Confession: although I've had a love and appreciation for 1950's and 60's fashion since high school, I must admit to the fact that I didn't actually start buying vintage pieces until recently. I've always liked admiring vintage from afar, but I am a germaphobe, and I sometimes used to get grossed out by sorting through or trying on used clothing. Vintage clothing, especially in NYC, can also get expensive, so it can sometimes be hard to justify spending large amounts of money on a used item. However, for various reasons, I slowly started exploring more vintage and thrift stores and became more comfortable with buying second hand. Below is a list of my top five places to find affordable vintage pieces in NYC:
309 Bedford Avenue
Located in Brooklyn, but very easy to get to from Manhattan (it's the first stop in Brooklyn on the L train). They sell clothing, shoes and accessories for both men and women. I love this store because they always have a $5 rack, which is where I scored this plaid skirt I am wearing in this photo.
Cure Thrift Shop
111 E 12th Street (between 3rd and 4th Ave)
Manhattan (East Village)
Clothing wise, this store mostly consists of second hand items, but it is possible to score vintage and higher end designer items here. They also have lots of vintage jewelry and home items. The prices are reasonable, and they always offer 50% off all clothing, which makes the prices even better. Even more of a reason to check this place out, it is completely non-profit and all proceeds go to diabetes research.
East Village Vintage Collective
545 E 12th Street (between Ave A and B)
Manhattan (East Village)
This shop is super well curated, and the prices are extremely affordable. It seems small upon entering, but there are two floors to explore, so make sure you check out both levels! They have everything, including clothing for men, women and children, as well as records, pins, home goods, you name it. I got this dress here for around $25-30 (fun fact, it was originally much longer, but I hemmed it to be mini length)
Saturday location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Sunday location: Dumbo, Brooklyn
Brooklyn Flea is an outdoor market with nearly a hundred vendors that runs from April to October, so it's a great place to peruse through vintage pieces when the weather is nice. They have everything from apparel, to furniture, to antiques and collectibles. They also have a handful of local artist and food vendors as well. The market is located at different locations on Saturday and Sunday, so make sure you go to the correct spot!
(they have various stores around Manhattan, check out www.housingworks.org for exact locations)
Similar to Cure, Housing Works is a mix of both vintage and thrift. Each location is different, so some offer more vintage, and others offer more second hand. Their prices are very affordable, I scored this vintage animal print coat for $35, which was one of the best purchases I've ever made. You'll also be supporting a good cause by shopping at Housing Works, as the proceeds help to fight against homelessness and AIDS in NYC.
I hope this list is helpful, but feel free to comment or DM me with any other questions about thrift and vintage shopping in NYC!