What is it about vintage and thrift shopping that is such a thrill? It is the buried treasure within the racks, nostalgic pieces from the good old days and novelty items that express our uniqueness. Every piece has a past with a story behind it. It is sensational to discover brand-name bargains, find high fashion and become the exclusive owner of treasures like a 1950s gingham circle dress.
Above all, second-hand fashion is sustainable and thrift shopping elongates its lifetime. Broadway is Denver’s prime vintage and thrift-shopping district so in other words, if you fancy vintage or contemporary recycled clothing and accessories, spend the day shopping Broadway’s boutiques. Here are the top six curated vintage and thrift shops and each has its own specialty.
Where: 227 N. Broadway
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
The Lowdown: No digging necessary at Goldmine Vintage. Sift through the racks of clothing that date back to the Victorian era and it is not long before finding very rare items. Joan Jones and her husband Tom Bottenberg founded Goldmine in 2007 and moved from Boulder to Denver in 2017 with the belief that recycled clothing — not fast fashion— and vintage pieces are always relevant in current trends. “Customers should be proud to buy recycled clothing from vintage shops and thrift stores. They are helping the environment every time they do,” Jones said.
Goldmine is a highly curated boutique as the items are hand-selected and purchased for resale. Jones and Bottenberg travel the country buying from vintage dealers, estates and from the public. Customers could also make appointments to sell their vintage clothing and accessories. Furthermore, Jones makes house calls in the Denver area to find authentic and unique pieces.
Where: 51 Broadway
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
The Lowdown: Shopping is a fun sport when discovering quality names and current trends at bargain prices. For instance, Raf Simmons, Gucci, Coach, Supreme, Rick Owens and Dior are just some treasures to get excited about. Buffalo Exchange is the leader of current trends in second-hand fashion with 48 locations. The Broadway Buffalo Exchange opened in 2012 and takes pride in its in-store experience. Shoppers can play arcade games and browse gallery 51, a revolving pop-up shop that showcases artists, designers and themed boutiques. Store buyers research trends from current runway shows to fashion throughout the decades. Customers turn in their quality items and receive 30 percent of the sale price in cash, or 50 percent in-store credit to shop.
While the company is known for having current trends, they do sell vintage items. Merchandise from the ’90s is popular and vintage western bohemian is a staple as it’s part of the company’s heritage. Operations Manager, Greg Maronde, envisions his store as a cultural hub in Denver where people can dress to express themselves by providing a cool place to shop. “ We are involved in the community, whether it’s giving our donations to local charities, producing fashion shows at clubs, offering our gallery space to an emerging artist or celebrating Pride in the streets. We love Denver and want to share our joy with everyone,” Maronde explained.
Where: 10 S. Broadway
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.
The Lowdown: Boss Vintage owners, Cynthia and Ron Wright, opened their shop on Broadway in 1996. Cynthia pulls clothing from different eras for movies, TV and theater. Some movies she has provided clothing and accessories for were The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Back to the Future, Titanic, Boardwalk Empire and Stranger Things. Clothing and accessories for men and women dating from the 1980s to collectible pieces from the 1900s are all found there. “They don’t make clothes like they used to and quality today has gone downhill. Original vintage is always in style, and trends also come back around,” said Ron. New vintage items pop up daily so there are always surprises.
La Lovely Vintage
Where: 42 N. Broadway
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5
p.m.: Monday, closed.
The Lowdown: La Lovely Vintage translates trends from the past to modern-day exceptionally well as a result of owner Tara Lovato, who curates the collection. The clothing and accessories are 1950s to 1990s true vintage Americana and modern styles that pay homage to the past. Lovato’s specialties include vintage denim, pawn and sterling turquoise jewelry. Additionally, the store carries home decor, succulents, vintage cameras, records, handmade candles and typewriters. Visit often as the assortment gets refreshed daily. When asking Tara while people should shop vintage, her first reason was that vintage is quality. Secondly, she said, “This day and age the fashion industry is very dirty. Buying vintage is without a doubt the most sustainable way to find high-quality clothes, and most of it was made right here in the U. S. A.”
Antique Exchange Co-Op
Where: 1500 S. Broadway
Hours: Monday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.
The Lowdown: The historic Antique Exchange Co-Op building was erected in the late 1880s. It was originally used as stables for racehorses until Denver outlawed racing. In the 1940s the building sold and showcased its first antique furniture pieces. In the ’60s, a surge of antique dealers started to flock to the area. The building officially became the Antique Exchange Co-Op of Antique Row in 1984. It now has 12 dealers in 10,000 square feet.
Buyers Robin Guy and Karl Heintz of Jeneral Eklektek give their time and effort to find unique fashion pieces at estate and private sales that differentiate their assortment from others. Ensembles from the 1920s to 1980s era are displayed on well-dressed mannequins and neatly arranged on racks for an easy shopping experience. Jeneral Eklektic has suede and leather coats, wool plaid skirts and evening wear. Occasionally, the queen of burlesque, Dita Von Teese pays a visit in search of old-school glamour.
Where: 1866 S. Broadway
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.-4 p.m.
The Lowdown: Regal Vintage is known to have great service with helping customers find what they are looking for. James Elliott has dressed people for themed parties since he opened the Broadway location in 2008. “It’s a unique experience through the journey of eras, styling people with merchandise that is no longer made today. That allows them to have an individual style,” said Elliot.
Regal offers unique vintage party clothes at affordable prices for men, women and kids from the 1890s through the 1990s, with some 2000s emerging. Elliot discovers new vintage merchandise through estate sales and from customer appointments. Regal has an extensive variety from each era including brands like Halston, Jordache, Gitano, Gunne Sax, Montaldo and Vera, who was known for her gorgeous printed scarves in the 1950s.