Secondhand and Ethical Shopping Guide to Portland

 

It’s no secret that Portlanders care about their fashion. Whether they’re dressing like they just woke up in the 90’s, or they’re head to toe in local designers, our city has it all. We’re pretty limited on fast fashion options, with the largest being Zara and H&M at Pioneer Square, because our city loves small makers and vintage. Which gives me hope that slower/sustainable fashion ideals are encouraged through the shopping here in Portland. Buy used, shop small etc. I’ve put together a pretty extensive list of all the places I go to shop ethically or secondhand, and what you’ll find the best of at each place. If you ever need a new piece of clothing, check out somewhere on this list before you hit up the big brands.



Vintage/Secondhand



Redfox Vintage

Arguably my new favorite vintage spot in town, and it’s a real hidden gem. Located in Woodstock, right next to the New Seasons, this store is opened pretty much all day every day. With lots of local vendors sharing their selection of vintage clothing and wares, you won’t have enough time to shop the whole place. There’s a variety of military-utility clothing, gorgeous lace dresses from early 1900’s, amazing graphic tees from the 80’s and 90’s, linen shirts everywhere and so much more. Take a trip here and then take a small detour after you’re done to the Goodwill a few blocks away to find some good deals. The Woodstock Goodwill is usually packed with good pieces, and is always clean and well maintained too (aka. not a crazy mess). My favorite vendors in Redfox are situated in the back right hand side of the store, have fun!



House of Vintage

House of Vintage isn’t a house; it’s more of a giant warehouse. With so many side rooms and an intricate maze filled with racks of preloved and authentic vintage pieces, I mean it when I say you can easily get lost in there. If you’re looking for some awesome vintage denim, or some cool one off pants, retro tees or dresses, this place has it all. House of Vintage is on Hawthorne Blvd, right down the street from some other awesome stores that you could definitely make a little shopping tour from. I’ve found many a floral skirt or awesome pair of pants in here, and although the vendors have significantly varying prices (I’ve found the same piece from different vendors for very different prices), it’s worth spending time to hunt for those gems.



Artifact

One of my favorite little spots, Artifact on Division was my little neighbourhood thrift store for a few years. It’s changes quite a bit over time, but they’re still carrying awesome clothing for pretty competitive prices. Recently they added a furniture section in the back and offer tailoring and clothing repair. Artifact is really great for their mens collection too, I always find great clothes for me in the mens section, and there is no shortage of good denim. If you’re hunting for a denim jacket, I found mine here.






Mister Sister

Right down the street from Artifact is Mister Sister, inside Dano (previously Field Trip). Not only are the owners of this little collaborative place the sweetest, but they both carry the dreamiest things. Dano carries more home goods and personal items (like my fave Rosebud CBD oil) and Mister Sister is all the most feminine and magical vintage. If you' need help hunting for the perfect pair of Vintage Denim Jeans, go there now. I’ve been looking for years and I walked out one very happy chap with the most perfect fitting pair. While Mister Sister has a limited selection, the careful curation won’t leave you unsatisfied; even just being in the shop space is so soothing. Retail therapy in its best form.


Lounge Lizard

While secondhand furniture doesn’t come up often, it should. Lounge Lizard on Hawthorne (split into two locations about a block or two apart on the street) has everything you could ever want secondhand. Couches from the legit mid-century, retro Palm Springs lamps, everything and anything. The staff are lovely and I believe they ship straight to your door too. Before you make another IKEA trip (guilty), take a little visit and see if you can satisfy your furniture needs with a vintage piece before you buy new.




Wildflower + Lowland

By appointment only, these two angel humans will open up their vintage studio to you to personally shop. Often popping up at Flea Markets and Vintage Clothing events, even having permanent racks in Redfox and more, you’ll get to recognize their brands. Having two different vintage shoppers on your team means they’ll let you know if they hunt something down that was made for you. I’ve found 3 amazing pieces from them over the course of a few different events and it’s hard to say no to a one off piece you know you’ll probably never find again. You can find them on instagram!









Honorable mentions:

- Urbanite

Personally, a little pricey, and not a lot of clothing. I found one of my favorite dresses here a long time back (when it was still Grand Central Market) so I still recommend checking it out, it has its off weeks and some weeks where everything is awesome! But the store has no returns/exchanges or refunds so be careful to try on whatever you wear before you buy!


- Village Merchants

One of my favorite little places over the years, but definitely lacks in style in the fashion department. I usually go for brick-a-brack or outdoor bits and pieces, and although I have found some cool brands on the shelves, I always find that the fit is difficult. They carry some amazing coats though, so before winter, go take a visit.


- Hollywood Vintage

In my honorable mention list because I still haven’t taken a visit. I’ve heard mixed things over the years, but recently heard it’s getting better and the management are really doing their best to improve the place. It’s huge inside and I know parking can be a challenge, but once I finally take a visit I’ll give you my updated thoughts.



Consignment Stores



Crossroads Hawthorne

Ahh, the alternative capital of Portland; Hawthorne really has it all when it comes to clothing. There’s so many consignment stores down this street its hard to know where to start. If you like brand names or just can’t justify buying fast fashion, Crossroads on Hawthorne carries a lot of current styles secondhand. If you have any pieces you want to consign too, they’re a pretty good place to try and consign. They take brands like Madewell, JCrew, Zara etc and I wouldn’t try selling them anything that isn’t super trendy, chances are they won’t even take a second look. I’ve found some awesome pieces from Everlane in here used, super cute clogs and sweaters and have almost walked out with many dresses. It’s good for basics too, simple tees are in abundance. Right across the road from Buffalo Exchange too so hit them both up (and take whatever Crossroads won’t consign to Buffalo, they’ll probably take it!)



Button PDX

My new favorite consignment store in town. Button is located right off a giant intersection in North Portland on Interstate and can be a little tricky to get to, but once inside, you’ll want to try on everything. They carry a lot of designers and small brands like Paloma Wool secondhand (yes, I have tried on every Paloma Wool piece I have found in there and none have fit), Reformation, Rachel Comey etc. It’s definitely where I go to shop for slow fashion brands if I don’t want to pay for slow fashion prices. They also have a great consignment system, and almost always take what you bring in if it’s a brand name and of good quality. Their instagram updates daily on whats new in store and you can reserve a piece through their stories, but be quick, some popular pieces will have multiple holds before you’ve had a chance to blink!





Buffalo Exchange

I’ve walked out of Buffalo with $15 clogs that fit perfectly, Lack of Color hats in immaculate condition, crazy handmade skirts that weigh a tonne, you name it, Buffalo has it. This is the only Buffalo Exchange in town I like, and I’ve consigned here many times and usually try to take my cash out but end up exchanging it for something killer in store. It can be overwhelming in here because things don’t really feel organised, but if you have a plan and an idea on what you’re looking for, it’s not all that bad. Go on a weekday, it gets crazy in here on weekends.








Hybrids

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An exercise in anti-perfectionism. Kind of.

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Johan

Johan is the most aesthetically pleasing little store in downtown, hidden away (really, you wouldn’t see it if you didn’t look out for it, its a hidden gem literally!) off W Burnside, with a beautiful collection of vintage pieces and designers pieces from local and non-local designers. Johan carries Open Air Museum too, a local company by my friend Shae who small-batch designs very minimal and timeless pieces. You can also find really striking ceramics and jewelry in Johan too, and there’s something for everyone. Even if you’re only looking for a secondhand, you don’t have to direct your eyes to the designer wares. The vintage selection is too good to be true.



Backtalk

A place that is all to dreamy; Backtalk is similar to Johan, with a mixed collection of new and vintage, but you would almost not be able to tell in here. The collection of vintage pieces are so on trend, and everything is color coordinated, so your new vintage find might be situated right next to a designer piece of similar color. Backtalk also has a really cute build your own ceramic beed necklace station, and carries the most gorgeous artwork too, so even if you don’t find clothing you’re after, you might walk away with a customized beed necklace.. It’s an experience in and of itself walking into this store.




Palace

My number one favorite place to shop in Portland now, even though I’ve never walked out with anything other than a crazy discounted Levi Sherpa jacket, because they carry plenty of my favorite ethical brands. On E Burnside, so central to everyone, Palace is decorated with very bright decals, and is not to be missed. Some brands they carry to name a few are Not Perfect Linen, Esby Apparel, Ace and Jig, Hansel from Basel and more. It’s really the only place in town I’ve found that carries pretty much exclusively new pieces from ethical designers. They also have the most well curated vintage selection and carry ceramics from my favorite ceramicists, awesome cookbooks and cookwares, tea tree oil from Australia, and every Baggu bag you could imagine. If you want to fall in love with a new store in town, get a coffee from Heart and walk next door to Palace and prepare to have your heart swell!



Animal Traffic

Probably my second favorite place to shop, Animal Traffic is a true Hybrid. They carry brands like Fortress of Inca, Topo Designs, Bridge and Burn and Yellow 108 (for the most dreamy hats) but also have a huge selection of curated vintage for THE best price. I mean, if you can find the best pieces before they’re all gone (because I’ll probably have them!). They carry a lot of awesome outdoor brands, apothecary, blankets and backpacks as well as clothing, shoes and everything in between. The staff are also all so kind and helpful and will get to know you if you visit as often as I do! Recently moving locations, you can now find Animal Traffic in inner SE right down the road from Omsi.





New Clothing/Designers


Frances May

Ahh, Frances May; not for everyone, but for very few people who know how to navigate a store full of expensive labels and designers. Frances May is really one of its kind in Portland, taking up a very large corner of a busy street in Downtown, you can’t really miss it. I’ve gone in several times walking out stressed, and one time walking out with incredibly high esteem that I found a pair of Jesse Kamm’s on sale for 50% off. If you’re looking for a specific designer, or a specific piece from a designer, you’ll probably find it at Frances May. I usually pop in when I need to figure out my size for a designer or brand or search through their sale rack. Not an everyday store, just like sugary treats, should be reserved for special occasions, but I mean it when I say if it’s from a small batch designer, they have it. (also the only place in town that currently stocks Jesse Kamm pants!)




Altar

This cute little store located in a house on Hawthorne is such a gem. Carrying brands like Whimsy and Row, local handmade jewelry and gorgeous organic cotton and hemp tops, they’re really underrated and very well thoughtful of their store. Everything is curated so well and although it may seem like a hole-in-the-wall from the outside, once you’re inside you feel so welcome. Would be a good spot to add to your Hawthorne shopping tour list, as it really does have such a charm and you’ll definitely find something you can love.




We are Monochromatic

A store I have still not yet gone in (do I ever leave SE? I don’t think so) located in North Portland, carries many staple ethical pieces, amazing unisex jumpsuits and workwear style clothing, as well as abstract dresses and colorful basics. They have an online store that I browse through every now and again to see what they have in, and I know for sure that they often have sales on last season stock, so if you just happen to go in at the right time (ahem, me) you might score a real diamond of a piece. Will add more once I finally leave my quadrant and take a trip.


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Closing up the shop during blue hour outside 🔵!

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Bridge and Burn

Beloved Bridge and Burn, now in Union Way right across from Powells on Burnside, if a known and loved Portland ethical brand. Making small batch/limited edition pieces carefully manufactured in the highest rated Chinese factory, you can find great design and quality for an arguably comfortable price, and very appropriate to the NW climate and lifestyle. Bridge and Burn’s flagship also carries other really great brands like Yellow 108 and Intentionally (blank). I would say the menswear at Bridge and Burn is much more in style than the women’s, but I’ve found some great basics at Bridge and Burn over the years. It is nice to see a slow fashion brand focusing on Mens clothing more than Women’s, though, for a change.


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Shop view 📸 @laurenstelling

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Shop Boswell

If you’ve ever heard of Brookes Boswells amazing hats, then pop into her store. Its in a pretty fun little spot in Inner SE that makes it convenient on your afternoon commute. Shop Boswell has her hats, amazing small batch designers, and St Agni shoes. Who could want more? It’s the only store I know of in town that stocks St Agni shoes and also carries a plethora of beautiful minimalist pieces curated as if it were just for you.


Honorable Mentions:


- North of West:

US Made womens and kidswear, located on Burnside on your way to Powells, this store is immaculate and so beautiful. Not really my style of everyday clothing (aka, no kids) but I have found a couple of pieces here over the years that were too good to pass up.


-Reformation at Nordstrom Downtown

Yes, you can now shop Reformation at the Nordstrom in Downtown. There’s only a very limited selection but if you can get over being in a Nordstrom, you should go and see for yourself how beautiful the Reformation pieces are. Also a good way to check out your size before you buy online.


- Lizard Lounge

I love Lizard Lounge, located across from REI in NW, you can find lots of sustainably made clothes in here, as well as a mix of designer and larger brands. I usually struggle to shop in here because I get overwhelmed, but its my go to place for on trend shoes. Blundstones, Vejas, clogs, everything you could want you can find in here.

 

What are your favorite places to shop ethically in Portland? Let me know in the comments below.