Astral Days, the brainchild of a passionate vintage aficionado, Heather, is a Philadelphia-based treasure trove of carefully curated vintage fashion and unique finds. With a story that traces its roots back to a love for thrifting, Astral Days is a testament to the magic that can happen when a childhood fascination evolves into a lifelong pursuit.
Share how you started collecting vintage.
I’ve been shopping secondhand for pretty much my entire life. When I was a kid, we would go to thrift shops out of a combination of frugality and necessity. My dad is an archivist-historian and my mom is an artist, so I think their influence helped mold my interest in vintage fashion. I’m from New York, and when I was in high school I started taking the Long Island Railroad into the city on my own and going to vintage shops in the village. I was interested in unique novelty textiles, which I mostly found on old silk scarves and Huk-A-Poo-style polyester button-downs from the seventies. My interest in vintage never died down, and I realized the most creative and lucrative thing I could do with this passion would be to start selling my finds, which I started doing about a decade ago.
Astral Days is a canvas where Heather paints with inspiration gathered from a myriad of sources. New York City, with its kaleidoscope of styles and characters, left an indelible mark on her personal style. The city's diverse subway commuters prompted Heather to elevate her fashion game, inspiring her to be more creative and unique in her sartorial choices.
What or who are your style inspirations?
I find inspiration everywhere. New York City had a huge influence on my personal style; I felt like I had to step up my game just riding the subway because everyone looked so unique and amazing. I’m inspired by anyone with a strong sense of composition and proportion. I’m very detail-oriented, so I’m impressed by those who can see the big picture when styling a look; those people are often visual artists and Taurus women. Because my style can be pretty eclectic, I love to see others who have a lot going on but still look put-together--people who know what they like and wear it with confidence! As for vintage style inspiration, I love laid-back looks from the sixties and seventies with feminine yet comfortable silhouettes, and eighties Liz Claiborne. It’s also exciting to find inspiration in a reference point like a photograph or television character, and then search out a garment that channels that specific moment or vibe.
What is your favorite music to listen to while sourcing vintage? Whatever is playing in the store! I’m not walking around with my own soundtrack. I appreciate cool vintage shops that play music to match the merchandise, but truthfully, most of the places where I shop are more likely to be playing muzak versions of songs from the eighties. My ideal sourcing situation would be in a smaller setting, like a garage sale or flea market, where I can engage in conversation with fellow shoppers and merchants. While I’m photographing merchandise and doing other shop-related tasks, I enjoy podcasts; You’re Wrong About and Articles of Interest are my current favorites, the latter being a must-listen for all fashion lovers.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background.
When I was young, I dreamed of performing on Broadway, but that didn’t quite pan out. Instead, I studied English in the Hudson Valley and went on to teach middle school and do youth development work in Queens and Brooklyn. In my late twenties, I quit my full-time job and left the city after reading The Artist's Way. I found myself in Binghamton, New York, where I began sourcing vintage clothes to sell online and in-person at markets and festivals. I also wrote and edited for a small arts and culture paper then, and eventually found my way back into teaching. I met my husband at that time, and after a few years we made our way to Philly, where we now live with our son and a very lively Maine Coon named Ruglelach. Staying home with our little one has given me the opportunity to get back into selling vintage clothing; I also have another online shop where I sell archival prints from vintage and antique negatives. I’m getting back into some educational work, too, but being a mama is my main gig for the time being.
Astral Days, guided by Heather's unwavering passion, is not merely a vintage seller; it's an immersive journey through the ages, a celebration of unique fashion, and a commitment to preserving the stories woven into every vintage piece. With a carefully curated selection that mirrors Heather's eclectic tastes and keen eye for quality, Astral Days invites you to step into the world of vintage fashion and embark on a voyage of nostalgia and style.