The 6 Best Places to Shop Vintage in New York

Imagine a place where you’re transported a different era just by walking through the door, a new decade just by walking down the hall, and yet another one by looking just slightly to your right. You can see a ‘60s-era retro skirt on a mannequin to your left and a velvet corset from ‘20s hanging just behind it. There’s a pair of saddle shoes under the chair in the corner and an ‘80s blazer (shoulder pads and all) hanging outside the fitting room. You’re in a vintage lover’s paradise. But where exactly are you?

The correct answer: You’re in any one of a number of New York City’s best vintage shops.

Home to some of the cutest and most authentic vintage stores around, NYC is the perfect place to find all the clothes, shoes and accessories you wish your mom, grandmother, or great-grandmother saved for you.

Whether you’re looking for a Laura Ashley prairie dresses (which, for some reason, is back in style), a pillbox hat or that elusive pair of perfect Levi’s, the city has a place to find them. But with so many shops to choose from, it’s hard to find the ones that are worth your time (or the ones that stock authentic vintage pieces). Thankfully, we’ve done all the work for you. Here are the best places to go vintage shopping in NYC.

1. L Train Vintage, Brooklyn

With six locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, L Train Vintage is a favorite of true New Yorkers. Featured in Nylon magazine’s Guide to Manhattan, it’s everyone’s “best kept secret” (according to L Train’s website and many frequent shoppers).

Nikki Noorian, a student at Pace University, says that out of the massive amount of thrift stores in New York, this is her and her friends’ favorites. “You can pick up some really good finds there from high end designers, vintage Levi’s, and more,” she says.

Geared towards vintage-lovers of the early-aughts variety, the stores have everything from 90s Tommy Hilfiger, to Nike, Adidas and a seriously huge selection of flannels.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 #new @ our city location. 202 1st ave #tommyhilfiger

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Related: 7 90s Style Trends You Should Embrace This Year

2. Buffalo Exchange, Midtown

With five locations in New York alone, and tons more across the country, Buffalo Exchange is another fan favorite. They believe in sustainable clothing consumption through buying, selling and trading new and recycled clothing. So, not only can you buy thrifted or vintage pieces, you can sell your own, too.

And in addition to scoring some cool vintage pieces, you can usually find second-hand clothes from current designers and today’s most popular brands, too. If you’re really lucky, some pieces might even have the tags still on them!

3. Housing Works, SoHo​

Housing Works is another great vintage chain, but this one comes with a social justice mission, too. One of the best things about this retailer is that the profits go towards fighting homelessness and AIDS in the city. So while you’re shopping sustainably (good for the environment) and buying some really interesting vintage pieces (good for you), you’re also contributing to their advocacy projects (good for the community)!

Samantha Kari, Siena College Class of 2016, says that Housing Works is her “favorite thrift store” in the city. Aside from the dangly earrings she got there a few weeks ago, the reason Samantha loves the shops is that they’re so socially-conscious.

Housing Works has multiple locations across the city, but they don’t just sell clothes. One of their locations is a cafe and bookstore, while others sell clothes, furniture, decor and jewelry.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Who's ready to 💍 ring 💍 in the new week?

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4. Brooklyn Flea, Brooklyn

Not so much a single thrift store as it is an entire thrift market, the Brooklyn Flea is a great way to spend an entire Sunday afternoon (from April to October). With everything from furniture to vintage clothing, accessories and antiques, it’s not surprising that the market was named one of the world’s top bazaars by Travel + Leisure.

Each stand is operated by independent vendors, so you never know what you’re going to find, and what’s there is likely to change from week to week. Oh yeah, and if that’s not enough to convince you to go, there’s a ton of food there, too. If you’re feeling hungry, make sure to try Jianbing Company’s famous deep-fried Chinese crepes or the giant mozzarella sticks by Big Mozz Pizza.

5. Horizons Vintage, Brooklyn

If you’re willing to spend a little more money on some really, really unique pieces, then Horizons Vintage is the place to go. Recommended by Man Repeller’s social assistant and vintage style queen Starling Irving, Horizons is known for its simple and neutral-toned vintage pieces. Mixed in with all the old clothes are some new ones by up-and-coming designers, too.

Surprisingly, a contemporary screen-printed silk tank top pairs perfectly with a Calvin Klein skirt from the ‘80s (as proven by Horizons’ expert styling). If mixing decades is your thing, definitely take a shopping trip here.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

We have select Ljuka pieces in store 🖤 100% silk made by @larahodulick available both online and in store

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6. Thrift Wares, SoHo​

Thriftwares is one of the most authentic thrift stores you’ll be able to find in the city. With some of the most unique vintage pieces ever, you’ll always be able to find something interesting (and you can almost guarantee that no one else will have it).

Whether you’re on the hunt for a 60s-era alligator skin coat in bright green, a sheer black rhinestone cape from 1960 or just a simple pair of really great jeans, you can definitely find whatever you want here.

If you’re looking to channel your inner Grace Kelly, Princess Diana or your favorite ‘90s sitcom character (Rachel from Friends, anyone?), you’re destined to find something at some of the best vintage stores New York City has to offer.

So put on your comfortable-shopping-shoe of choice, whether it be a penny loafer or a classic Stan Smith, and get ready to spend an entire day shopping your way through the city (and eating your way through it, too, of course).