, message me. It's 3.5ml and lovely, with less carnation than you find in the edt and cologne versions of Lauren. If you are looking for this stuff, you can find it on ebay for pretty cheap. I don't think you can choose between this and the edt; you need both.

vintage cabochard gres parfum, vintage ralph lauren classic perfume

All photos taken using my camera phone while shopping. All rights reserved.


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