Your granny called them second-hand stores and mom may have browsed “resale” or “thrift” shops to replenish your goo-stained, pre-school outfits, but you are about to become a professional picker through vintage stores because these shops have the goods.
Knee Deep Vintage
1425 W. 18th St.
Chicago, IL 60608
This Pilsen shop wins all kinds of awards from local publications for a number of reasons: it’s not on the north side, it offers a fair buy/sell policy, threads are dated from the elusive 1920s to the hep cat 50s, merch changes over frequently and prices are not insulting (get a great dress, for example, for as low as $25). Grab a bag, bangles and pair of shoes here, too, as well as coffee cups or plates from the cupboard of Betty Draper’s mother.
34 E. Oak St., 7th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
If your love of vintage is more akin to a bag by Chanel rather than a “Saved by the Bell” lunch box, VMR might stand for Very Much Required. VMR (Vintage, Modern, Resale) is a by-appointment showroom featuring vintage to current season designer clothing and accessories from major design houses. Curated by Mark Gill, stylist, wardrobe consultant and personal shopper about town, VMR carries everything from an Imitation of Christ shirt for $25 to a Marchesa gown for $2,000. This is upscale all the way from the showroom’s Oak Street address with neighbors like Prada and Hermes, to its appointment-only presentations of favorite finds in a serene space.
1323 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
Kokoroko showcases styles of the hair band and grunge days (80s and 90s) with price tags that aren’t as alarming as some of those decades’ designs. Rifle through clothes emblazoned with depictions of bowling pins, horseshoes and graffiti; 80s color-blocked flats and old Converse All-Stars; fun eyewear, jewelry and belts; hats and scarves; and plenty of menswear, too. When you’ve just got to have a bomber jacket or some Madonna-esque cross earrings, Kokoroko calls to you. Check the web for dates of seasonal sales that offer brag-worthy bargains.
1511 W Berwyn Ave.
Chicago, IL. 60640
Rad is bad (in 90s vernacular, of course) when it comes to vintage sports’ Starter jackets and jerseys and concert tee-shirts (Tears for Fears’ in Mad World mode, for example). Clothing and accessories span the 1940s to 1990s with an emphasis on sports items from bucket and snapback hats to Nike All Stars Baseball vintage sweatshirts. Rad says it the offers the largest selection of Chicago Bears Cliff Engle sweaters, too, and add cowboy and Frye boots plus beer glassware and you have zoned in on a great place to shop for guys.
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1432 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642
West Town has the hip factors: cutting-edge restaurants like TWO, new and old world bakeries, art galleries, boutique gift shops and a great resale shop like Seek Vintage. Expect smartly edited threads as well as housewares from the time Al Capone was tossed into the slammer (1931) to the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989).You might snag a Halston hailing from the heady days of Studio 54 (1970s) or the kind of silk nightie Rita Hayworth may have worn in a photo for the troops. Guys are not left out at Seek – co-owner Chris Hunt makes sure the XY chromosomes are well represented.
Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.