In Buenos Aires, despite rampant inflation, you can still find a relatively cheap apartment, buy cigarettes for $10, a bottle of good wine for $30 and eat in decent restaurants for about $100.
In a nutshell, Buenos Aires is still (sort of) cheap…. Except, that is, when it comes to buying clothes. A combination of rising costs and import restrictions makes clothing strangely expensive here, with more than a few concerns over quality too.
To help you stick to a budget when dressing for your Buenos Aires life, The Argentina Independent, with the help of savvy fashionistas Josephine Leclercq from ‘Intercambios creativos’, and Vanessa Bell from ‘Creme de la Creme’, sourced the five best second-hand fashion shops of the capital. All have offerings for both men and women.
Portobello Vintage Boutique – Paraguay 1554
Run by a veteran of the Buenos Aires vintage and second-hand scene, Sebas Pawlowicz, this place is definitely one of the best places to get nice clothes for cheap. Sebas, with his 20 years of experience, certainly knows a lot about good quality, used garments. All the pieces are washed and ironed.
Expect to pick up amazing clothes from as little as $30 and up to $800 at the most – if you are looking for a leather jacket or for Ralph Lauren, Burberry, or Hermes items, for instance. Decked out with a British feel, this Anglophile goes out of his way to assist his clientele in their selection. He explains that his goal is “to recycle, to help people in finding their own style out of the famous shops that all sell the same things”.
La Casa del Teatro – Santa Fe 1243
This second hand shop is really particular as it is a house for old theatre artists. To help ‘La casa del Teatro’ pay for the rent, people give them clothes and they also sell old clothes from comedians. As so, on some mannequins, you will see names like Martha Legrand and Linda Peretz, referring to the actresses who used to wear these clothes.
You can find jackets, jewellery, hats, bags, and even theatre books and programmes, as well as vinyls, at really cheap prices – ranging from around $30 to $400. Also, even if you don’t find what you are looking for, it is a nice shop to browse. The place, with its wooden walls and marble floor, definitely has a lot of charm. As you walk around it, you will be able to admire old pictures of actors or objects left from stage scenery.
Aventura – Rivadavia 3484
Heading out of the Loria subte station (A line), it is hard not to notice this three-floor second hand shop. Inside, it is a real mess and you should not be afraid of searching for hours to find the perfect piece. ‘Aventura’ is the perfect name for a place like this as you will get lost in the multiple rooms filled with clothes of all kinds.
Luckily, Valeria, who opened this shop 20 years ago, will be really happy to help you find the perfect pair of jeans or an outfit for a fancy dress party. Expect to get a sweater for just $3 or $5 or a pair of shoes for $10. You can even come with an empty wallet as they exchange clothes.
Las Estrellas – Rodriguez Peña 291
Run by a Russian woman who came to Argentina 14 years ago, this place is great to find everything you need to wear, from a bra to a pair of shoes. In general, prices are really cheap – for example, a suede jacket, normally overpriced, will cost you around $200. You might run into an original Louis Vuitton bag that will cost you $6000, but this is an exception.
From Lacoste to Zara, you will find brands from all around the world, and, importantly, plenty that do not exist in Argentina. Lara, who opened this place six years ago, admits that she “always bought expensive clothes over there in Europe” and that she “found the idea to sell second hand clothes in Argentina”.
Vintage Retro y Algo Más – Defensa 1323
On Sundays, San Telmo welcomes one of the most entertaining market fairs of Buenos Aires. But you don’t need to wait for the weekends -you can find cheap and good quality clothes in ‘Vintage Retro y Algo Más’, five minutes away from where the feria ends, on the same street.
Jorge, who has run the place for the last three years, has been working in fashion for over a decade. He picks up his clothes very carefully, as he is mostly into ’50s and ’70s style. But, as in every good second hand shop, you will find hats, bags, dresses, and coats from all periods. All of them are more than affordable – $100 for a leather jacket or $20 for a nice vintage dress.