Vintage Shopping Secrets From Fresh off the Boat Actress Constance Wu
You might know Constance Wu as the quick-witted Jessica Huang on ABC’s Fresh off the Boat—a breakout role that would earn the actress multiple nominations in the show’s first season—but her comedic chops aren’t the only thing landing Wu on our radar; we recently learned she’s a pro in the vintage fashion department, too. As such, we were eager to pick Wu’s brain on the subject. What we got was an insider’s guide to L.A.’s hidden gems, the hashtag every vintage lover should know, and where you can score the best Ferragamos. Keep reading for our exclusive interview.
ReForm School, Brigitte Sire for Dwell
Who What Wear: There are so many great L.A. vintage stores. What are you go-tos?
Constance Wu: I go to secondhand stores, like Crossroads and SquaresVille. There’s this place called Myrtle I like a lot, but it’s not all vintage. It has new stuff from curated small designers, too. Una Mae’s, I like that place a lot.
WWW: Are there any hidden gems we should know about?
CW: Actually, ReForm School in Silver Lake. I’ve found some really cool stuff there. And the thing about them is they are not really a clothing store; they are primarily a gift store, so they usually only have one rack of clothing, but they’re very selective about what they put in their store, so it’s more curated.
WWW: What are some of your other favorite sources for finding vintage clothing?
CW: So number one, I think a great resource is your mother’s attic, clothes that your mom wore when she was your age. Fashion inevitably comes around, and I find that older clothes are made better. Because now, there’s this trend of fast fashion where everything is made poorly, but stuff that my mom wore in the ’70s was really well made and is really beautifully cut, and chances are you have a similar—at least I do—body to your mother when she was your age. So you can usually find really cool stuff in your own house.
Another thing I like to do is if you go on Instagram and search #shopmycloset, you can come up with all these people all over who have these things that they are selling, often for really inexpensive. So that’s always really fun, to find something on Instagram.
I also like to go on eBay if I’m looking for specific things. I kind of have an obsession with vintage Ferragamo shoes, and you can find tons of them on eBay for like half the price. So if you’re looking for something really specific, like vintage Ferragamo shoes, then look on eBay.
Shop the latest shoe styles from Salvatore Ferragamo here.
WWW: Do you have any eBay tricks of the trade?
CW: A lot of the stuff I bid on isn’t super competitive, but I don’t bid on it at all until the end, because it just drives the price up. I do think you should always check the seller’s rating. If it’s something you really want, set an alarm in your calendar, and within five to 10 minutes of it ending, put in your bid. And know how high you’re willing to go before you start clicking.
WWW: Do you think it’s better to go in with a plan of what you want or to keep an open mind?
CW: I think you should definitely go in with an open mind. Anytime you’re shopping for a specific purpose, I feel, can be extremely frustrating. Like if I’m ever shopping for an event or something, I understand why people get stylists, because you have an idea of what you want and things don’t always meet them. But if you go with an open mind and you’re always just looking for something that strikes your fancy, the fun of that is that later when you have an event, you get to be creative with the pieces that you’ve curated from different places and come up with a unique outfit altogether, which I think is really fun. I had to go to a premiere, and I guess I just wanted to be comfortable, so I wore these BCBG trousers and then I had this cool T-shirt I got from Reformation, but it was a little chilly, and there was this pinstriped navy blazer with shoulder pads that I bought at a thrift store in Vancouver like five years ago, and I put it on and it made the whole thing really interesting.
WWW: I love that you dress yourself a lot for events. Who are your style icons?
CW: You know, I was at an Emmys party a couple of weeks ago, and Carrie Brownstein and I thought she looked really cool. And I’ve seen her at some other shows, and I really like how she dresses. I like how Sophia Coppola dresses. But then I also like Suki Waterhouse, or recently I’ve like a lot of what Dakota Johnson has been wearing, and that’s more polished than I am, but I like it. Who else? Sienna Miller dresses really well.
WWW: What was your last vintage find?
CW: I stole it from my mom. It’s a cameo necklace that I found, which you don’t see a lot.
WWW: What’s your most prized vintage find?
CW: I actually have this old Dooney & Burke bag that I just, I don’t know what it is about it, but I just love. It’s a crossbody purse, it’s leather, and is navy with a brown trim. It goes with a lot of stuff. Anything I wear it with, it makes it more interesting. I got it at ReForm School in Silver Lake, which actually has a lot of cool vintage stuff, but they also sell housewares and gifts.
Got some great vintage shopping tips? Share them with us in the comments below!