• Timeless NYC 1148 Second Ave., New York; 917/617-6951. Very much of and for the Upper East Side, Donald Portlock's place offers couture labels from the 1950's through the 70's. Chanel and Balmain couture pieces are often on tap; a rare 60's St. Laurent leather trench is currently marked $4,500.
• Mark Walsh/Leslie Chin Riverdale; 914/963-1694; by appointment only. A leader in the field for decades, Walsh has been known to turn up the virtually unfindable—Chanel couture suits from the 1920's, impossible-to-locate Schiaparelli trompe l'oeil sweaters. But he is hardly mired in the past: he attends the Paris couture shows and counts the Metropolitan Museum of Art as one of his clients.
PENNSYLVANIA Katy Kane Antique Clothing New Hope; 215/862-5873; by appointment only. Though Kane loves lush evening wear—beaded dresses, gold lamé shawls, velvet Fortuny cocoon coats—not everything here hails from the early years of the last century. Kane recently sold a trio of tie-dyed Halston caftans—yellow, red, and purple—to a private museum for $3,000.
VIRGINIA Halcyon 117 N. Robinson St., Richmond; 804/358-1311. Owner Constance Carroll specializes in pre-1960's garb, and though there are plenty of 50's promdresses, you may also find a lacy 30's bias-cut gown, a bargain at $165.
GEORGIA Stefan's Vintage 1160 Euclid Ave., Atlanta; 404/688-4929. Open since 1977, the first vintage outlet in Atlanta's bohemian five Points neighborhood has what the co-owner, Rebecca Birdwhistell, calls "old black-and-white-movie type clothing." There are also vivid sorties into Technicolor, in the form of kimonos, Pucci, and mid-century Vera scarves.
FLORIDA Miami Twice 6562 S.W. 40th St., Miami; 305/666-0127. When you enter the nearly 5,000-square-foot space, a dry-cleaner-style conveyer belt catches your eye; that makes it easy to change the stock seasonally. "We wash every piece of polyester!" says proprietress Mary Holle. Currently turning heads: sixties palazzo pants and Joan Crawford-inspired suits.
MICHIGAN Rage of the Age Lansing; 517/482-2560; by appointment only. Designers flock to Paul Shore's showroom "just to copy the prints" of his archival clothes. Shore collects Danish Modern jewelry along with 1970's Halston pantsuits—and a Claude Montana jacket from the 80's.
ILLINOIS Silver Moon 3337 N. Halstead St., Chicago; 773/883-0222. One side of this shop is devoted to day wear; the other, decorated with white satin curtains, to evening styles. A must-have?A 1920's heavily beaded silver dress—"very Chicago-esque," says Liz Meyer, the owner, referring to the movie, not her hometown.
TEXAS Gratitude Vintage Clothing 3714 Fairmount St., Dallas; 214/522-2921. The 1,000-square-foot space is crammed with jewelry, hats (both cowboy and other), boots, and highly desirable Western shirts. Rare gabardines from the 1940's and 50's are especially sought after by fashion-forward Japanese shoppers.
ARIZONA Vintage Fashion 4700 N. Central Ave., Suite 117, Phoenix; 602/462-1478. From his tiny shop, David Sheflin sells vintage clothes that work well for conservative Phoenix. But he also has Frederick's of Hollywood cocktail dresses and a checked maxi by Rudi Gernreich. (Last spring, Sheflin donated several items to the Phoenix Art Museum's Gernreich exhibit.) The store functions as a mini-cultural center: when John Waters was in town, Sheflin threw an AIDS fund-raiser bash for him.
NEVADA Coral Rose Vintage 1196 N. Rock Blvd., Sparks; 775/324-1953. Vicky Rodriguez is so proud of her 1940's green lizard platform shoes, she keeps them in a locked case (she'll part with them for $275). Her shop is filled with 120 years' worth of merchandise—1860 to 1980—with a heavy emphasis on Nevada glamour: zoot suits, spats, and Marilyn Monroe-style dresses. What did singer Deborah Harry buy on a recent visit?Underwear.
WASHINGTON Isadora's 1915 First Ave., Seattle; 206/441-7711. People fly into Seattle from all over the country to shop the store's exhaustive collection of antique wedding gowns. In addition to bridal dresses (many dating from the halcyon period of satin and lace, 1900 to 1930), there are all those extras meant to be worn just once in a lifetime: white kid gloves with pearl buttons, Victorian tiaras, and hundreds of veils.
CALIFORNIA Decades 8214 1/2 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; 323/655-0223. This legendary boutique boasts a phenomenal roster, from Biba to Givenchy, Mary Quant to Stephen Sprouse. The focus is on clothing of the sixties and seventies; the shop's mantra is "vintage clothing that looks modern." The celeb clientele includes Nicole Kidman, whom Decades dressed for the Cannes Film Festival in 2002.
• Lily et Cie 9044 Burton Way, Beverly Hills; 310/724 5757. What brings Renée Zellweger, Demi Moore, and Kate Moss to owner Rita Watnick's lair?Signature pieces from 20th-century design houses, including Trigère, Saint Laurent, and Givenchy. Warning: this place is not for the price-shy.
• Paperbag Princess 8700 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 310/358-1985. Owner Elizabeth Mason opened a 300-square-foot store in 1995; now she reigns over 3,000 square feet divided into three boutiques. The celeb-friendly labels include Cardin, Balenciaga, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and what Mason claims is the world's largest collection of Pucci.