Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Journey across the River

I have two job interviews tomorrow so am thus looking for an excuse to procrastinate rather than prep for them, so here's a blog entry I meant to write a few weeks ago (I have no camera for now, so old material must do!).

Every New York vintage-loving girl knows that good vintage in this city comes at a price, whether it be through digging through bins of ugly donated t-shirts at your local Salvation Army in search of that rare gem (which you rarely find since someone else got to it first), or though paying through the teeth for a garment from one of the dozens of overpriced "vintage" stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Personally, I generally avoid both of those avenues and stick with shopping at stores in Berkeley when I am visiting my parents, events like the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show (also generally overpriced, but known for some good deals, and an endless supply of vintage eye candy) or the odd flea market here or there (which, of course, are not real "flea markets" as they are known in other parts of the country where it might actually be possible to score a cute 50's dress for $10). And of course there is Ebay, but all too often the bidding war gets out of control and by the time your item reaches your door you get that buyers remorse that I was talking about a few entries back...

So what other options does a New York girl have? But of course, the Vintage Road Trip! Unfortunately for me, the road trip generally requires a car, unless you are traveling to somewhere that is accessible by public transportation. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you a somewhat untapped vintage fashion destination: Jersey City! Yes, New Jersey, home of the Sopranos and Bruce Springstein. Back in the day, I used to go to Jersey once in a while to go to a show at Maxwell's, but these days, I have pretty much no motivation to go there. Not to be a Jersey racist or anything but I've seen what kind of characters that state turns out and it ain't pretty (the exception being my mother, sorry mom you are cool (but you don't read my blog, I hope (can you tell I really like parentheses?))).

So it was to my surprise that there were supposedly some decent vintage stores in Jersey. A few weeks ago, intrigued by a Craigslist ad I saw for a store going out of business (sad), I decided to check out what Jersey City had to offer, and promised myself I would spend no more than $20 if I were to find something I liked. The journey took a miniscule 50 minutes from the moment I left my doorstep to the moment I stepped out of the Jersey City PATH station. The first stop was the aforementioned closing store called World of Style Vintage. Sadly, though everything was 1/2 off, there was not much stuff to be had, and the atmosphere was weird... it was based out of a hair salon and there was one lady there getting her hair did and she and her hairdresser were talking about cheating on their boyfriends or something. It was sufficiently Jersey trashy. After a few awkward minutes listening in on their conversation, I left for my second destination, Another Man's Treasure.

another man's treasure

NOW we're talking. This store has that incredibly sweet, homey vibe that I love about most of the vintage shops in Berkeley. Whereas many of the New York shops tend to feel more boutique-y, AMT has little vintage knick-knacks and a portable record player that I believe was playing the Smiths when I walked through the door.

While the prices were certainly not cheap, they were a far cry from what you would find in the city (I saw a mint condition Suzy Perette for $75). The pretty cocktail dresses were calling my name, but were unfortunately out of my $20 self-proclaimed budget, so I instead opted for a more practical 80's tiered blouse for $15. I would LOVE to copy this blouse in silk crepe if I ever end up designing a line:

80's blouse

Oh, and did I mention this store is owned and operated by a super cute British guy? Oh yeah, and his wife I think, but yeah, he was nice.

Check out the try-on room!

another man's treasure

I wish this was my bedroom.

As for the rest of Jersey City, I cannot say, the shop owner told me of another good store called Hala Vintage but as I had pretty much reached my budget limit I opted out. The good news for those not willing to make the journey is that AMT will be bringing their stuff to the Manhattan Vintage show in April so look for their booth.

Thanks for the top AMT!

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