The Best Vintage Shops in Austin
These (gently used) boots are made for walkin'.
It was no less than Texas native sons, ZZ Top, who wrote a song about the importance of being “sharp dressed”—so, when you roll up for a night on the town in the Live Music Capital of the World, you best believe folks be glancing at whatever duds you rocking. Unlike many major cities; however, the best fits to be found in the city of Austin do not lie in high-end boutiques or shopping centers. Instead, they come gently-used, and guaranteed to impress, from the many stellar vintage shops that dot the area. And it’s not only earth-friendly garments to be found at many of these places—there are also sustainable and unique home goods and knick knacks that will give your small apartment an extra touch of pizzaz. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite vintage stores in Bat City for your shopping pleasure. From cowboy boots to evening dresses, these places have all the old pieces that will make your wardrobe feel new again.
Part of the endorphin high of vintage shopping is the thrill of the hunt—that walking-on-cloud feeling you get when you score that perfectly worn flannel for less than the price of your daily morning cold brew. Those who love the adventure of thrifting as much as they do the well-dressed destination should head to either one of Pavement’s two locations for racks on racks of great stuff. Whether you hit the one on South Lamar, or the one near the UT campus, prepare to spend some time sifting between the seemingly endless plethora of women’s clothing, men’s clothing, and accessories. From 90s-era sports team windbreakers to Levis overalls, everything is reasonably priced. So, if you're willing to put in the man hours sorting through hangers, you're almost guaranteed to find an affordable, holy grail piece that will be a closet mainstay for years to come.
Room Service Vintage
A mainstay of the North Loop strip, Room Service Vintage is so versatile in their retro offerings that it is possibly the only place in Texas where you can buy a dresser, a cardigan, and a 70s-era Playboy all in the same location. However, just because they may be excessive in terms of their item offerings, does not mean everything they sell does not stand up to the aesthetic standards of even the most discriminating eye. Need proof? Follow their popular Instagram, where postings of available purchases, from delicately-arched rattan bookshelves to gorgeous wooden bar carts seemingly rolled out of your dreams, are snapped up quicker than you can comment “buy.” But, despite this convenient shopping method, you should be sure to visit the actual, physical Room Service storefront. Every corner of the magical space is filled with the sort of chochkes that will anoint any space with whimsy.
Bloomers and Frocks
Avoid the issue of being the fifth girl to show up in a Reformation dress at your friend’s wedding by heading to South Austin gem, Bloomers and Frocks, for a dress that is both unique and environmentally friendly. Stock full of the dream garments of girls of every era, this boutique carries a variety of accessories, jewelry, blazers, sweaters, shirts, and swimsuits from the 1910s through the 1980s. But let’s talk about the big attraction here, which would have to be their entirely enviable collection of dresses, most of them from the 1960s or earlier—like 1950s-cupcake style visions that Barbie would probably wear to prom, and little psychedelic-patterned numbers that have remained fashionable since the Age of Aquarius. No need to just take our word for it either. The place won the stamp of approval from no less than Queer Eye resident fashion expert, Tan France, who dressed one of their Austin season makeovers in pieces from the shop.
Full Circle Vintage
The offerings at Full Circle consist mostly the key wardrobe items appropriate for any Texan—vintage t-shirts, perfectly broken-in Levis, and, of course, cowboy boots. And, when you have the kind of stellar selection of all three that Full Circle does, there’s nothing else that any vintage connoisseur could possibly want. We would not be surprised if you walked into this spot, and walked out in a whole different outfit—one guaranteed to elicit compliments from even the jaded Gen Z students wandering the nearby UT campus. Their color-coordinated racks of soft, distressed graphic t-shirts cover the popular gamut, from Harley Davidson, to bands, to kitschy souvenir-themed selection. And their huge section of jeans and cutoffs is perfectly complemented by the equally gratuitous amounts of cowboy boots that literally line the walls of this spot.
Charm School Vintage
Browsing the racks at East Austin shop, Charm School Vintage, will make you feel as though your coolest friend has given you carte blanche to raid her closet. In fact, the peaceful, intimate space itself only furthers that particular impression—the soothing pastels that color the walls, and the variety of plants that peek out of every corner, gives off the cozy, familiar vibes of your BFF’s flawlessly-decorated apartment. However, unless your homegirl styles a Hadid sister, we doubt she has the same drool-worthy pieces found at Charm School, which include epic kimonos, badass jumpsuits, and the kind of ‘70s-era prairie-dresses that will have you twirling in the dressing room. If that wasn't enough, they also carry a selection of tarot cards, crystals, and beauty products. So, you can refresh your chakras, as well as your wardrobe.
It wouldn’t do justice to describe going to Uncommon Objects as anything other than an experience. It is a true wonderland of kitsch—a self-described, “one-of-a-kind emporium of transcendent junk.” The vintage trinkets and home-goods that engulf every crevice of this South Austin shop are meticulously sourced by a collective of twenty-four expert antique sellers. And, with everything from buttons to hand-painted landscapes to taxidermy up for grabs, you won’t help but wonder where in the world they possibly dig this stuff up. This beloved Austin staple, which has been open over thirty years, even hosts their own pop-up market on the last Sunday of every month. Better known as the Uncommon Flea, it’s a certified bargain-driven bonanza of bizarre finds.
Austin’s ever-popular East Sixth Street already carries a sizable reputation as an enclave of all that is hip—a title only further confirmed by the amount of man buns and stick-and-poke tattoos spotted there nightly. It follows then, that this area would boast a solid mecca for thrifty, vintage garb. The center is, undoubtedly, Prisma. Every individual who walks through the shop’s doors can revel in the promise of a dope discovery. The already wide selection of items, which includes a sizable men’s section, is replenished with new stock on a weekly basis. And, unlike the price of the neighborhood’s cocktails, the offerings at Prisma continue to be affordable. Those willing to browse though the hangers can score some serious bang for their buck.
The truly stylish know that the best shopping on South Congress is not found within the commercial confines of Music Lane. It instead rests in a pink-colored building that hugs the side of West Milton Street, long-standing curated vintage mainstay Feathers—a place with such a high-quality of fashionable selections that it has probably originated every outfit you've ever lusted over at ACL. Beyond the bohemian-inspired dresses and skirts ideal for music festivals, you can also happen upon blanket-soft graphic tees, pattern-forward power pieces, and buttery, butt-flattering denim. The price point here might be slightly higher than your typical thrifting spot, but the detailed effort that goes into uncovering the items showcased there makes whatever you find worth the coin.