“When the quarantine fatigue hits especially hard, transport yourself to the often gritty, always fabulous, one-of-a-kind world of New York City’s thrifted and vintage (henceforth referred to as “thrintage”) shops.”
Check out the full article originally published by A Sustainable Closet here.
My foray into thrintage began almost 15 years ago. My version of playing after-school sports was combing through thrift store racks and scoring epic pieces that would normally be way out of my student budget. One of my all-time best finds is a pair of R13 half denim half leather chaps from one of the OG purveyors of thrintage, Second Time Around (may she rest in peace).
As I currently write this article having fully spread my snowbird wings and escaped a New York City winter, it brings me a special sense of happiness to reminisce about my favorite shops to add planet-friendly additions to my wardrobe.
People will groan about how crappy Buffalo Exchange is to consign with (sorry, not sorry). But I’ve been hard-pressed to find another shop where I walk out feeling like I’ve struck gold. I once grabbed an unworn Opening Ceremony sweatshirt for $20 and saw the same one online for $150. Let that soak in. Buffalo Exchange has over 50 shops across the United States, with four in New York City. I’m a seasoned enough customer to tell you that East Village is best for sneakerheads while Chelsea has the most variety. If you’re a recovering fast fashion addict, Buffalo will be your sponsor. In addition to some designer pieces, they carry gently used clothing from the likes of Zara, H&M, Urban Outfitters and more.
Cure Thrift Shop
Cure Thrift Shop is just around the corner from New York City’s preeminent bookstore The Strand. It’s impossible for me to end a day traipsing the East Village without popping in here. What I especially love about founder Liz Wolff’s shop is the mission behind the clothes – their proceeds go towards juvenile diabetes research and advocacy. Cure overflows with year-round apparel that’s both vintage and modern thrift, in addition to home goods and other delightful tchotchkes. This is the perfect shop to pop in your AirPods with a good Spotify playlist and spend a few hours peeling through racks. Thrifty guys and gals will rejoice over their prices, by the way.
Your dollar goes the extra mile at Housing Works, with proceeds going towards the fight against both AIDS and homelessness. Like Buffalo Exchange, you can find a few locations of Housing Works across the City. Each one offers up a bit of a different flavor, but my favorite for clothing is the West Village location (although I think some may say it’s the SoHo Bookstore Cafe spot). You’ll come back to Housing Works time and again – I still own pieces from when I was just getting my fashion footing in high school yet walked out with an overflowing bag of new discoveries just this past Fall.
Madame Matovu Vintage
You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for Madame Matovu, as it’s a tiny institution tucked into the tree-lined streets of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The quirky shop is like traveling back in time, stalwart against an era of glass high rises and dwindling mom and pops. What’s particularly special about Madame Matovu is that you can expect to find the oodles of eclectic clothing and antiques interspersed with founder Rosemary Wettenhall’s own findings from her travels and Ugandan heritage. If you ever stop in, Rosemary is known to have plenty a story to tell. Her shop is true thrintage eye candy.