Vintage Clothes
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Shopping for Vintage Clothes

Where do the Swingers get those amazing vintage frocks, wide ties, Hollywood jackets, Hawaiian shirts, spectator shoes, and zoot suits?

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Brace yourself --- it isn't easy. Especially if you are a guy. This page will help you out. Choose from these alternatives:

Why is it hard to find Vintage Clothes?

Your search for Vintage faces some formidable obstacles:

  • Most of the really good stuff was sold nearly sixty years ago A lot of the clothes left their original owners in the 1970s, and very little is coming in today
  • People were a whole lot smaller then -- in World War II, the average man's waist was 30 inches; most vintage clothing would be size "small" today
  • The very stylish clothes -- zoot suits in particular-- were bought by teenagers who wore them until they disintegrated

1941 Ad for BVD Sports Clothes    ad for haspel suits Holiday Magazine February 1949

Sports Clothes and Wash'n'Wear
The BVD ad is from 1941
The ad for Haspel washable suits is from the February 1949 Holiday Magazine
Click to Enlarge

Our experience tells us that women apparently took very good care of their clothes, because they are relatively plentiful. Men's clothes are quite hard to find and generally are not in the best of condition -- holes, tears and gravy stains are frequent.

Tips for Authenticating Vintage

There are some pitfalls in selecting vintage clothes, because styles appear, disappear and then re-appear.

Seven Seas Slack Suits    Ensenada Slack Suits

Slack Suits
The Stylish Slack Suit of the 1940s re-emerged as
the Infmous Leisure Suit of the 1970s
Click to Enlarge

Note that the Model is Smoking a Pipe - 1940s Iconography for "Sophisticated"

If you want authentic 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s clothes, here are a few tips:

  • Fabric care instructions began to appear in the 1960s
  • Zip codes were introduced in 1963. (look at addresses on labels)
  • The Union Label: The Amalgamated Suit Workers' Union (ASWU) had a very distinctive label that pictures an old-time sewing machine inside a diamond. ASWU changed the design of the label in 1968.
  • Men's suit coats from the 1940s have a single seam at the middle of the armpit and have NO back flaps; the button hole on the lapel is functional (i.e. you can put a flower in it.)
  • Ties varied in width during the period 1930-1960, but most were unlined and did not have a visible label sewn on the back
  • Plastic zippers indicate origin after 1960
  • Women's dresses and pants had zippers on the side
  • On shirts, buttonholes ran horizontally until the 1960s.
  • Sport shirts had a loop to button the top instead of a buttonhole.

With a little practice, you can easily spot true vintage clothes because the fabric and tailoring are infinitely superior to that which is available today. New fabrics, particularly polyester blends feel almost like sandpaper. Older clothes have lots of hand work -- particularly in the lapels of men's suit coats where the tailor would build the "roll" with rows of hand-stitching.

The files of the US Patent and Trademark Office are often very helpful in identifying trends in fashion. Almost every major designer took the trouble to obtain a Design Patent for their line. Our Patent Page will help you use this system. Here are a few examples:


Shoe Design Patent D111490   Dress Design Patent D111478   Coat Design Patent D111483

Shoes, Dresses and Coats Can Be Patented
Shoe Design Patent D-111,490
Dress Design Patent D-111,478
Coat Design Patent D-111,483
Click to Enlarge

Click here if you want to learn how to get Free Patent Drawings

Some things that are currently in fashion have their roots in vintage. For example, here are design patents for tassel loafers and a golf bag that are virtually indistinguishable from today's merchandise.


Tassel Loafer Design Patent D111095   Golf Bag Design Patent D111138

The Same Now as Then
Tassel Loafer Design Patent D-111,095
Golf Bag Design Patent D-111,138
Click to Enlarge

Click here if you want to learn how to get Free Patent Drawings

Even inexpensive women's clothes have considerable attention to detail. Due to their novelty, nylon and rayon were "status" fabrics in the 1930s and 1940s. (For example, the most valuable Hawaiian shirts are 100% rayon, and have wood or coccoanut shell buttons.)

Air Step Shoes
From LIFE Magazine - March 24,1941
Science Can Make Shoes or Gas Masks -- Take Your Pick!

Here is an ad for summer shoes taken from the 1930 Sears Catalogue, along with other Jive outfits. To calculate equivalent prices for 2009, multiply by about 31. (See out Costs page.

Shoe page from the 1930 Sears Catalogue    Trousers page from the 1930 Sears Catalogue    Music page from the 1930 Sears Catalogue

Shoes and Other Threads in 1930
Note that "jitterbug" was in common use by 1930
Click to Enlarge


How to Dress Well: LIFE's 1938 Guide to Style

Here is an article from the August 22, 1938 issue of LIFE Magazine that gives some hints on how to dress well for ladies of all sizes and shapes. The suggestions are taken from the book Designing Women: the Art, Technique and Cost of Being Beautiful by Margaretta Byers and Consuelo Kamholtz. The drawings are followed by some real-life examples. You can enlarge each of the photos to read the text.

1938 LIFE Magazine on how to dress well

Short and "Hippy" Girls

1938 LIFE Magazine on how to dress well    1938 LIFE Magazine on how to dress well

Busty and Tall Girls

1938 LIFE Magazine on how to dress well    1938 LIFE Magazine on how to dress well

Real Life Examples (1)
Marina, Dutchess of Kent, Helen Jacobs,Vina Delmar

1938 LIFE Magazine on how to dress well    1938 LIFE Magazine on how to dress well    1938 LIFE Magazine on how to dress well

Real Life Examples (2)
Elsa Maxwell, Helen Moody,Sara Delano Roosevelt

1938 LIFE Magazine on how to dress well    1938 LIFE Magazine on how to dress well    1938 LIFE Magazine on how to dress well

Guide to Proper Dress
LIFE Magazine August 22, 1938
Click to Enlarge


By way of postlude:

  • a song titled "She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina" was recorded by The Kinks in 1969 (on the album Arthur)
  • Helen Jacobs served as a commander in the U.S. Navy intelligence during World War II, one of only five women to achieve that rank in the Navy.
  • Vina Delmar was nominated for an Academy Award for 1937 for her screen adaptation of the Arthur Richman play, "The Awful Truth".
  • Elsa Maxwell introduced Rita Hayworth to Prince Aly Khan in the summer of 1948
  • Charlie Chaplin was once asked what he considered to be the most beautiful sight that he had ever seen. He responded that it was "the movement of Helen Wills playing tennis
  • Sara Delano Roosevelt lived to see her only child elected President of the United States three times

So now you can use all these tricks to look great in your 1930s Vintage Clothes.

The Doll Hat Fad

Periodically, the force of Fashion causes women to do crazy things. Case in point: the Doll Hat Fad. Here are the actual pages from LIFE Magazine that describe this momentary aberration

The Fad begins, possibly influenced by Minnie Mouse

1938 LIFE Magazine on the Doll Hat fad    1938 LIFE Magazine on the Doll Hat fad    1938 LIFE Magazine on the Doll Hat fad

BY 1939, the Fad is "Safely Over"

1939 LIFE Magazine on the Doll Hat fad    1939 LIFE Magazine on the Doll Hat fad

Like Dracula, the Fad Rises from its Grave in 1961

1961 LIFE Magazine on the Doll Hat fad    1961 LIFE Magazine on the Doll Hat fad

Rise and Fall and Rise of the Doll Hat Fad
Click to Enlarge

It looks like the Doll hat Fad was pervasive enought that the fashion gurus of 1938 (above) took pains to proscribe the Doll hat for "Busty" women.

Our good friends at Bygones in Richmond, Va have laid in a supply of absolutely hilarious reproduction Doll Hats that are quite reasonably priced. You might want to drop in on their website www.bygonesvintage.com or visit them at (2916 W. Cary St, Richmond VA) or call them at (804)-353-1919.

WHAT'S HOT TODAY?

Air Step Shoes
Air-Step Shoes for the Ladies - LIFE Magazine, 1941
$6 in 1941 is the Same as $126 in 2005

In the DC Swing scene, folks seem to be looking for these items:

Ladies:

  • Stacked platform shoes from the 1940s
  • "Esther Williams" swimsuits (worn with a skirt and great for dancing in the heat)
  • Bakelite jewelry
  • Seamed stockings (with "feet" or "Cuban Heel")

Gentlemen:

  • Hand painted "short" ties
  • Scimitar tie clasps
  • Fedora and Panama hats
  • Anything gabardine, especially the "Ricky Ricardo" jacket

Both sexes are interested in:

  • The August 23, 1943 issue of Life Magazine (Lindy Hop photo spread)
  • Bluebird luggage (for carrying dance equipment)
  • King Louie brand bowling shirts
Air Step Shoes
The Amity Director Wallet - LIFE Magazine, 1941
$3.50 in 1941 is the Same as $73.50 in 2005
The Man is Grateful That His Son Will Not Be a "Fumbler","Stuffer", or "Wadder"

In general, almost anything made between 1930 and 1955 is eminently collectible and of interest to Swingers. Here's how to get in on the fun:

Overview of Vintage Clothing Sources

You have three basic ways to find vintage clothes:

  • Get them from the source -- place ads at senior centers or visit estate sales
  • Get them from Thrift and Consignment stores when they have been donated by primary sources
  • Go to a store that specializes in vintage clothes (i.e. pay someone else to deal with the primary sources)

PRIMARY SOURCES

Start with your family --- do you have a grandparent, aunt or uncle with vintage clothes in their closet? If so, here is a chance to establish some intergenerational understanding as you raid the closets. If your family doesn't pan out, then you can try advertising in senior citizen centers or publications that reach audiences that might have vintage items. Next, you can check the papers for notices of estate sales -- with some patience, you can hit 6 - 10 such sales on a Saturday morning. Finally, the major auction galleries like Sloanes and Wechslers often have vintage clothes on the block.

THRIFT STORES

Many people empty their closet and donate the contents to a charitable thrift store. I spend every Tuesday combing thrift stores for vintage. I have laid out a grid for places within 100 miles of DC. My experience has been that this is a hit or miss process. Some days, I come back with a trunk full of goodies, other days are a complete zero. "Thrift Stores" are a category in the Yellow Pages, so you can locate these establishments in your area. When we visit a particular thrift store, I write a little report about it and include it on the Travel Guide on the website (www.jitterbuzz.com). My experience is that you are most likely to find vintage items in small church-run stores. Larger organizations, especially commercial outfits, pre-select vintage and sell them directly to dealers. However, my suggestion is that you carefully go over all the garments in the store, one by one -- a time consuming process.

Ad for Palm Beach Cloth
Palm Beach Cloth is Very Desirable as a Fabric
Search engine folks: we actually know of a store in Palm Beach (see below)

VINTAGE STORES

If you are willing to pay the price, you can let someone else do all the hunting. There are a number of stores that specialize in Vintage. If you are new to this genre, it is probably a good idea to visit one or two vintage stores to get a feel for what the "real thing" actually looks like as well as learning the value of various items.

Double Duty Play Dress from Lerner Blouses
Double Duty Play Dress from Lerner Blouses - LIFE Magazine, 1941
For the "All-American Play Girl"
$2 in 1941 is the Same as $42 in 2005

Vintage Stores in a 1 hr radius around DC

Here is a list of vintage stores that can be reached with less than a ONE HOUR drive from central DC. We have visited them all within the last 3 months.

Downtown DC

  • Annie Cream Cheese a new, exciting and upscale vintage store. 3279 M Street NW Washington, DC 20007, in Georgetown, across from Dean & deLuca,(202) 298-5555,Mon- Wed 11-8pm Thurs-Sat 11-9pm Sunday 12-6pm Very Nice, worth a visit.
  • Classic Vintage 3194 Bladensburg Rd NE (202)-397-7121
  • Deja Blue 3005 M St. NW (202)-337-7100
  • Milennium Decorative Arts,1528 U Street NW, DC, 202- 483-1218
  • Mood Indigo 1214 U Street NW, (202)-265-6366, across from the Lincoln Theater.
  • Meeps and Aunt Neensy's1520 U St NW, (202)-265-6546
  • Rage 1069 Wisconsin Ave. NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 333-1069
  • Sylvia's Vintage 2102 18th St NW (202)-986-5629
  • Good Eye 20th century Interiors, 4918 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC, 202-244-8516, Travis Smith
  • THE REMIX VINTAGE FASHION SHOP - - 645 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003 (202)-547-0211 -- has great vintage clothing from the 20's through the 70's! They have great 40's and 50's dresses; cute sweaters and authentic 40's navy trousers! Guys would love the Hawaiian shirts and cool ties!

Suburban Virginia

  • Rinway Clothes Consignment pre-owned designer clothing and accessories Arlington Virginia 22207 703-538-4850; Vintage Designer, and Couture Collection
  • Vogue to Vintage 11414 Washington Plaza West Reston, VA 20190 703-787-5700 voguetovintage@yahoo.com
  • Vintage Swank Vintage Clothing, Mid Century - Housewares, Furniture, and Lighting Contact them here
  • SusyQtiques...vintage clothing for gals and guys (no website) Black Shutter Antique Center 1 Loudoun Street Leesburg Va Located at the corner of rt 15 and rt 7 in historic Leesburg. AND there are 3 great thrift stores within walking distance 703 966 3131
  • Timmie Jane specialize in mainly women clothing & accessories from the 1920s on... evening gowns and day dresses, snakeskin clutches and Ferragamo Flats, vintage Levis & The Villager Blouses, custom riding blazers & beaded sweaters. 10 B East Federal Street P.O. Box 618 Middleburg, Va 20118 540-687-3740

Suburban Maryland

  • Polly Sue's 6915 Laurel Ave, Takoma Park, (301)-270-5511
  • Retropolitan 8227 Main Street Elllicott City, MD 21043 phone: 410-461-0701 Toll Free 888-712-6483 Fax 410-461-0702 They are also on Facebook and have many events planned - fun contests, discount coupons via email, etc...
  • Old Soul Vintage 20 Vine Street Easton, MD 21601 410-690-4878 Both men's and women's, barely-over-salvation-army prices to upscale and designer.

Frederick

Check out our Field Trip to Frederick, Maryland

Baltimore

  • The Clothing Warehouse classic vintage clothing in the heart of the Federal Hill neighborhood. Jeans, 70s and 80s dresses, boots, western shirts, vintage t-shirts, accessories and more. Let our friendly and knowledgeable staff help create your own idea what it means to have limitless self-expression. Please call 410-244-6554 or visit us at 1211 South Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21230 business hours: M-Sat 11-8, Sun 11 - 6pm
  • Dreamland 1005 N. Charles St, (410)-727-4575.
  • Killer Trash on Eastern Avenue, near Fells Point
  • Value Village on Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown
  • Vanessa Vintage Treasure 1132 S. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21230 410-752-3224 Hours of Operation: Wednesday thru Saturday (11-7PM); Sunday 1-5 PM
  • Retropolitan 8006 Main Street Ellicott City, MD 21043 Phone 410-461-0701 Toll Free 888-712-6483 Fax 410-461-0702
  • Colleen's Dream in Leonardtown, Maryland. The store is located approximately 1 1/4 hours from DC. It is mainly a consignment shop but it has a large section devoted to vintage clothing.

Vintage Stores in a 2 hr radius around DC

Here is a list of vintage stores that can be reached with about a TWO HOUR drive from central DC. We have visited them all within the last 3 months.

Richmond, Virginia

  • Halcyon Vintage Clothing, 117 N. Robinson Street (804)-358-1311
  • Bygones, 2916 W. Cary St, (804)-353-1919
  • Galaxie, 409 Strawberry St., (804)-278-9411
  • Luxor,3001 W. Cary St, (804)-359-6789
  • Out of the Closet, 2001 W. Main St, (804)-355-7909
  • FanTastic Thrift,1914 W. Main St, (804)-358-7164
  • Clothes Rack, 2618 W. Cary St, (804)-358-4693
  • Max Griffin Max Griffin Antiques and Jewelry 3459 W. Cary St. Richmond, VA 23221 804-422-3461(Jewelry, accessories, furniture)
  • Exile 822 W. Grace Street
  • Diversity Thrift 1729 W. Cary St.
Connie and Winnie
Connie Carroll, owner of Halcyon and Winnie, her gorgeous Scottie
alas, Winston passed away in 2007 at the ripe old age of 19




Click Here for rating of Richmond Vintage Stores by readers of CitySearch.

Petersburg, Virginia

Second Hand Rose, located at 8 W. Bank Street, Petersburg, Virginia 804-733-5050. The store is owned by Gwen Cooper, who says that she is working on an exhibit of hats by Sara Sue, the famous designer for Miller and Rhoads, the toney Richmond department store.

Front Royal, Virginia

Vintage Swank has opened a "brick and mortar" store in Front Royal Virginia. Just an hour from DC out west interstate 66,

212 East Main Street
Front Royal, VA 22630
(540) 636-0069

Winchester, Virginia

Check out "Top of the Line" at 2021 South Loudoun Street in the Commonwealth Plaza. This is worth a stop Call (540) 535-0080 to make sure that they are open.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

  • We regret to report that Zap & Co. a long-time haven for vintage fans was destroyed by fire on January 22, 2011. We await word on whether it will reopen.
  • S & R Treasures at 332 N. Queen St., Lancaster, right across the street from Zap -- I found some very nice stuff here.
  • Smilin' Gal 23 E. Walnut is relatively new to the Lancaster scene but worth a look.
  • Water Street Mission Thrift, corner of Water and Vine Streets. This was an average thrift store, but I managed to find a very nice mouton coat for $8
  • Caroline Manor Antique, 624 Manor St, Lancaster, (717- 396-9552) 50s-60s vintage and some decorative furnishings
  • Deja Vu Selective Consignments, 283 Columbia Avenue, Lancaster (717-291-4481)
  • Chris' Buy and Sell 201-03 W. King St, Lancaster (717- 291-9133)
  • Sincerely Yours 1609 Oregon Pike, Lancaster (717-392- 2533)
  • Price-less Treasures 30 N Duke St, Lancaster (717- 390-4868)
  • S&R Treasures on 332 N. Queen St, Lancaster, PA carries lots of vintage clothes and shoes plus antiques and collectibles
  • If you go up the road to Reading, check out Daphyn's Vintage, 429 Carsonia Avenue. And, while you are in Reading, don't dare miss Jimmie Kramer's Peanut Bar

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

  • Fairey Godmother's (13 West Main Street, right across from the Gingerbread Man --- 717-795-8100, open from 12 - 6 Tues - Sat). It's crammed with stuff from the 40's through the 70's - men's and women's clothes, shoes, hats, gloves, jewelry, handbags, housewares, games, old appliances. It's a great place, and many of the articles of clothing are marked with the decade. Stuff is reasonably priced and generally in good condition, and the staff are very knowledgeable.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania


The Atomic Warehouse is a really wonderful four floors of the best stuff imaginable -- Catalin radios, Heywood-Wakefield Furniture, chrome appliances -- the best! The prices are accordingly high. Go there to see and be awed. Go there to buy the thing that you desire the most (at a fair, but non-bargain price.) This is all A-1+ quality stuff. It is really a tribute to the taste and style of the owner. Definitely worth driving 2 hours from DC. Eat at the Appalachian Brewery just around the corner. 1021 Market Street Harrisburg Pa. 17101, (717)-236-1900.

Shrewsbury, Pa

Another Time Vintage Apparel -- Established in 1994 by Suzanne Plitt, Another Time is located in an 1850's brick townhouse at 49 N. Main Street in Shrewsbury, Pa., a quaint historic town in southern York County.

Another Time has been voted BEST in the Mid Atlantic region for clothing and textiles by the Mid Atlantic Antiques Magazine. They carry authentic, top quality antique and vintage clothing and accessories from Victorian through 1950 and is known for wide selection and affordable prices. Another Time also sells perfume bottles, vanity items, hankies, linens, laces, fashion ephemera and small antiques. Perfumes from Good Scents, Ltd., are also available.

Check out photos from our recent visit to Another Time.

Vintage Stores in a 3 hr radius around DC

Here is a list of vintage stores that can be reached with less than a THREE HOUR drive from central DC. This list is MUCH less comprehensive!

Cape May, New Jersey

Ellen Christine (668 Washington Street, 609-884-3888) Ellen did her Master's thesis on Alternative Culture Clothing in the 1940s. Although her store appears to focus on Victorian clothing, she delved into boxes and behind corners to produce a dazzling display of Swing Era men's and women's fashions. All told, we spent three hours and a whole lot of money there. This was one of the richest treasure troves of Swing fashion that we have yet uncovered -- and Ellen says that this only scratches the surface of her inventory. She rented a LOT of clothes to the producers of the film Pearl Harbor.


Other Places

Here is a list of Vintage Stores that we have heard about. In general, the half-life of a typical vintage store is about 6 months, so don't be surprised if some of the links don't work. We try to keep this updated, but we have this job...

wash your gloves in Ivory Soap
Spencer Corsets - LIFE Magazine, 1941
Don't Forget those "Unmentionables"!
  • With a Swing Swing dance shoes including Bleyer, CD music, fedoras and other hats, shoe bags and other accessories. Also history and information on swing music,and Lindy Hop.
  • Deco Doug,106 W. 4th St, Royal Oak, MI, 248-547-3330
  • VaVoom Retro 119 Pleasant Street in Morgantown, WV, specializing in rockabilly, swing, rock and retro clothing. It's about 3 1/2 hours from DC.
  • Galerie,3733 S. Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, FL, 561- 832-3611,galere@webtv.com
  • Neil Ingber,11 Grist Mill lane, Westport, CT, 203-259- 1144
  • Dole Q. Jones,2042 Broad Avenue, Altoona, PA, 814-944- 2056,poodlina@aol.com
  • Barbara Kennedy,464 Kenny Drive, Sinking Spring, PA, 610-796-7303, bqkno1@aol.com
  • Last Century, Ltd.,PO Box 535, Holicong, PA, 215-353- 3183,c.k.phalon@lascenltd.com
  • Lolly's,115A Middlesex Dr., Charlottesville, VA, 804- 979-8077,lollycom@earthlink.net
  • Malabar Enterprises,172 Bush Lane, Ithaca, NY, 607- 266-0690,asnb@cornell.edu
  • Modernism Gallery,1622 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL, 305-442-8743, artdeco@modernism.com
  • Radio Art,PO Box 102, Centerbrook, CT, 860-526-1762,radioart@ntplx.net
  • Ernie Rock and Tom Trautwein, 144 Jones St, Dayton, OH, 937-331-9043, tomt@erinet.com
  • Nicholas Roy Antiques,140 Cohasset St, Pittsburgh, PA, 412-381-5515
  • Studio Moderne,2658 Kendall Rd, Shaker Heights, OH< 216-721-0273, smoderne@aol.com
  • Things Deco,130 E 18th St, Suite 8F, New York, NY, 212-447-4413,thingsdeco@hotmail.com
  • Toast Master Antique Appliances,PO Box 746, Allentown, PA, 610-439-0751, jbar@enter.net
  • Top Hat Antiques, 110 S Rogers, Northville, MI, 248- 349-0380
  • Truly Retro
  • Aloha Vintage Hawaiian shirts, etc -- and the store is actually in Hawaii!!
  • Kajn's Vintage Pretty N' Lace Offering vintage lingerie of all styles with a whole lot more
  • Our Dancing Daughters: a vintage-inspired reproduction clothing company for women that has an international clientelle.
  • Monster Vintage: an internet-only vintage store
  • www.vintagelingerie.biz Offering Quality Vintage Lingerie at Affordable Pricing and Professional Service!
  • World Domination through Thrift Clothing
  • Kopasetic Vintage "We specialize in quality vintage fashions in great wearable condition, from designer to everyday wear"
  • Midnight Sparkle Vintage Clothing An online vintage clothing store featuring fine vintage clothing from the 1930s through the 1980s. Shoes, purses, hats, coats, furs and more.
  • Blue Velvet Vintage Clothing and More featuring a distinctive collection of mid-century clothing, accessories, textiles and home decor (South Florida)
  • Glitterbug Vintage and Costume Jewelry: Description: Glamorous show-stopper to simply elegant jewelry from across the decades to complement your vintage dance attire.
  • Robin Clayton Vintage Specializing in Vintage Clothing, Textiles, Jewelry and Accessories Also Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Victorian, Moderne, Lighting, Prints, and Paintings
  • Memphis Vintage an internet only vintage clothing website selling clothing and accessories primarily from the 1920s thru the 1950s.
  • Miss Vintageous ladies retro clothing at popular prices.
  • Vintage Sole Reproduction shoes from the Victorian-Edwardian Era.
  • Retro-Mart Cool Stuff from the "Starburst" or "Jetsons" era - vintage and retro reproduction furniture, lighting, barware, etc. They have a big rockabilly following.
  • Woodland Farms vintage and all accessories for men and women from 1860 to the 1960s with a special focus on the 30s-50s.
  • Design Archives 304 E Market St Greensboro NC 27401 ,items from 1860-1980 with the emphasis on clothing and textiles as well as related items including furniture
  • The Culture Vultures
  • Plaid Pony Vintage Fun and funky vintage clothing, accessories and housewares for fashionable guy and girls
  • Dress That Man!: A vintage clothing store that is catering to exclusively to men. Check it out!!
  • Another Time Antiques: These folks are in New York and are not to be confused with Suzanne in Shrewsbury, Pa.
  • Damon and Doras's:Vintage, Unique Clothing and Accessories 717-608-8991
  • Hooked on Vintage Your virtual shop for fun and affordable vintage clothing from the 1940's to the 70's
  • Whirling Turban really well-made reproductions based on actual patterns.
  • Heavenly Vintage Lingerie Fine vintage lingerie for the discriminating collector. Specializing in bras, panties, girdles, slips, nightgowns and more from the 1940s through the 1980s.
  • Alleycat Vintage features vintage clothing and accessories for women and men.
  • The Electric Blender a 4,500sq. ft vintage clothing store in Durham N.C run by James and Michelle Lee
  • Roulette a vintage clothing store in beautiful Carrboro NC -- actually 108 E Main St, suite 6, Carrboro, NC 27510. Drop in and say hello to Rebecca and her friends.
  • Buffalo Gal Vintage Victorian jewelry, Edwardian vintage clothes, haute couture evening gowns, vintage costumes, retro clothing, antique minks and furs, straw handbags, vintage prom dresses, mother of the bride dresses, vintage style rockabilly clothing, dresses for swing dancing and other items to tickle your vintage fancy.
  • Hollywood Vintage (in Connecticut) This is in the "Backwoods Beverly Hills of Connecticut" because of proximity to NYC but a very rural character. Many celebrities live here such as Joan Rivers,Diane von Furstenburg,Christine Beranski,Mia Farrow and many more. Visit the store and rub elbows with the famous..
  • Vintage a la Mode 4448 N Western, Chicago IL 60625 (773-583-4559) operated by Shanti Clark, Steve Mendez, and Gina Lira They are young and passionate about vintage.
  • 23 Degrees: a new store owned by our reader Marie. She's located in San Mateo, down the way from San Francisco: 120 South Blvd. San Mateo, CA 94402, 650-627-9867
  • Da Vintage has a nice looking website. Located in Play Del Rey, California
  • Night of Joy Vintage Vintage Clothes, Art and Collectibles in Rochester NY.
  • Satchmo5: An Australian firm that designs and makes retro-inspired clothes
  • Time after Time Vintage Thrift Shop 414 west Franklin Street Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516 Clothing for men and women from the 1940s to 1980s
  • Sydney's Vintage Clothing
  • That Girl Vintage Boutique In Cheshire, Connecticut, specializing in clothing and accessories primarily from the 1940s through the 1970s. 203-271-0101
  • Glamoursurf Specializing in swim and resort wear (with a little bit of lingerie)
  • swingcandy.com, an online store for vintage and swing clothing It is located in Vancouver, BC but ships world wide.
  • Tarah's Human Clothing Not from this time... Vintage Clothing, Hand Crafted Purses, T-Shirts, Retro Sunglasses, and More
  • Posh Girl Vintage An interesting Vintage store in Canoga Park, California. Clothing for ladies and gentlemen. Owned by a very hip lady whose grandmother was John Wayne's interior decorator.
  • Vintage Martini ADallas (Texas) based store that also sells on the internet
  • Antiques of the Future based in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Main Off Fifth who would have thought that you could find couturier fashion in Stroudsburg, Pa??? 435A Main Street, Stroudsburg Pa, 18360, (570)-517-0751 no internet.
  • WAVES LLC is THE (and I mean THE) store for old radios, microphones and advertising materials. Showplace Antique Center, 40 w. 25th sStreet New York City 212-273-9516
  • Gypsy Belles an online clothing boutique in Santa Barbara California -- nice graphics on the website, by the way.
  • He & She vintage clothing boutique for men and women, in Kennett Square, PA. We're around 1 hour and 10 minutes from Baltimore, and 2 1/2 hours from DC, right off of Route 1. 109 S. Union Street Kennett Square, PA 19348
  • Vintage Virtuoso Fine vintage clothing including dresses, coats, skirts, vintage cocktail dresses, vintage and estate jewelry & accessories for her plus selected vintage kitchen items, housewares, glassware and linens for her home.
  • The Vintage Maven at Incogneeto Vintage 6 Division St. Somerville, NJ 08876 (908) 722-4600 www.incogneeto.com
  • 1950s Costumes Specializes in "iconic" costumes from the 1950s -- poodle skirts, muscle tees, etc. Nothing authentic, but something you might want to consider since real 1950s retro is much too expensive to dance in.
  • Vintage Treats based in the United Kingdom, Vintage Treats offers a range of vintage footwear, clothing, accessories, jewellery and fragrances, all of which is hand-picked for you
  • closiTherapi clothing boutique VINTAGE and DESIGNER clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories... Therapi for your Closit..
  • BEULAHVEDA.COM is an online vintage clothing boutique offering vintage clothing, accessories and jewelry for women. Vintage collections include unique, hand-picked items from the 1940's, 50's,60's, 70's and 80's.
  • The Vintage Sunglass Shop Rare authentic Revo, Ray-Ban, Armani, Carrera, Alpina, Cazal, Vuarnet, Bolle, Persol, Oliver Peoples, and 1950's cat's eye sunglasses.
  • Vintage la Mode vintage store in San Francisco on Sacramento Street at Presidio. Also a 1st dibs store and Ebay Store
  • Motif-Vintage Victorian, Edwardian, Flapper, Old Hollywood, WWII, Rockabilly and Mod clothing (866)-625-1243 Toll Free csmall100@yahoo.com (email)
  • Nostalgia Classic Bargains 735 Anderson Ave Cliffside Park, NJ 07010 (201) 945-0288
  • Boo Bears Baubles Vintage Ties, Sunglasses, Clothing, and lot of Jewelry, with a heavy accent on the jewelry -- 40 West 25th St, Booth 30 in New York City
  • Klassic Line Vintage Clothing & Costume One of the few Vintage Stores in Kansas!
  • Monkey Suit Vintage vintage and designer suiting for men, as well as a small amount of women's vintage clothing and accessories. Mostly men's 3 piece suits and 60s 2 piece suits and neat vintage tweeds, vintage skinny ties, vintage lace up oxfords, etc
  • Open Door Vintage 1232 W. Colorado Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80904 719-630-6422 Vintage a la Mode in San Francisco, California




Los Angeles,California



If you are headed for Camp Hollywood, check out these fine vintage stores!





San Francisco,California

Wasteland
1660 Haight St San Francisco

Brownies Vintage
2309 Encinal Ave Ste. B Alameda, CA 94501 (510) 523-0112

Brownies Vintage (Store #2)
2001 Milvia St Berkeley, CA 94704 (at University Ave.)

Ver Unica
437 Hayes St Ste B San Francisco

Crossroads Trading Company
1901 Fillmore St San Francisco

Cris
2056 Polk St San Francisco

Old Vogue Vintage
1412 Grant Ave San Francisco

Aardvark's Odd Ark
1501 Haight St San Francisco

Martini Mercantile
1453 Grant Ave San Francisco

La Rosa Vintage
1711 Haight St San Francisco

Guys & Dolls Vintage
3789 24TH St San Francisco

Mars Mercantile
2398 Telegraph Ave Berkeley

Madame Butterfly
5474 College Ave Oakland

Links to Vintage in Other Cities Across the Country



Sources for Reproductions

wash your gloves in Ivory Soap
Wash Your Gloves in Ivory Soap - LIFE Magazine, 1941
Don't Forget the Gloves and Hat for Your Vintage Outfit!

The surging popularity of Swing has inspired some houses to reproduce garments from the period. All of them sell through the internet. It is almost impossible to find men's pants, so your only option may be one of these:

  • dancestore.com is the world-wide distributor for Aris Allen dance shoes, they also sell a broad variety of shirts and zoot-style pants. Custom orders are accepted and you can select your fabric yourself.
  • Zoot Suits by El Pachuco is a Fullerton California outfit that has been selling zoot suits, spectator shoes and wide-brimmed "Tando" hats for some years. they sell new and used suits as well as coats and pants as separates. Custom orders are welcomed.
  • vintagemartini.com This is a large vintage clothing website with at least half dedicated to vintage dress patterns.
  • Suavecito's Suits have been outfitting Seattle swingers for some time.
  • Valentino's Zootsuit Connection, 906 S. 6th St., Suite B, Las Vegas, Nevada (702) 383-9555)
  • Zoot Suits by Laura Jean 1-800-LAURAJN

List of Custom Tailors in the DC/Baltimore Area

Note: these folks are probably not cheap, but they can do what needs to be done. Never look for bargains when you engage a custom tailor. If you have to ask what it costs, don't go there!


Baltimore


Georgette's House of Tailoring
Georgette Stokes
1937 W. Lexington St.
Baltimore, MD 21223
PH: 410-945-8744


Irvin Gates, LLC
Irvin Gates
723 Reservoir St.
Baltimore, MD 21217
PH: 410-462-6349
Fax: 410-728-4787
email: irvingates@worldnet.att.net


Quality Tailoring Inc.
James White
209 E. Redwood Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
PH: 410-685-6414
Fax: 410-685-5151


Victor Pascal Custom Tailors Inc.
Victor Pascal
22 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
PH: 410-539-2500
Fax: 410-539-2501
email: info@victorpascal.com
website: www.victorpascal.com


Lanham


Thompson's Tailoring
George Thompson
10003 Alford Court
Lanham, MD 20706
PH: 301-459-4539
Fax: 301-459-4539
email: julialth@msn.com


Washington, DC

Field English Custom Tailors
William Field II
1742 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20007
PH: 202-333-2222


Highcliffe Clothiers Ltd.
Mark Metzger
1120 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
PH: 202-872-8640
Fax: 202-872-8641
email: CustomTailor@aol.com


TRIBUTE TO DAN GANPEL

This is a photo of Dan Ganpel seated at his famous Cornelli embroidery machine.

Dan Ganpel
The Fabulous Dan Ganpel
Master of the Cornelli




Dan was born into a family of tailors in Montreal sometime around 1920. As far as I can tell, he has been continuously involved in the needle trades ever since. All of the objects that you see in the picture were done freehand! Dan was famous among military folk --- he was the guy who did those wonderful patches for WWII fighter squadrons. He also did all the astronaut patches. When the Eagle landed on the Moon, a Dan Ganpel patch was on his spacesuit.

When I met Dan, he was closing his shop and invited me in to look at some stuff that had been "unclaimed". These are wonderful objets d'art I have all the items in the picture, and I treasure them all. (I wish that I had grabbed the telephone, the radio AND the Cornelli as well!)

Dan was a wonderful guy.


FINAL NOTE

The big secret about vintage shopping is to COOPERATE! Get together with your friends and make a note of their "wish list" (and sizes!) If you see something that doesn't fit you, bring it home for a friend. If something is hot, speculate a little and bring it to a dance. Vintage is rare and only comes your way once, so when you see it, grab it!

Vintage Archives

You might want to check out our series on "The Care and Feeding of Vintage Clothes"

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