News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
March 4, 2021
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Shopping + Services

Olaf’s No. 1 Men’s Vintage

By Alexandra Glorioso
Suits, fedoras, lamps, custom tailoring at Olaf's on Court near Fourth Place.
Photo by Joshua Kristal [gallery, exclude=1125,1123 link=”file” order=”DESC” columns=”4″]

On March 14, New York Magazine picked Olaf’s Men’s Vintage at Court and Fourth Place in Carroll Gardens as the best men’s vintage in NYC. We featured Olaf’s a while back, so here you go–Lisa:

Walking into Olaf’s on southern Court Street is like visiting your stylish friend’s wardrobe, a closet you always wished you could grab from. Well, now you can.

The owners, Jeanne Messing, a designer, and Jen McCulloch, owner of Olive’s Very Vintage on Court, opened a week before Christmas in an area of Court Street that has quickly become a destination for shopping, eating and hanging out.

“I’ve been meaning to open Olaf’s for so long, and when the right space opened, I decided to take it,” McCulloch said. “I wanted a sort of dark and comfortable, masculine and rustic type store.”

Olaf’s feature pieces such as a 1970’s Levi’s shadow plaid shirt ($85), skinny silk and knit ties from the 1960’s ($18 to $64), an L.L. Bean pin-striped plaid coat from the late 1930’s ($295), several Harris tweed blazers ($85 to $165) and tweed and wool fedoras ($35 to $65).

The shop features a wall lined with wing-tip shoes and work boots, and vintage knick knacks like a Sitting Bull poster for $42, a red and blue Beacon Blanket for $375, silver spoons for $5 a piece, salt and pepper shakers at $12, and badminton racquets for $45. Everything a stylish man of today needs: chairs, lamps, accessories…

Though the selection is on trend, McCulloch says the items are wearable.

“We’re not an Austin Powers kind of vintage.”

McCulloch named Olive’s after her mom, Olivia. Olaf’s is named after her mom’s grandfather.  Before she opened her line of vintage boutiques, McCulloch was a window designer for Saks Fifth Avenue and a set decorator and art director for children’s films. She buys most of her items from towns in Pennsylvania and Virginia. She says if you find a town that has a conglomeration of vintage, antique and flea, go there to shop.

“As a store owner, you really have to leave New York for vintage. The Brooklyn Flea is cool, but they sell vintage at New York prices.”

McCulloch came to the city in 1999. She was living in Red Hook and originally wanted to open on Smith Street, because that was “the hot spot.”

Because rents were so high, she opted for Court Street.

“It was close to Smith and affordable. I knew business would expand.”

McCulloch exudes a down-to-earth mentality. Olaf’s has an in-store seamstress to tailor suits, shirts, pants.

“If you come into the store, we really want to help you. We’re not just trying to sell to hipsters,” says the PS 58 mom.

McCulloch is from Maryland. She always sold vintage on the side but got the urge to open her first store after having her son, Evan. She was a stay at home mom for his first year.

“I knew I wanted to get back into work but really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I couldn’t imagine going back to work and using my paycheck to pay someone else to watch Evan. My mom really encouraged me.”

She says she opened Olive’s ten years ago “on a whim.”

“It was really a make-shift process. I brought Evan to work with me. I love this job.”

Olaf’s Men’s Vintage

453 Court St.


Open daily noon to 9 p.m.

Olive’s Very Vintage

434 Court St.



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