Closet Case: Hannah Metz

The artist, blogger and professional thrifter takes us on a tour of her apartment-turned-closet.

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  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    Brooklyn artist Hannah Metz (hannahkristinametz.com) may be best known for the photography blog she keeps with husband Landon Metz (hannahandlandon.blogspot.com), but she also stays busy running the couple's community art project, the Company of People (thecompanyofpeople.com), and thrifting for her wholesale vintage company, the Loved One (thelovedone.net). Thanks to her apartment's lack of closet space, her uniquely gorgeous collection of preloved threads is just as all over the place. "It's like going on a treasure hunt every time I have to find something in the house," says Metz, who made her first vintage purchase when she was 12 years old. "I love vintage clothing; it's just so much more exciting to dig for your attire, and much easier on the bank account."

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    Metz sources most of her vintage garments---including this garden party dress---from rag houses. "It's essentially a warehouse full of used attire," she explains. "Folks like me and [business partner Elvia Lahman] get to go through thousand-pound bales of sometimes-scary things, but occasionally, real gems will pop up."

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    This glittery jumpsuit is another one of Metz's rag-house finds. "Most of the things I have are from rag houses," she says. "The reason why they didn't go to a store is because they have holes in them, but I don't mind. It means that I have some really amazing pieces."

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    "There's a lot of velvet," admits Metz of her penchant for the fuzzy fabric. "This is one of my favorite velvet pieces; it's like a little magician's dress."

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    "This one I haven't worn out, just around the house," admits Metz of this heavily beaded gown from a rag house. "I'm trying to wear my stuff wherever I want, but I do feel like an eccentric old lady."

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    Though you'll discover plenty of velvet and sheer items in Metz's closet, you won't find an abundance of garments from any one particular time frame. "I really like to mix and match; it's a real mishmash," she reflects. "When people ask, 'What's your favorite decade?' my answer is always now, because you have all the previous decades to pick from and there's so much great stuff."

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    Metz holds up an old wedding dress from the '60s. "I can tell you when the garments are from, but I wish I knew more personal history," she says. "But that's kind of the fun of my job, I get to make it all up. Certain stains are telling of where they've been."

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    "I like hankies and scarves," says Metz, spreading out a memento from her time spent living in Pasadena. "This one I got when I left California because it is California."

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    Metz keeps her stock for the Loved One (thelovedone.net), an online vintage store and wholesale company that she runs with her partner Elvia Lahman, on top of a bookcase. "It's kind of like clothing Jenga," she jokes. "Fortunately, nothing is falling down right now, I've crashed it all in."

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    A black-and-white frock that's part of Metz's the Loved One stock hangs on the back of her bedroom door for now. "Unfortunately it's too small for me but it's been hanging out here until the right time to say adieu to it."

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    "This is my little Judy Garland dress," says Metz of her purchase from a now-defunct vintage store in Arizona. "It's one of my favorite dresses---one that I'm slowly destroying, but it's gorgeous."

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    These lace bloomers are part of Metz's forthcoming vintage-inspired lingerie line called the Loved One (thelovedone.net), which will be available for purchase online this Thanksgiving. "It's all sheer and very cheeky," says Metz.

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    Select pieces from Metz's wardrobe double as decorative wall art, including a vintage hat, a 1920s silk bra she hopes to reproduce for her lingerie line and her wedding dress. "I still wear the wedding dress," she admits. "My friend made it for me. It's an easy dress to wear and I don't think anybody ever suspects that it was the wedding dress." It's covered by a shawl that was a gift from her godmother.

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    "I have a bit of a hat obsession," Metz confesses. She displays an arch of vintage toppers above her "enormous dresser that looks like it should hold a lot of stuff, but it doesn't; some magic happens, like the drawers shrink when you close them." Metz discovered the armoire at a junk shop in Bushwick and the mirror in her neighbors' garbage. "It just kind of matched perfectly," she notes.

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    "Everything is people's hand-me-downs," says Metz. "Everyone knows that we love vintage, so they're like, 'I have all this junk, I'm just going to ship it to you!' and it's like Christmas when it arrives." She inherited this feathered hat from Landon's great-grandmother. "It's really neat," she remarks. "It's velvet and I think ostrich."

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    "This is one of my favorite hats," enthuses Metz. "It's like a little wood nymph; it's very spring."

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    "This summer I went through a real floral hat obsession," says Metz. She bought this chapeau made of millinery flowers from Arizona-based e-tailer Kitten Paws Vintage (kittenpawsvintage.com).

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    "I feel like King Triton from The Little Mermaid or something," jokes Metz of this rain cap by San Francisco designer Nicole Eymard (fashionforestry.blogspot.com). "She's a marvelous designer; she's one of my favorites. She's truly one of a kind."

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    "We went to the opera the other day and that was fun because I got to really dress up," says Metz, who wore this brocade frock with an old veil and short lace gloves. "I wear this dress a lot actually because it's comfortable and fancy, but you can hide the fanciness if you need to."

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    "We got some amazing shipments from Landon's grandma last year," recalls Metz. "I got all of these gloves that fit me. I think Landon's grandma and I were the same size."

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    Metz gets ladylike in a pair of demure lace gloves that belonged to Landon's grandmother.

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    Metz plucks one of her favorite sweaters from a pile of knits on the floor "that don't fit anywhere. We've kind of expanded our bed to this area," she jokes. "It's actually what a rag house is like, just these piles, so I kind of modeled it after that."

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    This cozy sweater belongs to Landon, but it's not uncommon to see Metz wearing it. "We end up sharing a lot of clothes," she notes. "We noticed that when we first got together, we were borrowing from each other. We also had the same haircut. It was weird."

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    Metz displays her jewelry---much of which belonged to Landon's great-grandmother---on a tray that was her own grandmother's. "A lot of this stuff is from my family, which makes it really special," she reflects.

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    Though Metz lines up most of her footwear in rows by the front door, she reserves her favorite pairs for a mini shoe shrine in her bedroom.

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    Metz adorned a clear pair of pumps with crab-shaped resin clip-ons by designer Nicole Eymard. "I kind of bedazzled them," she says.

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    Metz holds up a pair of Italian heels that once belonged to Landon's great-grandmother. "They're gorgeous," she gushes. "I haven't worn them out---just around the house because I'm terrified [of ruining them]."

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    "I love wearing these around the house," says Metz of her scalloped bedroom shoes. "They are fancier than some bunny slippers." She's currently working with local shoe company Jacques Levine (jacqueslevine.com), which is known for its marabou mule. "We're collaborating with them on a shoe design for our lingerie line, so I'm trying to bring back the bedroom shoe idea."

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    "These are from the '40s and I wear them all the time; they're my most sturdy pair of shoes," notes Metz. "My shoes usually get destroyed in the city---something weird happens and I'm limping home---but these ones just survive everything and I think they are beautiful."

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    With the exception of a pair of Landon's frames, these sunnies belong to houseguests who've accidentally left them behind. "Over the summer, we had these little potluck dinner parties with our friends to keep in touch and because of that, we started collecting everyone's sunglasses," explains Metz. "Mine are so scratched up and old that I can't see out of them very well, so these have done the trick."

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    Suitcases used to store important documents and photo negatives sit behind a row of Metz's purses. "I love vintage Dooney & Burke," she says.

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    Old suitcases from Landon's father are currently stuffed to the brim with socks. "Landon designs for American Apparel and he's doing repackaging for their socks, so we have a collection of them that he's reviewing to remodel," explains Metz. "I feel like a sock salesman that peddles in knee-highs."

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    "This doctor's bag was my purse until I accidentally locked it one day and couldn't open it, so I had to break into my own purse," laughs Metz. "Now it's home to random garbage, like a Mickey Mouse watch and the key that was supposed to work, but didn't."

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    Metz cozies up to a mink stole that belonged to Landon's great-grandmother. "It's so warm," she says. "It's a collection of minks and we had names for most of them; the first one in the front is named Frederick."

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    This Navajo-print rug is another hand-me-down from Landon's dad. "He's had it ever since he was little," says Metz. "Everything has a story in here!"

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    Metz models a vintage Abercrombie & Fitch fur hat that she recently discovered at a rag house. "It looks pretty '60s to me and it says "Made in Finland", so I don't think it's something new trying to look vintage, but I could be mistaken," she says. "It's pretty cute."

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    "I like this because its chartreuse," says Metz, revealing an even brighter lining underneath the '60s-era skirt. "I love how it kind of shines through the lacing."

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    "I'm kind of on a sequin kick," says Metz, referring to this glittery vest that she bought from a rag house to resell through the Loved One. "It's super jazzy."

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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    Metz holds up a book she discovered in an antiques store in Vancouver called The Secrets of Charm, flipping specifically to a chapter on how to style your hair according to your face shape. "The advice it has is classic," she says. "Apparently, this is how I'm supposed to wear my hair."

Photograph: David Rosenzweig

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Brooklyn artist Hannah Metz (hannahkristinametz.com) may be best known for the photography blog she keeps with husband Landon Metz (hannahandlandon.blogspot.com), but she also stays busy running the couple's community art project, the Company of People (thecompanyofpeople.com), and thrifting for her wholesale vintage company, the Loved One (thelovedone.net). Thanks to her apartment's lack of closet space, her uniquely gorgeous collection of preloved threads is just as all over the place. "It's like going on a treasure hunt every time I have to find something in the house," says Metz, who made her first vintage purchase when she was 12 years old. "I love vintage clothing; it's just so much more exciting to dig for your attire, and much easier on the bank account."

Her favorite NYC shops

Beacon's Closet 88 North 11th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-486-0816) * 92 Fifth Ave at Warren St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-230-1630) * beaconscloset.com
"I actually shop at Beacon's Closet almost exclusively because it's the only [vintage store] within my budget where I can have a good, long hunt and find real treasures," admits Metz.

No. 6 6 Centre Market Pl between Broome and Grand Sts (212-226-5759, no6store.com)
Metz counts this boutique as one of the "really gorgeous vintage stores that I could never afford but I like to go in and look," she says. "They have an excellently curated collection."

Atlantis Attic 771 Metropolitan Ave between Graham Ave and Humboldt St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-218-8670)
"I actually don't shop for myself a lot," confesses Metz. "When I shop for The Loved One, I end up finding stuff for myself. But Beacon's Closet and Atlantis Attic are my two shopping recommendations. It's all I really know!"

Video: Melissa Unger
Music: "Nightingale," by Gelber & Manning. Buy music by Gelber & Manning on CD Baby or see more at Gelber & Manning in Pictures.

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