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The Best Vintage for Women in New York

Photo-Illustration: Curbed; Photos: Getty

For Channeling Fran Drescher

Le Grand Strip, 197 Grand St., Williamsburg;

Last year, comedian Heidi Gardner wore a frothy pink tulle dress for the season finale of SNL and a faux-leopard-fur coat to a taping of The Drew Barrymore Show. Gardner found both pieces at Le Grand Strip, which she first heard about from her hairdresser, Teddi Cranford, who owns the downtown salon White Rose Collective. “It’s fully transportive,” says Gardner of the Williamsburg store and its Nanny Fine–level collection of quilted Chanel bags (from $1,450) and neon-print silk. Over glasses of Lambrusco, shoppers can browse miniskirts from the 1960s, patterned bell-bottoms, and ’80s-era cabochon-gem and door-knocker earrings. Store owner CC McGurr has a knack for sourcing statement pieces that avoid feeling outré (the Chanel and Balmain labels help) and for matching the right garment to the customer: Gardner bought the tulle dress ($365) after McGurr asked her to picture “the girl who wore this and how good she must have felt on the verge of blossoming into a woman,” Gardner says. “I was like, ‘Hell yeah, I want to feel that.’ ”

For Y2K-Era Gucci and Moschino

James Veloria, 75 East Broadway, No. 225;

Vogue fashion writer Liana Satenstein first heard about James Veloria when a former colleague, stylist Monica Kim, sent her to the shop to pick up a Tom Ford–era Gucci silk button-down ($250). Since then, she has regularly returned to the Chinatown shop — “Like basically 99 percent of fashion people in, and out, of New York,” she says — for pieces like a Chloé baseball tee from 1999 with a hummingbird graphic ($240) and a “violently sexy” pair of Plein Sud orange leopard-print booties ($160) and to flip through the racks of Jean Paul Gaultier mesh, Vivienne Westwood corsets, and Issey Miyake pleats. Satenstein adds that even amid the recent reprise of late-’90s–early-aughts style, James Veloria’s prices remain fair, as evidenced by a Gucci belt she recently bought for $120. “Dealers in Los Angeles would have sold it for $750, easy.”

For Every Category of T-shirt

Metropolis, 803 Broadway;

Metropolis is known for selling the city’s most robust selection of vintage T-shirts and, as such, has seen visits from Kanye West, Chloë Sevigny, members of the Strokes, and Iggy Pop; recently, A$AP Rocky wore a bootleg Gucci T-shirt from the store in the “Arya” music video. Carly Mark, owner of the clothing line Puppets and Puppets, confirms the shop’s reputation. She started frequenting Metropolis in 2006 and says she has bought “countless” tees from its “big unpretentious collection” for between $50 and $100 (though rare items, like a 1990 Grace Jones shirt, can cost up to $2,450). Mark’s favorite purchase so far is a tee featuring a naked woman with breasts that look like “twin demons making out.” If you’re looking for something not satanic, Metropolis stocks an improbably niche inventory that’s organized with encyclopedic precision. “There’s a Marvel category, an alien category, and a Bugs Bunny category,” Mark says. “Every band has its own spot on the rack. If you walked in and were like, ‘I want a Space Jam T-shirt,’ they’d take you to the Space Jam section.”

For Pieces Worthy of the Met

Desert Vintage, 34 Orchard St.;

For years, vintage obsessives had to go to Tucson to shop at Desert Vintage, which is known for its mint-condition mix of Jazz Age dresses, American sportswear, and Edwardian lace. That changed this spring when Salima Boufelfel and Roberto Cowan opened a New York outpost of their shop on the Lower East Side with interiors by Green River Project. “It’s a romantic and beautiful labor of love,” says Angela Goding, senior director at the nonprofit YoungArts, who appreciates Desert Vintage’s researched inventory of lesser-known designers, adding that Boufelfel and Cowan “are well versed in fashion history.” That means exaggerated suits from Romeo Gigli (Bianca Jagger was a fan) hang next to mid-century velvet bags from Roberta di Camerino, and silk moiré slippers (found in a dancer’s trunk from the early-20th century) sit near ’80s loungewear from Bill Tice. “It’s all immensely wearable,” adds Goding, who bought a beaded Tice kimono coat ($398) on her first visit and has since worn it to both the opera and to pick up dumplings.

For Uptown Castoffs

Housing Works, 2569 Broadway;

There are ten Housing Works thrift shops in the city, and clothing designer Batsheva Hay says the outpost at 96th Street and Broadway is the least trafficked — and, therefore, the most bountiful. “Like any of these multi-location chains, it’s a different store depending on where it is,” says Hay, pointing out that each Housing Works reflects the history of its neighbors. On the UWS, near Hay’s apartment, that means “people who are involved in the arts and have all sorts of taste, whether they’re an opera singer or a professor” and “items owners have collected and loved but no longer use,” like a wool-crêpe Valentino couture suit that Hay bought for $45 and a vintage embroidered silk Lanvin robe she found for $50. “No one shopping there is competing with you,” Hay says. “It’s not in a cool neighborhood, so some local woman’s amazing vintage Sonia Rykiel blazer or Blumarine dress just sits there.”

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The Best Vintage for Women in New York