Recent renovations on my little adobe have made me judicious about allowing things back into the house from the garage. And while I hate the thought of spring cleaning, once I start, the results are thrilling. Between the home re-arrangement and the seasonal sweep through the house, I suddenly have space to welcome something new into my life. USA Today Travel readers named Santa Fe #1 for shopping, and since my super-stylin’ Santa Fe neighbors have probably cleaned out their closets too, I’m ready to rock my favorite consignment shops on a hunt for first-rate treasures at second-hand prices.
Great Deals and No Doubling Down at Doubletake
Consider Doubletake’s size, and you’ll realize why it needs such a large, helpful staff. This enticing emporium has more than doubled (pun intended) in size since 1987, expanding beyond clothing into décor, collectibles, memorabilia, pawn jewelry, and antiques. Doubletake is also my best hope in the elusive quest for quality vintage clothing. Trolling the aisles of the two-story building takes time, especially when I am held captive by the biggest-ever collection of Bakelite jewelry!
Pricing throughout is fair, with everything well-curated for condition. Delicately used designer duds make a splash on opera opening night without breaking the bank. Western wear rates its own dedicated space, loaded with cowboy boots, Fiesta skirts, and cowboy shirts. Kids’ clothing offers enormous selection, and brand-new brand-name shoes are obviously recent-season items that didn’t sell retail.
Upstairs is a homey treasure trove, with colorful Fiesta dinnerware, antique furniture, and vintage linens by the score. There’s a designated art gallery, but with everything so beautifully displayed, the whole shebang is gallery-worthy! I always enjoy an hour or two here, saying good-bye to things that no longer fit my aesthetic and spending the proceeds to say hello to new adornments. Doing Doubletake is doubly fun!
Get Into a Groove with The Beat Goes On
Since we’re all Tuned Into Santa Fe, it’s no wonder that The Beat Goes On in the City Different. Right up the street from Doubletake, The Beat definitely deserves its billing as “Very Cool Consignment.” As you might imagine, Santa Feans are a diverse bunch with a wide range of stylish tastes, and The Beat gets the overflow when closets get too full. Nondescript building notwithstanding, this is a gotta-have-it collection of gently used deals.
There’s vintage here too, ethnic and designer styles, with shoes and boots and a medley of handbags and home goods. Prices are reasonable, and there’s always a sale rack to tempt. Don’t forget to look for lingerie, because soft silk robes may linger there. The excitement of consignment shopping lies in never knowing what you’ll find, and that’s what makes it an adventure. The selection at The Beat proves that principle beyond a doubt!
Boots Are Not Just for Cowboys
Trot a little further up Guadalupe Street past The Beat, pardner, and your feet will find a footwear fantasia at Kowboyz. Tucked back off the street, this is a local sweet spot for western wear, belts, buckles, shirts and hat, and – you guessed it - boots. A guy or gal (and kiddos too) need ‘em for boot-scootin’, and with over 5,000 new and vintage pairs, the only challenge is narrowing it down to a single choice. Not that I’ve done that – I’m currently holding at three pairs, but since they come in great condition at prices I can’t resist, why stop there?
There’s something about those just-the-right-height heels on a cowboy boot that makes a chiquita feel utterly chic in a completely different way than high heels. And don’t just wear them when you’re here to visit; wear them at home, be it North Dakota or North Carolina, and lead the way with our legendary Western style.
There’s Nothing Like a Flea Market for Finding Fanciful Treasures
Over the years, the Tesuque Flea Market up by the Santa Fe Opera has received justifiable accolades as a fun way to spend a morning. That’s great news for me, because it means less of a crowd to beat me out for bargains at the Santa Fe Flea Market! When warm weather returns, this collection of curios and curiosities moves back to its summer home at the old Downs of Santa Fe, but until then, a Saturday or Sunday browse-a-thon is on my weekend agenda.
Spread throughout El Museo Cultural (home to many offbeat Santa Fe events), across the railroad tracks from the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, the Flea is a bazaar of the bizarre for those who like a good bargaining session as part of the mix. Old books and pottery, household “junque,” hand-made jewelry - it’s an eclectic mix of the rare and the ridiculously inexpensive. With 100-plus vendors anxious to go home with cash rather than their stash of collectibles, it’s impossible to leave without a smokin’ deal. And remember, you won’t see that one special thing twice, so just say “yes” to your flea market fantasies.
Revisiting the Past and Bringing It Home from Recollections
After I’ve satisfied the yen for vintage finery and folderol, I make a beeline for Recollections to see what surprises await. You can’t miss the dark-red building in the Baca Street District of Railyard, and I never miss the chance to stop, because I know I’ll come home with something fresh and unexpected. The southern end of the Railyard is an up-and-coming area, and Recollections has anchored it from the beginning. The vintage iron furniture I scored suits my patio to perfection, at a cost much less than new.
Over the holidays, a gaggle of glass photo plates made for unusual and inexpensive gifts, and the antique spotlight I yearn for is tempting me — resistance may be futile! The light-up lucky horseshoe sign must be from a casino; since New Mexico has plenty of gaming palaces, it will go quickly. This is a great spot for whiling away a lazy afternoon surrounded by a serious selection of Americana and Western arcana.
Make the Case for Consignment Shopping in Santa Fe
Out with the old, in with the “new” old! I think I’ve made a good case, don’t you? If you take time to wander off the Plaza over to the Guadalupe District and the Railyard, you’ll find bountiful bargains buried in the bins or hanging on the racks. Travel + Leisure named Santa Fe as the best for one-of-a-kind shopping, and that includes unique independent boutiques of the second-hand variety. A now-you-see-‘em, now-you-don’t shopping adventure, this one is definitively City Different!