For A-List Living on D-List Dimes......

Friday, July 23, 2010

To Vintage Shop or Not To Vintage Shop......That Is The Question.....

As an Irish lass, the thought of buying clothes in a second hand/vintage store was always to me – abhorrent. As the eldest of three girls, I never had to endure the embarrassing hand me downs as I was always the one, well, handing down so the prospect of wearing some stranger’s clothes was not just foreign to me but downright disgusting. You mean to tell me you expect my delicate porcelain skin to be laminated to somebody else’s underarm sweat patch?? No spank you!

However, as with my waistline, my hardened outlook on this has softened throughout the years. I guess Ireland just doesn’t do vintage stores like America does…..or more specifically, like Haight Street does! Forget the hippies and the overwhelming cacophony of aromas that pervade the area the thing that Haight Street has to offer is the shops……oh my God, the shops!

The first time I was introduced to Haight Street shopping was after I went to see Vivienne Westwood’s exhibition at the de Young Museum. The clothes on display were fabulous – literally, faaaabbbbbuuuullllooouuuusssss. I just wanted, wanted, wanted but of course like Amy Winehouse said to rehab my bank balance told me nooo, nooo, nooo. I was still a relative virgin to the city at the time so when my friend suggested we rub our two pennies together on Haight Street I stared at her blankly. Little did I know…….

My two favorite stores on Haight Street are Wasteland and Ambience (yes, yes I know Ambience is not actually a vintage store but you literally feel like you have stepped into somebody’s closet. There is just an abundance of merchandise in their store ranging from $10 tanks to $250 cocktail dresses. Ambience gives you the option to both splurge and save and for this, I will love it forever). But I’m not here to talk to you about normal retail stores I want to make believers out of all you non-vintage shopping shoppers!

Wasteland is a serious Mecca for all you wannabe fashionistas out there. Angelina Jolie famously bought an LBD at a Wasteland in LA for the princely sum of $26 and wore it to an Hollywood movie premiere! They are super picky about the clothes that they actual accept there (let’s just say my two garbage bags of garments I thought would end up adorning their shop walls ended up at the Goodwill store a half block down the street) and it shows. I found a pink satin YSL cocktail dress there only three weeks ago for a mere $65. YSL at $65! Hello, I just saw Khloe Kardashian tweeting about the great savings on YSL bags on two days ago. My curiosity was piqued but to my dismay the cheapest bags featured on the site were a whopping $565 – now if that’s with an alleged ‘up to 70% off’ can you even begin to imagine how much the clothing line actually starts at?!

Wasteland seems to acquire a prolific amount of stock by designers including Marc Jacobs, Betsey Johnson, BCBG, Calvin Klein, Versace, and Christian Louboutain. You truly can live the champagne lifestyle on beer money at this store as you would be hard pressed to break the $70 mark on any one single of their vintage items.

But let me tell you, when it comes to vintage shopping PATIENCE my fabulous friends truly is the only virtue. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a Wasteland on our doorstep. What I soon realized is that not only do you need to painstakingly browse through numerous shop rails to find what you’re looking for you need to painstakingly browse through numerous actual shops themselves to find the one or ones that work for you. You kind of need to interview a bunch of them before you decide on your prime candidate. And when you choose the ONE remember that loyalty isn’t just a quality you need to look for in a friend…..if you are loyal to your vintage store it will be sooo good to you baby! Trust me.

I introduced two friends recently – one a rock n roll dude, the other my favorite little vintage shopping vixen (way more die hard than myself) – and afterwards I was surprised when the rock n roll boy turned around to me and said ‘wow, she looks expensive’. I swear, I don’t think my friend has EVER paid over $40 for an item of clothing in her life. The perception of vintage shopping is that it’s for hairy-legged hippies and here was my darling friend not only donning some cutting edge looks but moreover doing it on the d-list dime way that I love!

So get off your butts and start trawling through those dodgy looking second hand stores – you never know what you might find! And psssst………just cos it retails at $200 but you got it for only $20 doesn’t mean you have to tell anybody….. ;)

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WHERE TO GO?? Wasteland, 1660 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
                                  Buffalo Exchange, 1555 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
                                  Static, 1764 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117


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