Website of the week
I was in Chicago last weekend, and while walking around the Lincoln Park and Lakeview neighborhoods, MW and I decided to do a bit of vintage and thrift shopping. My old favorite thrift store, Village Discount Outlet, was extremely disappointing (mostly late 80s and early 90s stuff), but we had success at Hollywood Mirror and Ragstock, which are expensive by thrift store standards but quite affordable in comparison to New York vintage stores (MW got a corduroy blazer with suede elbow patches at Hollywood Mirror for $25; I got a tweed blazer and a sweater at Ragstock for $22). And I came to the conclusion that while I like thrift stores in theory, I tend to prefer vintage stores in practice. (What's the difference? Thrift stores are a free-for-all and have much lower prices; vintage stores have carefully selected merchandise that's been dry-cleaned, usually, and marked way up.) So stores like Ragstock and Hollywood Mirror give me hope that I can have my vintage cake and eat it, too.

Another such enterprise is Fashion Dig, a community of vintage vendors. Fashion Dig is like an online all-vintage mall--instead of going to 50 separate vintage sites, they're all in one spot. You can shop specifically by seller, or by decade, item, keyword, or designer, and you can set price ranges within those categories. And speaking of prices, most are reasonable; you can probably pay a lot less for similar items on eBay, but do you really want to spend all that time looking? The item descriptions here are very helpful and most include measurements. Some of my favorite things: This mod dress looks like what Prada's been producing for the past two years; this silver purse fits right in with the metallic bags that are so popular now; here's a cape/poncho for a lot less than the Vince version; and I think this Bill Blass tunic would be great for nighttime--just add some black tights and black boots. (As for fantasy items, check out this rare Rudi Gernreich dress.) The site, of course, also has items for men, kids, and the home. Shipping is a flat rate of $10.95 in the U.S. There's also a calendar of events (with upcoming museum exhibits and vintage shows), message boards, and links, and, coming soon, "My Fashion Dig," where you can store your favorite items and get recommendations based on your preferences. Fashion Dig is like going to a big vintage show and getting all the good stuff--shop talk, great items from around the country--without the $20 admission.

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