Friday, February 19, 2010

Fashion Tip Friday - How to find a good vintage store

One of my favorite things to do when I go vacation or out of town is to check out vintage and thrift stores.  It is difficult to find the good ones though, especially when you do not have a native around.  So, how do you find some of the best thrift and vintage stores without really knowing the town?  I wanted to share a few useful tips on hunting out the best thrift stores in a new town.

Know the names
You really cannot fail with Buffalo Exchange.  They always have a great selection, are always on trend, and I personally have a hard time walking out of the store without grabbing something.  Other great names to recognize are Plato's Closet (especially if you like more juniors type apparel), Goodwill (duh), Saver's (select locations), and Salvation Army.  Usually when I end up going out of town, I always hit up a Buffalo Exchange.  Hopefully, you can also find some great stores in the same area.

Vintage or Thrift Organizations
In a few cities, the local vintage and thrift stores will form some sort of loose organization so that you can find more of the same type of stores.  For example, in Austin, Texas, if you walk into a vintage store you will most likely find a little green brochure featuring several vintage and antique stores throughout the city.  Look out for these throughout your journey's as well as fashion related literature that may be in locally owned periodicals or fliers.

Scour the internet
The biggest one is searching the internet.  I could write an entire how-to on how to search for thrift stores on the internet however, I am going to try and sum up as much as I can so I don't bore you to death.

Go into Google maps and bring up the city you will be visiting.  For example, let's use Chicago, IL.

Once you have searched for the city, you will be taken to a page that looks similar to this.  Click on Search nearby and a drop down menu will appear.  Type in thrift stores and hit search.  Not only will this help you find places close to where you are staying but also help you have a plan of attack.

Here is your list of vintage stores.  One of the great things that google maps offers is a reviewing function.  I really cannot tell you how important these are and just want to say if you end up going to one of these places, please use some of the following sites that I am about to mention to review them.  You will not only be helping out the company but also help out fashionistas like you who are searching for good thrift and vintage.

Once you have a list, you will want to cross reference some of these places using sites like Yelp, City Search, and Fashion Dig.  All of these sites allow anyone to post information about the places on them.  They will include reviews, websites for these places, locations, phone numbers, and even hours of operations.  You may also be able to find a few gems that may not have shown up on the google maps search. 

Another great resource was started by Jessica (of What I Wore) and her fiancee Adam .  This site is called Vintage Where?

Vintage Where is mostly user operated with the opportunity for you to update your favorite vintage stores as well as browse for stores in other cities.  The site is a breath of fresh air when you may be heading to a city and you have no idea where to start.

Ask people.
Find fashion bloggers or just locals to that area and ask them their favorite places as well as any gems that may be hidden and off the beaten path.  You never know what you will find.

How do you find vintage and thrift stores in your own towns?  I am pretty familiar with the areas of Nashville that have great vintage, and will frequent these places (not as much since I'm not shopping).  I do have my favorite stores and my favorite areas of town that usually have a lot of really great finds but I am also always on the lookout for some hidden gems.

Thank you for all of your support and encouragement.  I am so thankful for the comments and the love.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!


  1. thanks for the good advice! haven't done much thrift/ vintage shopping but am very interested. will let you know when i purchase my first sweet find!

  2. Isn't the websit Jessica created awesome?! Such a great concept!



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