Milan, Italy: An Ali Baba cave of vintage
What if Auntie Mame had been Milanese? Here, on the Via Brera—where you're a stone's throw from many a big, shiny fashion flagship (Armani, Moschino)—entering Cavalli e Nastri is like walking into her (very well-organized) closet.
This little shop stocks some of the most pristine vintage finery you'll find: Pieces can date back to the late 1800s, but you might find a 1950s tailor's spin on a sailor suit wedged between a wispy, beaded flapper dress and a quality '70s Pucci print. There's also glass drawer after glass drawer of brooches, earrings, and other jewelry, plus accessories you didn't even know you needed (feathered hat pin? you need one), and a serious trove of handbags (Hermès, Dior) in the rear room.
Best part? You'll encounter none of the don't-touch preciousness that can sometimes pervade the quality-vintage shopping experience. Inspired displays (Chinese lanterns!) and warm, knowledgeable shopkeepers turn a bit of afternoon browsing into a party.