Style Icon: Dress Like Murray Hill

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New York City’s renowned drag king, Murray Hill (aka, Mr. Showbiz), has a style that is 1970s vintage through and through. There are so many things about vintage style that I love, including:

  1. You can pick an era that really represents YOU (doesn’t have to be the 70s) and stick with it. Your wardrobe is unique, the pieces are rare, you are not a slave to fashion, and your clothes never go out of style;
  2. There are varying degrees of dressing vintage. You can add a few vintage pieces here and there that speak to you or you can go full throttle, like Mr. Showbiz; and
  3. It’s eco-friendly.

If you like…

The key to shopping vintage is patience, patience, patience! You must enjoy the thrill of the hunt; you are not just going to walk into a store and find items mass produced in different sizes. But, when you do find something that works for you, there’s a huge pay off because it will be a rare classic that you probably won’t see on anyone else. As far as tailoring is concerned, there are two schools of thought. Purist collectors believe that once something is tailored, it is altered forever and its value is reduced. Others feel that there is no point in purchasing something that intrigues you if you can’t wear it.

Speaking of collectors, did you know that Mr. Showbiz has over 7,000 polyester ties? Here he is talking a bit about his impressive collection:

Shop like Murray Hill:

Screaming Mimi’s, 382 Lafayette St., between Great Jones and Fourth streets, New York, NY

“I put the YES in polyester and I buy it at Screaming Mimi’s. I opened for Dita Von Teese in Los Angeles, so I went to Screaming Mimi’s and got a baby-blue, three-piece After Six tuxedo there. I also have a rare Johnny Carson leisure suit that I bought there. He used to have his own brand of polyester suits. They’re eyesores, but they’re beautiful.” – Murray Hill, New York Post

Fabulous Fanny’s, 335 E. Ninth St., between First and Second avenues, New York, NY

“It’s a little sliver of a store, and I get all my vintage glasses there for my act. They have these custom-made glasses called ‘Butch.’ I have three of those in different colors. The owners are fabulous. You walk in there looking like a dork, and you come out looking like a million bucks.” – Murray Hill, New York Post

 Original Penguin Retail Store, 1077 Avenue Of The Americas, New York, NY

“When I’m not sporting a polyester suit, I’m most likely wearing vintage Penquin pants, shirts, ties and hats. Walking into that store is like Christmas Eve for me!” – Murray Hill, Cityserch

You can also hunt for vintage treasures at flea markets, thrift stores, curated vintage shops, consignment stores (e.g., Buffalo Exchange and Beacon’s Closet), estate sales, vintage fairs, fashion auctions, and on-line retailers (e.g., Etsy, Ballyhoo Vintage).

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