I’d Rather Be Thrifting

Frock You
Photo Courtesy of Jenny V via Yelp.com
Frock You Photo Courtesy of Jenny V via Yelp.com

When you’re in the mood to shop, but your bank account says otherwise, the best alternative is a trip to chic second-hand clothing and accessory boutiques. Join the Guardian on a journey to some of the best thrift shops San Diego has to offer.

Buffalo Exchange Photo Courtesy of Baxter B via Yelp.com
Buffalo Exchange
Photo Courtesy of Baxter B via Yelp.com

3862 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Mon. to Sat.: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sun.: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Buffalo Exchange is a recycling superstore for trendy, affordable and lightly used clothing. To promote sustainability within the fashion world, Buffalo Exchange allows patrons to sell or trade their clothes for cash or more clothing. The Hillcrest location is a great spot for men’s and women’s one-of-a-kind vintage pieces at a bargain price. Buffalo Exchange also sells shoes, accessories and even vintage luggage sets. To celebrate its 40 successful years as a consignment business, Buffalo Exchange is going on tour with a vintage Airstream trailer, showcasing hand-picked vintage western-wear reminiscent of the American West. Its tour stopped at the Hillcrest location on Saturday, May 17 and had an assortment of giveaways, free food and drinks and most importantly, vintage clothing. Stylish cowboy boots, Native American jewelry and prairie dresses were all neatly tucked away in the compact but wonderfully decorated trailer parked outside the store. The trailer was filled with various western imagery like bull horns, desert flowers and old black-and-white photos of the Southwest, including Buffalo Exchange founder Kerstin Block at the company’s first location in Tucson, Arizona. Musicians played acoustic guitar outside the trailer, asking patrons and passersby to join in singing and dancing.

La Loupe Vintage Photo Courtesy of Adria D via Yelp.com
La Loupe Vintage
Photo Courtesy of Adria D via Yelp.com

4646 Park Blvd. San Diego, CA 92116
Mon: Closed
Tues. to Sun.: 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

La Loupe Vintage is a hole-in-the-wall treasure trove in the heart of University Heights. Nestled between bars and restaurants, La Loupe would go almost unnoticed were it not for the sale rack stuffed with goods that casually resides on the sidewalk. Inside, the store is reminiscent of a large and neatly stuffed closet. In such small square-footage, it’s remarkable how much clothing, shoes and jewelry fits within its walls. While the store is mostly women’s wear, there is a corner of men’s clothing and accessories. La Loupe specializes in vintage footwear, and there is a large selection of men’s cowboy boots and women’s high heels stuffed in nooks and crannies all over the store. The prices are affordable given the good condition and fashionable style of the clothing. Ladies: This is the place to go if you’re looking for stylish and chunky jewelry. La Loupe supplies a ton of vintage collectible and designer jewelry, and most of it is under $20. For vinyl aficionados, there is a small but well-selected record section of the store that sells mostly doo-wop, soul and psychedelic rock records from the 50s to 70s.

Frock You Photo Courtesy of Jenny V via Yelp.com
Frock You
Photo Courtesy of Jenny V via Yelp.com

4121 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92103
Mon. to Tues.: Closed
Wed. to Sun.: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Frock You’s appeal does not just stem from its cleverly worded name but also from the carefully picked selection of vintage clothing and accessories that fill its walls. While Frock You lacks the thrifty aspect of some vintage clothiers, it makes up for it in the quality and selection of goods displayed. This vintage gem will not leave you exhausted from flipping through rack after rack because every dress, pair of shoes, necklace or bowtie has been selected to make you want it. The owners at Frock You have deliberately chosen the cream of the vintage crop to sell in their store. Because of this, most pieces are priced above an average college student’s budget. That being said, there is an option for those who want more bang for their buck; the store holds a seasonal “Huge Frocking Sale” every couple of months, and vintage vendors from all across San Diego set up booths full of vintage clothes and accessories for men, women and children at marked down prices of up to 75 percent off. Frock You’s owners send out newsletters in advance notifying customers of their seasonal sales and when extending hours early in the morning and late into the evening.

Photo Courtesy of Kayla D via Yelp.com
Photo Courtesy of Kayla D via Yelp.com

3773 30th St. San Diego, CA 92104
Mon. to Sat.: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun.: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Urban Renewal is a newly established vintage and retro supplier in San Diego and is more of an odds and ends store than specifically a clothing or furniture store. Everything sold is definitely retro or has been restored in a way that gives it a kitschy 1960s vibe. Looking for mustard yellow and neon green floral print chairs? They’ve got it. A wall mirror collaged with pictures of Frida Kahlo? They’ve got that, too. And the best part is, much of the furniture, art and knickknacks are priced far below their knockoff counterparts sold at Urban Outfitters. Your trip to Urban Renewal will require some sifting and patience, but you will almost always find something cool to send a friend, like a vintage postcard ($1) or an accessory for your next trip to the beach, such as a flowery blue and pink suitcase from the 1970s ($16). Urban Renewal is the place to go if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift or the perfect accessory for your dorm or home.

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