The best new vintage stores

What's old is new (and popular) again thanks to a crop of vintage shops whose prices are designed to weather the stormy economy.

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Photographs by Bobby Lapointe

LAUREL CANYON
For owners David Munk and Elisa Casas (who also curate Chelsea Girl Couture around the corner), the hippie-chic, free-love days of Joni Mitchell, the Mamas and the Papas, and the Eagles will never die. And thanks to the duo’s latest endeavor, the fashions of the ’70s certainly aren’t going anywhere. Munk calls the new shop a “labor of love” and says that each piece is carefully selected to reflect their favorite era, but reinterpreted in a contemporary way. “We’re carrying perennial stuff that will never go out of style,” Munk says, referring to the shop’s aged denim ($60 to $150), worn-in cowboy boots ($90 to $400), super soft vintage tees ($20 to $150) and ruffled peasant blouses ($70 to $140). The boutique’s specialty is its standout collection of romantic Victorian-style, long tiered dresses ($80 to $240) that are way sexier than anything ever worn on Little House on the Prairie. It also features an impressive stock of men’s Western-style shirts ($50 to $110)—in plaid, flannel and denim, embroidered, and everything in between. While ’70s-style bohemia may not appeal to everyone, “there’s always going to be a girl who wants to spin around and feel like Stevie Nicks,” says Munk. 63 Thompson St between Broome and Spring Sts (212-343-1658)—Rachel LeWinter

Laurel Canyon | Illisa’s Vintage Lingerie | The Clothing Warehouse | Odd Twin Vintage

Photographs by Stephanie Gussin

ILLISA’S VINTAGE LINGERIE
Until recently, underwear as outerwear hadn’t been a trend since Madonna’s Gaultier-designed cone bra nosed its way into fashion. But you may have noticed the recent return of bras worn as tops, slips worn as dresses and very brief tap pants masquerading as shorts. Yet for those who don’t care about fashion’s ebb and flow (what I call its acid reflux), there’s still a reason to come and see what is reputed to be the world’s largest collection of vintage lingerie. Owner Illisa (like Madge, she likes to go with one name) has been in the business for 22 years (she spent 13 of those standing outside at the now defunct Chelsea Garage flea market, always wearing a signature slip), and her new space is packed to the gills with pristine vintage wares dating from the 1920s to the 1940s—“before they started using ugly synthetics.” On offer you’ll find exquisite silk robes and kimonos (some hand-dyed by a local artist), sexy pinupworthy girdles, a rainbow of stockings (which are only “those that need garters to stay up,” according to Illisa), gorgeous hankies, slippers, nighties and a billion other jewels and gewgaws that could tempt the inner girly girl in Nancy Pelosi. If you’re not a collector and like to don the vintage (but often never-worn) items yourself, don’t get skeeved out: “If there isn’t a dry-cleaning tag on something, it’s been hand-washed by me—so I know it’s clean!” After all, Illisa is the go-to girl for highfalutin fashion editors and most of Broadway. “Cabaret was really good for my business,” she says. “They should bring that back!” The Show Place, 40 W 25th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave, gallery 206 (212-627-2800)—Erin Wylie

Laurel Canyon | Illisa’s Vintage Lingerie | The Clothing Warehouse | Odd Twin Vintage

Photographs by Bobby Lapointe

THE CLOTHING WAREHOUSE
“Everyone in New York wears black, so I’m trying to bring some color to the city...whatever it takes,” says Erin Faulman, part owner of the Clothing Warehouse. Judging from the positive response since opening in March, it doesn’t seem like unloading the shop’s preloved wares will be too hard, and she’s confident success will continue. “People still want to shop, they’d just rather spend money on an individualized piece that no one else has, than something mass-produced from H&M,” she explains. You won’t have to go digging to find that one-of-a-kind gem. The shop is packed full of garb and accessories (from the ’90s and earlier) for both genders—but it’s not an overflowing, overwhelming, stuffed-to-the-brim typical thrift store mash-up. Instead, the color-coded racks are impeccably organized and well edited—and refreshingly affordable. Dresses ($65 to $85) in every shape, color and style, and from every decade—all in flawless condition—line one wall, cowboy boots ($50 to $80) are stacked to the ceiling, and accessories are stored in big glass jars. The notable jewelry collection includes delicate gold charm necklaces ($45) from local designer Erica Weiner, kitschy tiny doll necklaces ($10), plastic bangles in every color ($2.95 to $9.95), and MC Hammer YOU CAN’T TOUCH THIS slap bracelets ($2.95)—all things I wouldn’t mind spending my lunch money on. 8 Prince St at Elizabeth St (212-343-1967, theclothingwarehouse.com)—Rachel LeWinter

Laurel Canyon | Illisa’s Vintage Lingerie | The Clothing Warehouse | Odd Twin Vintage

Photographs by Stephanie Gussin

ODD TWIN VINTAGE
You may be flat-ass broke and/or a pink slip away from eviction, but at least one industry is booming: vintage. Francesca Neville and Suzette Sundae, the brains behind the recently opened Odd Twin Trading Company, have seen an uptick like Paul Krugman wouldn’t believe. “Business is great!” enthuses Sundae, former owner of the eponymous vintage shop in the East Village, co-owner of Monkey Whistles & Motorbikes (176 Fifth Ave between DeGraw and Sackett Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn), and a biker babe (she’s got one motorcycle in the window and one parked outside). “We’re cash only; we’ve got great, long-standing connections; and more people than ever are buying vintage.” Tooling around the new space, you can see why: Ladies will love Odd Twin’s selection of shapely vintage handbags, backless summer frocks, majorette boots, pin-up lingerie and ’50s-era swimsuits (not a one priced in the triple digits). The shop is also brilliant for boys in search of dapper suit vests, Western shirts, Springsteen-style hankies, kooky ties, broken-in baseball tees, army jackets and white-leather mack-daddy platforms. Moreover, Sundae and Neville take care to stock extra-small guys’ threads, so the girls can wear ’em too. 164 Fifth Ave at DeGraw St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-ODD-TWIN, oddtwin.com)—Ashlea Halpern

Laurel Canyon | Illisa’s Vintage Lingerie | The Clothing Warehouse | Odd Twin Vintage

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