Throughout Bellingham’s downtown area, quirky shops are tucked away offering hidden treasures to lucky shoppers who stop by. These places are filled with inexpensive fashion finds from classic to bohemian, chic home décor, an abundance of shoes, jewelry pieces and everything in between.
On a chilly Saturday morning, coffee in hand, I begin a day of shopping by wandering through the local vintage and thrift shops in search of the perfect treasure troves. I start my day in the Historic Fairhaven District and discover a few fabulous stores.
I start my treasure hunting at Posh Upscale Retail which is a beautiful consignment boutique located inside McKenzie Alley. This shop is full of fashionable chic items and offers meticulously curated clothing and accessories for both men and women. Kimberley, the founder believes in a philosophy of giving everyone an elegant and stylish shopping experience.
Then it was on to Serendipity. This small consignment shop packs a real punch. They carry only women’s clothing, and I could tell when looking through the racks that they are very choosy about what items they accept. Many of them have name-brand labels. They also carry accessories like jewelry, shoes, purses, and scarves.
Next up was Southside Trends on Harris Street. It is a large building with high ceilings that began in 1989 as a Fountain Boutique. Today, it is a family-run business; Cathy and all three of her daughters have helped run the store throughout the years.
I was curious about the consignment rules and was told that they accept clothing in like-new condition. I believe half the fun of shopping in a consignment store is the challenge of finding something truly extraordinary.
After I wrapped up my shopping in Fairhaven, I venture over to the downtown area to see what kind of fashion treasures I could find, excited to explore the more remarkable places that have always caught my eye.
On State Street, is Buffalo Exchange, which is next door to Pel’meni, a local favorite that always has a pot of water boiling for their famous Russian dumplings. This hip thrift store buys, sells and trades trendy vintage and gently used clothing and accessories.
I’m welcomed by their glowing red sign and large windows displays of chic outfits. On the back wall to the right, I spot a pair of gently used hiking boots that look almost new. After trying them on I head to the cash register, happy with my find.
Across the street is Wise Buys Thrift Store which is filled with stylish clothes for men and women. I wander throughout the store, carefully looking at a few cool pieces that I know would look good hanging in my closet. Towards the back I find a beautiful black leather skirt that fits me perfectly. With 100% of the proceeds going to help end homelessness in Whatcom County it truly a “great Bargains for a great cause.”
A little further out from the downtown area, I discovered more shops that offered me more fabulous finds at incredible discounted prices.
I was told Pretty Penny Clothing, located on Elm Street, is a must see. While browsing their website I came across their moto of “There is Beauty in Simplicity.” And after clicking through various pictures that offered trendsetting finds for fabulous prices, I could see how shoppers find one of a kind items there. I scooped up a pair of Aviator sunglasses for a steal!
Then it was on to Labels, affectionately called Bellingham’s favorite women’s consignment store. They have two locations, one on James Street and the other on Northwest Ave. I chose the James Street location for my treasure hunt. Inside, I noticed a silver wall filled with stylish purses of every size and color. I wandered over to the high heels and began trying on a few pairs.
ReStyle is a remarkable place to find one-of-kind items. Walking through the large store, I discovered fun surprises on nearly every rack. It’s arranged like a boutique store, and they sell like-new men’s and women’s clothing, and distinctive home décor.
The Clothes Rack on Yew Street is another wonderful store that specializes in women’s casual, business, and evening wear. This quaint consignment store sells modern and vintage pre-owned clothing and accessories, with most of their items featuring popular name brands such as, Chico’s, Coach and Ann Taylor. After looking through several racks, I spot an amazing turquoise cotton jumpsuit that will be perfect for my trip to Hawaii this spring.
The good thing about living in Bellingham is that there are always new places to discover. I found myself hunting down more unique thrift and vintage stores as I rounded up my shopping day.
Treasured Memories is a vintage, antique home décor store packed with everything from old toys and antique jewelry to timeless heirlooms and pictures of classic 70’s TV stars.
Value Village on Bellis Fair Parkway is an enormous store that is filled with rows and rows of unrivaled deals on everything from family clothing to great finds for your home. This was the first thrift store that I learned about when I moved to Bellingham, and now three years later, I still love looking through their large selection of novels and offbeat items because I always come out with the most incredible finds.
If you’re new to Bellingham or have been here for many years, there is something for everyone to be found in the vintage and thrift stores that are located throughout our picturesque city.