Mid-month, Eric and I spent 5 days in New York for a mini-vacation and a trip for my birthday! One of my absolute favorite things to do when I visit a new city is to poke around the different tiny antique/vintage/thrift shops in any given area, because it shows you so much about the culture. And of course, New York being known for fashion, they had so many options in Manhattan/Brooklyn alone, the areas we frequented.
I hope that by sharing below some of my favorite finds from our trip, it'll inspire you to check out some small, local shops, whether they're near your home or on your next trip. Plus, there is so much misinformation/confusion surrounding clothing and what is or isn’t ethical, so I hope by sharing my choices I can provide some insight into the journey of building an ethical wardrobe - because it really is a journey! Overall, my wardrobe is a display of the things I love — quirky, unique, experimental, and well-designed items that hold their own significance to me. Enjoy! :-)
1950's vintage car sweatshirt
This was a shop I found by searching for local stores, and I was immediately fascinated by their Instagram and owner. It was such a treat to see it in person, because you can really experience the employees' love for vintage and reclaimed clothes. Plus, the owner being female, most of the clothes are in women's sizes -- which is extremely rare, as in most vintage shops the sizes are catered towards men. This was the sweater I ultimately decided on, which celebrates my newfound appreciation for vintage cars (and they're illustrated! What more could you want?)
Cropped wool sweater
We passed by this shop one day and decided to pop in the next. I noticed many of the clothes in here were new or slightly used, but from vintage-aesthetic brands (i.e. from small, independent designers -- their website confirmed this) I had a sweater similar to this that I had picked up from a flea market, but the fit wasn't good (as you'd expect from flea market clothes); so I was so happy to see that this cut and crop was just how I dreamed a sweater to be! It pairs perfectly with my vintage Moschino jeans from Afterlife.
Red corduroy pants
Visiting Opening Ceremony was a super interesting experience because of the exhibition-style setup of the shop. It's a boutique, meaning most (if not all) of the items are curated from different designer brands -- the clothes are new, not used, but are of a much greater price range (which can translate into better materials, quality, and ethics, though not always -- that's another blog post!) We ventured into the top floor where we found the sale room with tons of odd clothes, discounted heavily -- including these red cords! This is my second pair of corduroy pants (my first pair, green, from Reformation)
Khaki cargo pants + high waist tucked pants
Urban Outfitters, Uniqlo
These are fast fashion items, but I wanted to share these because it's real life and the unfortunate reality of our economy/culture is that we can't always buy everything secondhand. In my own experience, it's nearly impossible to find well-fitting women's pants from thrift/vintage stores -- those that meet the criteria sell quickly, and you're left with a bunch of options that are nowhere near your size and cannot be tailored to your size (even experienced tailors can usually only take in waists for 1-1.5 sizes smaller, before the garment starts looking wonky). I've been looking some cargo pants and wide-leg pants, and so these fit my criteria. It's unfortunate that there are limited options for good quality women's used clothing, but I've also learned that a lot of vintage boutiques do ship around the country! So in the future I'll be looking for similar items from shops like Raggedy Threads online.
Air Force 1's
Found on the side of the street :~)
There are many, many abandoned piles of trash on the sidewalks in Brooklyn, which was shocking to us. But the upside is that you can usually find some treasures from what other people have discarded, and that was what happened with these shoes. We found them next to an abandoned mountain of trash, I tried them on, and they were in good enough condition to take home. Air Force 1's are such a closet staple, and we saw so many people in New York sporting them that for me, this is a nice reminder of the fashion culture. These are a bit snug, so I'm going to try some DIY approach to stretch them out at home and also clean them up (a hobby that I didn't even know existed until Eric showed me?? - search “restoring jordans” on youtube, for example.)
Bonus! Vintage Columbia fishing vest
Lost City Antiques
I didn't get this piece from New York, but I happened to get it right before my trip so I wanted to include it! I'm not a fisher, but this was such a cute find at my new favorite shop in Alameda. Plus, how cute is the little fuzzy part?? (I looked it up, and learned it's for holding your flys!)
Other notable mentions: Grand Street Local
1940's world fair postcards
Rugged Road & Co
My sweet pal Bryan has really got me into antique postcards, and now I want to collect more of these types of oddities to use for my own artwork and design inspiration.
These are the notebooks I've been using recently for all my work, and I love them because they're very minimal. No fluff or excess designs. Plus, they come in a variety of different sizes which I use for different needs (braindump sketching, client work, and everything else).
Boba straw, straw cleaner, Marley's Monsters washcloths
Package Free Shop
Visiting this shop was a great opportunity to stock up on some zero waste essentials! I've been needing a reusable boba straw, a new straw cleaner, and new washcloths for removing makeup.