Shopping Vintage in NYC | Tracy's New York Life | A New York City Lifestyle + Travel Blog Tracy's New York Life | Best Lifestyle, Culture, and Travel Blog in NYC

Shopping Vintage in NYC

by Stephanie Smith
1940s Couture--credit
From the everyday Manhattan career woman to the Brooklyn starlet, it seems “vintage” is the fashion word of today. While the upsurge of vintage love isn't exactly new, the trend hasn't always been so popular either. 

But now that vintage has established itself as a fashionable and budget-friendly way to shop, we have a few tips on how to get the most out of the trend.

What’s Vintage?

If you’re wondering what constitutes vintage, the standard definition is this: In order for a garment to be considered vintage it must be 25 years or older. The most popular vintage items tend to be made between the 1920s and early 1960s.

In the past, you might have considered vintage a more fashionable way of saying “secondhand.” While most vintage clothes are by default secondhand, there are never-been-worn vintage garments too. These pieces are often part of old warehouse stocks or were placed in storage and forgotten. If your goal is to be budget conscious, these items are probably not the way to go. They're usually more expensive than pre-worn clothing and they also happen to be much harder to find.

How Do I Buy Vintage?

Thanks to online shops and local specialty stores, finding a good affordable vintage piece is fairly simple. With just a little research, you can easily locate the best shops in your area of town. 

As a New Yorker, you should check out Artist's & Flea's, Tokio 7, Beacon's Closet, Screaming Mimi's and Fox and Fawn, just to name a few. These spots are known for having a great selection at reasonable prices. 

Be sure to strike out on your own as well and see what smaller stores you can find in your neighborhood. If you're not in the mood to hit the pavement, online shopping is a carefree option --- especially if you’re living in a hood without a lot of actual store options.

As unexpected as this may seem, you might even be able to find vintage in your own home. It sounds like a stretch, but you may be pleasantly surprised at what's hiding in an older relative’s closet. 

If your neighbors are having a yard sale or your aunt is sifting through her attic, get in there and see what you can uncover!

What Should I Remember When Shopping for Vintage?

Vintage sizing runs differently than today's sizes so know your measurements before you start shopping.

And if it's possible, you should always try on clothing before purchase. Most online stores will have conversion charts so try to stick them to avoid confusion and wrong sizing. Vintage Swank has a wonderfully detailed chart if you’re feeling unsure about size conversion.

It's also helpful to know what era you're into. Are you a 1950s darling or a ‘40s post-war, haute-couture lady? If you know the look you're after it will be much easier to find stores that specialize in your era of choice.

Remember --- have fun! Vintage shopping is like treasure hunting. Good vintage pieces can be anywhere, you've just got to get out there and look. 

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