A nice cozy trip to the romantic capital of France right before the holidays can only get you into the spirit of Christmas. The snow falls over the Christmas markets, warm crêpe stands abound, and the Champs Elysées is lit up in spectacular fashion. Paris offers its most magical side during the holiday season.
Paris and shopping go hand in hand and Christmas is the ideal time to browse window displays and maybe even bring back a gift or two for that special someone on your list. Paris is one of the world capitals of fashion, so it’s the perfect place to pick up some treasures for the fashionista in your life. But that doesn’t mean you hit the fast fashion shops or even the hottest boutique. Fast fashion and even new fashion are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to climate change, waste and conspicuous consumption.
We’ve all learned to be more environmentally conscious in the past few years so it’s only fitting that we rethink our need for consumer goods. Consignment stores and vintage shops offer a great alternative to fast fashion shopping and overconsumption. You can find gently used designer clothing in shops around the world but Paris is the epicenter of great used designer goods thanks to brands such as Balmain, Givenchy, and Chanel. Think vintage Paris!
“My clients often ask me to incorporate vintage clothing into their shopping sessions,” says Candice Pinti, a Parisian stylist since 2009 who is now based in Berlin. Pinti got her start at an image consulting agency, then joined Zadig & Voltaire and Scotch and Soda in Berlin. She launched her own personal shopping service in 2018 and since then she has been working with international clients, offering them a tailor-made service. “Our consumption of clothing is damaging our planet and more and more of us are changing our buying habits and moving towards a more responsible consumption. Buying second-hand items is not only a way to save money but it is a habit that helps our planet and is part of the solution” Pinti says.
In the past few years, the industry has seen a surge in vintage shopping, with apps such as Vinted, Poshmark or Vestiaire Collective being favored over high-street stores. These apps offer the possibility for people to clean their wardrobes while giving others the chance to wear designer clothes at affordable prices. And, since we’re all trying to do our part for the environment, reusing clothes and other accessories is definitely giving our planet a break.
Pinti herself loves vintage shopping and knows the best consignment shops and vintage designer clothing stores in Paris. “It is first and foremost a collector’s delight. For me, any second-hand object or garment is something unique and I love the idea that it has crossed an era. Wearing a vintage old garment is also wearing the history that goes with it.”
We’ve shown you the best charity shops in the U.K., now is the time to check out the best consignment and designer vintage shops in Paris.
Florencia Oriot hails from Argentina, where she started her own online vintage shop in 2011. Oriot later left her native Buenos Aires for France and opened a physical boutique in the 20th district of Belleville. Lapin Vintage is an independent and responsible consignment shop that prides itself on recycling vintage clothes and bags, and offers reasonable prices considering how rare some of her items are.
Lapin Vintage offers clothes from the 1950s to the ‘90s, but truly specializes in the ‘60s and ‘70s. This is quite obvious when one enters the shop and soaks in all the color and groovy patterns. Lapin Vintage boasts dresses and suits harkening to the Nouvelle Vague or what the French call l’esprit rock. Expect high-end brands such as Versace, Givenchy, Moschino and Courrèges as well as Burberry and Lacoste. Browse through their lookbook on the Lapin Vintage website to plan your shopping expedition the right way.
Le Marais is synonymous with trendy shopping as well as hip cafes, restaurants and watering holes to down a craft cocktail or two.
Plaisirs Palace is a neo-pop dream founded by Didier Barroso, a contemporary artist turned vintage store aficionado. Barroso once worked with the Palais de Tokyo and that clearly influenced the 1970s-inspired interior of Plaisirs Palace—think lime green Kvadrat curtains, Kwok Hoï Chan seats and Ettore Sottssas “Ultra Fragola” mirror (its piece de résistance).
Barroso, who is of Portuguese descent, owes his artistic vision to his home country, its special light and typical colorful tiles. Head over to Plaisirs Palace if you’re looking for a fancier, more personalized experience. Yves Saint Laurent, Courrèges and Pierre Cardin make up the holy trinity at Plaisirs Palace but you’ll also find pieces by Azzedine Alaïa and Thierry Mugler.
Citizen Concept Store
Founded in 2006, Citizen Concept Store, just down the street from the Musée Picasso in Le Marais, offers an array of both haute couture and prêt-à-porter. Situated in a cozy washed stone building characteristic of the quarter, Citizen boasts a relaxed ambiance and inclusive vibe: they pride themselves on offering clothes for all sizes, ages and budgets, and they also have an impressive selection of clothes for men, usually the forgotten ones when it comes to vintage shopping. Expect one-of-a-kind pieces by Celine, Chanel, Armani, Prada and Yohji Yamamoto that are updated on the regular.
If you’re on the lookout for something even more momentous for that special someone, be sure to check their vintage jewelry section, with authentic treasures from Hermès, Dior or Baccarat.
Les Chineuses Chics
The duo behind Les Chineuses Chic, Laurence and Sophia, spent their youth scouring every garage or private sale they could find, so you can trust them when it comes to finding absolute bargains. In 2017 they opened their boutique in, you guessed it, Le Marais, followed by their online shop a year later. Les Chineuses Chics is a concept store featuring gently used second-hand clothing and accessories with personalised attention that also offers click-and-collect services.
Cheaper than some other shops we’ve mentioned, you’ll always find exciting promos and offers at Les Chineuses on their vintage designer deluxe pieces. Select items from Diane Von Furstenberg, MaxMara, Jil Sander, Lanvin or Louboutin. Just imagine bringing a pair of red soles home with you at a more than reasonable price! Les Chineuses also boasts plenty of accessories and even some decorative pieces to elevate your interior design game.
A bit more on the expensive side, this little cozy vintage shop in Paris boasts two central locations. Opulence Vintage specializes in designer handbags from labels such as Hermès, Chanel, Fendi or Louis Vuitton. You’ll also find clothing, watches and jewelry but bags are undoubtedly the lifeblood of the shop.
Owner Raúl Barragan Sanz, who hails from Madrid, Spain, is passionate about vintage clothing and second-hand goods and it shows. Bags are treated with care and displayed to perfection. Couple that with his innate Spanish charm, and it’s no wonder that first-time customers become regulars.
Barragan Sanz offers an authenticity guarantee on all vintage products—including certification for an extra fee—as well as full refunds if the pieces turn out to be fake. Barragan Sanz has his own Youtube channel where he talks fashion history, gives tips to spot fakes and showcases what’s new at the boutique.
Tips for Consignment/Vintage Shopping
– Having patience and passion: It takes time to search for the right vintage clothing so be knowledgeable about the quality of the materials
– Know your style and make it your own. Ask yourself how a garment will combine with the other pieces in your wardrobe
– Don’t be afraid of creativity. Sometimes, small changes are necessary
– Browse the online sites for vintage shops to know what is available before the causal shopper
– Don’t be afraid to buy something with a broken zipper or a small tear. These things can be easily fixed by an expert tailor