The word vintage denotes something of high quality from the past. These vintage shops from around the world stock clothing and accessories you'll want to hold onto. After all, a pair of cowboy boots purchased in Colorado will help you remember your trip a lot longer than a souvenir keychain.
2407 NE Alberta Street
Portland's fashionistas (that's not a complete oxymoron) head to this shop for serious vintage pieces. The space is more boutique than thrift shop with clean, organized racks and a good variety of choices from several eras. Items come and go quickly and the shopkeepers can help even the most discerning buyer incorporate period pieces into customers' wardrobes. The service is unparalleled: The owner quickly fixed a tiny hole I found in a Navajo sweater while I waited.
15 Hanbury Street
This London favorite in the East End's Spitalfields Market seems to have every century of style covered for both men and women. Time and patience are required to sift through the merchandise, which is organized by color instead of time period, but it's worth the effort: The shop is loaded with rare finds. Sort through thousands of pairs of shoes to find the ideal kitten heel from the 1960s, and then a cream Valentino Di Paolo shoulder bag to match.
1123 Pearl Street
Tucked away in the modern shopping district on Pearl Street in Boulder, this one-stop shop for Southern gear features men's Pendleton wool shirts (Made in the USA) and a large assortment of colorful cowboy boots. The shop also features the work of independent jewelry makers. Another perk: Prices tend to be lower than at other vintage shops.
92 5th Avenue
Of the three locations of this consignment and vintage shop, the Park Slope, Brooklyn has a great collection of high-end labels, unique accessories, and jewelry created by local artistans. Recent finds include a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, powder blue Minnetonka moccasins, and a True Religion denim jacket. New merchandise comes in hourly, so if you spend enough time there, you'll probably find something you want.
14 rue de Surmelin
At this Paris shop, committed designers and casual shoppers will find vintage clothing imported from the United States, England, and Belgium. Fun finds include a Morgane wedding dress, colorful bathing caps, and floral skirts from the 1950s.
334 S. La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
If it's not unique, pristine, and high-quality you won't find it in this Los Angeles vintage outpost. This shop is organized by decade and the upstairs section houses the higher-end designer items. Favorite finds are Chanel handbags, Yves Saint Laurent heels, and hats with cage netting. Prices tend to be higher than at other vintage shops, but the quality can't be beat.