A Day in the Life of a Vintage Shopper


Our email today was all about how to find a good vintage coat for the upcoming chilly months, or as a holiday gift. Earlier this fall a crisp morning brought about the re-emergence of a familiar and delightful aroma–my dear leather coat, once worn by my mother to a Clash concert in 1979. Inspired by how much I love that jacket, I took a tour through Brooklyn’s vintage stores one afternoon, to check out the selection.

Though it’s sure to have changed by now, here’s a sampling of a few of the vintage coats available at stores around Brooklyn on one fall weekend.

Don some thrifty preppervescence with a Kelly green Lacoste windbreaker, at the Park Slope location of Beacon’s Closet for a mere $12.95. If a decidedly more feminine silhouette is more your style, this dusty blue shantung coat, $24.99, seen at Guvnor’s Vintage Thrift, also in Park Slope, might be a better pick.

“I have a coat nearly exactly like this that’s my outfit for attending weddings,” said a fellow Guvnor’s shopper.

There’s always plenty of vintage leather for both ladies and gents on offer. Given their pre-loved status and price points on the cheap, they’re a win-win–the leather is broken in with minimal effort, at least on your part. For guys, Guvnor’s had a classic black leather bomber, plus peace sign on sleeve, for $95.99. Williamsburg spot Amarcord Vintage had a $95 bomber from Wilson’s Leather, complete with that hint-of-leather smell.

One tip to consider when flipping through vintage leather bomber jackets: coats trimmed at the bottom and cuffs with seams, rather than fuzzy elastic, offer a more timeless look, not to mention a sleeker one. Think 50s rebel or 70s punk, rather than 80s suburban dad.

Also at Amarcord, a brown knee-length women’s brown leather trench ($145) offered a lean silhouette by way of its waist belt. Park Slope’s Odd Twin took a mod turn with a winter white trench. Retailing for $105, the number, also knee-length, begged to be worn with kid gloves and a pillbox hat. Research at the Park Slope Beacon’s turned up a charmer of a women’s red leather trench for a paltry $22.95. Alas, it was gone a week later, as were a black faux fur coat ($29.95) and a cherry-red wool peacoat whose roughly 2-inch diameter buttons would make it feel as at home in the 60s and 80s as it would on a stylish Brooklynite in 2011. The perennial wool peacoat also came in a lavender vintage incarnation, going for $29.95.

If you want to make a sweeping entrance this holiday season, consider a vintage poncho for your outerwear needs. A recent weekend, the Williamsburg Beacon’s had at least two in stock: a heather gray wool version festooned with dogs near the bottom hem ($150), as well as a red satin version (more than $100) likely to last longer if worn to a gala occasion during dry weather, rather than during Snowmageddon 2012.

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