377 Broome St., New York, NY (Mulberry & Mott Sts.)
Owners Stacey Lannacone and Tracey Moulton favor an intuitive mix of designers like Laura Biagiotti and Hanae Mori, an impressive array of Victorian and Edwardian-era blouses and bodices, and favored standbys like gypsy-era Yves Saint Laurent and Moschino polka dots, buttons, and bows. Much of the collection at Ritual Vintage (previously known as Exquisite Costume) was sewn around the same time as Pride and Prejudice was written, and Lannacone invites today’s fashionistas to consider how inspirational to today’s wardrobes they are. “You would never have any of the styles you talk about if someone hadn’t suffered in a corset first,” says Lannacone, “so really, a 100 year old piece of silk full of boning, often straight from a private museum collection, is about as badass as it gets.” As you peruse the selection, you get the feeling that each one of these pieces was culled from a much larger pile of perfectly good but forgettable contenders. If that’s not enough to sate your sartorial urges, more dress-up options await in the basement – it’s appointment-only, so call ahead to explore their entire inventory.