It’s no secret that I love secondhand shopping in all its forms, but I love secondhand shopping even more when i’m in another country. Whether it’s thrift shopping, consignment shopping or vintage shopping, I love to do secondhand shopping as a local resident of Canada and as a global traveler. I believe secondhand clothes – every item has a story, the quality of older clothing is often higher, and the price of secondhand clothes is always a fraction of retail cost. And as you know, keeping clothes in circulation rather than sending them to landfill is so much better for the environment. If shopping secondhand isn’t your thing, shopping local is a fantastic way to pay homage and appreciate the culture of the country you’re visiting. While all local shops don’t source from designers, I’ve included a few who offer some fantastic locally made Portuguese designs.
Spending a few months in the Algarve in Portugal gave me an opportunity to scope out how to do secondhand shopping as a local in Lisbon, and I was so pleased to find that the clothing resale market in Portugal was alive and well! I had to search beyond my small village of Quarteira – there are more charity shops in larger towns – including secondhand designer boutiques in Lisbon – but here are my tips for secondhand shopping in the Algarve, Portugal, along with some of the spots I visited and what I thought.
SECONDHAND SHOPPING AS A LOCAL RESIDENT IN PORTUGAL (SHOPS)
There is a large British expat community in Portugal and the British are big on charity shops. When searching in the Algarve, rather than searching for “secondhand shops” on google, I searched “charity shops” and came up with a lot more options. All of the charity shops were by donation, most were for the welfare of animals in the Algarve, and they had a VERY wide range of curation. I don’t discriminate when shopping secondhand, as you can find gems in the most dis-organized and crammed stores – you just need patience and time.
SECONDHAND CLOTHING CHARITY SHOPS IN THE ALGARVE (which I went to)
1. WOOFF – Worn Only Once Fashion and Furniture – Almancil and Loule
This is a very curated charity shop with 100% of the proceeds going to Animal Welfare Algarve. Both locations are merchandised like boutiques, have a great men’s selection as well, and offer a range of brands from high street to contemporary designer.
2. NANDI – Lagos
I also went to Nandi in Lagos, which offered a mix of high street brands and some solid vintage suiting and footwear. They have regular sales where everything is EUR 1 to clear stock.
3. CADELA CARLOTA – Lagos
I visited this store and it is an OG thrift store which is becoming more rare in North America. It is a jumble of donations but the selection of vintage coats made of cashmere and pure wool was awesome. I would have made some purchases if we weren’t heading into the warmer season. The prices were amazing, but there was no curation – it was the kind of place where you had to dig, but it was worth it!
There are plenty of other charity shops in the algarve, but I didn’t get a chance to visit them all. For all the secondhand shopping as a local resident of Lisbon, go in with an open-mind, a list, and a lot of patience.
VINTAGE SHOPS IN THE ALGARVE, PORTUGAL
There are, of course, many vintage shops in the Algarve and Portugal but I made it to the following ones:
4. THE URBAN JUNGLE – Lagos (The most recommended place for doing secondhand shopping as a local resident of Lisbon)
This was by far my favourite vintage shopping experience in Portugal. The owner, Renato, does a great job creating a cohesive and colourful collection of incredible vintage pieces. The 70s, 80s and 90s were the most prevalent and the quality was great. I found several great items here – including my brown handbag, which I had been looking for and was so happy to find. The prices were in line with curated vintage – I fully believe in paying a premium for items that were hand-picked by someone with a strong vision and an eye for cool clothing. For those of you yet to do secondhand shopping as a local resident of Lisbon, this place is a hidden gem!
5. A LOJA DA SARA – Lagos
I would call this store a hybrid between curated vintage and donated thrift items at thrift prices – so it’s an ideal secondhand store to find some gems. There is a great selection of footwear, some really cool authentic vintage clothing that is high quality, mixed in with some high street and fast fashion items. It is organized but still requires some digging, and is great fun. I am confident anyone could find something they like here.
6. POP CLOSET – LISBON
This store had highly curated vintage and contemporary secondhand clothing with brand names and designers. The price was reflective of the curation, and there were some good pieces in there – I preferred the men’s section – however the service was less than friendly.
7. AS DE ESPADAS VINTAGE STORE
This was another well curated vintage store, the prices were reasonable, and there was a solid retro vibe. There were great bags, really cool sunnies, and an awesome selection of vintage levis – shorts and full length jeans.
LOCAL PORTUGUESE DESIGNERS
8. FASHION CLINIC
This is a highly curated store with different sections for different Portuguese brands and designers. I loved it, as it gave an amazing flavour of Portuguese design and style. Prices were reflective of the designer quality and cachet, and would make a great Portuguese souvenir. This is a good one if you don’t have time to pop into every local boutique you see, which is likely the case for most of us! A one-stop solution is always a great news for those of you doing secondhand shopping as a local resident and as a global traveler like me in Lisbon.
This was hands down one of my favourite overall shopping experiences, as the venue for this marketplace of local designers and craftspeople was absolutely stunning. Moorish in design, the entire marketplace is centered around a beautiful atrium where patrons can have a chat or coffee. There are also events in the evening, like Fado music. ANYWAY – the designers featured here were incredibly unique and several of them were sustainability focused (although anything small and locally produced is inherently sustainable).
I ended up buying a cotton knit sweater at Isto, for example, which I am enjoying! This is another great way to get a flavour for Portuguese local design and architecture if you don’t have the time to go into every local boutique. If you have only a small amount of time, I would make Embaixada your first stopping shop in Lisbon.
There are SO MANY vintage and local stores in Lisbon which I didn’t visit and of course the rest of the country north of Lisbon which I didn’t experience, but it is safe to say that beautifully made items – secondhand and local – can be found in Portugal. I hope this helps you discover some life-long closet gems with secondhand shopping as a local resident of Lisbon.