Oldies but Goodies: How to Vintage Shop Like You Actually Know What You’re Doing
When we visited Austin—vintage-store capital of the universe, maybe?—we really wanted to score a perfect pair of nineties overalls or a Sally Draper-worthy dress. But here’s the thing: We suck at combing racks of eighties knits and fifty-year-old maxi dresses. Thankfully, we had our girl Elizabeth Kott to help us sort it out—she runs the top-notch consignment site Closet Rich and seriously knows a find when she sees one. Get her tips here and rest assured that we left Texas with a few new-to-us pieces that made packing that carry-on even trickier. —erica
ELIZABETH KOTT’S PROTIPS:
1) Know what vibe you’re going for—and reject all else.
“My target look: fancy grandma-meets-Jordan Catalano. When you do ripped denim, I think it’s really important that it be balanced with something tailored and chic—you don’t want to go full Catalano.”
2) Have a tailor (or three) in your arsenal.
“My vintage collection started off with items that were my grandma’s and my mom’s that I just updated through tailoring, and I think that is a really key thing—to have a tailor who can execute what it is that you want. I have three different types of tailors: one tailor for hemming of jeans, one who can restructure a cheap dress, and somebody I can trust with amazing heirloom pieces. Usually, with dresses, it’s about streamlining them—making them a little more formfitting—and taking up the hem. And, in most cases, you can take the shoulder pads out of something as long as you get it tailored afterward.”
3) Avoid the crowds.
“I’ve been going to the Long Beach Antique Market, which is actually more furniture-based—which means that there aren’t as many people there shopping for clothes.”
4) Hone in on the categories that work for you.
“Dresses and coats are big for me. I’ve never bought bathing suits. Vintage pants are hard for me—because of the fit—but vintage denim is definitely a worthy time investment. And I don’t shop vintage shoes, but I’m not opposed to, like, a vintage Ferragamo flat.”
5) Pay attention to the little things.
“I look for special details like embroidery or pleating—or fabrics, like silk, that hold up.”
6) When it comes to eBay and Etsy, you better know what you’re trying to find.
“I have done some eBay and Etsy searches. For instance, if there’s a certain type of coat I want, I can go there to search for really specific things, like a dope raincoat.”
7) Think about outfitting your home, too.
“I love vintage scarves. I make pillows out of them—I have a collection, and that’s a great way to display it. I also like the idea of just hanging them.”
8) Know how to get a cheap fix.
“I think one of the best finds at vintage stores is a fun, patterned dress that you can pay under $30 for and do a $20, max, alteration. Then you have an amazing dress for $50 or so. I think that’s the type of thing that spices up your wardrobe that isn’t a huge investment but that you can feel super-confident in.”
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Oldies but Goodies: 29 of the Best Vintage Stores EVER—According to the Designers Who Shop Them
Looking for a worn-in Wrangler jacket? A super-fly seventies Halston dress? Then you’re going to want to keep reading. —erica
Some dope shoes from Marmalade Vintage.
About Glamour, Williamsburg
Tara St James of Study: “I am really hesitant about submitting this because I feel like I’m giving up a best-kept secret, but here goes: My favorite vintage shop, by far, is About Glamour. It is the best place to find nearly new and vintage Japanese designers for great prices—including Yohji, Comme des Garçons, Zucca—as well as a lot of Vivienne Westwood. But shhhh!”
CJS Sales, Garment District
Stacy Herzog of frieda&nellie: “It is like going on a crazy treasure hunt for vintage jewels. You have to swim and dig through boxes and piles of inventory. The signed, rare, crystal wowzer pieces I have found make it well worth the hunt. It is unlike any vintage store, flea market, or warehouse I have ever been to.”
Fox & Fawn, Greenpoint and Bushwick
Sara Gates of Cook & Gates: “My absolute favorite vintage source is Fox & Fawn. Best of all is you can buy items directly off their Instagram feed. Call the store and get your payment info on file—then all you have to do is be the first to write ‘ring me up’ and your last name on any item you see, and it’s yours. Sheer brilliance!”
Marmalade Vintage, Little Italy
Ann Yee: “They have stand-out pieces and a great mix of designers. I’m always so inspired because of the abundance in texture, color, and pattern. I feel like I’m walking into a collage.”
No Relation Vintage, East Village
Collette Ishiyama: “This is a tough one, as I love a good treasure hunt and have many favorite spots in NYC No Relation Vintage in the East Village is pretty great. You really have to dig, but I found a camel Burberry trench there a few years ago for about $50.”
Stella Dallas, Williamsburg
Nikki Chasin: “The home store is great for textiles, and the clothing store is amazing, especially for old athletic and military garb. The last time I was there, they had a bulletproof vest!”
Andrew Spargo of GREI.: “We go there often when getting started each season. Many times I’ll buy fabric and indigo-dye it for personal pieces.”
Larry Paul of GREI.: “It’s also the bandana mother lode. They usually have a couple bins full of assorted colors—most are fairly common, but if you dig hard enough, there are rare finds.”
Yesterday’s News, Carroll Gardens
Annika Jermyn of mrs.Jermyn: “They get furniture from old brownstones around Brooklyn mostly. I pass this store every day on my way to the studio and often check out their treasures just for inspiration, even if I’m not buying anything.”
The Sweet As… space—stunning, right?!
Animal House, Venice
Sophie Monet Okulick of Sophie Monet: “I’ve been shopping at Animal House since I was 13. I love the tiki bar-meets-rock band hangout vibe. The owner collects vintage Pucci and skateboards from the sixties. You can always find a killer vintage tee and perfectly distressed jean jacket among the racks.”
Jeet Sohal of Bare: “I always find something that I absolutely cannot live without be it a fifties tulle gown, an Irish linen blouse, a French twenties cropped cardigan, or a Greek metalwork belt.”
Rose Bowl Flea Market, Pasadena
Tere Artigas of Gabriela Artigas: “I’m not into vintage clothing, but I love vintage furniture and antiques! Her, you can find Danish pottery, California design, and mid-century furniture in impeccable. It’s just great!”
The perfect suede bomber, c/o Where I Was From.
Brimfield Antique Show, Brimfield, Massachusetts
Jaclyn Mayer of Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer: “My favorite spot is probably Brimfield because you can wander for hours and never know what you’re going to find.”
Captain Betty’s, Delaware, Ohio
Allison Sires of Thomas Sires: “I grew up in Columbus, which is nearby, so my friends and I started going to Betty’s when we were in high school. When I’m back home, I still make a trip to check out what’s there. As one Yelp reviewer put it, ‘Captain Betty’s personality complements her eclectic collection of vintage clothing.’ If you’ve met Betty, you know what he’s talking about—which is a reason in itself to visit the shop.”
Colorado—like, the whole state
Isabel Halley: “My most favorite vintage sources are thrift stores in Colorado. The entire state is filled with an incredible range from cheap Salvation Armies outside of Denver that have stellar, perfectly worn denim to incredibly well-priced consignment stores in Aspen.”
My Sisters’ Closet, St. Paul, Minnesota
Jennie Engelhardt of Hare+Hart: “Living in New York, I have a plethora of great vintage stores within walking distance from my apartment, but my favorite is still over 1000 miles away in my home state of Minnesota. My mom and I discovered My Sisters’ Closet while driving down Grand Avenue in St. Paul on our way to get homemade chocolate from Just Truffles (another great Minnesota find). The store is a mix of vintage and consignment, and the owner does such a good job curating it that I never walk away without something really unique and special. I’ve found so many amazing pieces there—including a collarless eighties Chanel blazer for $145 that has become my staple jacket this fall.”
Orbuni wao-woo, Twi, Accra, Ghana
Maryanne Mathias of Osei-Duro: “The Accra bend-down, or ‘Orbuni wao-woo’— which means ‘dead white-man’s market’ in Twi. There are tons of bales of vintage castaways from England, Canada, and Korea. You can find piles of brightly printed gathered skirts, or amazingly worn Korean printed undershirts.”
Ragtag, Tokyo, Japan
Christine Marcelino of Materials + Process: “I don’t shop vintage much, but I did go to great spots in Japan. My favorite was called Ragtag in Harajuku. It has a great assortment of streetwear, formalwear, and designer labels. All the products are in amazing condition.”
Thanx God I’m a V.I.P., Paris, France
Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada: “I go here every time I’m in town. Their vintage YSL collection is remarkable. I’ve gotten amazing, lifelong pieces here, such as Jean Paul Gaultier silk pajamas and floral-print Dries van Noten dress pants.”
Where I Was From, Online!
Emily Sugihara of Baggu: “Claire is a friend and has AMAZING taste. I can reliably find something I love there.”
Ellen Van Der Laan of Baggu: “Their taste is totally WOWEE ZOWEE!”
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See the Antique Pieces Behind Erica Weiner’s Fine-Jewelry Collection 1909
The designer and this project? They go way back.
Google 1909, and you’ll learn that that marked the year Robert Peary and Matthew Henson became the first explorers to reach the North Pole (um, awesome). It also happens to be the year Erica Weiner’s grandmother was born—and the name she chose for her fine-jewelry line. “We had this incredible access to antique jewelry. We would get so attached to certain pieces that we’d feel sad when we sold them. That’s how the collection 1909 started—my business partner and I had a dozen pieces that we weren’t willing to part with, and we thought, ‘Let’s reproduce them,’” Erica explains. Here, she dishes on the old inspo behind her new undertaking. —alisha prakash
"The inspiration for our bow ring came from this Victorian piece. The decorative engraving on the band had worn away badly, so we recreated it all the way around on our version. The multi-colored turquoise was something we loved and really wanted to incorporate into our own version, but we found it to be really hard because the color variation occurs from contact with your skin’s oils over the years. The turquoise we use on our version is reclaimed from old jewelry from the 20th century, but that’s just not old enough to get those really weird green and yellow hues."
"Our Roman earrings—we’re still developing them!—were inspired by a pair of 23-karat yellow gold ancient Roman earrings I bought from an antiquities dealer. They’re 2,000 years old. They were, I think, meant to be put on by a jeweler, so they would be in your ears permanently. Our version of simple, circular hoops have similar twisting wire decorations. This picture is a work-in-progress.”
"I’m not totally sure what era these atomic rings are even are from—they look like fifties or sixties. For our version, we wanted to lighten it up completely, so we made this double band with thin wire.”
"Our arrow bands were inspired by a totally cheap-o 1970s ring we found at a Brimfield Flea Market. The ring was literally five bucks. We thought the design was so perfect—we saw a lot of possibility in the shape. Here, we’ve done it in white gold with diamonds and yellow, 14-karat gold with turquoise."
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See the Nuttiest Pieces in Eve Tobolka’s Vintage Jewelry Collection
Open your eyes—sparkly or otherwise—to this goodness.
Eve Tobolka of the bold, metal-fueled jewelry line Alynne Lavigne has been collecting jewelry since she was a kid. Though she’s honed her radar to detect vintage Dior, her personal collection, housed in dozens of lucite boxes, is filled with pieces that resonate on a more personal level—which is to say: some of them are borderline crazy. In a good way! More on her favorites below. —jackie varriano
“This piece is made of glass and stone beads, and it was given to me by a good friend. She bought it in Paris in the eighties, and she’s had it in her closet forever. I’m obsessed with it. I’m sure I get looks when I wear it, but I don’t care. I’m also really into Game of Thrones right now, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t wear it while watching it.”
“I’m really into things that look back at me. And I really like jewelry that’s funny. I wear the Barbie face, and I wear the seal—a seal in French is phoque, and I call that my fat phoque. Like, who the hell makes a fat seal brooch? That is the funniest thing ever.”
“All of these look like little, weird sea-creature robots. I guess I’m attracted to some Industrial Age kind of design. I’m so building toward being one of those fabulous old ladies who always wears red lipstick with huge eyewear and is totally covered in baubles. I can’t wait!”
“Real enamel is made with lead, and they banned it because it’s toxic. It’s not too hard to find pieces, but they’re not necessarily popular. A lot of the designs are also very seventies. I’m super-attracted to how they feel.”
“I love mermaids; maybe that’s why I love fish things. This ring is going nowhere, except my jewelry box and my hand. I like to tell people it came to me in a dream.”
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6 Spots Hillary Taymour Says You’ve Gotta Hit in Joshua Tree
Girlfriend goes there at least twice annually. So she knows what she’s talking about.
Hillary, hiding behind a friendly cactus.
“Joshua Tree is such an amazing place. The energy there is something I have never felt anywhere else,” says Hillary Taymour, the mastermind behind the rad bag-and-apparel line Collina Strada who makes her way from Brooklyn to J-Tree for the holidays and post-Coachella every year. So where are the best places to get your hike on, catch some stellar views, soak up live music, and score vintage? Hillary gives us the lowdown. —alisha prakash
The best room around, in Hillary’s opinion—that floor!
“I stay at this room that you can rent through the Joshua Tree Inn called the Fox. It’s on this amazing artist compound. I’ve been staying there for years. The Fox is off a dirt road, so a lot of people have dune buggies. You’ll wake up and there’ll be coyotes in your backyard—it’s really magical.”
“Hospice Thrift Shop has some truly amazing finds. I got these really amazing, old photo books from the seventies there.”
(61675 29 Palms Hwy, Ste. B, Joshua Tree)
How amazing-looking is The Integratron? Like, whoa.
“The Integratron is this amazing place—with a wild story—that’s built entirely of wood. It’s a big dome where they do incredible sound baths, which are this amazing experience where they play crystal quartz bowls to heal each individual chakra. It’s a cleanse for your whole body and mind.”
(2477 Belfield Blvd., Landers)
“Natural Sisters Café has great juices and smoothies. It’s one of the better places to get all-organic juice. Joshua Tree is a hippie town, but you can still find Applebee’s and Taco Bell—this is a better place to go.”
(61695 Twentynine Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree)
If this isn’t inspiration to plan a trip…
“Split Rock is one of my favorite hikes. It’s a big loop and really beautiful. You can see for miles.”
“Pappy & Harriet’s usually has a good live gig going on. It’s a real fun local place to go for dinner and drinks. Monday is open mic night. There are these locals who are total rockers and singer/songwriters. They just jam for hours, playing great cover songs and original music—it’s pretty epic. Pappy & Harriet’s is also in Pioneertown, which is a little fake ghost town. It’s a tourist attraction—there’s always something going on there.”
(53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown)
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The 3 Pieces of Vintage Jewelry Leeann Molinari Can’t Stop Thinking About
Wherein this Portland designer demonstrates a whole lot of self-restraint.
The hardest thing about having a line of reworked vintage jewelry? Well, sometimes you want to keep the goods for yourself. “What I’ll usually do is put a piece I want for sale online anyway, but I’ll put a high price on it,” says Leeann Molinari, who collaborates with Alyson Fox on the locket line Verabel + Fox. “If it sells, it sells—and if it doesn’t I’ll keep it for myself. But it usually sells.” Here, Leeann shares the scores that she cherishes (or misses) the most. —raquel laneri
“This delicate piece was one of my most treasured vintage finds! I love that each little heart opens, and the detailing is so intricate. And it combines two of my favorite things: hearts and four-leaf clovers.”
“I found these amazing vintage glass cabochons at an estate sale. I instantly fell in love with the deep turquoise color. I had just enough beads to create a bib necklace. I received so many requests for this piece after it sold, and I’ve yet to find anything quite as unique.”
“This is probably my favorite estate-sale find and was the hardest one to part with! It’s an antique coin holder. It is solid sterling silver and is marked with the date 1903 inside.”
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Joshu+Vela Unearths 4 of the Coolest Vintage Bags Around
The puppies have survived decades.
“A big part of making something new is figuring out what worked in the past,” explains Noah Guy of the S.F. bag line Joshu+Vela. So his old-school inspo is always close-at-hand, Noah keeps his favorite vintage satchels on display in his studio—allowing he and his cohorts to look back as they move forward. Here, a quartet of stars. —carrie neill
Eastpak duffel, from the mid eighties
“The shape and proportions of this eighties Eastpak duffel were the inspiration for my Of a Kind edition. When I started out making bags, I made something a bit bigger and sent it on the road with my friend who was touring through Europe with his band. His feedback was that it was too big, too heavy—so I went back to this size. The handles are really great, and the spacing and placement of them is nice.”
Filson duffel, from the early eighties
“I love the colors on this and the leather details. This is a higher-end version of what the Eastpak was—it’s definitely a West Coast bag.”
French linen backpack, from the forties
“This is from another era. I got in in Alameda at an army-navy store and scrawled my last name on it, which you might be able to see. The details are great—there’s felt and wool on the back, and it has this great steel hardware, too.”
Bass split leather tote, from the seventies
“This is one of my favorite bags. It has sort of a Connecticut-Northeastern vibe—maybe for a fly fisherman who has a house in Manhattan but is actually quite country and rugged. This is totally a bag my grandfather would have had.”
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How Lisa Salzer Gets Down With Vintage Materials
She makes the 1860s feel not so far away.
Sustaining a jewelry line with its roots in insanely unique vintage items can’t be easy, but Lisa Salzer acts like it ain’t no thang. And girl knows how to get creative. Watch how the so-talented whiz behind Lulu Frost turns Art Deco dress clips and Victorian shoe buckles into wear-it-now magic. —carlye wisel
"These Deco Earrings used to be dress clips from the Art Deco period—around the 1920s or 1930s—and they range in size because women used to wear them on the straps of their gowns or sweaters. I love the transforming the classic into something new.”
"The Victorian Cuff started off as Victorian shoe buckles from the 1860s. We select them, curve them, and file them down. Each one is totally one of a kind. They are delicate but tough at the same time because they’re made of steel.”
"These 100 Year Necklaces are comprised of elements from the 1860s up to 1960, so they’re kind of a century of jewelry in one piece. In terms of making each one, it’s very much an intuition thing. I basically start with thousands of vintage pieces on trays around me, and I start to collage them together until it feels right. It’s a process of removing and replacing until it has the right harmony and balance of materials, texture, size, shape, and color.”
”Code Fine Jewelry is a collection of from-scratch designs that I’ve done that’s based on the font from the Plaza Hotel. I’ve heard some interesting stories from people about why they like to get certain numbers—I think people really grow attached once they think about what their own personal number is.”
"I was so inspired by these fantastic, geometric triangular vintage Art Deco pieces—so inspired, in fact, that I decided to single them out and use them as the basis for my exclusive Deco Cocktail Necklace for Of a Kind. I love the way the differing sizes of the triangles create a nice rhythm and the varied choice of chain keeps the necklaces interesting. It’s what I like to call ‘the midsize statement necklace,’ which, in my opinion, is the perfect kind—not so big and bulky that you won’t be able to wear it comfortably, but still substantial and cool enough to give you that amazing complement to any look.”
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Lauren Wolf Takes Us On a Tour of Oakland’s Coolest Neighborhood
Get yourself to Temescal ASAP, everybody.
In 2010, Lauren Wolf and her boyfriend moved from New York City to Oakland, California. And though the designer behind the gritty-but-elegant jewelry line loved her old neighborhood in Brooklyn, she immediately fell for Temescal—so hard that she decided to open a shop, Esqueleto, there. “It’s sort of hidden,” she says, “but it’s a real community.” Here, six of her favorite local haunts. —raquel laneri
Crimson Horticulture Rarities
“Our store’s in a unique space: It’s an alley of old horse stables that have been converted into commercial retail spaces. This horticulture store is just a stone’s throw away from us, and they do a lot of our plants.” (crimsonhort.com)
“Ali Golden is an Oakland-based ready-to-wear designer, and she basically hand-makes all her clothing in her store here. She does really contemporary basics, and they’re awesome. She just started a handbag collection, so I bought a bag—black and white striped canvas with brown leather handles. She’s also making a black silk top for me now.” (aligolden.com)
“Esqueleto’s alleyway connect back to this place called Pizzaiolo. It has been in the neighborhood for about eight years. It’s all local food. The chef who owns and runs the place used to work at Chez Panisse, so it’s really high-quality food and a really interesting menu. Get the pizza, obviously.” (pizzaiolooakland.com)
Mind’s Eye Vintage
“The owners are great girls. They stock the shop based on themes—last month was baseball, so they had a bunch of vintage Oakland A’s pieces. Now they have a ton of vintage bathing suits.“ (mindseyevintage.com)
“This is a sort of upscale Mexican restaurant, and the food is very traditional—I should know, I lived in Mexico! When you walk in you feel like you’re in old-world Mexico: high ceilings, bright colors, tables covered in that plastic floral print. We like to go there for margaritas.” (donatomas.com)
“I love the boxing gym. They offer Muay Thai boxing, an all-over strength conditioning boxing, and it’s really intense. Pacific Rim has been around for a really long time. Before work, I either do boxing here, or I go for a hike in the Oakland Hills, which is just 10 minutes from our house.” (pacificringsports.com)
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Rachel Albright’s Insider-y Guide to Richmond
If you didn’t have a reason to head to Virginia before, now you have six.
Rachel Albright has lived in Virginia her whole damn life, and, though she felt a little style-starved growing up, she’s come to really embrace the local spots that fuel her line Academy Jewelry, which has its roots in Richmond but has gained a much broader fan base. These half dozen spots qualify as her haunts. —olivia seely
Lamplighter Roasting Company: “The best coffee in Richmond, hands down. I think almost anyone here would say the same. It’s the place to be any weekend morning—everyone you know will be there with their dogs in tow. The dark roast is my favorite, and they deliver anywhere in town on bikes, rain or shine!” [Ed: Oh, hey! Rachel’s wearing Dusen Dusen!] (lamplightercoffee.com)
Halcyon Vintage: “This is an absolutely amazing locally owned vintage shop here. Angelica is incredible and totally gets my style—she’s always pulling out things that she knows I’ll love (usually weird pants), and she knows so much about clothing, it’s ridiculous. I’ve been eyeing this floor-length sequin gown for months, I’m just waiting to get invited to a fancy soiree!”
VMFA (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts): “This is actually one of the best places in Virginia, I think. There’s such a great art scene in Richmond. I’ve been known to squeal and cry in art museums from excitement and emotion, and this one is no exception.” (vmfa.state.va.us)
Chop Suey Tuey: “Chop Suey Tuey is a small, locally owned, new-and-used bookstore in Carytown, the coolest part of Richmond. Plus, there’s a cool gallery room with work by local artists.” (chopsueybooks.com)
Need Supply Co.: “I spend most days in the studio here, and absolutely love being part of such a cool, creative team. Everyone is so inspired—it’s a little family of really funny, stylish, and smart people. And, there’s always a steady supply of snacks—Need Supply Co. loves snacks.” (needsupply.com)
The Roosevelt: “It’s my favorite restaurant in Richmond, and not just because my man is occasionally in the kitchen. The best part: my favorite drink, called The Shrub, made of gin, apple cider vinegar, blackberries, and cherries and served with a little love from T, the man behind the bar (who has the best beard in Richmond).” (rooseveltrva.com)
Photos courtesy of Cameron Lewis.