New York City Thrifting!
Being a fashion-obsessed, twenty-something definitely has its down side. During Fashion Week, I gush in front of the computer screen, mentally noting which designs I’d totally wear—if I could afford them. I’m sure many tartelettes can sympathize; I envy the college student who can afford to dish out hundreds of dollars on the latest and greatest in fashion without batting an eye. Thankfully for us frugal fashionistas all hope is not lost. Enter, the consignment shop. Thrift shopping requires a great deal of patience, but the end result is almost always worth it. Designer duds at a fraction of the cost? Count me in! Besides, your purchase is almost always more gratifying when you have to hunt—and sometimes dig—for it.
Growing up a few short miles from NYC, I’ve spent countless weekends scavenging Manhattan’s thrift stores in the hopes of finding my next big discovery. Here are a few of my faves:
- Buffalo Exchange (332 E. 11th Street): The selection is always as eclectic as its East Village patrons, and spans from little-known brands to high end designers such as Miu Miu. Best of all? The prices are extremely reasonable. Some recent finds include a Stella McCartney sweater for $15 and Earnest Sewn Jeans for $40. Insider tip: check out the menswear section. They have a great assortment of oversized sweaters.
- Fabulous Fanny’s (335 E 9th street): One accessory that I can’t imagine living without is sunglasses. Fabulous Fanny’s has the absolute greatest (and largest) selection of vintage eyewear. Fanny’s boasts frames from the eighteenth century (they carry the designer who made specs for George Washington and Thomas Jefferson) to the present. For truly unique sunglasses I’d browse their selection from the 60’s and 70’s; it’s unbeatable. Prices start at $60 and top off around $160.
- Beacon’s Closet (92 5th avenue. Brooklyn, NY): With two locations (Williamsburg and Park Slope) Beacon’s Closet is unsurpassed in providing the best in hipster fashion. Countless racks display bold colors and unique finds, both designer and not, which are completely affordable. Buyer beware: Beacon’s requires a bit of digging, but it’s always worth it. I never leave empty-handed. A friend of mine recently snatched up a pair of Frye boots for only $18.
- Tokio 7 (64 E. 7th street): If you have some extra cash to spare, I definitely wouldn’t miss Tokio 7. This designer-exclusive consignment shop is a little pricier, but offers an amazing selection. Village hipsters and fashion enthusiasts alike scavenge the racks of this tiny shop in the hopes of discovering a gently used designer gem. Recent discoveries include a Walter lace dress for $85, Chloe wedges for $250, Chanel round frame sunglasses for $75, and much more..
- Screaming Mimi’s (382 Lafayette Street): The store’s extensive vintage wardrobe is comprised of great contemporary pieces that are always unique. Screaming Mimi’s is also notorious for its following, which is often comprised of inspiration-seeking designers and trend-setting celebutantes (Mimi’s was a favorite of Mary-Kate Olsen’s when she attended NYU). Mimi’s self-proclaimed goal is to “mirror the fashion furor of tomorrow with the cutting-edge trends of yesterday.” How could you resist? Favorite finds include a black faux-fur vest à la Rachel Zoe, vintage “Clubmaster” Ray Bans, and a 60s Mod beaded mini dress.
Well, there you have it! The best—in my humble opinion—of what New York’s consignment has to offer. When thrift shopping just remember these simple tips: be prepared to spend some time in each store, know the general retail price of the garment before purchasing it to ensure the best deal, and always wash your pieces before wearing them!