vintage 60s trapeze dress – found on Whurl
(Bouffant hair tutorial, here)
There’s an immediate realization when you step into my personal closet: this girl loves vintage. I like to mix old and new, high(ish) and low, contemporary and vintage…but while I shop for almost all of my modern-day clothing online, I cannot resist a brick and mortar vintage or thrift shop, flea market, or roadside antique store. It also spills into online territory, thanks to the leagues of great vintage sellers of the internet. Though I will stumble into any vintage shop I come across, and love the hunt of thrifting, I’m focusing on my steadfast favorite vintage shops. I’m also skipping Florida, because I pretty much exclusively go thrifting, there! Without further ado, here is where I buy my vintage clothing, online, in NYC, and LA:
Whurl (app): Whurl is a “community-driven vintage marketplace” app where you can buy, sell, or request vintage goods. I often peruse the marketplace and have bought a few gems on there (including this dreamy 60s trapeze dress, above), but the best part about the app is that you can post photos of what you’re looking for, and then sellers can respond with their matching offerings. It’s like having a bunch of personal shoppers!
Etsy: I know this is a given, and a very general answer, but I don’t follow many vintage sellers on Etsy – I use search terms. Etsy has a pretty great, user-friendly interface, making it easy to narrow everything down. Otherwise, you’d be sifting through tons of stuff all day. My most popular search (under the vintage women’s clothing section): 60s trapeze mini dress. What a surprise. I also shop for a lot of handmade goods on Etsy, but I think I need to a separate post about all of that!
No Relation Vintage (Gowanus — 654 Sackett St, Brooklyn, NY 11217): This large vintage shop is one of the many L Train Vintage outposts, which can be found in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The Gowanus, Brooklyn location is my favorite for a few reasons: it’s huge, it’s very close to my studio, and the prices are great (even by other cities’ standards). It’s divided into two sides (men and women), with both sides packed to the brim with clothing, shoes, and a good selection of scarves. It’s definitely one of those places where you need to sift through a ton of stuff to find something you want, so if you’re looking for a meticulously curated stores with showroom pieces, this is not for you…there’s plenty of that in NYC, though! But since I’m not looking to spend a ton of money on vintage, I prefer hunting for diamonds in the rough. They get new stock very frequently, so check back often. Tip: they always have some great vintage Coach bags, behind the counter.
Beacon’s Closet (multiple locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan): A buy/sell/trade store with a good mix of contemporary and vintage, Beacon’s Closet is a Brooklyn institution — and even a topic on Broad City. It’s a great place to unload your unwanted clothing for cash or credit, but they’re notoriously choosy (and sometimes, it can be a little confusing about what they do and do not take). “I can give you $13,000 in store credit or $903 in cash.” That being said, I often find some great vintage, there…and I’ve had the best luck selling at the Park Slope location (and the least at Greenpoint).
Brooklyn Flea (multiple locations): I save my weekend Brooklyn Flea trips for the outdoor season, which is almost upon us! There are several locations, but I usually prefer the ones near the water (DUMBO and Williamsburg), because of the breeze and the view. You can shop for handmade, vintage, and food (maybe my favorite part) – and don’t miss their counterpart, Smorgasburg, for even more good eats.
Manhattan Vintage Show (seasonal): If I’m in town during the Manhattan Vintage Show, you will find me there. I spend hours going through all of the vendor’s racks. There’s something for everyone (there’s lots of designer vintage and truly antique clothing, too), and the prices and offerings vary from dealer to dealer.
Shareen Vintage (Downtown — 1721 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012): There’s a Shareen Vintage in NYC, but I’ve strangely never been there (I know, weird). The Downtown LA location, however, is a vintage-lover’s dream. The clothing is thoughtfully arranged by era (there’s also a huge bridal selection), which is especially handy when you’re pressed for time and know what style you’re looking for…but I still prefer going through every rack.
Jet Rag (825 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046): Even though this place can definitely be hit or miss, I felt like I had to put it on the list for their $1 Sunday sales, which are held in the parking lot. People get pretty competitive, so make sure you get there before they open up the bundles. Once they’re open, run and grab as much as you can – then start sorting. Kim once bought a hideous 80s wedding dress (and then her mom told her she could wear it to a cocktail party…hahaha!), just because it was $1. While I don’t recommend doing that, you never know what you’ll find.
Squaresville (Los Feliz –1800 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027): A quick stop-in at Squaresville is good for two reasons: I usually walk out with a great vintage tee or a 90s grunge babydoll dress, and I can walk down the street for a churro ice cream sandwich (with horchata sherbet, of course!) at Churro Borough.
Playclothes (Burbank –3100 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505): This is probably my favorite and most-visited vintage spot. They have a very large selection with good prices, and the shopping experience is cozy and inviting. Plus, the dressing room is pretty cute, parking isn’t an issue, and you can wander down the street and visit all of the other [smaller] vintage shops in the area.