When it comes to vintage shopping, we trust everything Anna Gray has to say. As a writer and model living in New York City, she knows the ins and outs of shopping for vintage on a budget. Anna moved to New York when she was 18 and has since filled her plate with anything she could get her hands on. From studying literature to working four jobs at once, she was a quick study of the city’s hustle. With her “say yes to everything” motto (including hand-me-downs) and family influence (the eccentric closet of her grandmother and her mom’s love of vintage), there’s always a ton of inspiration to find in Anna’s unique approach to style.
Lucky for us (and you, naturally) we caught up with her to chat about personal style and get an honest play by play of shopping vintage. Just three of her tips and we promise you’ll be ready to thrift!
WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER A LOVE FOR VINTAGE? Being a small kid/late bloomer, hand-me-downs have always had a majority stake in my wardrobe. My mom loves vintage and my Grandma’s closet is INSANE (neon orange paisley jumpsuits, costume jewelry, leopard print everything, etc.) so I was always dipping into their reserves. It makes me very sad that their feet are smaller than mine.
WHY DO YOU SHOP VINTAGE? I like recycling old clothes and wearing things no one else is wearing!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST VINTAGE SCORE TO DATE? Oh wow so many things. Men’s red suede cropped bell bottoms, a gigantic black velvet Norma Kamali turtleneck, my black sueded and fox fur winter coat…
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW TO VINTAGE SHOPPING? Know your size! Seriously, measure your entire body and commit the inches (or centimetres) to memory. This goes for shoes too. Vintage shoes run smaller than contemporary sizes. And be mindful of fabrics – it should look and feel nice.
TOP 3 TIPS FOR FINDING THAT PERFECT VINTAGE PIECE:
- I try not to buy any synthetic materials. I touch everything looking for silk, cotton, wool blends, cashmere and the like because they feel nice on the skin and are usually better quality.
- Try it on!
- It’s taken me years to actually practice this but I try to have an idea of what I want before I start browsing. Can be as vague as “pants” or as specific as “metallic gogo boot” but it helps narrow the playing field. Vintage shopping is pretty exhausting (in a good way).
WHO DO YOU LOOK AT FOR INSPIRATION WHEN SHOPPING FOR VINTAGE? I like to wear ’60s and ’70s silhouettes – mod dresses, flared jeans. I love looks from the ’50s but feel a little matronly when I actually find similarly evocative pieces. We all have the same cool-girl heroes: Jane Birkin, Jackie Kennedy, Bianca Jagger, Francoise Hardy…. I buy whatever makes me feel like a babe.
WHERE DO YOU SHOP VINTAGE? The only “vintage” store I frequent in NYC is Salvation Army (a treasure trove) and maybe some little hole-in-the-walls. I love finding good vintage stores in other cities. I just polled all of my Canadian friends for their favorite Toronto spots and that is where I found previously mentioned Norma Kamali velvet turtleneck!
Check out Anna’s picks from our Vintage Pop-Up before they get away: