I have a love of vintage clothing that dates back to junior high. Back then, we called it "used," but vintage sounds better.
Since I lived in the country and didn't have access to cool thrift stores, my first vintage pieces came from my family.
I ransacked our summer cottage and found a trench coat that had been my grandfather's, a super cute pair of my aunt's Bermuda shorts from the '60s and some pretty sweet Ralph Lauren Chaps patchwork pants that were my dad's.
The great thing about vintage is knowing nobody else is going to have the same thing, so it's one way of really making your look super unique. The other great thing is it's possible to find well-made pieces from the past for a fraction of what clothes cost today. And in today's economy, anything that can save you money is a big help.
Charleston has several options for finding vintage.
The newest is Alice & Daisy Vintage (54 1/2 Broad St.), located down a narrow alley tucked in between two art galleries. The shop is a collaboration between Kate Stewart, the creative force behind the excellent and endlessly addictive local website of the same name (aliceanddaisy.com), and Gleeson Johnston of Gypsy Lady Antiques.
You'll find clothing, accessories and housewares all priced with the younger consumer in mind.
Another place downtown with an assortment of vintage is Rogue Wave Surf Shop (69 Spring St.). The store collaborates with local designer Julie Wheat, who has a vast collection of vintage under her Cavortress label. The small selection is seasonal with pieces ranging from $20-$45. For more from Cavortress, check out www.cavortress.com.
Designer Jamie Lin Snider (539 King St.) also devotes space in her shop to quality vintage, most of which she sourced in Las Vegas. Browsing the racks, you might come across some Chanel or Diane von Furstenberg or even, like I did one day, a Valentino suit. Most items are well within reach with dresses running $30-$40. Check out www.jlinsnider.net.
And if you're looking for more contemporary pieces, Butterfly Consignment (482 King St. as well as in the Belle Hall Shopping Center in Mount Pleasant) has a constantly rotating collection of shoes, dresses, tops and accessories. It's always different, but you can find Trina Turk, Joe's Jeans, Ella Moss, Tory Burch, Michael Stars and more high-end labels for a lot less than they originally cost. Check out www.butterflyconsignments.com.
Rebekah Bradford is a freelance writer based in Charleston. Reach her at email@example.com.