In a city where the term "vintage" has been perverted to mean anything from the shop owner's childhood or earlier, it's refreshing to find a spot that lives up to its promise. Exquisite Costume is one of my favorite such places in New York, but unfortunately it's usually a fantasy trip since most things are priced just out of my reach. I have, however, scored some awesome pieces there, including an Austrian shearling military cap that's memorable but not too costumey to be worn all winter long. During my last visit I tried to stretch on a pair of pristine fur-trimmed suede boots that were just a half-size too small. But it's not all animal-fluff stuff, so calm down animal lovers. And it's one of those shops that looks really tame and pristine from the outside, but you get in and you lose your gosh darned mind.
Today the shop is hosting its bi-annual sale and preview until 7 PM, an event normally reserved for people in the know. Now you're one of them. It started yesterday night but it was pouring chunks of water so you probably haven't missed much. This is the debut of the shop's new collections of historical garments, and I don't mean in a Civil War reenactment kind of way. Their website has a category spanning 1890-1950. Their collection of Victorian waistcoats and 1930s and 40s day dresses makes me googly-eyed. And there's free champagne, can't beat that.