State of Mind: Anna Z. Gray

This week we’re happy to be channeling straight-up ‘fall in NY’ in all its cliched glory with Anna Z Gray. Anna is the co-founder of vintage-centric Object Limited, hub to rotating pop-ups and a digital app where vendors and buyers can resell and discover vintage treasures. We’ve followed Anna online for ages — she’s the kind of styling wizard we all aspire to be, the person who can go into a thrift store in a random town off the interstate in Arizona and emerge with an armful of scores…and then proceed to integrate everything she bought into real life with a non-precious, unapologetic ease. Here we discuss her business, vintage-searching secrets, and what it means to embrace impulsivity and invert the definition of ‘balance.’
Photos by Maya Moverman

 

THE WOLFE COAT, Linen, Rose

  

  

  

  

 

THE WOLFE COAT paired with Anna's own vintage

 


Tell us a story about a treasured vintage garment.

I’ve never been very precious about clothes, actually. I wear things until they’re falling apart or until my shoe guy tells me they’re beyond repair. So no single piece of clothing comes to mind but I just moved into a new apartment so my brain is pretty occupied with furniture and decor; I truly love this coffee table I found on Claude Home. It’s three round pinkish stone balls (that weigh 50 pounds each!) holding up a thick glass tabletop. It really makes our living room and I love it. 

 

There are so many ways to style vintage since everything is entirely one of a kind — do you have any go-to combinations?

So many ways! I like mixing prints and creating tonal outfits - all browns and creams for example. 

 

What sorts of irregularities and imperfections are you most drawn to in vintage?


I try to buy 100% natural fabrics because they last longer and look more timeless but sometimes there’s a rayon dress that I just can’t say no to. I don’t mind stains or holes in the things — I think they’re part of the piece’s story. I looooove a shoulder pad. And an oversized jacket. I’m pretty flexible with sizing when buying for myself and rarely get things tailored (though I probably should more).

 

Do you have any favorite cities for finding vintage?

Toronto! Bar Harbor, ME. Vancouver. Richmond, VA.

  

  

  

 

 

  

 

  

How might someone describe you? What has helped you — a person, an experience, a pattern — embrace this definition?


I was recently having a conversation with a friend about how impulsive I am. I am always telling new partners that I love them first, and tend to say it quickly into the relationship. I think life is both short and very long and I don’t like beating around the bush about feelings or ideas. Games are boring and take away from the meat of the matter, you know? I’m very bossy because I trust my taste and intuition and have been this way since I was very small (my parents had me young so I was always the oldest of the available playmates). These are two personality traits that I covet in myself. Are they right? Are they wrong? Who knows! But so far, they’re working.

  

How have you come to know yourself differently in the past year?

Since starting Object Limited, I find that my relationship to vintage clothing has changed a lot in an interesting way. Moving from using a purely selfish lens (will I wear this? How will I wear this? Does this fit me?) to one that accommodates a wide range of customers (how can one wear this? etc) is an interesting flip of POV. I still love vintage shopping so much and keep my favorites for myself (!) but am very selective about my keeps because, ultimately, the business is boss and sales are important. Shopping for other people also means that I can buy for different aesthetics, which is really fun. 

I turned 30 this year and made a lot of big changes in service of myself; my life previously was about learning and understanding my relationships to/with other people. And it was great! I love my friends/partners and giving them my time/love/energy/whatever. But this decade’s focus is on cultivating what’s truly important and valuable to me. I think it’s working so far. So, moving focus from the selfish to community in work and from community to selfish in my personal life. Sounds like balance to me! 

  

Answers are hidden in plain sight. Tell us about a recent (re)discovery in your everyday.

I still fucking love Twix. 

  

How we show up (figuratively speaking) anywhere is how we show up everywhere. Do you have a personal philosophy for living or a way of seeing that extends across everything you do?

Choose your battles, be conscientious, listen, and don’t be a dick.

  

 

 

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