For as long as I’ve lived in New York, I’ve been shopping vintage. I find great joy in roaming the streets downtown and discovering eclectic shops with vintage pieces. When I travel to LA, I always try to fit in some time for vintage shopping at the great shops I’ve discovered and researched.
I love seeking out stylish pieces by my favorite designers from different periods, especially when priced at great value. I also appreciate the way fashion was designed and crafted decades ago – with great attention to detail and quality, and so to score a piece that appeals to me is gratifying.
Chanel, Hermes, Halston, Dior and Pucci are some of my favorites labels that I’ve collected and still hold on to. I’ve found that a playful way to express myself is by mixing my vintage pieces from different decades and styling them with pieces from my wardrobe.
I love feeling unique when I wear vintage, knowing that no one else will be wearing the same thing.
Throughout the years, I’ve gone through phases of shopping vintage. At one point, I was afraid of the energy and vibration that second hand pieces could bring. Now I have my vintage carefully dry cleaned immediately after purchasing. I also smudge the pieces with sage and palo santo. I’m more selective with shopping vintage now. When I buy something I make sure it’s gently worn.
Shopping vintage also makes me feel good about doing my part to save the environment.By buying vintage and second-hand clothing, we give items a second lifetime, expand their lifecycle and reduce their environmental footprint.
Research estimates that 98 percent of the clothing purchased in the U.S. comes from abroad. That means that a sweater hanging on the rack at a department store traveled thousands of miles (using up energy and polluting the planet with coal and natural gas along its way) to the store and ultimately an American closet. With shopping vintage we avoid that toxic process.
When shopping vintage here are some things to keep in mind:
Start with a classic: If you’re new to vintage hunting, it’s worth seeking out something timeless to start. A good first piece of vintage for the newly initiated is something basic and classic. Perhaps a 1950’s beaded cardigan or a 1960’s little black dress. Make it something you can wear over and over again that won’t lose its luster right away.
Know your eras: The easiest eras to shop tend to be the most recent. There is naturally more of an abundance to choose from and pieces from the 1960’s onwards are the easiest to fit into a contemporary wardrobe. Items from before the 60’s might be considered too “costume”if not incorporated well into your personal style.
Do your research: Learn how to spot condition issues. Discover which eras work for you and how collectable an item is before you jump in. Vintage fashion as an investment is best left to the truly educated. It’s important to know how to recognize and identify the signs that may make an
item valuable and collectable. You should be well versed on couture, designers and detail. To better educate yourself, talk to people who run various local high-end vintage stores or seek out local vintage dealers.
Tailor it: If you fall in love with a vintage piece that doesn’t quite fit, remember you can always have itnipped and tucked. Don’t be afraid to invest a little bit of money to have it properly tailored to your body. If you invest $30 in having the cuffs shortened or the waist slightly taken in, it can make a huge difference. That said, some items simply cannot be altered, so it pays to be aware of your body’s proportions. No matter how much you adore the fabric of a coat or the drape of a dress, if they’re too short or long-waisted, it may not read right.
Feel the fabric: You may fall in love with a beautifully printed garment or a beaded dress, but check to see if the fabric isin good condition. I always like to really look at and touch the clothing, to make sure it still has life in it. Vintage pieces often get brittle and will shatter. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than investing money in something and having it fall apart on you. If a garment looks like it’s cracking, pulling, falling apart, or fading, it’s probably wise to leave it.
Say no to plastic: Never store your vintage in plastic because it won’t allow a garment to breathe. Your pieces can also discolor.
Clean the energy: After purchasing your vintage piece, have it dry cleaned with a dry cleaner that will treat your garment with delicate care. You can either leave it out in the sun for a day and or smudge with sage and or palo santo to clear energy and vibration.
Here are some of my favorite vintage stores I shop at:
Narnia Vintage Brooklyn
No.6 Vintage NY
People of Tomorrow Brooklyn
First Dibs online
Painted Bird LA
Decades NY /LA