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The Best Vintage for Men in New York

Photo-Illustration: Curbed; Photos: Getty

For a Selection of Brooks Brothers

Crowley Vintage, 147 Front St., Ste. 303, Dumbo; @crowley_vintage

Author and founder of WM Brown magazine Matthew Hranek first shopped at Crowley Vintage when it opened in 2017 in Gowanus. In 2020, owner Sean Crowley expanded to Dumbo, where he now sells everything from yacht-club-worthy blazers to vintage ashtrays from the Stork Club and crocodile cigar cases, and Hranek followed. “Sean has a very good editing eye when it comes to the more preppy, trad side of vintage,” says Hranek, whose favorite purchases to date are a Savile Row double-breasted, gold-button blazer ($250) and a ’50s striped oxford ($60) from Brooks Brothers (which partnered with Crowley last year for its online vintage shop). “There’s no digging when you’re there,” says writer Zach Weiss. “The items he finds are always the best specimens,” like a fur shawl-collar overcoat with plaid lining Weiss grabbed ($500). Weiss adds that Crowley prices and describes each item on a legal notepad. “It’s an old-school way of shopping. Not a band tee in sight.”

For Levi’s and Pleats Please

Front General Store, 143 Front St., Dumbo;

“A lot of places try to do that old military, Americana, workwear vibe, but Front General excels at it,” says Regina’s Grocery owner Roman Grandinetti, who goes to the Dumbo store (which is next door to Crowley Vintage) for everything from Orange Tab Levi’s to white Hanes tees and watchman knit beanies. “They sell real pieces,” Grandinetti says, “not just stuff that’s been run through the wash.” Unlike Stock Vintage in the East Village or Raggedy Threads in Williamsburg, Front General mixes military surplus and French workwear with sections dedicated to vintage Issey Miyake and designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons — a tightly curated approach to merchandise that its expat owners brought from Japan when they opened the store in 2012. “It reminds me of my favorite vintage stores in Harajuku and Nakameguro, where it’s never just a bunch of stuff squeezed onto a shelf,” says Chris Benz, who owns interior-decorating company Cult Projects. “I always notice a small rack that feels somewhat different than the last visit. For years, I searched for a certain Comme des Garçons blazer, only to find it at Front on a random visit. There’s always a treasure.”

For a Menswear Bazaar

Alfargo’s Marketplace, 91 E. 3rd St.; @alfargosmarketplace

In 2021, a group of vintage enthusiasts held the first Alfargo’s Marketplace in an empty East Village storefront they found on Peerspace. Fashion designer Simon Goldman initially heard about the pop-up vintage swap through his circle of menswear pals, and later, on social media. Replete with tweed blazers and tables piled with Izod knitwear and printed ties, Alfargo’s skews toward a prep-school look, but “you’d have to go to ten different stores to see the range they have,” says Goldman. He most recently bought a ’50s tennis sweater, selvage jeans, and some worn-in Brooks Brothers button-downs (from $25). Alfargo’s sets up about once a month (dates are announced on Instagram) and features 12 to 14 vendors, making it a more robust version of the itinerant secondhand racks — like Chad Senzel’s in Dimes Square — that have proliferated since the pandemic.

For Channeling ‘Easy Rider’

Rugged Road & Co., 218 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg;

Rugged road & co. operates out of a 250-square-foot storefront in Williamsburg’s long-running mini-mall (its neighbors include Spoonbill Books and a flash-tattoo-and-piercing shop), and its small footprint “forces it to stock only the cream of the crop,” says Gerald Ortiz, a style-commerce writer at GQ. As the American flag behind the register indicates, owner Tai Unuma carries a selection of archetypal mid-century workwear and military apparel like threadbare thermals and Russell sweatshirts, reflective Army running jackets, beat-up fatigues, and Fred Harvey silver-and-turquoise bracelets. (Double RL, just around the corner, sells similar items for a much higher price.) Ortiz recalls buying a pair of ’50s chinos for $120, selected from a stack of about ten pants. “At other shops, I’d expect to file through 30 pairs and find nothing,” Ortiz says. “But here, every pair was worth considering.”

For Loafers and ’90s Armani

Chickee’s Vintage, 97 N. 7th St., Williamsburg;

Brandon Mahler still regrets not buying the ’80s Giro d’Italia shirt he found at Chickee’s Vintage in Williamsburg; his father, a cycling enthusiast, later told him it was a rare design, so he messaged the store to buy it. It had already sold, but owner Kathleen Sorbara, he says, “does an amazing job of getting things from all ends of the spectrum.” In both Chickee’s flagship on Wythe Avenue and the recently opened men’s shop, that means a rack of Armani button-ups, Ralph Lauren pleated pants, Barneys New York knitwear, and horsebit loafers — none of which looks particularly retro. (“So many of the designs today are just reproductions of original designs,” says Sorbara. “Why not just invest in the real deal if you have access to it?”) Mahler has since picked up a souvenir tee from Rome ($75) and a pair of thick ’60s Japanese-made khakis ($175).

For Bales of Old Dickies

Udelco, 210 Sixth Ave., Hawthorne, N.J.;

“When I first started dating my girlfriend,” says professional skateboarder Alexis Sablone, “she and her brother kept talking about how they needed to find someone with a car so they could go back to Udelco.” Udelco turned out to be a warehouse 20 miles outside Manhattan filled with stacked bales of old clothes, wire racks of shoes, and cardboard boxes of clothing roughly organized in categories like “Carhartt Jackets,” “Denim Shorts,” and “ ’80s Satin Shirts.” “Everything depends on what day you go,” Sablone says. “You might go one day and you’ll find boxes of workwear, then go back in a month and they’ll have an entire box of plaid pants. Last time we went, they had huge bins of old Dickies.” Udelco sells vintage wholesale to shop owners in New York but is also open to the public; most items are priced between $3 and $20, and when it’s time to check out, “the owner kind of just looks at your pile and names a number,” Sablone says. “It’s always pretty good.”

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The Best Vintage for Men in New York