Vintage Shopping in Portland

House of Vintage is one of many vintage clothing stores in Portland. Vintage is very popular here in Portland because of the clothing you are able to find. Photo by Katie Fendick.

All over Portland vintage clothing stores are appearing. These vintage shops have clothes for sale from different time periods that are gathered and displayed in one store. Vintage shops, unlike thrift shops, have a more curated collection for sale. Anneke Wisner, the owner of Hut Vintage, which is a small store on 63rd and Foster, explains “I would say that vintage is hand picked by someone that believes that it has a second chance, usually looking at things that are a little higher quality or more difficult to find.” 

These stores rely on vendors instead of donations. When shopping at a thrift store, you are the one sorting through everything, but vendors sort through the clothes before you get there. The manager at House of Vintage on 33rd and Hawthorne, Christina Blank, explains, “In a vintage shop you already have really experienced eyes who’ve gone out and sorted through all of [the items] for you.” This experienced eye makes sure the pieces brought into the store are in good condition and are vintage. These vendors have experience picking out the clothes and understand what people are looking for.

Vintage shopping has grown in Portland more than in some other cities, becoming a popular activity for teens to do over the weekend or after school. Shops have popped up all over the place. Hut Vintage, although a small store, has a wide array of clothes available. And on the corner of 46th and Woodstock, you can visit Red Fox Vintage, which is open daily from 11-7pm. It has a wide variety and multiple vendors. Finally there’s House of Vintage, which has rows upon rows of clothing to look through to find your perfect piece. 

The rise in vintage popularity has many different causes. Georgia Najarian (11) explains “You can find more unique and interesting pieces. Especially in Portland there are a lot of vintage shops that have really high quality stuff that looks really cool.” Vintage clothing gives you an opportunity to find something completely different that you would never have found at a normal store. Blank further expanded, “Portland’s a city of individuality, so being able to come and put together your own style from any era and find unique things is another reason why it’s really big here.”

Vintage clothing allows you to play with your fashion. “I lean toward vintage myself because I like the silhouettes better and how it looks on me,” says Blank. “I think that’s true for other people too. They like those looks, whether it is a tailored 1950s look or something else.” This vintage style is rarely found at any big malls or stores and can only be found at vintage stores. With the uniqueness of the clothing, vintage allows you to express yourself the way you want to. “Portland has a nostalgic aesthetic built into the fashion scene in the city.” Wisner explains. 

Finally, buying vintage clothing and other clothes second hand helps the environment. You get away from fast fashion which releases microplastics and you are reusing something that might have gotten thrown away. “People are very environmentally conscious in Portland, so having something that you can reuse instead of buying newly manufactured clothing that’s meant to fall apart is a big reason,” Blank explains. These ideas encourage more people to go to vintage stores. “I love the idea of taking old things and reinventing them so that we don’t need to produce so much trash,” Wesnir concludes.

The benefits of vintage has drawn more people to these stores around the city. Vintage can be for anyone, from someone wanting to find something different and unique, to someone who cares about their impact on the environment. Vintage is a great option to try and there are stores all around where you can start.

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