Buenos Aires, the land of leather jackets, mini skirts and plataformas galore. Porteños have been rocking these classic looks since the 80’s and you’re kidding yourself if you think that might change any time soon. Instead, fashion has shifted toward mixing the old with the new to create outfits that are fresh, but inspired by the greatest hits of decades past.
Thrift stores, or ferias americanas as they’re known in Buenos Aires, are the easiest way to achieve this vintage look, save a few pesos, and even help out the environment along the way. Thats right, buying second-hand clothes isn’t just a screaming statement that you’re definitely still hip (!), it’s also one of the best ways to personally act against climate-change since fast-fashion corporations and manufacturers are some of the leading contributors to environmental pollution globally.
Earlier this year, we sat down with local thrift stores Bimba Vintage and Alma Zen to discuss the importance of buying second-hand and the political nature of fashion. We also chatted about the higher quality of vintage clothes, the love of the hunt, and the economic accessibility of second-hand that makes it such an important and attractive way to shop these days.
If you’re thinking of heading on a thrifting adventure in Buenos Aires we’ve got a few great tips to get you started:
- Be patient! You may have to visit a few places to find what you need but thats a part of the experience (and the fun)
- Come prepared: Knowing what you’re looking for will make the sea of second-hand feel much more manageable
- Try on any new items before taking them home. Sizing standards have varied drastically within the fashion industry over the years
- Bring cash! Having plenty of pesos means you won’t miss out on snagging a great piece from an efectivo-only establishment
- Sell before you buy: Clearing out a few old items from your closet before thrifting is a great way to make some extra cash and space for your new finds!
Now that you’re ready, read on for a list of a few top thrift stores in Buenos Aires that will boost your wardrobe and your wallet.
Juan Perez Vintage
As one of the most classic vintage stores in Buenos Aires, Juan Perez Vintage is the ideal spot to start your thrifting journey. During its more than 20 years in business, Juan Perez has cultivated a dedicated fan base of customers who swear by its wide array of inventory, organization and charm. This 800 meter space is divided up into specific sections by era and size, making it extra easy to find something for every age and style. And just when you think it can’t get any better, there’s even a VIP section in the back. This section houses the most unique and high quality pieces that come into Juan Perez and is geared towards those thrifters who prefer pre-vetted pieces and ensembles.
Galería 5ta Avenida
Located just a quick walk away from traditional Buenos Aires destinations like El Cuartito and Bond Street, Galería 5ta Avenida stands out as one of the greats among the iconic establishments of Recoleta. This time-honored vintage gallery is comprised of countless shops that sell retro items from the 60’s, 70’s and beyond. As the most famous feria americana in Buenos Aires, customers can expect to find abounding options and low prices, making it a great place to buy wacky accessories or off the wall pieces you might typically shy away from. But with so many options, how will you fight off the decision fatigue or existential-shopping-dread? Our tip for making the most out of this local is to go with lots of time! A rushed visit will only lead to stress, but with time to browse you may just find a treasure trove of hidden gems.
Galería 5ta Avenida | Av. Santa Fe 1270 | Monday – Saturday 10AM – 8:30PM, hours may vary by store
Bimba Vintage is the long-standing passion project of Argentine actress, stylist and writer Jazmín Rodríguez. Open for the last six years, this vintage store operates more like a one-of a kind show room than a traditional second-hand haul spot. Located within La Galería Las Victorias in Palermo, the pieces at Bimba have been specially curated with quality and elegance in mind. The shop features designer items by brands like Prada or Chanel and is the perfect place to find everything ranging from daily wear to Gala-ready dresses. Access to Bimba is by appointment only, so prospective customers should contact Jazmín at [email protected] or by calling ahead of time.
The Vintage Hole
While The Vintage Hole technically sells a mix of second-hand and new clothes, this Palermo Hollywood shop still snagged a spot on the list for the quality and style of its thrifted section. Run by four posh Argentine friends, the pieces at The Vintage Hole have been hand-selected from their youthful and trendy fashion sense to keep you looking hip. Thrifting at The Vintage Hole feels a lot like going on a treasure hunt: between the fun prints, pops of color and rhinestones accessories, who knows what you might end up taking home?
Look in Garage
Located in the trendy heart of Palermo, Look in Garage is the perfect thrifting stop if you’re looking for options that feel a bit more curated. The racks at this second-hand store are stocked with 90’s inspired aesthetic and early 2000’s flare, making it the perfect place to pick up a few statement pieces fit for Instagram. Printed button-downs? Check. Worn in denim? Yup. Grunge knits? You betcha. Basically, Look in Garage is a one-stop-shop for the aspiring Buenos Aires hipster. Best of all, they’re always offering great promotions on their inventory like three accessories for $100 pesos or knits at AR $200 a pop.
El Almacén de Lulú
Do you adore the thrill of the hunt? Have you been looking for the *perfect* party dress to wear to your friend’s wedding this summer, one that no one else will have and that didn’t come from some depressing fast-fashion factory? Do you feel like your style and aesthetic come from another era? El Almacén de Lulú is a veritable treasure trove of vintage gems that put any other thrifting experience to shame. You’ll find unique, one-of-a-kind pieces and accessories from nearly every decade of the last century, like this ’70s stunner that gives me Megan Draper in California vibes, an absolutely darling ’60s embroidered lace dress that would be ideal for a City Hall wedding, or these ridiculously amazing ’80s belts that are screaming to be worn anywhere and everywhere. You’ll need to contact them via Instagram DM or WhatsApp to coordinate a visit to the showroom in San Telmo, or you can shop online.
Bonus Track: Galpón de Ropa
With several locations across Buenos Aires, this is perhaps the most convenient place to both buy and sell secondhand clothing. This isn’t the place to go, however, if you’re a vintage princess obsessed with clothes and accessories from decades past. Galpón de Ropa focuses primarily on trendy, still-current looks that won’t hang on the racks for too long. The shops are well-organized and have a fresh vibe to them; no digging up to your elbows in unmarked bins in dusty basements for you! If you’re planning to sell some of your own threads after a good closet clean-out, you can get cash straight away, consign, or receive store credit. Pro tip: head there right when it opens for shorter wait times.
Galpón de Ropa | Villa Crespo, Cañitas, Belgrano, Almagro | More info