Call me shallow, but: I love clothes. All clothes really, but especially vintage; I like the weird buttons, the implied history of their origin tags, and their proven quality (after all, if it’s lasted until now, it probably has another decade left). I enjoy that I can indulge in a new dress or skirt without the residual guilt of buying from a fast-fashion retailer, or spending too much on a piece that I probably won’t wear next season. But most of all, I love the hunt.

As Andreina Ramirez AKA Bombiris confessed in our interview a couple of months ago – “it gives me enormous happiness and satisfaction to find something super cheap and super amazing. It makes me feel like the queen of the world.”

That rush? I want you to experience that too. As a semi-closeted (sorry) clothes junkie in a post-Macri economy, I have had to do the work of finding affordable ways to get my fix. And today I’m going to share them with you all, even if it means you’re now my competition.

CHURCH SALES

Consider this your “come to Jesus” moment. The many churches and parishes throughout the city often participate in clothing sales for charity, usually under the oversite of charitable organization Caritas, collecting donations from parishioners and selling them on the cheap (and I mean CHEAP) to raise money for a good cause.

Pros: You’re never going to get a better bargain

Cons: These events aren’t always constant, and tend to move around a lot. Quality will vary.

OPEN AIR FAIRS

Every Saturday and Sunday as well as most holidays, bargain hunters can take to various parks within the city to peruse an extensive array of stands that remain open during daylight hours. The stands vary in quality – some are comprised entirely of fashionable vintage clothes while others look like the bargain bin at a rummage sale, but this only adds to the magic of the experience. Generally speaking, the more digging you do the cheaper your new digs will be – so get to it.

Pros: Fresh air, easy access to choripan, cheaper than brick and mortar establishments.

Cons: Considerable time needed to find the good stuff, inability to properly try things on, frequent lack of mirrors.

THRIFT SHOPS

While I have heard tales of a Salvation Army of epic proportions in the deeps of Nueva Pompeya, I have yet not made the pilgramage myself, and cannot comment on its fabeled existence (daytrip, anyone?). Luckily for me and anyone else too lazy to catch a couple of buses, there are plenty of smaller thrift shops – called Feria Americanas – within every barrio, offering a range of vintage and used clothes at a friendlier price point than the high-end vintage boutiques.

Pros: Decently curated selection, ability to use debit/credit card at many locations, dressing rooms.

Cons: Frequent cat or cigarette smell inside the store, still more expensive than outdoor ferias.

VINTAGE BOUTIQUES

Sometimes you just really don’t want to hunt. And that’s ok! Not everyone has the patience or time to sort through a box full of yellowed doilies to find that off-white silk scarf. Por suerte, you can still get your vintage fix at several upscale locations around town, the most notable of them being El Almacén de Lulú. In order to browse the wares at the stunning showroom in Congreso, you’ll have to make an appointment ahead of time. Bring a friend, brunch beforehand, and enjoy the perfect Saturday afternoon dress-up session. 

Pros: High-quality vintage pieces, heavily curated.

Cons: Price is higher than other vintage options, but remains accessible.