Thrifting And Vintage Shopping In The Bay Area

Well it’s been a busy few weeks – apologies for posting every other week rather than weekly. Everything’s back on schedule now so it’s business as usual!

Last week, I was in one of my favourite places in the world: the Bay Area. This was my third visit with my other half. We lived in Oakland for a month back in 2010 and we spent our summer hols there in 2015. My husband had a work trip that ended around the start of my Easter break so we thought it’d be a good time to head back out again. Oakland has a very special place in my heart: I’ve always felt really safe and relaxed there; there are so many cultures and communities living in one area and the food is awesome. I know it’s a place I can’t stay away from for too long.

Whenever I head over, I always enjoy a decent bit of thrifting and vintage shopping. It’s a great place for it so I thought I’d put together a little guide. Obviously there are folks out there who know way more about this stuff than me but this is just a list of my go-to spots. I’ve linked either their websites, IG or FB page so you can find out more if you wish.

Goodwill, The Salvation Army and Buffalo Exchange

These three shops can be found all over the Bay Area. I will generally have a browse in any one I come across. My favourite Buffalo Exchanges (second hand) are in Berkeley and Haight & Ashbury. I tend to visit Goodwill and The Salvation Army (charity shops) in Oakland. You can find all sorts in these places and the prices are really affordable. Unlike a carefully curated vintage shop, you have to really sift through everything – sometimes you might find a load of stuff and sometimes you might be completely unsuccessful. My best finds are usually vintage coats or the odd dress. I know I’ll always find some colourful jumpers for school too.

Mars Mercantile – Berkeley

Mars is one of my favourite vintage/second hand shops. It’s a really easy place to navigate with clearly marked out sections – dresses are organised by era and style and other garments are generally colour ordered. Eras range from the fifties to the nineties. I always seem to find something there and it’s also very affordable.

Haight & Ashbury

Haight & Ashbury is a neighbourhood in San Francisco which is filled with vintage boutiques and a variety of eclectic shops – good spot for mooching and exploring.

Held Over – This place is pretty big and has a huge range of vintage from the fifties to the eighties. It takes a good while to sift through everything but you can definitely find some bits.

Decades Of Fashion – The first time I went here, I found it quite intimidating: all the clothes were in plastic covers (something I’m really not a fan of). However on my latest visit, nearly all of the covers were gone – I wonder if they were having a sale of some kind. I’d say it’s quite similar to held over as you have to rummage a bit.

Relic Vintage – Relic is easily the friendliest and most beautiful vintage shop I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. They focus mainly on forties and fifties era clothing. You can be a vintage novice or a real expert – the staff will treat you with total respect. They are incredibly knowledgeable and give great advice on styling too. One of my favourite things about Relic is that they have measurements on all their garments. This allows you choose wisely and also stops the disappointment of finding something then discovering it won’t fit. Everything I’ve seen there is in fantastic condition – no musty whiffs or items in need of fixing. You can try on whatever you like and there are also a variety of accessories to help finish off your outfit. I’ve shopped in Relic with my mum and also my husband – neither of them are hugely into vintage style but they both ended up with gorgeous vintage pieces. I couldn’t recommend this place enough.

Apologies for the lack of photos, I was having fun and not really documenting my shopping!

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