Museum Store: A Visit To Crowley Vintage

On a recent Sunday afternoon I found myself standing in the rain, peering anxiously into an unlit storefront that seemed wholly out of place with its otherwise industrial surroundings. I’d brought myself, and the assorted luggage, to Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood on the last day of an NYC trip to seek out Crowley Vintage, arriving at noon sharp to coincide with the weekend-only shop’s hours. After 10 minutes passed without any change in its opening status, a stranger standing in the doorway of a bar across the street waved me over take shelter from the rain. 

“You’re waiting for Sean, aren’t you?” a bartender asked.

I got the sense that lost-looking guys in Barbour jackets standing outside 546 3rd Avenue wasn’t an uncommon sight.

Sean Crowley arrived soon enough, and graciously ushered me into his small shop, stocked with enough vintage clothing, prints, militaria, and Anglophilic miscellany of all kinds to fill a store 10 times its size. Crowley, a Massachusetts native who’s worked under Ralph Lauren and the late great Bobby Garnett of Bobby’s from Boston, has created a space that seriously blurs museum and vintage store. I found myself gingerly slipping into (always too small) rowing blazers from actual rowing teams and crimson mess dress jackets, all the while giving Crowley looks meant to convey can I really try this on? 

There’s much more to Crowley Vintage than artifacts from the Pax Britannica. Mixed among racks of Savile Row suits are early Ralph Lauren tweeds, and those diving for vintage Brooks Brothers shirts will surface with more than a few pearls. After 90 minutes of intensive browsing and conversation with the amiable Crowley, I settled on a leather cigar case (one of many on display) stamped with the Great Seal of the Realm and a 1985 copy of G. Bruce Boyer’s Elegance pulled from a stack of menswear titles. 

For those unable to hoof it to Gowanus, Crowley Vintage also exists as a pop-up shop within the freshly re-opened Rowing Blazers shop at 161 Grand Street. You can also follow the Crowley’s Instagram page, where new finds are regularly uploaded. — ERIC TWARDZIK


13 Comments on "Museum Store: A Visit To Crowley Vintage"

  1. What a lovely shop..Very jealous that I wont be able to visit anytime soon.

  2. Evan Everhart | May 15, 2019 at 2:08 pm |

    ^^^What he said ^^^ Absolute bugger that it’s on the East Coast. Not that there is a dearth of quality vintage shops on the West Coast, but that one is sincerely and unequivocally unique and appealing to me.

  3. Charlottesville | May 15, 2019 at 2:32 pm |

    It looks just like my closet!

    I wish. What a delightful looking place. I hope I get to visit one day.

  4. NaturalShoulder | May 15, 2019 at 3:46 pm |

    Mr. Crowley appears to have a wonderful eye for sourcing items. I cannot tell if the suit is flannel or not, but works very well with the suede shoes. Also, demonstrates that higher waisted pleated trousers can look great when well cut and likely worn with braces.

  5. Evan Everhart | May 15, 2019 at 5:07 pm |

    @ NaturalShoulder: Absolutely! I am not a fan of pleated trousers for myself, but that fellow certainly wears them well! It’s as if Stephen Fry in his guise of Jeeves had grown a beard and switched wardrobes with Bertie Wooster. Very 1920s Anglo-Trad. Absolutely tasteful and soft shouldered! The vest is an excellent touch. Reminds me of some of my antique pieces which don’t quite fit anymore, sadly….Oh 27.5″ waist! What came of you?!

    Mr. Crowley is always impeccably dressed, a man of taste and distinction, indeed.

  6. I should add that I met Sean at an Armoury event the night before, during which he wore a tie featuring a hand-painted hunting dog design.

  7. Evan Everhart | May 15, 2019 at 5:59 pm |

    @ Eric: I wonder if that’s the hand painted hunting dog scene tie that I’ve seen floating about on Ebay vintage for the past year or so. It always shows up as a suggestion for purchase for me, when I look, but I haven’t looked at that stream for about 6 months….so…Maybe?

    He seems like he’d be an entertaining conversationalist.

  8. Trace Bearden | May 15, 2019 at 6:29 pm |

    This is ripping! The Young Fogey is alive and well and in Brooklyn, of all places! Mr. Crowley’s beautiful shop is highly reminiscent of Bentley’s, a London shop with which I am certain he is familiar. Bentley’s prices are absurdly high, though; I hope this is not the case with Crowley Vintage.

  9. Rene Lebenthal | May 16, 2019 at 4:42 am |

    i visited Sean’s shop last week together with Matthew Karl Gale. Such a fine place. I can only recommend it! And Sean is a real Gentleman. My wife and myself will return there for sure. Thank you Sean Crowley!!!!

  10. Think again ladies. He sources all over the world and crawls on his belly for every piece. Enjoy your armchair sissy speculations ?

  11. @Bob Bless your heart. That is a wonderful fantasy you’ve spun. If only it weren’t 100% horseshit. By your metric I am currently the richest vintage clothing dealer on earth with a fleet of carriages (one for each house) and a private jet to boot ? Clearly you have no idea how dealing actually works— I enjoyed your version a lot more than reality. Good luck on eBay sweetie ?

  12. Fantastic shop, but the UK UnionFlag is upside down!!!!

  13. Natalie Levinson | May 11, 2022 at 5:26 pm |

    Dear Sean,
    I hope this finds you staying well and busy.
    I sent you a letter with very cool cardigan photo,mailed early April to 147 Front St etc. Today, 5/11 it returned as “not deliverable”? Do you have another address?
    I could remail it.

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