May 22, 2024

Shopping in New Orleans: Previously Owned Apparel

Living a more sustainable lifestyle appeals to me, and the older I get, the more important it is. Sure, we can have anything at our fingertips brand new these days, but do we really need it all? The answer, I have found, is no. I did a self-experiment by going on a buying freeze. Over the years, I’ve used buying things as my self-soothing for areas of my life that I was not happy. During this buying freeze, it freed me up to dig deep and think about the stuff around me. Did I even like it? Why did I think I wanted that shirt? How do I still have nothing to wear after thousands of dollars over the years of purchasing clothing. Since this buying freeze, I’ve become acutely aware of of my shopping habits. Now, shopping in New Orleans has become a deliberate act, particularly because I’ve focused on buying previously owned apparel as much as possible. Yes, it’s a crapshoot, and you can’t wait until you absolutely need a particular item, but the utter joy of finding something that you can repurpose is like no other. Here, I’ll share some really cool second hand (or maybe tenth hand) stores with you. You’re going to love them.

Hot Red Pants from Swap - in My Length!

Swap Boutique

I’ve shopped at Swap for longer than I can remember. I can’t even remember how I discovered it, but it’s been years and years. The inventory and locations have changed throughout its existence. They are not afraid to move or to shift their focus on what items to carry and sell. I’ve bought anything from shoes to belts to dresses to scarves and more there. Many of my outfits contain something that I acquired from Swap. Shopping in New Orleans is a treat when you know you’re going into a really amazing store space. The other thing I enjoy is that I can bring them my own clothes to consign, and when I get those credits, I can shop “for free” with them or take a check. To no surprise, I take the store credit. There is always something I can find at Swap, even if it takes a few visits.

Magpie on Magazine Street


Stumbling upon Magpie while leisurely shopping in New Orleans was an absolute treat. The owner’s curation of vintage and more contemporary brands really excited me. Magpie’s overall vibe is uncluttered, attractive, and bright. I found the most amazing vintage skirt from the 1950s that I’m sure I’ll be wearing on repeat this summer, especially since midi skirts are in style. Truly, though, when are they not? I also found another skirt style that I’ve debated on buying for months. The price couldn’t have been better, and I snagged it up. I even brought in several pieces of my own clothes for her to consign, and I can’t wait to see if they sell. Her jewelry selection is stunning, and people even go there to purchase vintage engagement style rings. Overall the prices are extremely reasonable. You can come away feeling good about all your purchases. The clothing is already here, already made, and you’re helping circulate local funds.

Lady Kay Vintage

Lady Kay

Directly across from Magpie is Lady Kay Vintage. Kim’s store is completely vintage, and she is an absolute connoisseur of it all. So many different decades of clothing there in the most impeccable shape. I’m also a fan of her prices, as you cannot find this stuff new for better. It’s also one-of-a-kind at this point. The likelihood of seeing someone in a 1970s shirt in mint condition is slim to none, and I love standing out in my fashion choices. In a good and classy way, that is. When you walk into this shop, it’s a complete experience. The tags label the clothing with which decade it’s from, which is really cool if you’re into that kind of thing. I happen to be, so I soaked it all up. If you’re shopping in New Orleans for vintage clothing, this is a must-see. Supporting local and buying sustainably are two good ideas.

The Encore Shop

The Encore Shop

I’ve consigned and shopped at the Encore Shop on and off for years, and I like it because it supports the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. I’d say the options are all over the place, from high end to regular end, but you can definitely find some good stuff to take home. Shopping in New Orleans along Maple Street is a delightful experience, and that is where the Encore Shop resides. Again, I would not recommend hitting this store if you’re in need for something particular, but you never know. Somehow they knew I needed a new white jean jacket and had one in my size, so it could work out! Your special thing could be there waiting for you, like mine was. The best thing to do is to buy because you love it, and the occasion will present itself. Picking up an item that is already here in this world is the best way to help eradicate the fast fashion mentality of clothing brands. Plus, you get to contribute to one of the best entertainment resources in our city: the orchestra!

Testing My "New" Outfit 

Lots to Love with Previously Loved

As you can see, I love shopping in New Orleans, particularly at previously owned apparel stores. All of these are on my regular circuit, so when I am in need of some retail therapy and don’t necessarily want to break the bank, they are my go-to spots. The more you go, the more you chat with the shop owners or clerks and it becomes a whole, lovely, authentic New Orleans experience. Whether you’re visiting or you live here, do yourself and our local shops a solid and hit these stores up. It’s a great way to elevate your wardrobe in sort of a treasure hunt fashion find. Go with an open mind and an open checkbook and you are sure to leave happy.

Some of the links may go to my affiliate account. If you purchase from one (at no charge to you), you're helping support me and my growing business!

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