Historical Finds in Historical Providence

April 3, 2018
Caitlin Cleary

We have all heard of Savers and Goodwill, but few of us are familiar with one of Providence’s best-kept secrets: her thrift stores. Consider this your official guide to unearthing gems in your own backyard. 


Recently, some of the latest fashion trends to resurface are looks from the 80s -- a testament to shoulder pads and candy-colored prints. This trend is popping up everywhere from runways to college campuses. But thrifting is about more than just repurposing vintage finds; it is also about creating a new look all its own. Many of the stores in Providence have collections spanning from several decades— so you’ll never know what surprises you might find.


Big Top Flea Market: Located at 120 Manton Avenue, this weekend-only market is the largest second-hand store in Providence. Big Top boasts an exhilarating circus-like atmosphere, with the variety and vastness of a shopping mall. You are likely to find a knockoff silk Burberry scarf next to a box of plastic neon hair clips.


Open Closet: Open Closet is located at 1520 Broad Street. This store is not only packed with unique items, but also supports Project Outreach Rhode Island, a food pantry. One of the best finds in this store is its fully stocked sewing supplies section.


Togs on Brook: This quaint store is just off Wickenden Street, and has some incredible statement pieces. The store is described by an employee as having a laid-back “coffee-shop vibe.” It is best known for its reliable collection of “funky sweaters,” and “crazy-discounted designer stuff.” One of its most enticing features is the floor-to-ceiling shelves of shoes and bags. Vintage accessories range from Louis Vuitton prints, to eclectic and heavily beaded statement handbags.


The Thrifty Goose: The Thrifty Goose provides yet another reason to wander into Wayland Square. Located at 50 Orchard Ave, this store is underneath St. Martin’s Church. It offers a range of clothing and other goods, from the affordable to the high-end.


Not only is thrifting a budget-friendly alternative to name-brand shopping, it is also a great way to refresh your closet with trendy garments that stand the test of time. What better way to beat the New England cold this winter than to wrap up in a vintage jacket twice your age? It is true what they say: everything old is new again.