You oughta know: Daisy Fairbanks vintage boutique
Who: Daisy Fairbanks, a vintage boutique in Santa Cruz with an excellent website. The shop is named after a charm school teacher, who taught the owner's mom proper etiquette back in the day.
What: A great selection of jackets, suits, dresses, handbags and shoes categorized according to decade. I think shopping by era is one way to figure out your own style. It's almost as easy as painting by numbers. If your figure could be described as va-va-voom and you love the attention, go with a fitted 1960s dress a la "Mad Men." Bohemian and prone to losing your keys? Opt for peasant dresses and Indian prints from the 1970s, such as this vintage Halston peasant dress, right, ($125). I am also wild for this 1960s yellow and black striped dress and jacket set with a bateau collar ($79). So Julie Christie in "Darling."
What else: There are hidden treasures, if you take a moment to trawl the site. Check out this 1970s Whiting & Davis black metal mesh tie, left, ($79). Add to a simple white tee shirt and jeans and then go grab a drink -- even if it is only noon. Or these two-tone leather boots in a size 7.5 ($345). These are so Chloe -- but only about $700 less.
Why: Finding quality vintage is key and Daisy Fairbanks stands behind its merch. You can return an item, as long as you alert them within three days of receiving it. (I have been burned on EBay countless times by unscrupulous sellers. Don't even ask me about the "authentic" YSL purse or the Oscar de la Renta dress that was missing elastic in the waist.) Also, designers constantly filch from previous decades and so buying by the era ensures that you're "on trend"-- if you care about that sort of thing.
Photos: Daisy Fairbanks Vintage