This market is massively nice. Went on opening weekend when it was pissing down rain, and it was still a good time. Came precariously close to buying a vintage US-made Levis jacket lined with some kind of flannel blanket-type situation. Plus, the antique shop on that block (totally spacing the name) is the real deal.
I know, I know. Spring’s long gone. Won’t be back for another 1,000 months or whatever. But still! The good folks at Oregon Children’s Theatre are putting on a big-assed costume/vintage/fancy lady’s hat sale this weekend, just in time for Halloween. Now: We at Stumptown Magazine don’t condone buying nice vintage clothes just to wear one time, as a joke, on Halloween. So go, and buy things you’ll actually wear, even if you won’t get a chance to wear them until next April, or May, or August.
Portland has a handful of really nice vintage shops. Avalon is one we like quite a bit; there are always gems hidden among the multiple racks of suits and jackets - like a madras seersucker jacket we found last night that was just a tick too big to be tailored to fit. But! Then there are the multiple millions of vintage shops in town that are just fucking awful and tasteless.
We’re not going to name names here; the market will sort out which stores stay and which quietly shutter, to be sure. But, speaking very generally here, almost every vintage and second-hand shop in the city is jam-packed full of crap that no one wears, not even Portlanders, a portion of which will wear any old fucking thing. It’s like living in that pool scene from Boogie Nights:
"That cowboy look died out about six years ago."
"It’s coming back though!"
"No it’s not. No it’s not. It’s over. It’s dead."
Now, I know there’s something out there for everyone. I imagine people who are really into tacky pearl-button cowboy shirts and shit totally exist! But even the proprietors of these awful places have to admit: this kind of stuff is just kitch. It’s crap that comes in and out of style every other decade or so. Whereas: Vintage stores that have actual Nice Old Things, stuff that looks good in any year of any decade ever - those are the shops that ultimately survive, earn a loyal clientele, etc. Those kinds of vintage shops are more than just a junky place you visit the week before Halloween to buy 1970s shirts with collars so wide you could make an entire separate shirt out of them, for your fucking clown costume. Nice vintage shops sell stuff you’ll actually wear in real life. Portland has precious few of those.
So, thesis: Many Portland thrift stores suck. THAT IS OUR OPINON OF THE DAY, thanks.