Second Hand Shopping in Boston
Kelsa's Favorite Shops
I’ve always been a fan of second hand shopping, but since I started this project I’ve taken it to a new level, endeavoring to freshen my closet with used clothing as opposed to buying things new. Luckily my hometown of Boston has a lot to offer when it comes to second hand and vintage clothing. Here are some of my favorite shops. Start here and you may not need to head to a regular clothing store!
Boomerang is my all-time favorite. The store is a nonprofit and all the proceeds go to the Aids Action Committee. Boomerang has 4 branches throughout the city, one in Jamaica Plain, one in West Roxbury, one in Cambridge, and a special edition store in the South End. The store in the South End specializes in high-end merchandise and maintains a carefully curated selection of the best wares that come through their doors. They have an especially nice men’s section. The other three stores take on a certain amount of character from their areas, with the Jamaica Plain store offering perhaps the best selection. You can find anything from a 2-dollar shirt, to a new-with-tags coat for 20 dollars or so. They also offer household goods and always have lots of couches in case someone in your group gets tired of shopping! When I’m looking for clothing this is my first stop!
This is where I go when I’m looking for something really special and I’m willing to spend some money. They have a good selection of designer merchandise with prices ranging from around 40 dollars to about 400 dollars (although there are some really exceptional pieces that go for much more). If you go when they have a sale you’re likely to find some good bargains on clothes that will last a long time. It was hard for me at first to justify spending more then 10 dollars on a second hand piece of clothing. However, if I look at it from a sustainability perspective it makes sense. I want clothes that will last a long time, look great, and I prefer to buy them used. It therefore seems sensible to head to an upscale second hand shop when I want something of high quality.
Bobby from Boston is a special treat for those with a masculine style. They mostly sell men’s vintage clothing, although they have small women’s section. The store is so exquisitely arranged that you quickly forget that you’re in a second hand shop. Although the clothes are vintage they are all in “like new” condition and, in my uneducated opinion, fit well with today’s aesthetic. You can expect prices similar to what you’d find in a non-designer men’s boutique, with shirts costing between 40 and 80 dollars.
Raspberry Beret is a great mid priced option for modern women’s clothes. The wares are nicely arranged by size and they have a good seasonal selection. You’ll find a small rack of reasonably priced designers items and some vintage pieces, but mostly the choices are made up of good quality chain store clothing. Everything is priced between 30 and 50 percent off its retail price. Like most of the other stores on this list, everything is arranged in a delightful way that makes you quickly forget that you’re shopping second hand.
If you’re already in Jamaica Plain tiny but lovely 40 South Street is absolutely worth a stop for its delightful selection of vintage items. They have an especially nice rack of summer dresses and a good selection of gentlemanly fashion as well. The service is always especially friendly. If vintage is your thing you’ll love it here!
The Garment District is a beloved Cambridge destination that gets the most traffic around Halloween, partly because of the costume shop located on a first floor. This isn’t the place to start if you’re hesitant about second hand, but thrift aficionados will have a great time here. The prices are reasonable and they have as much men’s clothing as women’s. If you’re all in and want to save some money they also have by the pound clothing, but you’ll need mountaineering skills to make any headway.