Shopping vintage in the Capital Region

vintage store composite

There's good stuff out there -- you just have to know where to look.

By Kaitlin Resler

If you haven't guessed by now, I'm a vintage junkie.

I love old things, curious objects, and of course vintage clothing. Thankfully, we live in quite a good area for shopping vintage. I love perusing the racks and occasionally (okay, maybe more often than that) snatching up a find for myself.

Vintage stores can be kind of tricky -- they're doing the searching for you, and so prices are not always a bargain, but if you'd rather spend on something perhaps a bit more special, it's the way to go.

After the jump you'll find a list of places to shop vintage and some info on what you'll find. This list is by no means comprehensive -- there are dozens of funny little antique and second-hand shops tucked all around the area -- but these are my favorites of the moment (not just for vintage luck, but for set-up or general charm).

Reruns Antiques & Vintage
1 Phila St. - Saratoga Springs

RerunsI really like Reruns. I've found some of my favorite pieces there, although this is definitely not the place do go if you don't like to rummage and dig. Packed with furniture, knick-knacks, and everything a vintage or antique lover could want, the back room full of clothing is my favorite. Clothing itself is relatively reasonably priced--most dresses are marked around 34$--and in excellent condition. The rest of the merch is a bit pricey for me, but I'm willing to hand over around that much for a dress in good condition (especially since most dresses in mall stores will set you back around that much or more). Decent men's section--lots of amazing shirts with kitsch prints and a nice selection of blazers/suits.

Capital Costumes
Crossgates Mall - (Upper level, near Macy's)

This is the place that used to be located next to the food court. At the moment they're moving into the old S&K space near Macy's and they expect to reopen this month. They ran some 50% off sales in the weeks up to the move and I went nuts and grabbed summer dresses, but even when they aren't promoting sales I can usually find something to make grabby hands at. Prices are reasonable. Occasionally something will be a bit high, but most things hover in the $30-$50 range. There's also a $5 rack that I've gotten a few heavenly scores from. Also, lots of vintage aprons for around $12! Some of the clothes may be damaged and in need of some extra attention to make them wearable, but if you're up to the challenge, they're worth it. Not a lot of men's stuff here, but there is some. And they've got enough housewares and costumes in the back to keep everyone occupied.


Recycling Red Dresses
454 Broadway - Saratoga Springs
(in the basement of the Downstreet Marketplace)

Recycling Red Dresses(sm).jpg

Generally, I find this place to be a bit over-priced. Once again though, it's fun to have a peek and occasionally you'll find a gem at a good deal. Wide selection of vintage -- snagged a late 40s frock on my last visit -- with the majority seeming to date in the 50s and later. Prices are on the higher end, I find, but there are some quite nice pieces that are worth it. Lots of accessories to choose from, and really neat working rotary phones (which are expensive, but so cool).

Elissa Halloran
229 Lark Street - Albany
ehdesigns.com

I like to pop into Elissa Halloran's to see what she's got. Clothing is in the back, there isn't much but her prices are good and the range of vintage eras is really nice, with jewelry, scarves, purses, and some shoes scattered in the front of the store (not to mention porcelain knick-knacks -- like cats! -- that I always fawn over). The selections of sweaters and shirts are particularly nice. Plus, if you have one of her blue coupons or Elissa dollars you can save some, but the prices are quite good to begin with.


Metropolis Vintage
32 Fuller Road - Albany
metropolisvintage.com

Metropolis Vintage (sm).jpgLovely selection, although prices are mostly out of my budget. Most reviews on the web cite the service as being unfriendly, although I haven't really had a problem with this. Also, the and the hours vary month-to-month but are posted on the website. I really love looking through and browsing, but rarely purchase here. Still, if you're looking for a really special outfit or gift though, and don't mind spending some extra bones, it's worth checking out.


Great Finds
260 Washington Ave - Albany

This is a great second-hand shop in general -- all items are cleaned already -- and it's very neat. There is a rack of vintage that occasionally has something lovely on it, and sometimes you'll find other vintage goodies scattered throughout (purses, shoes). Prices vary, but are generally quite low and Friday's are 50% off! Tiny, tiny selection of men's items.


Rosie Bloom Again Antiques
2nd floor of the Ballston Spa Antique Center
217 Milton Avenue - Ballston Spa

I loved this place before it moved. I haven't been to the new location, but if it's anything like the old one, it's a lovely shop! The old location had a little room in the back called Bloomers that was neatly -packed with antique and vintage clothing. It was a magical little room, just a dream to walk into. It could be a little pricey at times, but not over-the-top. Most clothing seems to be older vintage -- mostly 60s and earlier -- and in good condition.


Hints for shopping vintage:

+ Know your measurements. Easier for girls than guys, but handy to know if you can't or don't want to try on. Measure clothes you already have that fit well laying flat to compare with vintage. I program my measurements into my phone so I'll have it on hand. Most vintage stores don't take returns, so keep this in mind when buying without trying.

+ Don't let a good find go because of a damage. Is it easily mended? Get creative with patches, and don't be afraid to chop inches off a hem because of damage. Become an expert at removing stains, and if you can't remove them, a gently dyeing can help disguise some (I like to dye with tea).

+ Always make sure the zippers work. Zippers, the horrid things, are a devil to replace (easy enough for a tailor, but kind of a pain) unlike buttons, which can be easily switched out. Inspecting zippers is also a good way to generally date the garment if style alone doesn't make this apparent.

+ Vintage purists might cringe, but if the garment doesn't work with your wardrobe and you love it, adjust it. Hem it (yourself, or take to a tailor) to update a skirt length, take off a collar if it's not working, lose or patch sections that are damaged beyond repair. Vintage should be worn and loved, and just like new clothes, you may have to make adjustments to do that!

Comments

Missing a "p" in your headline. :)
And if you ever make it to Woodstock there is an awesome vintage/consignment shop "Castaways." Scored a fabulous mink coat for cheap and the hubby bought the most AMAZING Jean-Paul Gaultier suit for $14. Yes, $14.

Editors: thanks for the catching that.

Missing an "S" in EliSSa.

Editors: Thanks. One more copyediting mistake and we'll have a hat trick.

"hoover"

Editors: And there it is! The copyediting hat trick! Thanks.

Whew, I'm glad Capital Costumes is moving - I thought it was gone for good.

Don't forget Twilight, on 4th Street near Fulton in Troy, next door to P4th. Famous window displays in front and a knowledgeable vintagesse inside (Christine).

http://tinyurl.com/twilight-in-troy

Those are my windows upstairs, but if you don't lean on my car I promise not to spit.

LQ

Just today, my Teen Girl Scouts were trying to come up with a list of thrift stores in the Capital Region. This is a big help!

Just curious. Why no mention of Plato's Closet, or their new store?

is plato's closet vintage? if so, that's news to me.

A great Vintage store is Patrica's Room http://patriciasroom.com Located in Schenectady, NY on Jay Street

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