A Current Affair

A few weekends ago, it was monsooning out (seriously the most gushing wind/rain i’ve experienced in years), and I was in search of something to do. I was lucky to discover a vintage pop up sale going on in Brooklyn via Instagram, called A Current Affair. The show occurs sporadically in LA and NYC a few times a year, and it looks like they are expanding to a few other cities (one coming up in the Bay Area in June). Basically they got a bunch of different vintage vendors, some with physical retail stores and others who are more trunk show type dealers, all in one place and you buy a $10 ticket to peruse.

I have had a long love of vintage and second hand clothes– from back when I used to dress up in my grandmothers closets as a little girl–so this was pretty much Nirvana for me. Over the years I have loved collecting a piece here or there to incorporate with mainstream outfits. My favorite place in the world to hunt is the Paris Flea but I’ve found amazing things all over the world, in cities big and small. I’ve bought Tod’s loafers from a Goodwill in San Fran’s Mission District, found a 1940’s rabbit fur capelet from a thrift store in Lewisburg, WV ($50!??!! RJB this may be the best find of my life), an original 70’s Gucci crossbody in my tiny hometown, a custom beaded evening gown that everyone mistakes for Marchesa, and tons of no name bracelets, scarves, clutches and faux gemstone earrings along the way. The thrill of the hunt is like a drug for me, never knowing exactly what you will find (#addict). And I love that each piece has a story, a life before me, and it’s something no one else will ever show up at dinner in. Here are a few snaps from the afternoon–

amazing jeweled mules i still regret not snapping up

the coolest fringed shift from the 1960’s

sherpa-like knits in all sorts of colors

those sleeves!!!!??? so right now it almost looks like caroline constas or johanna ortiz

I spent about 3 hours in the sale; in addition to the clothes, there were so many great street style #chicpeas to soak in. I ended up with two silk peasant tops (one is “supposedly” a hundred years old), a beaded navajo belt (perfect for spicing up denim cutoffs this summer) and the coolest art deco clutch with removable handles (its called a Moon Bag, the closest ones I can find online are here and here). Since many of my friends often ask me about my vintage finds, but seem intimidated by the process, I thought I’d give a few tips learned over the years and a list of my favorite spots to treasure hunt.


Tips for Thrifting 

look at things in isolation: sometimes walking into a vintage store can be really overwhelming, with lots of prints and colors distracting the eye, sometimes stuff is arranged in heaps, bins and piles, and there’s a lot of “out there” styles you wouldn’t be caught dead in. try to look at items on an individual, isolated basis- “would i wear this one specific blazer with my current jeans and t-shirt” or “how would this dress look hanging in my closet once I’m back at home?” is an easier decision process than “what in the world should i buy???!!!”

don’t buy things you won’t wear: there is a lot of cool stuff i love to look at in these stores, but i know that realistically would never have the guts to wear on the street (see black and white dress above). think of these parts of the store as an art museum of sorts– fun to soak in but not to take home. be true to your own style and what you would/wouldn’t wear, or you’ll just regret spending money on the stuff later on.

don’t be scared to haggle: bargaining is the name of the game. even in fancy vintage stores, if i don’t feel the price is right, you can ask them if they’re willing to take less (sometimes yes, sometimes no) or leave your phone number to call you if they lower the price later on. for really expensive pieces, i sometimes do a quick ebay search to get the general feel for what an item should cost, but at the end of the day usually you can’t find a true like-for-like item so you have to go with your gut. also, sometimes it’s ok to pay up (not all vintage has to be a bargain) if you find something really unusual, designer or hard to find.

but if you love it, don’t debate: the flip side of this is that if you find something you love, especially if you’re out of town or at some sort of flea market/pop up, you should buy it. i have a mental list of regrets for items i found, loved and told myself i didn’t need at the time. my boyfriend can attest to this since i still talk wistfully about a vintage hermes belt i skipped over for $150 in Milan last summer. this is a hit or miss game and once it’s gone, its gone forever. so just buy it!!

before you buy it, inspect inspect inspect: sounds obvious, but ive overpaid for things that are stained, torn or just don’t fit right. give it the once over, and then a twice over. or better yet, get your friend to give it a second pair of eyes.

minor tweaks are doable, big changes cost a lot: removing a belt, cutting off the hem, and changing the buttons are usually all tweaks you can make yourself. shortening the straps, bringing in the waist, or otherwise altering the shape of garments usually isn’t possible from your average tailor, and if it is, will cost big bucks. i’ve never found major alterations on vintage to work out how i wanted.

Now do you have the vintage shopping bug? a few, but not all of my favorite vintage haunts in NYC:

Housing Works- a charity store that requires lots of digging but I have found some great stuff

Starstruck Vintage Clothing– right around the corner from my abode, lots of retro denim for turning into shorts, cowboy boots and vintage rock t’s

What Goes Around Comes Around– the premiere designer vintage in the world, very pricey but incredible. this store has really taken off recently through its partnerships with Gilt and Bloomies.

Diamonds & Coal– technically a consignment store, not vintage specifically

Pippin Vintage Jewelry– lots of rhinestones! luckily my friend LKH lives upstairs to this store, so i pop in a lot to peruse

Cure Thrift Shop– great slip dresses, bangles and beaded vintage purses

A very happy (but tired) post-thrifting girl ready for Saturday night in her new top

5 under $50

some chic steals and deals to get you through your week– 5 of my current favorites, all under $50

#1 zara fleece jacketone of my best purchases this fall, half coat/half sweater, this blanket style feels soft as a bathrobe but is tailored enough to wear to work. see me debuting it on insta here.


#2 beaded tassels. ladies in love with the oscar de la renta tassels, look no further. this etsy shop has jaw dropping identical options all for $49


#3 h&m biker jeans – pair with a cozy sweatshirt, beanie and sneaks for a perfect errand running outfit.


#4 western belt – as many of us know, the model/trendy fashionista clan has been rocking western style belts for some time. while i am a little skeptical on how long this fad will stick around, at $6 you can test drive it for yourself and say goodbye when its on to the next thing.


#5 twist-front teewhile technically it rings in slightly above $50, if you sign up for the club monaco email program you can get it for $50.15 (does anyone else think of isla fisher in bachelorette when you hear club monaco? if you havent seen this movie, just do it). my friends know i am notoriously cheap for buying tees— my go to’s are always scoop neck t-shirts from h&m, Target turtlenecks and long sleeved jersey ones from the cynthia rowley for TJmaxx line. seriously, i never pay more than $30– because i end up throwing them away after a season or two and buying all new. however, the detail on this one makes it worth the extra dough and i made the mistake of trying it on at the store– lit-er-a-lly-yyyy the softest. sold.


***honorable mention to these amazing dv for Target mule boots ringing in for only $27!!! you, my bootie friends, didn’t get featured in the top 5 because you arent available online and/or in stores anywhere in my size. grrrrr. so i didnt want you gals to feel the sadness/anger/disappointment flooding my emotions when i see them. target reps— call me, i want them. their parent brand dolce vita has them online here at a much higher price. nnneeeew thank you.