How Annette Vartanian Turned Her Love of Vintage Into a Career
Photos via Stefanie Meier
Despite the name of her fashion and lifestyle blog, A Vintage Splendor, Annette Vartanian doesn't necessarily look like stereotypical image of a self-professed vintage lover — and that's exactly what's made her so successful. The LA native has won many fans and followers because she's created an aesthetic that seamlessly integrates vintage and modern pieces, both in her personal wardrobe and her chic Pasadena home.
Part of Vartanian's success could be attributed to her background in public relations. As founder of Splendor Digital, a marketing and PR agency, she knows the importance of engaging with her readers. And so far the skills are paying off: Annette has been featured in stylish publications like The Zoe Report and Domino, and teamed up with brands including Target, Starbucks, Banana Republic, and Murad, and with A Vintage Splendor she's not only sharing her admirable daily ensembles, but creating shopping guides and giving vintage tips to her readers readers who share her passion — or are looking to dabble with vintage in their wardrobe but aren't sure where to start.
We caught up with the blogger, boss lady, and mama of little girl Harlee, to find out how she turned her love of vintage into something bigger than she'd ever imagined, as well as what's the most prized vintage piece in her closet, and how her daughter is already following in her stylish footsteps.
What made you first fall in love with vintage?
One of my favorite movies as a child — and even today — is Pillow Talk. As a girl, I was obsessed with Doris Day’s character’s wardrobe and apartment. I think that made me interested in vintage and so I would drag my mom to vintage shops and shows so I could find unique pieces. I have vivid memories of being 10 years old and searching for the perfect cape for winter! I’ve also been inspired by Cher since I can remember. Her long hair hair and out of this world outfits still amazes me!
How did your background in public relations prepare you for launching your blog?
To be successful in PR, I think you need to tell a good story and develop relationships with everyone. When it comes to my blog, I’m telling the story of vintage through a very specific lens: my experience and love for vintage. I like to tell the story of how I shop for vintage pieces and then show my readers how I integrate these pieces into my home or wardrobe for unique style. I keep the story relatable and share tips for my readers so they can recreate the look but for their own unique style. I’ve also developed some of the most amazing relationships with readers, shop owners, and other vintage obsessed bloggers. I answer every question or request I get in my DM or email and I love building these relationships throughout the world with other vintage-loving people. I started offering vintage shopping tours because of these relationships I had created. One of my readers was visiting Los Angeles over a holiday weekend and asked if I could take her to some of my favorite vintage shops. I did, and since then I’ve hosted a series of shopping tours and have helped style people’s homes and wardrobes!
How did you first start A Vintage Splendor?
I started the blog to share my outfits and the story behind each piece, since I would get asked about them all the time when I was at work, going out with friends, etc. I wanted to make vintage or thrifting approachable for everyone, but also share that vintage doesn’t have to mean retro or pin-up. I’ve always been inspired by classic films but also the latest trends from fashion houses. I like to see what Gucci is producing and then hit the flea market or thrift store and creating a look that is all vintage but with a nod to the current trend. When I started AVS, I didn’t think there would be so many people interested in vintage, but I was wrong.
You're always so stylish! What's your go-to casual day look?
Thank you! My go-to casual looks are either a vintage mini dress with flats or vintage Levi’s paired with vintage tee and a red lip.
I'm sure it's hard to choose, but do you have an all-time favorite piece? Or one that's most memorable? If so tell us its story!
My all time favorite is a two-piece outfit that belonged to my mom. It’s from the '60s and she had it custom made — I’m so happy she kept it all these years! I wear the pieces together or separately all the time. From the psychadelic print to the halter neck top and maxi skirt, this outfit embodies every single thing I love about fashion from that decade. I can’t wait to pass it down to Harlee!
Does Harlee already have a sense of style? If so what is it?
OMG yes she does! Harlee is already obsessed with accessories and makeup. One of my friends gave me this adorable vintage mini wicker bag shaped like a pig. Harlee stole it from me and now wears it every time we go out of the house! She loves to pose in front of the mirror to check out her #OOTD. She also loves to sit on my lap while I do my make up. She has a brush she uses and lipstick that she gets everywhere, but it’s one of my favorite things to do with her.
Since becoming a mom, has your style philosophy changed much?
I definitely wear more flats that I did before being a mom, but my overall style hasn’t changed much. Even when I was pregnant, I rocked a crop top! I’m a firm believer that you should always dress up in your favorite pieces!