The Best Vintage Store in the World is in New Orleans

I recently returned from the best holiday of my life (I always say that but really) in Deep South US. Nashville was incredible, so much fun, Memphis was also fantastic, not least for Graceland (my lifelong dream destination), but the final (main) stop, New Orleans, just topped them all. What a city. The unexpected culture of it all, I mean of course we were touring round the capitals of musical history but The Big Easy is something else.

They call a certain area of the French Quarter their own little Paris, and it's not hard to see why. Absolutely beautiful, and as though it weren't enough that you get to go to the coolest bars in the world down on Frenchmen Street of an evening (not to mention the awesome Frenchmen Art Market), seeing the most mind-blowing live music (for free!), you can also make a full day out of strolling around this stunning area and being similarly amazed by the buildings, shops and cafes alone. Anyway, I'm going to do more of a bumper post on that trip so I'll save some of the wondrousness for that; here I am writing about a very specific place I visited. We meandered along one day perusing shop windows after a superb jazz breakfast at The Court of Two Sisters, and my partner was delighted to discover a vintage store with the most irresistible 50s rockabilly shirts, items he had been looking to score a good few of but a good calibre of shopping had yet eluded us on this trip. I love looking at men's vintage fashion too but I did sigh to myself, oh if only they had a women's version of this store somewhere around here. Then lo and behold, the next place along answered my prayers! Century Girl Vintage emerged before me like the Second Coming, complete with blinding beams of lights from the clouds beyond (it was a bit bright that day). Well that was it, I was set for the next hour and a half (seriously, I was even given wine to browse with by the lovely owner Leah). Pucci velvet skirts, Armani velvet jackets, Saks sequin blowses, original WW2 nurse's could I possibly choose from all these incredible items sourced from far and wide the world over? I had so much fun admiring all these beautiful pieces and by the end was so bewildered by choice, I decided to sleep on it and come back the next day (which was also payday incidentally). I then spent another good hour looking over stock I somehow hadn't seen the day before; the pieces-to-die-for just kept appearing as if by magic. And then I saw it, above the door I entered through, gleaming in all its glory: a 1920s sequin and ostrich-feather jacket. It was mine. All doubt dispelled, I knew immediately what I had been summoned to retrieve (by the sartorial gods, duh). I love it. I will never leave it. And I'm slightly worried about how I'm going to wash it. But forever glamorous and Gatsby-esque I will be in its warm folds. I also selected a beautiful rolled gold ring with multicoloured stones, which was just my idea of perfect jewellery. If I could just work at this store and be among these beautiful clothes all day, admiring them, discussing them, accepting hallowed new stock with awe and hearing their amazing backstory...well, I would just have won at life to be honest. They also do the most beautiful wedding dresses, all of which I could have only dreamt of with my previously limited knowledge of the availability of genuinely mind-blowing wedding dresses. I later saw on their Instagram that Lana del Rey visited a few months ago, and she was then photographed in one of their 60s robes (shockingly uncredited) for the cover of French culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles. I'm not surprised. The place is an absolute Aladdin's cave, a time warp, of fashion history, of need-it-now period costumes, at really reasonable prices for their authenticity. Ok I'm practically talking the stuff off the racks already, I may as well just up sticks now and go be a Century Girl myself...

Where has your best shopping experience been? I love to find out about original vintage shops wherever I go - any tips?


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