Does the helter-skelter rush of the malls exhaust you? Are you sick and tired of sticker shock in the dressing rooms of departments stores? Are you broke and looking for an interview suit or an outfit for a first date? Are you interested in putting together an ensemble that no mannequin has worn before you? Louisville has many wonderful thrift, consignment and vintage shops at your disposal; among them four gems: Margaret's Consignments and Collectibles, The Nitty Gritty, Evolve Consignments, and The Nearly New Shop.
1. Margaret's Consignments and Collectibles
Margaret's Consignments and Collectibles is, in a word, posh. Even the pickiest among name brand snobs can find something to please them at this charming establishment. The pin-neat consignment shop at the corner of Frankfort Avenue and Hite is meticulously organized in sprawling rooms, the most notable a room filled with only black dresses. If you're looking for a classy LBD on a budget, Margaret's should be your first stop. You can even pick up magnificent shoes and gorgeous costume jewelry to match your find, and if you're lucky a Coach clutch at a discount. Margaret's is committed to only selling the highest quality clothes, and it shows; everything from prom dresses to suits to home ware at Margaret's is in pristine condition. Many of the items still have actual store tags on them, and the entire shop is enveloped in this undeniably upscale vibe. Shopping at Margaret's feels less like bargain hunting and more like browsing at an exclusive boutique.
The Nitty Gritty is best described as Mad Men meet Rebel-Without-A-Cause, with a little bit of Grease slopped in and a sprinkle of The Great Gastby. Located on Barrett avenue close to Lynn's Paradise Cafe, this place just smacks with a crazy fabulous retro vibe, from the cases of truly interesting and intricate jewelry to an upstairs room crowded with costumes (which you can rent, by the way). There are racks of hats and shoes and a disco ball keeping a watchful glare over the entire place. The Nitty Gritty sells sequined dresses from the eighties, flapper costumes, white go-go boots, old timey patterns and purses, sunglasses, scarves, and everything in between. Keep an eye out for the resident "Itty Bitty Kitty of the Nitty Gritty!"
3. Evolve Consignments
Evolve Consignments is slick. If you've ever felt the urge to "suit up" and go out on the town, this place is for you. Evolve, on Frankfort, is a strictly men's consignment shop that sells quality clothes and accessories for the man about the town. Let me tell you, there's nothing in the world like a sharply dressed, meticulously groomed man in well made designer clothes: be still my throbbing heart. Evolve is rigidly upscale; you will find no worn t-shirts and threadbare khakis here. This place has Buburry jackets, Marc Jacobs coats, Coach and Louis Vuitton briefcases, Ferragamo shoes; the best of the best at a price far more affordable than your average store.
4. The Nearly New Shop
The Nearly New Shop is right off Bardstown Road in the lower level of the Midcity Mall. The best thing about Nearly New is the sheer volume of clothing, they have a giant inventory and extremely reasonable pricing. I would consider the Nearly New shop as the most hipster friendly in this bunch; it's certainly the cheapest, and while the quality is not as high as say, Margaret's, if you're willing to spend a couple hours sifting through you will find some real bargains. The Nearly New is also very well organized, which minimizes the usual thrift shop frustration of digging through bins of tangled jeans and frayed jackets. The benefits from the Nearly New shop all donated to various charities.
Finding the perfect outfit can be a challenge, but the exact right cocktail dress (red and sparkly, perhaps with black stacked heels) or the most amazing suit you've ever owned (cut expensively, with discreet touches like cuff links) or the studded pair of disco pants (that cup your derriere to perfection); these things can change your life. Why waste your time trying to park at the mall, wade through the hordes of middle school girls giggling and blocking your path, and overpay for a overdone outfit? Visit some of Louisville's amazing local shops for vintage, pre-owned, consignment, or simply marvelous choices. You will not be disappointed.
Photos by Max Sharp