A couple years ago, my friend Kelly and I wandered into the 6th avenue flea market late on a Saturday afternoon. My experience has been that most of the vintage sellers know what they have in New York, so it's rare to find a true steal. It's also an early bird's market. If you show up at 3:30pm, you're probably going to be greeted by picked over tables and sellers who are anxious to start packing up.
This particular afternoon, however, I lucked out. Among the balding tables, a brown leather shoulder bag caught my eye. I immediately pictured it carrying my books, phone, and iPod to work every day. But, of course, I was skeptical. "I bet it's expensive," I whispered to Kelly before asking the seller "How much?" When she said "fifteen," I made sure I hadn't misheard her ("Fifty?") and then quickly put the money into her hand.
It turns out I was right about the expensive part. It was a Brahmin handbag from Brahmin Leather Works in Massachusetts, and probably retailed for $300-400. The straps are a little worn, but the leather has aged beautifully, and you just can't beat the color. A little mink oil brightened it right up.
Even though I haven't come across a bargain like that since, now I'm a little more optimistic when I pass a flea market after a late brunch.
(Bag photos: © Littlehouse of Style)