Oakland is certainly not a one-note town - its diversity and multicultural tapestry are legendary, and the creativity that flows from that influences everything in the city, including the vintage clothing stores.
And those aren’t one note either. Almost all feature additional temptations including vinyl records, vintage housewares, locally produced jewelry and beauty products, candles, workshop space and so much more, including a hair salon in the back of one jewel. And the owners? They’re not one note either. You’ll find stylists, live show producers, playwrights, those who have set up their shops as collectives, makers and even a shop dog or two.
Your tour of vintage shops will also be a tour of Oakland, as it will take you to a variety of neighborhoods including Temescal, Piedmont, Laurel, Rockridge and near Lake Merritt.
Located on Piedmont Ave., make sure to include Mercy Vintage on your list. Owners Karen and Rachel describe their day jobs as “professional treasure hunters”, scouring for the best vintage and designer pieces in the Bay Area and beyond. “Outrageous”, “simplistic” and “quality” are words they use to describe what you’ll find and they’ll help you mix items together to find a look that works for you. Mercy also takes consignment pieces in case you’re ready to do a closet clean out or everyone has seen your statement piece and you’re ready for another! The girls have an eye and it shows.
A classic you can’t miss is the Goodwill. With three locations in Oakland, you’ll be sure to find whatever type of style you’re looking for. From vintage fashion to unique home decor, our diverse collection is a haven for the discerning shopper. But it's not just about the incredible finds; shopping at Goodwill in Oakland means making a positive impact on the community. Every purchase supports programs that provide job training, employment placement, and vital services to individuals in need.
If vibe were a color, it might very well be shades of pink, which is what you’ll find when you walk into Down at Lulu’s, a kitschy vintage shop with a full service two station hair salon in the back. Vinyl and books round out the store. The gals who were there the day I visited, Jes and Amber, do a lot of the lifting, although it’s a collective of about eight. Focusing on the 60’s - 90’s, with men’s and women’s offerings, this intimate 600 sq. ft. space has owners who love their nice, unpretentious part of Oakland, which is dubbed Temescal, but according to them, might more appropriately take on the moniker of a nearby business, Alcatrash. They claim the area fits them like a well worn cherished piece of clothing. Nearby you’ll find everything from high-end antiques to cheap burgers, as well as the oldest gay bar in Oakland. Voted Best Vintage 2017 by SF Magazine.
Want vintage that goes way back? Walk into All Things Vintage and you’ll likely find Lucy and co-owner Claudia in sassy outfits from the 30’s, and they’ll gladly help you find your own statement piece from their amazing collection of pieces from the 30’s - 70’s. Additional items include gloves, vintage linens, art, pottery and more.
Dig through current styles at thrift store Out of the Closet, which benefits the AIDS Foundation, for an occasional vintage treasure in this expansive store (with its own parking lot!), where I found some sparkly silver ankle boots for $6!
Grand Lake’s very own ReLove Oakland, is a town favorite. ReLove is not your typical resale boutique. They curate a unique collection of vintage, designer, and independent labels, carefully hand-selecting each item with love, care, and impeccable style.
Makers Loft from Rachelle and Xela features Xela’s upcycled vintage, consigned goods, and offerings from other local women designers and artists who belong to their collective, and ask about workshops in the evening.
In the Fruitvale area? Check out III Antiques & Thangs, a family-run boutique vintage and thrift store that is nestled in a beautiful corner in Fruitvale. This one of a kind store houses all things antiques, events and other gatherings during the week to engage and unify their neighborhood. Stop by to shop and to say hi to friendly owner, Philip Gums III.
Lastly, you have to check out The Wardrobe Project. Their carefully curated collection features pre-loved, high-quality garments that are as unique as you are. From chic designer pieces to one-of-a-kind vintage finds, every item tells a story and adds a touch of individuality to your wardrobe. But it's not just about looking fabulous; shopping at The Wardrobe Project supports our mission of reducing fashion waste and promoting a more eco-conscious lifestyle. Join us in our fashion revolution and shop with purpose at The Wardrobe Project in Oakland, CA.
There were so many jewels, and each shop had something wonderful to offer and treasures to discover. If you’re fortunate enough to live in Oakland, you can make the rounds on a regular basis to check out the new pieces that are constantly being brought in, and let the owners/managers know if you’re looking for something specific so they can keep an eye out. If you’re a visitor, it’s a great way to see the city and poke into some really cool neighborhood nooks and crannies. Happy treasure hunting!
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