Sometimes, I swear I can actually hear the siren sound of my closet calling out like a ghost in the night, “hang something new up in me, anything, please”. Don’t ever judge a person for having an intimate relationship with their closet.
After being locked down in Lisbon all this time, I know I am not the only one who has been rotating the same three pairs of tracksuit bottoms for months. It is depressing (and we have had enough to be depressed about this year). No prescription for Prozac will fix it either. However, with stores now opening, a few “new” items are just what the doctor ordered.
It doesn’t take a PhD to understand how thrifting around Lisbon provides an instant boost of dopamine to your brain… not to mention will fill the void in your manic-depressive closet. As for that buggering wallet situation, this is why we are sticking to thrift and vintage shops. Cheaper than seeing a shrink (again sorry mum), go to these vintage stores to purchase something for the person you love most… YOU.
Get ready to dig! With multiple locations all over Lisbon, Humana is probably one of the most well-known second-hand stores in Lisbon, offering up a plethora of designer threads (and plenty of non-designer but still on-trend for the season) on the super cheap. I’ve waited in queues that stretch for miles just to get into the store on “5-euro day”, walking out hours later with 10 “new” pieces of clothing at a grand total of (you guessed it!) 50 euros. Like any second-hand shop, it can be hit or miss (I found a Versace blazer one day and nothing but last year’s H&M leisurewear the next), but the selection of clothes for both men and women is always vast so as long you have the patience (I reiterate, get ready to dig), you are bound to find something. Start with the Intendente location, which is hands down the best one, boasting more square metres and larger stock. However, if you continue walking up Almirante Reis from this location, you’ll find two more Humana’s right down the road. I’d probably go on a Humana tour if I had a week free to shop every day.
Ás de Espadas
“It could be the attic of a stranger, a mutant space where formerly forgotten and forgotten garments, accessories, shoes, bags, jewelery, hats and many other discoveries are found and revived. Although embracing Vintage, there is no need to reencounter the euphoria of Rock through the most varied styles from Punk to Gothic, everything that strengthens your ideal, your concept, your dream,” the website boasts, sounding a bit cheesy, but nailing its own aesthetic perfectly.
This is one of three, spectacularly quirky second-hand shops all on one big hill (Calçada do Carmo) in Chiado, a stone’s throw from my own apartment, and thus extra dangerous for natural born spenders like myself. If you start from the top of the hill, you’ll see the massive Ás de Espadas (Ace of Spades) which is exclusively women’s clothes, then a bit down on your right, you will find the male selection (still Ás de Espadas). That’s two stores, one for the ladies and another for the gents. Now, these aren’t the uber-cheap thrift shops of your dreams like Humana, but the owners take time to find rare, quality goods. You can still pick up a one-of-a-kind floral dress or jeans in the 30-40 euros range. Along this same street, there is another store called Joker Vintage Store, this for you lovers of wildly printed Hawaiian button-downs, and other essentials of this nature.
Hop in your fashion DeLorean and check out Central Lisbon’s Retro City that will take you back in fashion time. If are looking for anything from faux fur coats, sequin tops, military boots, brightly-coloured print shirts, and anything leather, Retro City Lisboa is the place to go. Most of the goodies come from sometime between the 50’s to 90’s eras, featuring a wide variety of brands, styles, and essentially all things vintage. Copious retro pieces at great prices? Yes, please!
Lisbon’s sustainable fashion project is less clustered, more boutique, meaning you don’t have to dig quite as much as you do at other second-hand spots. This self-described space “dedicated to fashion enthusiasts and ethical consumers looking for relevant and original items” is all curated by a team of experts. You will find designer wares along with upcycled items and other rare finds that truly do make Pop Closet, well, pop. Bonus: you can also sell or trade your own special items here.
Open air markets Anjos 70
While Anjos 70 is always a great place to hang out, filled with shopping, cafés, many art-specific events, and other cultural activities of all sorts, you don’t want to miss the market pop-up on the first weekend of every month. To call this a market is in fact, a huge understatement. With over 100 stalls selling clothes, crafts, snacks, arts, catering to Lisbon’s huge hipster/alternative demographic, put the first weekend of any month in your iCal and go get rifling.
Something of an institution for open market pop-ups in Lisbon, this is another one for the hip set, which takes place on the second Sunday of every month, from 10h to 18h. With a hodgepodge of stalls, similar to those of Anjos 70 but with its own vibe, you will find all the artsy bits like crystals, cool pillows and throws, as well as vintage clothes. The prices are slightly higher here I find, just a hair, however if you’re a trendy expat, go check it out, at least for a mingle with the other cool kids.