How do our city’s vintage and second-hand stores stack up, from a plus-size perspective? Nancy Upton reveals the good, the bad, and the frumpy, after the jump.
Vintage shopping is a true love of mine. I can spend hours searching through rack after rack of forgotten treasures, spotting wearable pieces of fashion history along the way. I get the same thrill visiting a thrift or consignment store, where finding that perfectly worn tee or pair of designer jeans (at a deep discount) is a tempting possibility.
But there’s always one problem I encounter when shopping in this sector of the retail world: my bust.
Not that I would personally label my bust a “problem” – I happen to like it just fine. Some eras in fashion’s past, however, were not so keen on a curvaceous shape. Many plus-sized women share this frustration, and I’ll often hear, “I really love that store, but I can never find anything there that fits me!”
Thus, today’s column was born. Read on for my survey of some of Dallas’ best vintage, thrift, and consignment stores from a plus-sized perspective.
5400 East Mockingbird Lane, #113
The first spot I visited on my tour was Reventé, an immediate let-down. The store only offers up to a size 12/14, and most pieces in that range are of a mature, professional style. Think Ann Taylor Loft, and lots of it. This store might be useful for finding a blazer, but aside from workplace staples, it left a lot to be desired.
Beyond some deals on designer accessories, I’d just skip Reventé if you’re above a size 14, or searching for retro finds.
2. Dolly Python
1916 North Haskell Avenue
East Dallas’ Dolly Python combines my love of vintage shopping with another of my fixations – really, really weird stuff. I recently bought a shirt at Dolly printed with the word Stupid and a watercolor of a skeleton holding an English pea. That pretty much says it all.
For the purposes of this project, I found the size selection here to be deceptive, but ultimately serviceable. Dolly Python has very little size organization, and a “large” can mean anything from a size 10 to a size 18, depending on the item’s era. However, many finds can be altered to your shape.
Budget at least an hour to push through overstocked racks, and your patience may very well be rewarded. The jacket section, especially, contains a wide range of sizes, and if you’re a tee shirt person, you’ll be in heaven.
3. Buffalo Exchange
3424 Greenville Avenue
I often step into Buffalo Exchange assuming that everything will lean too “hipster” or too “high school” for my taste. Then, without fail, I find several things I can’t live without.
Size-wise, 16 is the cap at this resale shop, but there’s a good range in each section of the store. It is easy on the wallet, as well, and thus a great choice for everyday items that won’t break the budget.
Keep in mind that the clothes do often reflect a younger, trendy vibe, but Buffalo Exchange’s strict buying rules mean items are of good quality. Also, the shoe selection is amazing.
3613 Fairmount Street
Of all the stores I visited for this project, I wish Gratitude was my closet. This hidden gem of a store is like a museum of fashion, with an immense collection of clothing, accessories, shoes, and jewelry dating from the 1920’s to the present day.
Be warned that there is no sizing or era classification at this store, nor much of any organization at all. That said, if you do have a particular garment in mind when you visit Gratitude, you’ll most likely find it after a little poking around.
A peek inside Gratitude
Also, the proprietors are two of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, so I encourage you to ask for guidance in locating plus-sized pieces. In fact, they helped me find a vintage tuxedo for an event earlier this year.
12835 Preston Road, #411
Finally, though each of my previous stops had its own unique fashion personality, ReThreads is by far the winner for versatility and size availability. Currently stocking up to a size 24 in everything from jeans and suits to designer evening gowns, ReThreads is impeccably organized and its sales staff knows their inventory backwards and forwards.
A peek inside ReThreads
Prices are affordable here, as well, and it’s one of the only stores on this list that can offer you a quick, targeted shopping trip or a slow, leisurely afternoon of hunting. And hey, it’s right across from a Chili’s, so you can make an afternoon of it.
Just kidding – don’t actually go to Chili’s. Go to ReThreads, and you’ll thank me later.
(All photos, credit DFW Style Daily)