Vintage & Thrift: Where to find eclectic, unique bargains

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Sheri Pair of Lucky Exchange

By Annie Kinnett Nichols

I’ve been addicted to thrift stores since I was 16. That’s when I broke gender norms and tried on my first Boy Scout uniform. I had found my fashion niche.

Since then, I’ve collected a sizable wardrobe and wear at least one thrift or vintage find everyday. In a time of Amazon, big box stores and malls, anyone can show up to a party wearing the same dress. I don’t have that problem and neither should you.

People have told me that excellent vintage is impossible to find, that all the good stuff is gone, but this has not been my experience at all. There’s always gonna be treasure troves to find as long as people have grandparents and attics and boxes that haven’t been discovered in years. And in Atlanta, it’s actually affordable.

Here are some of my favorite vintage and or thrift shops:

The Lucky Exchange
On any given day, someone will ask me where I got a piece of clothing, jewelry, shoes, purse or scarf. Lucky Exchange is usually my answer. Sheri Pair has an awesome knack for finding clean, preserved gorgeousness. From bright angora sweaters to sunglasses she picked up on a recent trip to Berlin, Sheri knows what her clients want. She’ll even pull stuff for you if she knows what you like and send you a text. She is also my fashion police. No matter how much I love something, she will thumbs down it if it doesn’t work and look perfect on me. It’s also the only place I can find designer jeans without the painful price tag. Featuring men’s clothes as well, I find something new and fun every time I walk through the door. 212 Ponce De Leon Ave., luckyexchange.com.

Vintage hats at Highland Row.
Vintage hats at Highland Row.

Value Village
Travel south out of Little Five Points and East Atlanta on Moreland Avenue and you’ll find Value Village. Clothes, housewares, toys, couches, stereos – this place is packed with great finds. Not everything appeals, you have to roll up your sleeves and dive in. I once threw a fancy engagement party and bought up all their clear glasses, wine, sherry, jelly jars – it made the party fun and everyone got to pick their own glass. So long, red plastic cups! They have a great deal on babies and kids clothes, too. When my daughter was growing up, I didn’t have the money to keep her in new clothes, but I would come to Value Village and find the perfect thing for her – lots of times with the original price tags still on them. 1374 Moreland Ave., valuevillageatlanta.com.

The Clothing Warehouse
I’ve found tons of great stuff at this Little Five Points shop through the years: cowboy boots, shirts, pants and dresses. The fantastic staff happily helped my daughter find items for cosplay. Prices are good, but some things are high end. Their displays show like a confection of colors and it’s two floors of men and women’s clothes. 420 Moreland Ave., theclothingwarehouse.com.

Doubletake Recycled Luxury
Owner Daniel Troppy is the king when it comes to finding high-end, vintage couture. Definitely pricey, but when you’re a repeat client he will sometimes strike a deal. He’s an encyclopedia of fashion and will tell you the painful truth if you can’t carry it off. Troppy had a small storefront at Studioplex, but has currently moved everything online to doubletakerecycledluxury.com.

Beaded bags at Traveling Trends at Paris on Ponce.
Beaded bags at Traveling Trends at Paris on Ponce.

Highland Row Antiques
This place is the motherload! If you can’t find something here, I don’t know what to tell you. The real treasure is to be found downstairs, with one shop totally devoted to vintage and run by the owner Angela Carbon. There’s also Nutmeg Vintage. Neon Wolf and Yes!, which has faboo polyester dresses. Take your time and go through all the vendors – there’s knitted hair bows, kitchen aprons, fabrics, table cloth and incredible old luggage sets to carry home your finds in. 628 N. Highland Ave., highlandrowantiques.com.

Paris On Ponce
My favorite place at Paris on Ponce is a shop run by Dawn Kaufman called Traveling Trends. There are racks of vintage clothes to sort through, shoes, jackets, beaded handbags and other great accessories for whether you’re traveling the world or just for a night out in Atlanta. 716 Ponce de Leon Place., parisonponce.com.

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