“I’m gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket”
Paris is known as the epicentre for all things fashion, style and ultra-chic with Parisians held up as the embodiment of these. So much so that even their cast offs are cool! Over the last few months I’ve been happily scoping out some of the local Thriftshops- Macklemore-style… Certainly very hard when you only have limited luggage space coming home and every shop you go into is a tressure trove. Not to mention, its all VERY cheap.
There is a thriving market for all things second hand in Paris, especially among the youth who, like youth anywhere, seek to express their own unique individual style and sensibility through their dress, without breaking the bank. You need only take a walk to see individuals stalking in and out shops and cafes with an eclectic mix of items; girls in fur coats wittily mixed with crisp white shirts, jeans and Converse sneakers, and ultra-suave men in loafers and army-surplus shirts and coats.
If vintage is your thing, like me, then this is for you, I have included a list below of some of the best stores, as well as the best area’s for stores where you will find all things fabulous, unique and downright chic.
Be prepared, if ever you do venture into some of these shops, you are almost guaranteed come out with something. I have managed to pick up a host of items including vintage coats, pillbox hats and leather gloves in an array of colours and styles, all for a fraction of what you would pay in Australia or even the UK.
61 rue de la Verrerie. Paris, 4e
GOOD FOR: FUR!, Burberry coats and silk scarves
Down a side street, just next to Hotel de Ville, you will find this little store. Don’t let size fool you though, it this little store is racks upon racks of clothes; being able to move about doesn’t seem to be a concern of the owners, It is a bit of a squeeze to get in. However once in you will find chests full of salvages fur, wracks of fur capes and stoles, mounds of coats, shirts, designer jeans and dresses and bins of silk scarves. Granted, you will have to sift through some dud’s to find what you are after, however if you go in not looking for anything in particular, then you will be pleasantly surprised. It really is like gold-panning Sovereign-hill-style, where you will sift through a pile of nothing special and be left with a vintage Burberry coat or Ralph Lauren shirt… its all about being patient and having a proper look!
A word of warning, getting in early is the best way to play it. being both a small and popular shop, once the crowds arrive it’s almost impossible to move, so try and beat the crowds!!
The KILO shop
GOOD FOR: 1980’s american cheerleader uniforms, wigs, buttons, scarves, bags, Army surplus, 501 levi jeans.
Two doors down from Free’p’star is the kilo shop, which is quite literally what the name implies, clothing you buy by the kilo!! I never thought I would see the day. The store consists of a ground floor and basement, racked with clothing of every kind, however unlike other stores, the kilo store has a resemblance of order, making shopping for specifics a walk in the park. Need a coat, head to the coat section! Need army gear? half the bottom floor is devoted to all thinks khaki! Even better, everything is orderly hung up so there is no digging through bins and barrels. Dotted in-between these sections are scales so you can calculate how much you ‘haul’ will cost you… although a bit more pricey than the above store, you can find all your basics in a wide array of sizes rather than a one of pieces, however this means you are generally able to find what you are after in your size.
GOOD FOR: Psychedelic acid wash jeans, reclaimed leather bags, loafers, classically french striped mariner shirts.
Just around the corner, enter the Hippy Market. Through a suspicious haze you will find a chicly minimalist shop featuring cowboy fringed shirts, acid-wash jeans, dapper mens wear and cooler than cool shoes. The staff are all very friendly and seem to ooze vintage cool with their own ‘getup’. Prepare to find the unexpected. Vintage Valentino and crocodile loafers lie in wait to be snapped up and taken home. They also house a range of in-house brands that feature reclaimed leather totes and bags, very cool and very french! albeit a little bit pricey. everything is in great condition and generally free of that vintage ‘pong’.
Acid wash at the Hippy Market
12-16 Rue Tiquetonne, 75002 Paris
GOOD FOR: Coats, Silk shirts, sunglasses, ‘pretty in pink’ ballerina skirts, Vintage felt hats, coats, Doc Martins, bow ties, purses, leather goods.
Probably the shop I have bought the most from, it has a mix of original items and new made from reclaimed materials, such as silk shirts made into trendy tank tops. The selection of vintage hats and purses is a must see, not to mention their selection of leather gloves, you can generally pick up a pair for about 10 euro that have hardly been warn bargain! I really recommend making this store one of your first stops when you come to Paris, particularly if you arrive in winter and don’t have all that many winter clothes with you, as you can pick up snuggly shirts and jumpers along with weather repelling coats to keep you snug as a bug!
Docs at Episode
CHATELET : METRO
The whole area around Chatelet is a shopping dream, full of little boutiques and stalls. The reason I have mentioned this whole area is that there are dozens of little vintage stores i have visited, but for the life of me i could not tell you the names. Besides, half the fun is getting a little lost and stumbling upon stores that only you will know about! You become part of the exclusive Parisian vintage club. Whats not to love about that!