If Daisy from Downton Tells You To Buy a Dress, Just Say No.

Strangers like to talk to me. That's fine, because I talk right back which just makes me a stranger talking to a stranger really, if you think about it. And I think most people in New York are fairly lonely so if you want to talk to me about something, hey, I'm gonna listen! Like, yesterday when leaving work at 10pm, an incredibly inebriated woman in the elevator thrust her cell phone into my face and said, "Oh fuckkkk I think I just sent a text to my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend." I take the phone and all I can tell at quick glance is that she can't spell and she uses aggressive punctuation with reckless abandonment. I'm just saying: if you have to use more than three exclamation points/question marks/a mix of both to get a point across via text, it's probably best you not send that text. I learned that one the hard way. But she doesn't want my lecture on phone etiquette, she wants me to listen so I just say, 'Oh girl. Been there."

I guess this is kind of how one Sunday morning a few summers back I went shopping with some of the ladies from Downton Abbey. More specifically with Daisy, Lavinia (God rest), and Sybil (oh holy GOD, God rest). Now, I know I am in love with my little neighborhood to a seriously biased level, but, you guys, if you want to vintage shop ANYWHERE in NYC the secret is to shop in any damn store from East 9th to East 7th between Avenue A and 3rd Avenue. My favorites are:

TOKOYO7: I just went there recently but they have coats FAH DAYS! It's far too expensive for clothes that kinda smell like my Grandpa, but everything is in mint condition. Boom.

DUSTY BUTTONS: Are you a lady? Are you busty? Are you a fabulous man who can get to a busty place with the right padding and contouring? You should probably buy a dress from this store because the buyers here are on POINT. I have never felt sexier than when I'm wearing (read: trying on obsessively without purchasing) a dress from this store. My 2014 goal is to unabashedly buy a dress from here. Save ya pennies, this place is expensive!

MATIELL CONSIGNMENT: The small asian man who runs this place makes me so mad. Every time I walk in I say, "Sir, are those t-straps in the window a size 7?" And he will invariably say, "Yes, but you are at least an 8 1/2." Biddie, I have small feet! Stop being so sassy bout it! But...he really does have a sick supply of t-strap heels, plaid skirts, and vintage blouses. Go there if you are auditioning for CLUELESS, the Musical. You shall not be disappointed.

...but the piece de resistance, for me, is Cobblestones. Biddies that's where I met my girls, Daisy, Lavinia, and Sybil. There were looking at vintage umbrellas and I was mad at them because they were blocking the headscarves. But then I heard Daisy, in her distinctively piercing voice say how "lovely" this specific umbrellas was and I knew...I knew that everyone's favorite kitchen maid was in my neighborhood, shopping on my favorite street. And I was going to love on them so hard and make them feel welcome in my country, NAY, in my shopping mecca because that's what any good Christian woman would do! So, I decided to follow them from store to store....

Two more fancy vintage shops later and here I am at Archangel Antiques trying on a stupid parisian print white silk shift dress WITH ACCORDION PLEATING...with Dowton. I come out of the dressing room, you know, just to see what the other ladies think of my frock when Lavinia says, "Oh well don't you look lovely!" ...I do? I DO! "Should I buy it?" I say to my new British best friends. "Yes," says Daisy in her small, dwarfish voice. And so I do.

...that dress was $295.00. Don't ask if I checked the price tag before I bought it. I hadn't. I was too entranced, living on a faux English countryside high, hanging with my favorite show's actresses. The silly thing about THAT was I couldn't really so much pay my rent because of it. That was stupid. What we learned here was when a dead character or a character named after a flower tell you to buy something, YOU SHOULD THINK BOUT IT FIRST. Because some of these vintage shops do not have a return policy. Sometimes the best they can do is give you store credit. So, you keep your parisian print silk dress. And you wear it because you look good. But always remember that Lavinia and Sybil are dead and if you take their advice in regards to financial choices you're gonna have to pay the price too...literally.