How to Replace Fast Fashion with Flea Market Finds (and Look Effortless) with Andreina Mendez

Secondhand goodness.

Secondhand goodness.

I don’t know how I stumbled on Andreina’s Instagram but I remember I heavily stalked and found myself on images from 2017… The Venezuelan-born visual merchandiser and vintage store owner’s style looks effortless, like she spent 10 minutes getting ready in the AM, while still pulling together the ideal cool-girl outfit. She exudes an I-don’t-care-what-you-think confidence that makes you want to care even more about her and her style. Read below to learn how she does it (and follow her on Instagram for more of her looks and her uncensored thoughts on political and social issues in Venezuela.) Just be careful; you won’t want to stop consuming her feed.

So, who are you? :)

My name is Andreina Mendez. I'm from Venezuela but have lived in Argentina for almost 9 years and now temporarily living in Chicago. I have a vintage store called As If! (because of the catchy phrase from the 90s movie Clueless). I also do visual merchandising.

How do you describe your style? 

I can't really say I have a specific style. It really depends on my mood and occasion. I love the dramatic shoulder pads and puffy sleeves of the 80s as much as I love the minimalism style of Winona Ryder and Kate Moss in the 90s. 

90s sitcom star. The blouse is a vintage find from a charitable organization in Buenos Aires.

90s sitcom star. The blouse is a vintage find from a charitable organization in Buenos Aires.

How did you get into vintage clothing? 

I think It all started with me having a need I didn't know I had. I was kind of bored of the fast fashion stores and one Sunday I went to a flea market in my city in Venezuela. I found a pair of vintage Levi's that became my favorite item. I felt like I found gold and after that I kept visiting that flea market for years. 

What are your tips for people who wants to integrate vintage into their wardrobes but don't know where to start? 

First I'd start by saying that not all vintage is flamboyant and extravagant. You can find amazing vintage pieces that look current, so you can start from choosing classic but cool items. Do a little bit of research on decades you can relate to and find out why (in terms of clothing). That way, when you go to a vintage store you won't feel that lost. 

The coat is from Salvation Army, shirt is Nike Japan, and the purse is a vintage find from the charitable organization  Feria Misericordia  in Buenos Aires.

The coat is from Salvation Army, shirt is Nike Japan, and the purse is a vintage find from the charitable organization Feria Misericordia in Buenos Aires.

What is your go-to look?

My go-to look is vintage Levi's shorts, (if the weather is cold I wear tights underneath them), a black cozy cardigan I bought at Salvation Army, and any top, blouse or t-shirt I find in my closet, and my classic Reebok sneakers.

Flea market Levi’s find.

Flea market Levi’s find.

What's a piece in your closet you wear to make more of a statement?

I have this leather jacket that my aunt gave me from when she was 17 and it has huge sleeves. I look like an NFL football player and I love it!

Put me in, coach. Vintage leather coat and earrings by Brazilian brand  Pala .

Put me in, coach. Vintage leather coat and earrings by Brazilian brand Pala.

What brands vintage stores do you love? 

I can always say Salvation Army. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, there is this store called De La Provincia that I love. In the US I like Kokorokoko Vintage in Chicago, in Seville, Spain, Oh Lalá Vintage is by go-to, and in Berlin and across Europe it’s Humana.

Thank you, Andreina!

Thank you, Andreina!