Vintage and Thrift Shop

This is a very late post from my visit to Circa Vintage Ware last July 2013.


As a self-proclaimed thrifty person and a vintage-lover, it was a tremendous shock for me to finally found this hidden gem after three years living in New Bedford….! THREE YEARS and that store is just five minutes walk from my first apartment. New Bedford itself is a home of many vintage shops, I wouldn’t be surprise to find another one. But this one is different. Circa doesn’t need any big promotion in every newspaper in order to be known, with its hidden location inside the New England Demolition & Salvage Building (another great vintage store to visit when you are in New Bedford), it was named by GQ Magazine as one of ‘The 25 Best Vintage Stores in America’. My shock continues as I learned that Circa’s gems have been seen on Leonardo DiCaprio, Zooey Deschanel in New Girl, Rumer and Scout Willis (Bruce Willis’ daughters) are regulars, and Tom Ford’s director of design Peter Hawkins flew in for inspiration (source: here). The store is a one of the coolest vintage shop I’ve ever been (in fact that I rarely visited any vintage shop in here, hehe).

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When I entered Circa, I spent like ten minutes jaw-dropping and going around the store like a loon with the “ooohhs” and “aaahhs” when seeing thousands of pieces from several decades for sale; the store got everything from casual t-shirts, masquerade, 1920s -1940s suits and dresses. There are also racks of vintage prom and bridesmaids dresses, stacks of hat boxes which I luvre, rows of worn-in cowboy boots, cases of sparkly jewelry and one-of-a-kind outerwear. I noticed that the price is a bit out of my reach, the range is around $40 and up, at that time I couldn’t help but compare the price with Pasar Senen, Gedebage, and other thrift stores in the nearby area (“how expensive!”); later on I learn that it’s consider cheap for the pricing of that vintage items compare to other vintage shops in NY or Boston, let’s say.

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After asking for a permission to take some photographs, suddenly Chris Duval, the owner, asked me whether I was looking for something in particular. I told him: “Uhm, no, I just looking around. But this place is amazing…! I’m forever vintage lover, and I’ve been to Gifts to Give (a charity shop in the next building) and The Artificial Marketplace all the time but never knew that there’s a vintage shop in here” I said bluntly without realizing that I actually sounded like a dimwit. Chris was not clearly not agree with my statement “Err… yeah, but we are completely different from Gifts to Give”, he said with a little laugh but not trying to underestimate Gifts to Give he continued “I like Gifts to Give, but we’re different”. And at that point I just realized that I distort between a VINTAGE shop and a THRIFT shop – as well as a vintage items and second-hand items.


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Based on my finding trough here, here and here, there are three kind of shops that sell second-hand items which commonly found in US:

Vintage Shop is a privately owned store in which all of the items for sale were purchased by the store and are being resold at some sort of premium. The store can get their merchandise from any number of sources, but the most common source is a rag house through which they can purchase large bails of clothing. Other sources of stock include swap meets, vintage fairs, and individual hunting at estate sales or flea markets. Vintage clothing is a generic term for new or second hand garments originating from a previous era. Generally speaking, clothing which was produced before the 1920s is referred to as antique clothing and clothing from the 1920s to 20 years before the present day is considered vintage. Retro, short for retrospective, or “vintage style” usually refers to clothing that imitates the style of a previous era.


Thrift Store and charity stores sell used clothes that were donated by individuals. Depending on the individual store, profits from the sales that go directly to charity vary, but all sales contribute in some way monetarily to the charity who owns the thrift. It could be found in places like Salvation Army, Gifts to Give, Savers, GoodWill, and church thrift shop.

Consignment shops are places where individuals can sell their used clothing through a dealer. The shop, as the dealer, takes a percentage of the profit for each item sold. If items do not sell during the period they are on the sales floor, they are returned to you and you receive no compensation.

So now that we learn the difference between vintage and thrift items, maybe the term “Vintage GAP” or “Vintage H&M” would not be right, when you got the items from a thrift store, though it is possible to say something like “Vintage ZARA” considering the price or value or the year of production. We could always tell the vintage look from one to other items based on its brand and model though.

*Circa Vintage Wear 73 Cove St. New Bedford, MA, 02744-2535. (508) 997-9390


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