Thrifting

I used to love clothes shopping. I’ve never been able to figure out why, or why I stopped loving it, until now.

When I was in the eighth grade, my friend Leia and I used to go to Alice’s Underground (may it rest in peace)* in Soho with some regularity. It was a huge store. They had racks of flannel shirts (what? It was 1992), shelves of Levi’s 501s, huge sale bins, and all sorts of used but fabulous clothing.

Since then I’ve mostly shopped in stores that sell new clothing. When I’ve found thrift shops, they haven’t excited me like Alice Underground did. Recently I’ve taken to making my own clothes, but a lack of funds has kept me from building much of a wardrobe.

I’ve been kind of stuck because I need new clothes — I’ve lost some of the baby fat but am still many sizes larger than my pre-pregnancy clothing — but have no budget. So I went in search of a good thrift store. I figured that between the Goodwill and Out of the Closet I should have some good luck finding myself a few sweaters and other must-haves. Armed with only $20 I set out for Fairfax, where I knew there was an Out Of The Closet and at least two non-chain thrift stores.

I never made it to Out of the Closet. Walking south from the parking lot on Rosewood, I first stopped at Council Thrift Shop, where I did not find any clothing I wanted but did find some amazing chairs that I desperately want. Continuing south I went into Community Thrift Shop, where I hit pay dirt.

Half an hour and $18.50 later I owned a denim skirt, a sleeveless top, and four sweaters, one of them cashmere and another almost definitely handknit. I did not buy, but did drool over, any of the gorgeous cowboy boots they had for sale, but I will tell you that $75 for a like-new pair of Tony Lamas is a really, really good price. If ever there was an Alice Underground 2.0, this is it.

Since I was basically out of money (I spent the rest on a lemonade at the Farmers Market) I didn’t explore any further. But I’d like to know, for next time: what are your favorite thrift shops? Which ones are best for which sorts of items (women’s clothes, men’s clothes, household items, etc)?

*Here’s an oddity: I went to New York in July, and Alice Underground is no longer in its old storefront. Another store is there. However, I can’t find any information online about the new store (it would probably help if I could remember what it’s called) or about Alice Underground closing – in fact, there are still references to it everywhere. What the hell?

4 Replies to “Thrifting”

  1. there are tons of great vintage stores online that keep the prices close to what you’d find at the thrift store. my favorite is:
    yes please vintage based out of silver lake. (yespleasevintage.com)

  2. I don’t really go to thrift stores, but there’s this one place my friend recommended to me when I was looking for some vintage looking stuff. The place is called Aardvarks, and they carry a wide selection of stuff. You’d probably get a kick out of just looking around. There’s two locations; one on Melrose and the other in Pasadena.

  3. I’ve been to the Aardvark on Melrose and was really unimpressed. They had a good selection of jeans but that was about it. And they don’t buy, just sell. I’m always willing to give shops a second chance, though.

    For vintage, I love Polkadots & Moonbeams on 3rd and a little place on Sunset in Silverlake – I’ve forgotten the name. Unfortunately, good vintage isn’t cheap (though there are bargains to be found).

  4. I think Alice Underground closed last winter- I went there during their “everything must go” sale, and didn’t seen it after that!

    There is no way you could get more than a set of legwarmers for $20 in Soho these days, even at Alice!!!

    Thanks for the recommendations for thirft stores in LA- I’m moving in Dec and will need my fix!

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