I’ve been all about vintage lately (I’m on the lookout for a cool reading chair for my bedroom), so I struck out to find the not-new: vintage, antiques, slightly used — all those things you couldn’t find in, oh, say, an outlet mall that backs up highways for miles.

I’ve been driving by French Quarter Antiques and Interiors (2625 W. Britton; 749-8855) for years now and telling myself I must visit soon. Unlike most antique “malls,” it doesn’t do booths. The result is a very pretty, cohesive shop that never feels overwhelming or overstuffed.

The first thing I noticed was hanging above me: chandeliers, and a lot of them. There are some really fantastic lighting options available, from the ornate chandeliers dripping crystal to simple lamps.

French Quarter handles fine antiques, vintage and retro, plus some new gifts. I particularly loved the jewelry, with everything from gorgeous cameos to a silver necklace with a sterling whale pendant. A whole case was dedicated to brooches; check out the delicate gold bug with wings spread.

Nearly New (9218 N. Western; 848-4141) also has a fantastic case of jewelry. When I visited, a bright enamel “thunderbird” necklace had just arrived — very cool. There are lots of gently used, extremely well-organized clothes, but I stuck to the accessories.

There were some great purses (Dooney & Bourke and Coach) and pretty scarves (they just sold a vintage Chanel), but I was seriously in love with the cowboy boots. There are a ton for both men and women that range from the classic brown boot to the fancy stuff.

Nearly New also recently opened a bridal boutique (with the same “gently used” concept) right next door. I peeked inside and was impressed.

It’s a trek for me, but driving all the way out to Rink Gallery (3200 N. Rockwell; 787-7465) is worth it.

This massive antique and vintage store is in the middle of a remodel to add more booth space, but as always, the variety is endless. Seriously, you can spend hours wandering to find everything from a Royal typewriter to a red-and-white-striped candy dispenser like you’d see in a grocery store.

I particularly liked a low, hexagonal table painted lime green (it’d be perfect paired with a sleek, modern couch) and a massive white lamp that looked like an urn topped with a modern, dove gray drum shade. What I love most is that Rink runs the gamut from shabby chic to quirky to truly lovely pieces — there’s a little bit for everyone.

And what I really love is that all of these fantastic finds already have a few years on them. They might not be the hot new thing, but they know how to please us shoppers.

Photo by Mark Hancock

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