Intro and Inquiry from the East Coast

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by dcode, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. dcode

    dcode New in Town

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    It's a Helluva Town
    Alas, I have lurked for far too long. Indygear led me here many moons ago and I have been lurking and ingesting since the opening of this joint. Thank you all! :cheers1:

    I was first introduced to this wondrous era with "The Golden Age of Radio", a weekly broadcast (Sundays on WBAI in NY) of classic programs from radio's bygone days. I was 16 years old and smelled of pomade (disastrous) and Brylcreem (slightly better) and frequented the old Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing store across from Bloomingdale's. Only 19 years later have I truly been introduced to the world of vintage style.

    I am compelled to state that Art Kramer is the man I owe the most thanks to and I eagerly await his reincarnation.

    I am, however, disillusioned with the availability of vintage wear in the city of NY. I have heard tell of opportunities at thrift shops and Goodwill. I understand the perseverance, the hunter's mentality that one must maintain as the years roll by and the golden age recedes ever further. I have concluded (rashly, I hope) that "Vintage" in NY means 70's to 80's. I hope to have a fruitful first experience at the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show next weekend where I hope against hope that I may part with some hard-earned clams on some quality duds.

    Is there any NYC (or thereabouts) representation in this here joint? If so, let me know that I am not alone and kindly lay down the skinny on the reputable establishments!

    Regards,
    Dan
     
  2. MudInYerEye

    MudInYerEye Practically Family

    Messages:
    988
    Location:
    DOWNTOWN.
    Howdy Dan.
    I live in the city too. Where is the vintage clothing show being held? I'm interested.
     
  3. dcode

    dcode New in Town

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    It's a Helluva Town
    Hey there Mud. It is at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th St). http://www.manhattanvintage.com/ has details. While not necessaily an indication of the available fare, the website's graphics do lean towards the fairer sex.

    Regards,
    Dan
     
  4. Uberneot

    Uberneot New in Town

    Messages:
    36
    Hi there,

    I'm not much of a vintage shopper (I joined the forum for the hats) but I can share some things I've heard. Vintage here in NYC tends to mean whatever the "hipster" crowd thinks is kitschy at the moment, which as you said tends to be 70's-80's. As to thrift stores, I cruised a couple around the East Village last weekend and the pickings were slim for any men's clothing. They mostly have rather bland looking suit jackets. Of course, a hipster enclave such as the East Village is probably about the worst place to go thrifting. I've heard the real finds are in the outer boroughs. All just heresay though. What's the info on this clothing show?
     
  5. flat-top

    flat-top My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,772
    Location:
    Palookaville, NY
    Welcome DCODE! Cheap Jacks, and Andy Cheepees in NYC USED to have some 40's-50's clothes. I'm not even sure if these stores are still open. The 2nd floor of Cheap Jacks was filled with shirts from the 40's and 50's, and suits from the 30's- 50's. Andy Cheepees had gabardine jackets and 40's and 50's shirts, but they were all shoved and squeezed into the racks along with new stuff and 70's polyester horrors, making it most unpleasant to shop. And despite the names of both places, they are both overpriced! Maybe all that's changed since the demand here in NY is non-existant. Worth a look for sure.
    Good luck (and lemmie know if you find any deals!),
    flat-top
     
  6. MrBern

    MrBern I'll Lock Up

    I'm in NYC as well.
    Most of the vintage stuff I find is WWII uniforms.
    It really sux that CanalJeans was replaced by a Bloomingdales outlet. I used to find 40s trousers in there all the time.
    And of course at th Flea markets on 25th street.
    But i think those have all been closed up & moved to HellsKitchen.

    -bern
     
  7. MudInYerEye

    MudInYerEye Practically Family

    Messages:
    988
    Location:
    DOWNTOWN.
    Yeah, the 26th Street market had been slowly dying lot by lot for years. Depressing. Many a long walk I took with the dog Saturday and Sunday mornings. Lots of fine wimmens to ogle...And Canal Jeans...*sob*...they did reopen on 8th and B'way, but they now carry very little vintage. Cheap Jacks, which I always despised for their ridiculous prices finally packed it in a few weeks ago.
    Being a diehard thrifter, I find great stuff fairly often in Salvation Armies, Housing Works, various chuch thrift stores, and Goodwills, but it does require a large investment of time and sorting to find a good score. I've found that generally the thrift stores in Manhattan actually provide a better quality of finds than those in Brooklyn (haven't tired the other bouroughs much).
    Starstruck in the West Village has very nice stuff at fairly resonable price, give 'em a try. If you're looking for vintage fedoras, Fabulous Fannies on East 9th St. always has a decent selection (they also have a sick variety of vintage eyewear).
    The bright side of the New York swing scene having died is that when 30's and 40's threads show up at vintage stores, they are priced at about half of what they'd go for in the early to mid 90's.
     
  8. dcode

    dcode New in Town

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    It's a Helluva Town
    Thank you all for the inspiration. I'll be heading out later this week and will let you know what I uncover.

    Regards,
    Dan
     
  9. MrBern

    MrBern I'll Lock Up

    Mudinyereye,
    Yes, its true, DEPRESSING is the word for it.
    Tho it'll reappear elsewhere, 26th street was a true mecca for vintage stuff & hotties galore. It was nice to jsut sit out there & enjoy the sun in NYC. That many open lots in this tight city was unusal. Its a shame its gone. But even without the lots being built upon, in the last 5 years EBAY really changed the face of the stuff you could find. It definitely got crappier.

    As for Canal Jeans, I did spot a not too common 1943 women's combat jacket inthere a coupl months ago.And an officers lined trenchcoat. My friend bought it. Really didnt expect to find anything as its a shadow of its former self.

    Most of my stuff is military. I'd like to find some 30s or 40s civilian wear. Thanks for the tips.
    -bernard
     
  10. Zemke Fan

    Zemke Fan Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,690
    Location:
    On Hiatus. Really. Or Not.
    Hey NYC boys...

    Still trying hard to find a source for authentic HEAVY weight U.S. Army / AAF chocolate tunic fabric. Since I'm a 46 Long, the chances of ever finding a vintage tunic or ike jacket are slim to none. You guys have any leads for vintage fabric/tailor outlets where I might score enough fabric to have the boys in Thailand make me some jackets?

    BTW, Mr. Bern, that's a mighty fine avatar!

    BTW-2, Mr. Bern, what rag do you work for?
     
  11. Starstrucks is about the only place left to go. I've bought new old stock pants with tags for less than what you'd pay for the rags they sell at Banana Republic. And I've never gotten home to find a tear in anything. Unlike Andy's Not-so Cheepees, and Not-at-all Cheap Jack's, (glad to hear they finally packed it in) they care about the quality of their merchandise. The last time I was there the shop girl even complained to me about the influx of customers who were, according to her, "all the wrong people" buying vintage.

    Atomic Passion is worth a visit. Their prices are reasonable, and they usually have a good selection of men's clothing, but the lighting is low and you do have to inspect for the odd tear or stain. They're over on, I believe, 9th between 1st and 2nd, but I could be off a block.

    I got a killer porkpie and sunglasses at Fabulous Fannie's. No clothing, but worth a look.

    There's a guy over on 23rd between, again I believe, 6th and 7th or 7th and 8th. I think the name is Jim's and it's upstairs on the south side of the street. I got a great overcoat from him without shelling out a lot of jack. He has a small selection of men's but what he's got is choice.

    As for the Manhattan Vintage show, it's rough for men. About 95% of the dealers only have women's. Plus there's the $15 entrance fee ($20 without the invite) and you would think that with that fee you'd be in for some bargains, but certainly, that is not the case. Overcoats were about $100-$150 in good condition. I found a suit or two that didn't fit for about the same. There's a tie guy with a lot of ties but he's a bit pricey: $25 -$35 for ties I know he's getting on ebay for $5. The one score I made was a 60s Pierre Cardin bolero jacket that I haggled down to $75 from $110. I told her I was the only guy who was going to come around and fit in it. If the entrance fee were $5 for men -considering they have so little there for us- I'd go again, but not for the $15.

    Today I just went down to Lambertsville, NJ / New Hope, PA - about 80 miles southeast of NY. If you can get down there, there are GREAT vintage shops. I just scored a 40s DB pinstripe suit two pair of 60s pants, and two overcoats all for $140.00.

    Unfortunately you have to invest time in vintage living. I've been collecting for over 20 years. Today was a great day. Other days, weekends even, have been complete washouts. Ebay HAS made it difficult. As I wrote in another post, back around 1981 I was buying 60s suits for a dollar. I was in a band and I'd wear them on stage, they'd get ripped up, and then I'd go out and buy another one. What did I know? I was a kid who just thought they were cool suits. Perhaps if it weren't for reckless people like me, there'd actually be more of them out there.

    Kind regards,

    Senator Jack
     
  12. Renderking Fisk

    Renderking Fisk Practically Family

    A while back, there was AEROPOSTALE which started out as a franchise that specialized in ?¢‚Ǩ?ìretro-outfitter,?¢‚Ǩ? now it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s more of a knock off of ?¢‚Ǩ?ìAmbercrombe And Finch,?¢‚Ǩ?

    Before that, the Original Banana Republic first started out specializing in Retro-Travel wear; the catalogs were a dream for Vintage aficionados.

    So, here?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s my question?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ if there was a new franchise that specialized retro style clothes, how well would it succeed? And how long could it last before it was forced to go mainstream?
     
  13. Last year I seriously considered opening up a haberdashery here in NY. After years of being thought of as a loon by accountants, lawyers, etc. (my job makes me itinerant) they started asking me where I get my clothes. Seemed to me that guys wanted to look sharp again. But after much research I found it's difficult to offer what I want to offer and still make it affordable. Certainly you can manufacture cheap suits that are retro-styled but that is not at all what I wanted to do. Just because a suit is retro-styled it doesn't make it sharp. Sharpness comes from details like stitching and construction. I had never even been in a Banana Republic before this year but I passed the one on 34th and there was a 50s styled suit in the window. I had to try it on, as this was the very idea I had not three months earlier. In it, I felt as sharp as bowling ball. The price tag was $500 and I wouldn't take it for $10. Something tells me they didn't do well with these suits as I've never seen anyone on the street in them.

    A friend of mine is a fashion designer and was interested in doing something but then she started talking about having to cater to today's market and the simple fact is that men think it perfectly all right to wear suits with sneakers, and worse yet, sandals. I knew that wasn't going to work out.

    If you get a chance, go over to Duncan Quinn's. They do 60s mod. British pinstripe and bold ties. Very Michael Caine and indeed there's a large poster of the man himself gracing the wall. They offer bespoke service and the suits are fabulously expensive. While the ties are interesting, at $125 each, they're not interesting enough. The point is, you can see what good style is up against in NY. I don't know how the place sells enough suits to stay in business, because, yet again, I never see anyone wearing these suits. I did see an interview with Eric Idle recently and I'm pretty sure the suit he was wearing was from there. (The company's based in London) I've also seen Bob Geldorf in what could be their work.

    I really did believe that style was poised for a comeback in NY. I wish I had the guts to take put my meager life-savings up for such a risk, but I don't believe men are willing to yet take the risk of looking good either.

    Regards,

    Senator Jack
     
  14. dcode

    dcode New in Town

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    It's a Helluva Town
    Bittersweet

    Well, I finally did a tour of some thrift shops, concentrating on the 8 or so all within a six-block radius on the Upper East Side. Maybe it's my inexperience, but I came up with nada. Nothing. I rummaged and scavenged, honest I did, and came up empty. :cry: Which leads me to wonder what is the cast-to-catch ratio when fishing in the thrifts? I suppose it takes a heaping load of perseverance. So, tail between my legs, I hopped a downtown train and went to Starstruck. Great place. Shirts arranged by decade. Gabardines, Pendletons, you name it. The going price for 1930-40's Gabardines in excellent condition: $88. Frankly, I was not prepared, so I moved to the 60's rack and purchased 2 perfectly preserved Arrow shirts (Oh Dacron! Oh Permanent Press!) in unique hues of green and brown. A wealth of ties by the door (@ $20+) deserve a future perusal.

    What to do, what to do... Currently eyeing the ties here: http://www.americanvintageclassics.com/ties40s.html

    P.S. Didn't hit the Manhattan Vintage Expo based on the comments here and the downpour. Anyone?

    Ever onward, Dan
     
  15. On the UES, did you go to vintage stores or thrift shops? Just for future reference, and to save yourself some trouble, I think you can go to Manhattan thrift stores every day for a decade and you may find exactly one vintage shirt. The major thrifts - Salvation Army, Goodwill - smartened up about ten years ago and hired vintage pickers. They go through everything that comes in and sell all the vintage to wholesalers for a better mark-up. In the outer boroughs you can till find a few items though. Certainly they too have the vintage pickers but 60s clothing still, somehow, gets through. Best yet are the thrift stores attached to the churches, usually open on Saturdays for a few hours. You have to get a route. Again, the ones in Manhattan are picked clean.

    Glad you found a few things at Starstruck. As I wrote, they're about the best.

    Regards,

    Senator Jack
     
  16. Canadave

    Canadave One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,284
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Where is Starstruck? I'll be visiting NYC in the next year.

    Thanks,

    David
     
  17. dcode

    dcode New in Town

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    It's a Helluva Town
    Senator, I hit the thrift shops. Thanks for the words of caution. I am in Queens myself - I'll have to explore the outer boroughs.

    David, Starstruck is at 47 Greenwich St, a few blocks away from the 14th st subway station. Helpful, unpretentious staff.

    Regards,
    Dan
     
  18. EL COLORADO

    EL COLORADO One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    129
    Location:
    NYC, SF, DC
    NEW YORK CITY VINTAGE

    Greetings all.

    New York City actually has had a few pretty great vintage sources that have only in recent years closed their doors.
    Savoia's was a shop across the street from Tompkins Square Park, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He was basically a tailor who created custom 40's and 30's suits for cats during the whole swing craze era of the late 90's and early 2000's. His store front was nutin but eye candy for hipsters, with stacks of vintage links and lighters and ties and canes and lids.
    Like a real habadashery.
    Clothing wise not much vintage, ...though he had his needle and thread stuff down and used to make suits for all the big swing bands at the time.
    Closed up about a year ago.
    Then there was Alice Underground, that got put down at the beginning of year. They were just down the street from Canal Jean. Were there for as long as i can remember. They had a killer gab and rayon shirt selection, coats, cool tux section and great mens accessories.
    And a killer ladies section.

    Starstruck is probably your most consistent bet. But even they have have been slowin down lately.
    And Cheap Jacks is gonna reopen somewhere else.
    Its kooky but did you know that Cheap Jacks, Star Struck ad Andy's Cheepies are all owned by the same family?
    Theyre all brothers. A vintage cabal!


    Yeah, the river has run a bit dry,...but then again it depends.
    Descent 40's suits for some reason are ALWAYS plentiful to one extent or the other.
    While drapey 50's suits for some strange reason are VERY difficult to find.
    While suits for chicks, in general, are pretty much plentiful all around.


    EL C.
     
  19. Uberneot

    Uberneot New in Town

    Messages:
    36
    I mentioned this is another post but thought it was worth mentioning here: Cheap Jacks is planning on reopening at 5th and 31st, right across the street from J.J. Hat Center. The little sign on the building doesn't say when though, so us New York loungers will have to keep our eyes open.
     

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