Sure, Urban Outfitters has a bar now, but mass produced faux-hipster wear can't hold a candle to the erstwhile classics found hidden in the depths of your grandmother's closet. Luckily, this city still has a few vintage stores hocking everything from 1940s Chanel to sunny '70s dresses to the MC Hammer pants you've always been dying to don. Here are our favorite vintage—not consignment!—shops in the city; we know you'll leave yours in the comments.
NEW YORK VINTAGE: If it's high-end throwback fashion you seek, this Chelsea shop should be your go-to spot, provided you possess a credit card or six. Though you won't necessarily find a bargain here, with prices for some pieces running in the mid-to-high hundreds, you will find a wealth of rare, high-quality offerings that span the 20th century, including flapper dresses, Mad Men-era couture and a boatload of classic jewelry from the vogue days of yore. The shop is frequented by celebrities like Michelle Williams and Olivia Munn (or, rather, their assistants) scoping out the wares for red carpet shoots, but the showroom is open to the public daily.
New York Vintage is located at 117 West 25th Street between 6th and 7th Aves in Chelsea (212) 647-1107, newyorkvintage.com).
PIPPIN VINTAGE JEWELRY: For old school baubles, elegant costume jewelry and vintage gems, you can't do better than Pippin. The little Chelsea shop is chock full of stylish ornaments dating all the way back to the 1920s, with everything from bracelets to brooches to necklaces to unique engagement rings on tap. Prices here run the gamut from super cheap to fine diamond-high, depending on quality and semi-precious stones, and friendly employees are happy to help you find your dream gems and/or Gatsby-era strings of faux-pearls.
Pippin is located at 112 West 17th Street between 6th and 7th Aves in Chelsea (212-505-5159, pippinvintage.com).
AMARCORD: This 15-year-old vintage chainlet is for the Italophiles. Owner Patti Bordoni is wont to stock both her SoHo and Williamsburg stores with elegant wares from her frequent trips to Lo Stivale, giving lucky shoppers the opportunity to sift through overseas beauties from the likes of Valentino, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace. Italian goods aside, though, Amarcord's got lots of high-end outfits and accessories from labels big and small at both locations, and though the prices of some offerings can climb up in into the quadruple digits, you can still score a funky leather jacket, print dress or brand-name skirt for under $200.
Amarcord has two locations in the city: 252 Lafayette Street between Spring Street and Cleveland Place in SoHo (212-431-4161, amarcordvintagefashion.com); and 223 Bedford Avenue between North 4th and 5th Streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-4001, amarcordvintagefashion.com).
Courtesy Scoboco's flickr
METROPOLIS: You probably won't find a wealth of Chanel at this East Village standby, but Metropolis has perhaps the best vintage T-shirt collection in the city, and that's saying something. Band merchandise, old-school sports shirts, classic graphics and the like can be found on Metropolis's many racks devoted to the venerable T-shirt, with prices usually ranging from $20 to $40, depending on the shirt's age and quality. Not that Metropolis is all tee all the time, since you can also score tons of shoes, jackets, vintage Coach bags, dresses and other gently-worn goodies for mid-range prices—we procured a Pendleton jacket for a low $50, once upon a time.
Metropolis is located at 43 3rd Ave between 9th Street and 2nd Ave in the East Village (212) 358-0795, metropolisvintageonline.com).
LOVEDAY 31: This adorable boutique boasts colorful vintage and consignment clothing that won't destroy what's left of your wallet. Owner Ivona Bilicic lovingly curates her wares, filling the shop with well-under $100 flirty dresses, print tops, chunky sweaters and a whole host of accessories to complement gently-used outfits. Women's shoes and bags are a win here, with vintage leather goods often running under the $60 mark. And Bilicic also sells new clothing alongside the older stuff if you're looking to mix and match the vintage with something a little shinier.
LoveDay 31 is located at 3306 31st Ave in Astoria, Queens (718-728-4057, loveday31.com).
10 FT SINGLE BY STELLA DALLAS: This Williamsburg spot's been hocking vintage outfits for a few years now, offering up a massive collection of funky threads for mid-range prices. 10 Ft. Single is the sister store to West Village's Stella Dallas, but we prefer the Kings County caboodle, where you can score clothes for men and women, along with a whole host of accessories, jackets and shoes for a steal.
10 Ft Single by Stella is located at 285 North 6th Street between Havemeyer Street and Meeker Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-486-9482).
MR. THROWBACK: Fans of '80s and '90s sports fashion will get a kick out of this East Village shop, which specializes in throwback athletic gear from the more recent past. Score vintage Chicago Bulls (remember them?) jerseys, old school Nike kicks, collegiate basketball hoodies and Starter jackets, along with memorabilia, snapbacks and the like. Prices range anywhere from $10 to $20 all the way up to $200 or so for the higher end goods.
Mr. Throwback is located at 428 East 9th Street between 1st Ave and Ave A in the East Village (646-410-0310, mrthrowback.com).