Where does one hunt for the perfect “capsule” pieces. Well, If you are endowed with the funds to shop at Celine, The Row, Hermes, and multi-label designer boutiques, this makes things relatively simple. If not, then here are some ideas.
Check out the high street but set aside some time for this. Sizing varies and different shops and lines will favour different body types, so get to know which shops give you the best fit both for sizing and your preferred style. Once you identify them, visit regularly as high street shops are now turning over stock at faster and faster rates (which also means almost permanent sale rails somewhere inside). Buy the highest quality you can afford – it will last and wear better.
Know your vintage dealers. Often with vintage shopping there’s an element of being in the right place at the right time but its essential to enter with an open mind. Its very important to try things on, especially older pieces, as sizing has changed dramatically over the decades. When you find vintage boutiques you like, visit them regularly to keep checking for new stock. If the shop is part of a chain, ask about whether the shops group or exchange their stock – you might like the vibe in one shop better than the others. Charity shops are also increasingly getting in on this act – Oxfam has been selling vintage fashion for a while and I have a Cancer Research shop near me that has produced some wonderful treasures. Always check out the vintage and charity shops when travelling – they can offer a wonderful source of fresh inspiration.
Designer re-sale is a good compromise if you can’t quite stretch to brand new designer labels but are willing to take a lightly used item. As for vintage, visit regularly to check for new stock and always try on. It pays to look at things with a slightly critical eye – was there some reason this piece was rejected other than being the wrong size (e.g. a white shirt that is dry clean only)?
Finally, a piece like this wouldn’t be complete without an address book….
London vintage: Bang Bang, with shops in Goodge St, Fitzrovia and Drury Lane in Covent Garden, it is excellent for more directional designers and relatively recent vintage – last few years; Fara, 6 Upper Tachbrook St, Pimlico, in fact a Romanian children’s charity but also a source of great vintage clothes, many from the 60s, 70s and 80s; Hammersmith Vintage Fair once a month at Hammersmith Town Hall and a good place to see lots of traders and specialists all in one place.
London designer re-sale: Check out Cheval Place opposite Harrods for three in a row. Pandora is the largest and a Knightsbridge legend….
Paris designer re-sale: Rue de la Pompe in the 16th Arrondissement is the mecca and holds a number of great places including the extensive Reciproque (nos 88-101). On the Rive Gauche, Les 3 Marches de Catherine B is unmissable for the Hermes and Chanel addict with an unrivalled stock of mint condition beauties (1 rue Guisarde). The fleamarkets are famed but the Puces de Vanves is a better bet than Clignancourt which is really more of a high end antiques fair than a fleamarket.
Manhattan designer re-sale: if you can make it to the Upper East side, you’ll find some wonderful stock at Encore (1132 Madison at 84th St); Bis (next door); and at the three branches of La Boutique (1045 Madison at 80th St, 160 W 72nd St and 803 Lexington at 62nd St).
Next: putting it all together.