But there’s always an exception to the rule. Think of vintage shopping as the movie He’s Just Not That Into You – you know, where the frontloaded cast of celebrities teaches the female audience that once you stop acting desperate, you will find the man of your dreams. In this case, you will find the vintage items of your dreams – ones that look fresh off the F/W ’12 runway. Play it cool, ladies!
Whenever complaints about vintage stores become the topic of conversation in New York City (“They’re too overpriced,” “I can never find anything good,” etc.), there’s always that one person who knows someone who knows someone who found the most fabulous multi-colored Valentino sweater for $30 (my friend found one – it happened). These following tips will guide you closer to finding something rad.
Many of these items may be the last surviving version of its brand. Arguably every piece of clothing was created out of the context of the era, so if you see something you like on the streets or on a friend, take note of it and search for a similar style at vintage stores. You probably won’t find what you’re looking for during the first few stores you visit. You probably won’t find it for a few months, or years, actually. But if you stay persistent and keep a mental note of that Led Zeppelin t-shirt you borrowed from your friend, you WILL find it.
If you do finally stumble upon the item of your dreams, and it’s way more expensive than you thought, buy it anyway. You will deeply regret giving it up. If you’ve been thinking about such an item for so long already, you should make the purchase, wear it every day, and save the grief for your wallet.
What if you don’t know what you want and are simply looking for an impulse buy? Make sure to look for timeless pieces – jackets, mod dresses, pea coats, edgy t-shirts and leather boots. Definitely avoid wool or polyester sweaters, though. As rad as you would look rocking one of these patterned Bill Cosby sweaters at an ugly sweater party, vintage sweaters incredibly itchy without fail.
You should, however, search for pieces with a lot of detail, which you won’t be able to find at current stores. Pairing these pieces with anything – even clothes from Forever 21 – will make your outfit look “street-style-photographer” worthy. And if you want to spend as little money as possible, check out the Salvation Army and thrift stores, which are generally cheaper than actual “vintage stores.” However, what money you save from shopping at said thrift stores, you will lose in time – it definitely takes longer to find rad items at these stores.
Whatever you end up finding, make sure you check the garment, which should be free of armpit stains, missing buttons, or holes (obviously).
Shopping for vintage clothing can take an entire day, and only the strongest survive. Just make sure you shop alone or bring an equally-dedicated friend for morale boosting and motivation, which will come in handy after the first few stores. Begin your excursion as early as possible (the best items are sold early in the day), stay focused and enjoy a hot shower when you get home.
Here are some vintage stores NYU Local recommends:
No Relation – 204 1st Ave
Tokio 7 – 83 E 7th St
Beacon’s Closet (Williamsburg) – 88 N 11th St
Search and Destroy – 25 St. Marks Pl
Physical Graffiti – 96 St. Marks Pl.
Metropolis – 43 3rd Ave
Buffalo Exchange – 332 E 11th St