The dos and don’t of buying vintage

Dealers at Manhattan Vintage Show share their tips

Denyse Sookdar of Denyse’s Closet (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Denyse Sookdar of Denyse’s Closet (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Three times a year, members of the fashion industry as well as lovers of vintage clothing converge upon the Metropolitan Pavilion for the Manhattan Vintage Show, an expo for vintage dealers from New York and around the country. The most recent event was held last weekend (the next show will be in April) with around 75 overstuffed booths as well as a costume installation that paid homage to the late David Bowie.

While there, Town & Village asked the pros for tips on how to shop for vintage clothes, which — as any of the customers who shell out $20 just for entry to the show to can attest to — can be a pricey undertaking. Especially with some of the dealers hawking Victorian pieces as well as other pre-Depression outfits, not to mention designer labels. Sometimes, the experts assured us, it’s worth it. But other times, customers should know when to walk away.

Denyse Sookdar, owner of Denyse’s Closet in Stanford, Connecticut, warns shoppers to look for flaws in an item that can’t be easily fixed.

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Thrift Shop Row is thriving

Customers continue to rely on rock-bottom prices

A selection of women’s clothes at the Salvation Army, one of the shops along East 23rd Street’s Thrift Shop Row (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

A selection of women’s clothes at the Salvation Army, one of the shops along East 23rd Street’s Thrift Shop Row (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

To some they’re places to dig for hidden treasures at a cheap price, while to others, unable to turn elsewhere for the things they need, they’re a lifeline. They’re also the foot soldiers of the nonprofit world, positioned at street level for anyone to breeze on in, and, depending on their needs that day, contribute by leaving the unwanted contents of their closets behind, or by spending a few bucks.

Local bargain hunters are especially fortunate, considering that a two-block stretch on East 23rd Street, between Second Avenue and Lexington, is home to half a dozen thrift shops. They are Cauz for Pawz, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Vintage Thrift, Housing Works and City Opera. At the beginning of the recession, in 2008, these shops were busier than ever, at the time reporting to Town & Village that they were doing well in sales as many more people came to rely on their rock bottom prices. However, they noted that donations had fallen, with many of those same people opting to hold onto the things they had.

Recently, T&V caught up with representatives from a few of the stores that make up Thrift Shop Row to ask how things were going these days, and everyone we spoke with said their organizations were faring well, thanks to a continued reliance on their low priced goods, but also generous people donating.

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The 1970s were on display at Manhattan Vintage Show

Stylist Purely Patricia Fox (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Stylist Purely Patricia Fox (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

At the Manhattan Vintage Show, a thrice yearly event held at the Metropolitan Pavilion that last took place on Friday and Saturday, many vendors said they’d been stocking up for the resurgence of the 1970s.

The trend has also been creeping back into mainstream fashion with wide and flared pants having replaced the skinny silhouette and bright colors – a not-so-subtle hint that New Yorkers are ready for spring weather.

But in the vintage world, trends can also be kicked into high gear by period TV shows and this year, one influencer is the popular AMC show “Mad Men” (the last season of which was set in 1970).

“‘Mad Men’ is very hot and for us it means sexy secretary outfits,” said Jen Kuykendall, of Donnaland Vintage. “A lot of people have been having (themed) parties and there was an uptick in sales.”

The company had been selling many 1970s prints at the show and other recent vintage shows. “Anything 1970s,” or more specifically anything with bright colors and patterns.

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