- This is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of all second-hand stores in Victoria - just the ones I shop at regularly.
- All links are 'cause I love - I get nothing but a friendly "hello" when I shop at these stores. There's this thing called "Google" if you want more information.
- My opinions are purely mine, and you may disagree. Shop at your own risk!
In a hurry? Go to Flavour Upstairs, WIN Pandora, My Sister's Closet and the Patch.
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Consignment - The seller gets a small percentage of the cost of the item after it sells. Selection tends to be curated based on clientele.
My Sister's Closet (FB link) - Fairfield Plaza, Fairfield Rd across from Ross Bay Cemetary (1/2 hour walk from downtown)
Best prices in town for consignment. A big bright store with lots of natural light, four big fitting rooms with mirrors. Great sale rack, and they regularly have specials. Clothing is grouped by type (i.e. skirts) and sorted by size and colour for easy shopping. Good for shoes/boots. Very few accessories. Sizes range from XS-XL. I shop here about 3 times a year, spending around $200 each time for a bag of stuff.
The Velvet Crease (link) - 1035 Fort St (10 minute walk from town)
A little on the pricey side (due to the location), and tends to skew towards the older lady. Some higher-end designers. I find the store a bit dark, and their high racks are hard to look through. Items are grouped by type and colour, and have size indicators on the hangers. Sizes range from XS-XXL. I shop here maybe once a year, buying a couple of nice things. Not open on Sundays.
Rich Rags (FB link) - Harris Green Plaza, Yates at Quadra (near London Drugs)
Cheap consignment; they have an ongoing 50% off promotion and pretty quick turnover. Not a ton of great quality stuff, but sometimes I find a few gems. The music is terrible, always, but the Russian lady who owns it is really nice (although a pushy salesperson). Stock is sorted by type and size, and they have a good plus-size section (I've found things here for my mom). Lots of purses. A small selection of menswear (I have bought L stuff here). I pop in here about once a month, and usually don't buy anything.
Verve (link) - Government Street (20 minute walk from downtown)
A high-end consignment store with corresponding prices (nothing under $30), but a good half-price rack at the back. All ladies' wear, with a small selection of menswear. Items are sorted by type and size. A good selection of shoes and designer pieces. Two big curtained fitting rooms at the back. Friendly staff is happy to help you. I only go here for L's birthday (in June) and in December (shopping for L), because I always find something for myself - can't afford to shop here more frequently, and it's a bit out of the downtown core. Not open on Sundays.
House of Savoy (link) - Oak Bay Avenue, near the White Heather Tea Room
A cozy, high-end consignment store packed with goodies dropped off by rich Oak Bay dowagers (and their husbands - they have a small menswear section). You could find a Dior fur coat here, a wedding dress or a pair of leather pants. A good jewelry case, and a large shoe selection. They have a half price rack (where I usually shop). I only visit here once or twice a year.
Resale - The seller gets cash immediately (less) or a store credit (more) for the things the store wants. I usually call this thrift when I shop because the prices are pretty close to thrift store or cheaper.
Flavour Upstairs (FB link) - Johnson Street below Government
One of my top stores, period. Head up the rickety wooden 100+-year-old staircase beside Flavour on trendy lower Johnson Street ("Low Jo"). It specializes in trendy, modern stuff mixed with well-curated vintage. They have a $5.00 rack near the window, and a really eclectic selection. I always check their (excellent) displays for hidden treasures, and I've found some good pieces in their small jewelry section. Stuff is sorted by type (eg. Hawaiian shirts) but not by size (only with jeans). They also do menswear (with a sale rack), and I often find things for L. Fitting rooms are small individual rooms with a mirror. They turn their stock over fast and mark it down to move quickly, which I like. I frequently buy things here, visiting about every 3 weeks, and take people here shopping.
Thrift - Stock is received by donation. Thrift stores are run and staffed by volunteers and proceeds go to registered charities. Totally not curated, although most of them have a "boutique" section for designer brands. Also known as "op-shops" and "charity shops"in other countries.
WIN (Women in Need) - multiple locations, but I shop at only two of them
WIN Resale Store aka "WIN Pandora" - Pandora Ave, between Blanchard and Douglas
Located in a giant former warehouse, this is not just a clothing store; it also carries books, housewares and furniture and toys (and kids' clothes). They have a good size men's section (I often find stuff for L), but at least half the store is women's clothing. Good jewelry cases in the front, shoes are sorted by size, lots of scarves and bags. Clothing is categorized by type (eg. coats) and then sorted as Vintage (anything from the 90s earlier), Thrift (not a fancy brand) and Boutique (higher-end brands, and some designer). The racks are easy to look at and browse through, and there are 4 fitting rooms (solid walls, mirror). I score a lot of things in the thrift, but I can spend 2 hours going through every single item. I buy here a lot - they have a points system (1 per $1 spent) that you can redeem for money off your purchases. Frequent markdowns, and high stock turnover means I visit this store every 2-3 weeks. It's where I take people who need new clothes!
WIN Boutique aka "WIN Cook" - Cook Street, near Royal Athletic Park
Same as the other WIN stores, but this one is a smaller selection and square footage. A small rack of menswear, some children's wear and toys, a few books and housewares. I go here about once every 6 weeks, just because the prices tend to be slightly higher. Two small fitting rooms with mirror.
St. Vincent de Paul (store locations) - Yates St between Quadra and Blanshard
This is a classic thrift store - I wouldn't recommend it unless you're an experienced thrifter. They carry jewelry, a small selection of accessories (scarves/bags), and a small amount of menswear and kids' clothes in the front of the store, and a large selection of books, housewares and furniture in the back. Clothing is grouped by type, with about half of the front of the store being women's wear. There's a dollar rack, but I never find anything good on it; their tags are colour coded (eg. green, pink, orange) and rotate as 50% off to turn over stock pretty quickly. One dressing room with a curtain for a door (eek). It's hit and miss, but the hits (I've found Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, and Armani, to name a few) are worth it, and the prices are low (although some "names" get artificially marked up higher than they should be). I drop by here every 2 weeks or so. Not open on Sundays.
Vintage/Resale - Stock is sourced by buyers for resale, focusing on trends, deadstock, modern pieces and vintage.
The Patch (website) - 700-block of Yates St, near Douglas
The Patch carries trendy items (right now, plaids, low-rise and distressed jeans, lumberjack shirts reminiscent of the 90s grunge era) and vintage aimed at a younger crowd. The front of the store is "the" trend, and they often have "buy 1, get 1", 'buy 2, get 1" specials and other deals ($5.00 and $10.00 racks) throughout the year - despite these sales, the stock turns over fairly slowly. They carry new jewelry and body jewelry, funky sunglasses (new) and a selection of new hats. A large menswear section is mostly focused on vintage wear. The women's section varies according to what trend they are promoting. Downstairs (go all the way to the back, then down the stairs) is all vintage, including a massive selection of dresses. You want an 80s prom dress? They have over 100! Quality is mixed, with some fast fashion and mall brands mingled with slightly vintage (early 00s) designer wear. The condition of their vintage is often iffy - inspect things carefully before buying. They have a minuscule collection of gross hard vintage shoes that you should skip; their belts, scarves and purses are usually skipable too. Change rooms are always locked with strict minimums (I suspect they get a lot of shoplifters), but they have lots of young, funky staff. The music is always loud (sometimes off-putting). I have found some great treasures here: Versace, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana and US and Canadian-made designers. Prices are in the consignment range. I browse in here every couple of weeks. Open evenings.