In an unassuming industrial building, tucked away behind rusting iron balconies, and up a freight-entrance style staircase lies a magical candy land of vintage style. Walking into a semi-residential apartment building, next to a whiskey bar, and across from several scaffolded sidewalks, the only hint towards the hidden glory that is Shareen Vintage are a few clothing racks seen through a window and a framed Hermes scarf in the stairwell and hallway. Sometimes a red ball gown can be seen hanging from a fire escape alerting potential-shoppers to a glimpse of what’s to come.
The surprise of this gem was such a shocker that I did not even know to bring my good camera – bear with the iPhone photos!
Once inside Shareen Vintage, it is as if I followed a leprechaun to a sartorial pot-of-gold.; as if a witch will snap her fingers and make this shop disappear, and I would believe someone if they told me it was ‘all a dream’. Talking to Shareen, she explains to me that she is most inspired by cinema and the ever-changing style of movie stars. From Bette Davis to Clara Bow to Audrey Hepburn to Brigitte Bardot to Sophia Loren or Diane Keaton, Shareen will have a frock to fit your decade. Shareen particularly loves the glamour of the nineteen-forties.
The shop girls act more like personal shoppers and best friends than retail workers. They offer me wine, pretzels, water, and dozens of other snacks. Together, my cadre of friends and I make this space our home for the next hour. Never are we felt rushed. We sit on blanket and sheet covered couches (ala your dormitory days) and wax poetic about who has the best hips, eyes, waist, and style for specific decades. We are empowered as we all change in front of one another, sans dressing room, admiring our own womanly bodies (celebrating and exposing ourself to our friends, not hiding). I feel about as liberated and open as I would if I were trying on my sister’s dress or my best friends jeans, in either’s closet.
A dress good enough for Daisy Buchanan to wear to a Gatsby soiree.
Did I mention that Shareen, aside from amazing talent to collect, sort, and find unique vintage pieces, also repurposes fabrics, prints, and items for the “modern” age? Here are a few re-imagined dresses, some perfect for a casual walk through town square, others have been worn to weddings and to the Emmys.
The belts come in a bevy of colors from gunmetal smoke to a rustic brown leather.
Shareen is bicoastal and bides her time between two shops in LA and one shop in NYC. Her mystical oeuvre and calming, honest, but stern spirit can be encountered every Thursday at 3 West 17th Street New York NY. Did I mention that most of her items are under $48 dollars? With over 2,000 pieces, there’s plenty of vintage diamonds-in-the-rough through which to sift. Step into her enormous and charming closet, you won’t regret it. Eclectic shops with their own life-force and personality, held in even older buildings are what keep me attracted to the ever changing nature of the creature known as New York City.
Image of Eighties Black-and-White Puff-Sleeve Party Dress, $38. Oleg Cassini Red-Sequin Party Dress, $44 by Melissa Hom, via.
Image of White Leather Fringe Jacket, $55. Big Fur Jacket with Leather Belt, $55 by Melissa Hom, via.