Shopping vintage and consignment boutiques isn't the most efficient way to obtain clothes and accessories; you can't just walk in with a particular item, size and color in mind, then try it on and walk out with your purchase. But it's certainly one of the most adventurous, more like a game of treasure hunt, with a lot of luck and timing involved. This requires time, which most of us have not enough of. However, if you're willing to spend some of your hard-earned time in this enjoyable pursuit (that is, if you already enjoy shopping - if not, just skip this post, see you tomorrow), you can locate pleasures of this kind in many neighborhoods of NYC.
I particularly enjoy shopping at Fisch for the Hip in Chelsea. First and most importantly, it was Marya's find, whose taste I aspire to, so I think of her whenever I enter. (Until then, the thought of buying - much less trying on - clothes that had been owned by someone else never crossed my mind, and kind of repulsed me, if I'm being honest.) Second, when they say their stuff is "designer," they really mean it. Part of the fun is being able to try on so many designers in one place that I'd never find in one store (except perhaps Barneys), that, at retail, would sell for thousands of dollars. Here, it is possible to find Missoni, Prada, Chanel, and so many other big names in European and American designer clothing, and try them on with a view to an actual purchase. The sales people are attentive and helpful. The shop also carries men's clothing, including designer suits, along with jeans and more casual items for both men and women. And the handbags are, well...I just have to walk past them quickly and look away, or else I'd be in big trouble. They probably have more Hermès bags than any consignment shop in New York.
By the way, I came, I shopped, I conquered. Took a while, but was well worth it! If you're looking for some retail therapy of a more original kind, this is a great place to see how consignment shopping works at its best.