Neighborhood Watch looks for Philly's most fashionable. This week: Our newest fashion seeker Kala Jamison ventures inside vintage boutiques to get a feel for what retro-lovers are wearing underneath all of those bulky jackets.
(536 South St.,267-671-0116) is a non-consignment vintage shop with merchandise collected from a host of time periods. From Technicolor Sergeant Pepper
-ish military jackets
esque glittering dresses with mile-high shoulder pads,
the store is a veritable trove that gives off a very 1970s feel. Two Retrospect employees, Emily Rose Patz
(24, above right) and Morgan Chambers
(23, above left) each had plenty to say about the benefits of vintage shopping. "I've found a bunch of sixties mini dresses here, and I once got a Henri Bendel
evening gown from the '50s," Patz says. Outside of vintage, she usually shops online at stores like Free People
, Urban Outfitters
, and Solestruck
. Her winter wardrobe is packed with leggings and flannel, and she says good shoes or boots can really make an outfit.
Chambers, meanwhile, says she hasn't been to a non-vintage clothing store since she can remember. She shops mostly from Retrospect
and American Thrift
in South Philly. She agrees that dressing for winter doesn't have to mean jeans or sweatpants every day. "I wear tights in winter," she says. "I never wear pants."
It gets even sexier after the jump ...
Like Chambers, Karin Tyburczy
(30), owner of Astro Vintage
(720 S. Fifth St., 215-922-0483) also forgoes pants. Astro's collection of merchandise is brought in on consignment, as well as from people's personal collections and estate sales. "I only shop vintage and resale," she says. "There are just so many beautiful things to be had."
Astro's vibe is more '50s than '70s, with its storefront display of colorfully-patterned shirtwaist dresses and demure handbags. Tyburczy says that the resurgence of the vintage style is due to the popularity of period television shows like Mad Men
and its stylish leading lady, Joan Harris
. "My dress is something Joan would wear," she says. "Wardrobe people from that show shop at stores like mine." Tyburczy likes to shop at other vintage stores like Wilbur
and Sazz Vintage
, and also believes that winter fashion isn't complete without the proper leg wear. "A wool skirt, leggings, and boots are warmer than jeans any day," she says.
(716 S. Fourth St., 215-413-5809) owner Daniel Wilbur
(41) definitely sees the fun in vintage shopping but likes to mix it up with newer pieces as well. "A lot of the time in Philly, vintage shopping is harder for guys," he says. "Vintage can sometimes look costume-y." To get his vintage fix without overdoing it, Wilbur shops at Amazon.com
, Old City's Lost and Found
in Rittenhouse Square. While the racks of clothing that line Wilbur's walls can't be forgotten, the real standout is the jewelry collection. There are shelves of gorgeous vintage earrings, chains, bracelets, rings, and cuffs in an array of styles from '20s Art Deco
to '90s geometric shapes. Many pairs sell for as little as $5.
Browsing vintage stores is one of the most entertaining and interesting ways to shop in the city. These stores bring the shopper into a decades-ago closet with endless styling possibilities. At a time when many people can't keep up with high-priced fashion, vintage shops offer affordable of-the-moment fashion. The fact that each and every vintage piece is imbued with a bit of history is only a bonus.