Sometimes in the industry, you're tasked with finding items outside of the current norm. It can be more difficult to seek out pieces restricted to a period of time rather than what's trending, whether it's for a specific editorial, filmed production, or just for research. Popular sitcom That 70's Show was filmed in the 1990's, meaning the designers for the show had to seek out the past...how do we find these fashions?
Shopping vintage can be a wonderful treasure hunt. An easily stylish way to jump into a time machine of nearly-new threads. Vintage fashion is a way to understand the past! We can see how gender norms have swayed through the types of popular garments. We can note the types of fabrics used, that can indicate good economic times, or not so good. We can even learn to tell the difference between past print styles, from a 70’s prairie floral to a funky and bold 60’s floral.
In this article, we will be highlighting our favorite vintage shops in New York City proper. There are some absolute gems tucked away in the streets of NYC (and no, we aren’t talking about L Train). From gently-used designers to shopping the decades past, we’ve got you covered!
01: The Vintage Twin
Location: 135 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Located on a bustling street in Williamsburg, The Vintage Twin presents a catch-all for a shopping adventure. A great spot for vintage tees and college wear, there are endless racks to dive into to find your next streetwear staple. They’ve also got a wonderfully diverse array of blouses and bottoms, ranging usually between $40-$70. If you’re not close, have no fear! They host a large amount of stock online, and you can even shop vintage from home.
Location: 83 E 7th St, New York, NY
For our more avant-garde seekers, we recommend Tokio7. Located in East Village in Manhattan, this shop specializes in luxury vintage and consignment designer clothing. We love them for their taste in edgier designer labels: Comme De Garcons, Ann Demeulemeester, Noir Kei Ninomiya, and Dries Van Noten can all be found on their racks. For those who choose to take a trip to Tokio7, be courteous of their consignment policy. This shop is for those who know what they’re after.
03: Chickee’s Vintage
Location: 135 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY
For the fun and the funky. Let’s be real: Chickee’s has an amazing sweater collection. This shop definitely has a curated vibe, but a little bit of everything. The garments rotate seasonally to suit your needs, so it can be fun to check in often to see what’s new on the shelves. Great tees for summer, wonderful knits for winter, fabulous coats for fall, and a few designer pieces in the mix - but always perfect to find that one-of-a-kind something that you’ll absolutely fall in love with.
04: Mirth Vintage
Location: 606 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Mirth, Mirth, Mirth. Definitely take a detour to Mirth. The shop’s philosophy is that their items should fit to your wardrobe seamlessly, and the brand focuses on curating well-crafted and timeless pieces in-store. If you’re looking for something to have and to hold for many years, this is your go-to. While pieces might be spendier than some vintage shops, the condition of the garments is second to none. A lot of care goes into upkeep vintage clothing, and it’s always amazing when shops take the time to mend or revitalize older garments. Just make sure you continue the cycle of love and care when you take them home!
05: Illisa’s Vintage Lingerie
Location: 1050 2nd Avenue Gallery 92, New York, NY
Missing an item from the boudoir? Call Illisa. Illisa’s Vintage Lingerie is a sexy history lesson. Carefully curated and cared for, this shop is home to lingerie sets that can be up to 100 years old. Visit here for Old Hollywood glamour, boned corsets, and luxurious silk gowns. Their collection of loungewear and boudoir accessories is truly, truly stunning.
06: Nomad Vintage
Location: 208 E 6th St, New York, NY
Calling all fashion designers and costumers! Nomad Vintage is a fantastic source for our hardcore treasure hunters. Located in the East Village, Nomad boasts a collection of vintage and designer clothing, as well as accessories, home decor, and other soft goods. From 80’s power dressing to 1910’s Edwardian dresses, Nomad’s got it. Fashion and Costume Designers are encouraged to schedule an appointment in order to have access to the full vintage archive for research inspiration. They can even pull specific inspiration in advance!
07: Screamin’ Mimi’s
Location: 240 W 14th St, New York, NY
Another to tick off the list is Screamin’ Mimi’s. A bit more upscale of a shop hosting a collection spanning the 1940’s to 1990’s, this is a great place to find statement pieces of vintage designer labels. We’re absolutely in love with their current collection of Hermes silk scarves. Absolutely beautiful! You can count on this shop to have wild window displays that pull you into their world and offer great style inspiration.
08: Pippin Vintage Jewelry
Location: 104 West 17th Street
Nestled between 6th and 7th Avenue, you’ll find Pippin Vintage Jewelry. This shop is no joke. Whether you’re a costume designer or an esteemed collector, Pippin has a jewelry collection that we’ll bet is rivaled by few. They’ve got some stunning pieces from the late 1800’s as well as the occasional 1970’s Tiffany diamond. Their website is filled with high quality photos and detailed information about each piece, and is a history lesson in jewelry all on its own. Endless inspiration to be found here.
Location: 223 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Amarcord is another fantastic choice for high-end vintage fashion. This shop hosts a slew of designer labels including Givenchy, Bottega Veneta, Jean Paul Gaultier, Prada, and more! Amarcord operates one of the largest libraries of vintage clothing and accessories in the USA, and the Archive is open to designers, stylists, media, TV and film productions, and other fashion industry professionals (by appointment only). Their collection is largely focused on European vintage fashion, and has pieces dating to the 1800’s.
10: Urban Jungle
Location: 118 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Our eleventh pick goes to L-Train’s cooler cousin, the cult favorite Urban Jungle. It might be the largest vintage/thrift store in New York City. Urban Jungle’s treasures might lie in a little more digging effort, but there is no doubt some bargains buried in this shop. A fantastic destination for unique casual or streetwear - Dickies overalls, wild print button-downs, and Harley Davidson merch are among the stacks of Urban Jungle.
11: Metropolis Vintage
Location: 803 Broadway, New York, NY
Sticking with our big-city themed shops, we head to Metropolis Vintage. Popular for their storied collection of vintage concert tees, Metropolis is a punk paradise. For extra fun, take a look at their “Favorite Customers” website tab to see all of the celeb sightings at the shop, and their library of monthly archives. These guys are all about the music, man.
12: Search & Destroy
Location: 25 St Marks Pl # A, New York, NY
For the weird and wild, Search & Destroy has the goods. This shop has little internet presence, and likely prefers it that way. They’ve got everything from music to vintage dolls to BDSM-themed mannequins. Not to mention racks of clothes as far as the eye can see. For something unique and unpredictable, we recommend this hardcore shop.
13: Early Halloween
Location: 130 W 25th St #11, New York, NY
Early Halloween is a vintage archive and rental showroom - Early Halloween has worked with many major film companies, fashion houses and stylists worldwide. From 1920’s flappers to fashion props, accessories and jewelry, Early Halloween has the look for your next fabulous production.
14: Stella Dallas
Location: 285 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY
Another win for Williamsburg! Carrying both contemporary and vintage fashions, Stella Dallas has a curated collection of items and a funky vibe. Cozy outerwear, chic party dresses, and even stacks of beautiful vintage fabrics to dive into.
15: 2nd Street
Location: 70 Front St, Brooklyn, NY
One of our favorite spots in Dumbo! A great spot for secondhand luxury at amazing prices. An equal opportunist in both men’s and women’s vintage fashion, 2nd Street has some peak street style on the shelves. They’ve even got an app for easy window shopping, and show off their everyday new arrivals on web and social media. All luxury brands sold at 2nd Street are rigorously authenticated, so you can count on getting the real thing here.
Keep this list bookmarked for your big shopping day out, and you’ll walk away with some one-of-a-kind finds. Support your local brick-n-mortar today! If you’re wanting to find that truly special something for yourself or someone else, these shops have an array of garments that tell a story.
New York City (detail), 1974, by Joel Meyerowitz (American, born 1938), 1977-129-2