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Wicked Vintage

This Halloween, find bewitching, one-of-a-kind costumes at these eight local secondhand shops.

Housing Works.  

74 Fifth Ave., nr. 13th St.; 212-243-2292;
This kitschy Greenwich Village shop is a 40-year-old institution, known for its Hawaiian shirts, baggy tie-string overalls, and every dress-up piece imaginable (including Gatsby-type men’s vests, lingerie, capes, and astronaut jumpsuits). The proprietors collect costumes all year long, and the store is frequently a one-stop shop for Burning Man attendees, burlesque performers, stylists, and filmmakers. Ask about the colorful stock of 1,500 retro felted hats.
Best for: Military outfits, which make up an entire section of the store (net tank tops and camouflage pants, shirts, and jackets).

JB b.o.r.n. Vintage Boutique
57 E. 125th St., at Madison Ave., second fl.; 212-722-3706;
Jonathan Bodrick is Harlem’s self-described “minister of fashion, curator of style,” with an eclectic second-floor shop that fuses top-tier designers (Chanel, Christian Dior, Comme des Garçons) and classic Americana (Gap, Levi’s) — all eponymously “borrowed, old, refurbished, and new.” Bodrick is somewhat of a neighborhood celeb, after starring in FYI Network’s B.O.R.N. to Style makeover show, and his designs have won the costume contest at Red Rooster’s Halloween bash. Shop here before the retail space closes at the end of the month, when Bodrick will move to the building’s fourth floor and offer private styling and consulting services.
Best for: Chic, sexy witches and warlocks (sequined black dresses, tuxedos, and thick fishnet face masks by local designer Katerina Lankova).

Angela’s Vintage
26 Second Ave., nr. First St.; 212-475-0101;
Sophisticated, reasonably priced clothing rotates three times a week at this East Village boutique, which sources hard-to-find gems from dealers throughout the U.S. Shop the narrow space for a trove of vintage Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino, and keep an open mind for the owner’s revered old-school honesty. It’s high-class here; T-shirts and jeans are a rarity.
Best for: The Mad Men vixen (luxe dresses in evening lace, floral patterns, Hungarian embroidery, and tribal prints).

524 Third Ave., at 12th St., Brooklyn; 347-457-6011;
This whimsical boutique caters to Gowanus artists with a quirky sensibility rooted in owner Ramses Carranza’s decade of experience as a Moschino stylist at Saks Fifth Avenue. Shop for avant-garde clothing like lamé dresses and faux-fur coats (all carefully refurbished and rebuttoned by Carranza), plus early-Americana finds including old cameras and cocktail glasses.
Best for: Mid-century kitsch (Hawaiian caftans, a reversible zebra coat, a double-breasted leather suit).

People of 2morrow
65 Franklin St., at Banker St., Brooklyn; 718-383-4402;
This fashion-conscious secondhand store is a high-end bohemian haven, merchandised like an airy living room with burning Brazilian incense, decorative plants, and global music. You’ll find ceramics, candles, and jewelry by local artists, vintage and gently used clothing, and fair-trade worldly goods like Indian textiles.
Best for: Power-diva get-ups (For flappers: fringed gowns, mink shawls, and small beaded satchels; for the Diana Ross–wannabes: high-waisted jeans, bell-bottoms, and platform shoes).

Beacon’s Closet
10 W. 13th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 917-261-4863;
Students from the New School and FIT frequent this secondhand store near Union Square, where most clothing is priced under $100. You’ll find vintage and modern goods – classic Chelsea boots, velvet capes, Victorian gloves – and plenty of high-end designer labels like Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg.
Best for: ’70s whimsy (colorfully printed dresses, men’s polyester button-down shirts).

Housing Works
202 E. 77th St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-772-8461;
The nonprofit has a dozen thrift shops throughout the city that frequently auction their glitziest designer pieces online (, raising funds to fight HIV/AIDS and homelessness. At the Upper East Side location, you’ll find labels like Louis Vuitton and Céline, many of them donated by ritzy locals.
Best for: The masked bullfighter (feathered and leather masks, gold-fringed black velour jackets with shimmering sleeves).

L Train Vintage
1377 Dekalb Ave., nr. Wilson Ave., Bushwick; 718-443-6940;
This Bushwick store’s vast selection of (privately sourced) funky vintage clothing spans two floors. The impressive variety of low-priced puffy, padded ’80s jackets and gaudy prom dresses make up for a scarcity of haute designers.
Best for: John Hughes throwbacks (acid-washed denim jeans and blazers, nylon jackets).