What people used to wear underneath their clothing 100 years ago, like the ruffled bloomers I bought from 9th Street Haberdashery, are more intricately made than almost any 1k piece of designer clothing today. Current culture has amnesia about quality, but Stacey and Meridith are experts when it comes to high caliber clothes. Their shop is stuffed with exquisite pieces from the 20s and 30s -- none of them are affixed to a label. Shopping in their store requires you to know yourself, what you love, and how you can set yourself apart (three traits that you won't find in the fast fashion bacchanal). The best friends live by the code of their ladylike, dandified utopia. Stacey sports stacked Prada wingtips along with "world traveler" layers of florals and Gypsy embroidery. On Meridith you'll either find holey, factory-boy, high-waisted culottes or gray suiting paired with Isabel Marant ankle boots. Each loves to show customers how to launch 9th Street's old garments into modernity. "What we're doing here is about something much larger than clothes," Stacey and Meridith told me. "It's a mentality. You have to think about what fashion means to you. It's political -- it's expressing yourself."
"We love dressing people and showing them how to wear vintage. We take old garments that some may find costumey and we make them fashion-based and modern." - Stacey
Stacey: "I would raid my grandmother's closet when I was 12-13 and mix her vintage clothes with whatever shoes were trendy that year -- Dr. Martens, Creepers, or just sneakers."
Meridith: "I grew up poor and didn't have access to fashion. I had three siblings and my mom supported us on her own. I'll never forget the time I was teased for wearing knockoff Vans. After that, I always tried to be a little different."
"We don’t have labels in here. In the 20s and 30s there were obviously labels, but back then it was about the garment and the fabric." - S
"You can't just wear a mannequin and go from there. This isn’t the easiest stuff to make an outfit out of. You have to think about it. That’s what fashion is about -- it's a political thing, it's expressing yourself." - S
"If you're doing a one-on-one with a buyer you get the whole back-story. There’s a dress in here that came from Aunt Betty, who lived in some random town in England. This woman went, 'Oh, that was Auntie Betty’s, that was Auntie Betty’s." - S
"I really like Isabel Marant. I see a lot of vintage inspiration in her clothes as well an influence from different countries. I love that. I'll always do a classic Prada, whether it's an oxford or a blazer. Those clean, classic lines are so versatile and can be effortlessly molded into something interesting. I don't buy a lot of new things, but I buy a lot of new Ralph Lauren, especially for the basics." - S
"I’ll buy anything that has holes in it from the 20s/30s; think little boy in a factory that just ripped his shirt and had his mother darn it for him." - M
"We only buy things we love. People will say it takes two hours, but we're there twenty minutes. We have distinct eyes, we know the markets, and we know when to be there. If we feel really inspired, we often end up buying an entire collection from one person." - M & S