Drive east on Ceaser Chavez, past the trendy new WeatherUp bar, the delicious Mr.Natural, and several party piñata stores and you’ll find yourself at Maison d’Etoile.The ladies that inhabit this charming old east Austin house would describe it as an “independent department store”. It’s home to the flirty wig and lingerie shop Coco Coquette, Salon d’Etoile, and the most darling vintage shop in East Austin, Charm School Vintage.
Inside Charm School Vintage you can find it’s sweet and vivacious owner, Shari Gerstenberger. Shari, a Colorado native and graduate of Colorado College, opened Charm School Vintage inside the walls of Maison d’Etoile in 2010. Shari
is thoroughly mixed in Austin’s fashion and art scene, from working on Fashion Freakout to collaborating with photographers on photo shoots. Gotta love a woman with passion! Shari most recently collaborated with Free People for Austin’s Fashion Night Out creating a dreamy ethereal photo shoot.
Charm School Vintage is an absolute must stop for any lady looking for vintage in Austin. The clothing ranges from the Victorian Era to the 1990s. Whether you’re looking for a 1950s cocktail dress or a 1980s jumpsuit, you’ll be sure to feel like
a vintage beauty when you leave! The Queens’ toast Shari for starting her own business, and if you’re interested in doing the same Shari suggests checking out the Austin Women’s Auxiliary, an organization of support and resources that Charm
School itself is a part of.
You started Charm School Vintage when you were just 25 and have been very successful, do you have advice for woman out there trying to get their own business off the ground?
Don’t get so caught up on doing it perfectly that you don’t get yourself off the ground. You can’t expect yourself to be an expert at everything, so surround yourself with people who can help you.
What is it you love most about vintage?
I love the attention to detail you find with vintage clothes, and the look and feel of the fabrics. And I love the treasure hunt.
Many people are nervous to shop vintage, what advice would you have for
picking out a great a great vintage piece?
One of the beautiful things about vintage is that it already has a style of its own, so you don’t have to wear something that’s super trendy to be stylish. With vintage, you have a hundred years worth of styles to choose from, so you can pick what
really flatters your body and fits your personality.
Besides your own shop Charm School Vintage, do you have any recommendations for shopping vintage here in Austin, Texas?
Of course I fall in love a hundred times when I walk into Feathers or Laced With
Romance, but I can’t walk out of Room Service without finding something for me or
my house. The price is right and they always just have cool stuff.
What are you favorite places dine around town?
I love Justine’s, Blue Dahlia, Casa de Luz, House Pizza, and the beet sandwich at the Yellow Jacket Social Club.
As you’ve probably guessed, we’re big fans of the 1950s. Do you have a favorite
era of dressing?
I love them all, and I love them all mixed together. And really good styles and silhouettes keep reappearing year after year.