What is a secondhand shopping guide doing on a blog that encourages financial savviness and sustainable living? After all, if we are serious about cutting back, shouldn’t we stop buying things altogether?
Why I Haven’t Quit Shopping
As much I admire the ability of my fellow financial freedom advocates to be happier with significantly less, I don’t think I’m ever going to be a 3 pairs of shoes kind of a girl. Though I am passionate about sustainability and saving money, another part of me still really enjoys acquiring beautiful things. Therefore, the idea of quitting shopping altogether personally feels like a challenge doomed to fail.
Besides, how often does totally depriving ourselves of something we love prove successful over time? In my experience, it’s much easier to cut out sweets long-term, for example, if we allow ourselves that small indulgence once a week. Or to stop drinking at home in favour of the occasional cocktail out with friends.
When we set ourselves lofty goals without a little wiggle room for the occasional pleasure, we tend to fall off the wagon. We end up eating that entire box of cookies or leaving Zara with our hands full. We undo all of the good habits we’ve been building on.
I believe that it’s important to spend mindfully and to buy drastically fewer of the things we don’t need. But I don’t think that it’s always realistic for us to stop shopping altogether. Instead I prefer to focus my attention on HOW and WHERE to shop.
Secondhand Shops Align With My Values
My apartment is mostly filled with items that either spark joy or meet my daily needs. Despite already having pretty much everything I need, I still enjoy getting the occasional something new. I applaud my grandma for wearing the same elegant tops and trousers for the past 30 years, but that’s just not for me. For starters, repetition can often get boring after a long time. Also, I genuinely enjoy the creative process of selecting the items I bring into my life. I like that I am consciously and slowly building a wardrobe and a home that express who I am. And sometimes this process involves getting something new.
Luckily for us conscious consumers, we can still shop periodically without sacrificing our long-term lifestyle goals. My personal favourite way to treat myself to something new is to browse vintage, thrift, consignment and secondhand shops.
Secondhand Shops are Ethical and Affordable
Forget the clichés. Vintage stores have come a long way from the crowded mothball emporiums of our childhoods. Secondhand shops today are often filled with unique treasures ranging from 1970s designer eveningwear to last year’s fast fashion castoffs. Products are usually sold in impeccable condition and often at bargain prices. Many secondhand stores also specialize in homegoods, making them an excellent way to decorate your home on a budget (learn more on this with Vintage Cutlery: The Secret to a Chic Dinner Table).
The very best thing about buying secondhand, however, is that you are not consuming any new resources when you shop. In fact, you are actually extending the useful life of existing products, making new-to-you purchases the most sustainable way to buy. It’s worth nothing that some stores have tried to take advantage of the increased demand for vintage products, selling low-quality fake pieces. When shopping, keep your eyes open for anything that feels amiss, like multiples of the same vintage design. And don’t forget, with secondhand it’s still quality over quantity.
To learn more about how to shop on a small budget, head over to The Best Money Saving Habits I Learned From My Fabulous Frugal Mom: Shopping Luxury for Less.
A Guide to Vintage and Secondhand Shops in Paris
As some of you know, I’ve been living in Paris for the past 5 years. Paris is a vintage shopper’s paradise. The city offers an amazing selection of vintage and consignment shops to choose from, with a diverse assortment of products and a variety of price points. Regardless of your age, gender or style, there is something special waiting for you.
Being a secondhand enthusiast, I’ve spent my time in Paris uncovering and exploring endless shops and markets around the city. There’s nothing I love more than to browse my favourite shops on a quiet afternoon, hoping to find one of the many essentials still on my wishlist (like that perfect leather jacket!).
Now that I’m preparing to move back to Vancouver full-time, I want to share with you my updated list of the best vintage, consignment and thrift shops in the fashion capital. Hopefully you will be able to visit a few of these incredible shops next time you’re in Paris.
Happy browsing and enjoy the hunt!
Paris’s Vintage & Secondhand Shops by Arrondissement
1st & 2nd Arrondissement
J’y Troque (secondhand designer clothing for women only) – 7 Rue Villédo, 75001 Paris
Mad Vintage (vintage clothing) – 66 Rue Saint-Denis, 75001 Paris
Episode (vintage clothing) – 12-16 Rue Tiquetonne, 75002 Paris
Kiliwatch (vintage & new clothing) – 64 Rue Tiquetonne, 75002 Paris
Kilo Shop (secondhand clothing priced by weight for women and men) – 65 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris
6th Arrondissement (Saint-Germain-des-Prés)
Chercheminippes (secondhand Parisian brands for women only) – 109 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
Chercheminippes (secondhand men’s clothing) – 109 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
Chercheminippes (secondhand designer brands for women only) – 114 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
Chercheminippes (secondhand home decor) – 106 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
Chercheminippes (secondhand accessories for women only) – 110 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
Kilo Shop (secondhand clothing priced by weight for women and men) – 125 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
Mad Vintage (vintage clothing) – 99 Rue de Rennes, 75006 Paris
9th Arrondissement (South Pigalle)
Kilo Shop (secondhand clothing priced by weight for women and men) – 10 Boulevard Montmartre, 75009 Paris
Mamie Blue (vintage clothing) – 69 Rue de Rochechouart, 75009 Paris
Retro Chic (vintage designer for women) – 57 Rue Condorcet, 75009 Paris
10th Arrondissement (Canal Saint Martin)
Chinemachine (vintage clothing) – 10 Rue des Petites Écuries, 75010 Paris
Thanx God I’m a V.I.P. (vintage clothing) – 12 Rue de Lancry, 75010 Paris
La Petite Fripe (vintage footwear) – 41 avenue de la république, 75011 Paris
La Frange à l’envers (secondhand clothing for women) – 81 Rue Saint-Maur, 75011 Paris
16th Arrondissement (Passy)
Brocante Passy (antique home goods) – 5 impasse des carrières, 75016 Paris
Kilo Shop (secondhand clothing priced by weight for women and men) – 63 Rue de Passy, 75016 Paris
17th Arrondissement (Batignolles)
Cinq Août (secondhand clothing for women only) – 108 Rue Legendre, 75017 Paris
18th Arrondissement (Montmartre)
By Flowers (vintage clothing for women only) – 86 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris
L’Objet qui Parle (vintage homegoods) – 86 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris
Flash Vintage (vintage clothing for women only) – 64 Rue d’Orsel, 75018 Paris
Chinemachine (vintage clothing) – 100 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris
Prisca Paris Vintage De Luxe ( vintage designer clothing for women only) – 69 Rue du Mont-Cenis, 75018 Paris
Le Vestiaire du 18ème (secondhand clothing for women only) – 18 Rue Damrémont, 75018 Paris
Marché Vernaison (a maze of stalls selling vintage home decor, antique furniture, vintage clothing, vintage accessories, antique clothing) – In the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, 136 Avenue Michelet, 93400 Saint-Ouen
Marche aux puces de la Porte de Vanves (antique home goods and random treasures) – Avenue Marc Sangnier, 75014 Paris
Marché Aligre (vintage and antique home decor and random treasures) – Place d’Aligre, 75012 Paris
Secondhand Shops Around France
Emmaus – The largest network of second-hand charity shops in France. Emmaus offers an amazing assortment of clothing and home goods at bargain prices. The locations around Paris aren’t amazing and can be more expensive, but you can find absolute steals at their locations scattered around rural France.
Vide Greniers – The European equivalent of garage or boot sales. In neighborhoods scattered throughout Paris and the rest of France, various associations set up one-day-only sidewalk sales. Locals have the opportunity to rent a table to sell anything and everything from their homes. This is a great place to pick up some vintage silk scarves, old pots or brass candlesticks. Dates and locations are listed online.
Violette Sauvage – A group that organises giant clothing sales a few times per year in different cities around France. Anyone can rent a table or rack and sell their used clothing and accessories.
Online Secondhand Shops
For those of you who won’t be in Paris in the near future, you can still browse at a distance.
Selency – My online happy place and go-to destination for vintage and antique home goods, many vendors do ship internationally.
Drouot – Paris’s most famous auction house now also holds online auctions that you can participate in from abroad. Drouot is legendary. It’s a fantastic place to hunt for one-of-a-kind pieces, whether attending an auction in person or on your computer.
Last but not least, there is a new wave of online resale websites emerging that are worth checkout out. Here are some that are available in multiple countries: Vinted, Videdressing, Vestiaire Collective, DePop, The Real Real, Ebay and Etsy.