I recently got invited to a costume party and decided to revisit a few vintage-clothing haunts I remembered from my teenage years. I found the perfect dress, sweater, bag and glasses at a tried-and-true spot in my neighborhood, but it got me thinking about how resale and vintage stores are being revamped for the new millennium. I got online to find the newest stores—open for three years or less—and there were quite a few. Further sleuthing found many of these newbies out of business already, but here are several worth checking out, right now and probably well into the future.
University Heights' La Loupe (4644 Park Blvd.) opened in August 2011. I love this small boutique packed with quality items in a large variety of colors, patterns and eras. The owner scours local fleas, estate sales and private collections for interesting and wearable items. I fell in love with a black-leather, studded motorcycle jacket, circa '80s Billy Idol, in the men's section, where I also found a great assortment of both casual and fashion-forward plaid shirts, high-quality pants and denim and some fantastic men's shoes. The selection of tops and dresses for women ran from sexy to career with a hip edge, along with great old and current jewelry. This is the only shop where I made a purchase on my pilgrimage, buying a seafoam-colored clutch and a pair of matte black sunglasses.
Ms. Vintage (3011 University Ave.) is in the heart of North Park. Focusing on high-fashion vintage, it was mostly dresses, from flirty to business to bridal to everything in between. Its owner has an amazing eye for style, choosing to fill the store with items that are vintage yet modern. I found a white-lace, long gown from the 1960s that could easily be worn to a wedding today and be completely current. I'm still considering a black, beaded bag from the 1950s; it was a bit pricey but would be an "investment" (so I tell myself ). Prices here aren't for the faint of heart, but I wouldn't hesitate to go back for something spe- cial, original and in perfect condition.
Classy Closet Consignment (1287 Encini-tas Blvd. in Encinitas, ) is located in—a strip mall. Yep, far from the trendier points of Highway 101, this consignment and resale store gets a steady stream of loyal customers. I was there twice on a Tuesday—once in the morning, once in the afternoon—and there were never fewer than three people in the store. Filling the place with brands like Kate Spade, Gucci, Coach, Tory Birch, and L.A.M.B, the owner's definitely pulling from some good closets in Rancho Santa Fe. A second store just opened in San Marcos (1691 Melrose Drive).
Frock You Too is a new addition to Frock You (4121 Park Blvd. in Hillcrest) and part of the reinvigoration of this great vintage store. It's also added a shoe palace at the back of the shop, which garnered oohs and ahhs from my shopping companion. I tried a pair of black-satin kitten heels, while she went for the pink suede sling backs. Sign up for their newsletter to find out about their "Huge Frocking Sale" that happens every other month.
Goodwill opened a new store recently at 4220 Balboa Ave. (at Clairemont Drive) in an old supermarket space. The goods are typical of what you'd find in the organization's stores, but this location is well-lit and spacious. The round racks at the front of the store display the newest and nicest, so I'd hit those first if I had only 10 minutes to shop.