With summer finally here, I find myself walking down the streets looking with envy at all the girls with summery dresses and stylish tops-- the type of clothing that could only be found in a cozy, little boutique on a quaint street in Brooklyn.
So I’ve wandered into a few of the shops, because a certain dress catches my eye in the window, or the strappy sandals on display are hiding their price tag. I love the clothes that these places have to offer, but on my budget, I can only allow myself the occasional handbag or blouse, and mostly I just window shop.
I’ve got some good news. The newly popular vintage and thrift boutique has all those clothing items you’ve been looking for, but at a fraction of the price. In addition to saving money, shopping at second-hand boutiques is a great way to reuse and recycle and support small businesses in the neighborhood.
Unlike larger thrift stores such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army, the owners of second-hand boutiques often hand-pick the clothing they sell, or adhere to distinct styles and trends.
Due to an overload of donations, larger thrift stores often have little-to-no organization. But vintage stores are organized like any other boutique, so that you can easily find what you’re looking for. If you are having any trouble, an employee will help you find exactly what you need, and they will probably offer an opinion on how it looks, too.
There are a few second-hand boutiques in Bed-Stuy I would like to highlight:
- 306 Franklin Avenue
This small boutique on Franklin Avenue offers women’s clothing, specializing in dresses, skirts, blouses and pillbox hats. This is a great place to stop for a slightly dressy outfit - still fun, but not too casual. The shop is only open afternoons, Thursday through Sunday.
Not Just Vintage - 1260 Bedford Avenue
This is another vintage boutique for women on Bedford Avenue. The style here is slightly funkier, with some great accessories to match. Here you’ll find brightly colored handbags, flashy, patterned dresses and huge, vibrant earrings that will surely turn heads. Again, the shop has limited hours - Friday through Sunday only.
- 380 Tompkins Avenue
Come here for that specific something to dress up your outfit, whether it's a stunning, lacy top, a giant gold belt buckle or a vintage briefcase. This store has a large variety of clothing and accessories for men and women, and it's clear that owner Kemba sees fashion as a form of art. If you just want a normal pair of pants or solid color top, try somewhere else. This is a place to try something unique.
Thomson Interior Design - 373 Decatur Street
This small boutique recently opened up on the corner of Decatur Street and Malcolm X Boulevard. This shop leans towards a simpler, but still stylish look (for women only). This is where to go if you're looking for a pair of classic heels, or a simple, but elegant blouse. The earrings here, in golds, dark greens and browns, are a must-see, but they dont technically count as second-hand since they are hand-made by owner Bessie Thomson.