Fresno, California – the great hub of the central valley, in my opinion! I’ve lived south and north and I have come to really appreciate my roots and where I grew up. I now reside here with my boyfriend after being gone 4 years after high school, and let me tell you, it is easy to stay chic here as long as you “make the rounds” as I like to say. A round up of my favorite and essential local shops….
(All Photos by Kara Lee Photography *)
This wonderfully amazing vintage store came out of nowhere sometime when I was in high school. It is located in downtown (which isn’t anything like a San Francisco downtown) and it’s kind of on the corner in an area where there’s not much else! It is basically a huge warehouse with the most amazing vintage you can find in Fresno. From furniture and home decor, to amazing amazing vintage hats, to fur coats and records and track jackets and velour, oh my! This place has a large volume of 1970s era vintage, but it is not limited to the 70s by any means. It is hard to describe this place without ever having been there – it’s kind of one of those “you have to be there to see it” – it speaks for itself! Yes, you still have to dig through things but trust me, I’ve developed quite a collection from this thrift/vintage store and I swear every time I wear a blouse or hat or anything from there, someone always asks if it’s so and so designer or “where did you get that amazing top?” and I’m always so secretly happy because it was only 5, 8 or 10 or 15 dollars! That’s another thing, when you come across vintage stores, usually their pricing makes you cringe on a really great find. Yoshi? Nope! I mean, they know when something is in great quality and should be marked up to about $30 for a really great jacket or dress or something, but I’ve never felt I was overpaying for something whatsoever. The people that work there are so friendly, too! My boyfriend and I have become friends with them all because we visit so often and they’re very conducive to the Fresno music and arts community – always willing to help spread the word on a local music show or art exhibit. Their vintage furniture (chairs, lamps!) their vintage travel bags (see photo!) hat collection, tie collection (my boyfriend has found vintage Oscar De La Renta ties here!), men’s vintage sweaters and jackets, and women’s blouses and dresses are definitely the high points. They have a lot of great vintage shoes but a lot of them are always usually much smaller sizes than what I wear. And of course, the charm and quirkiness of the place really top it off. And lastly, you have to go on a Friday because they have “Haiku Friday” – if you write a haiku you can get your polaroid/picture taken alongside your haiku and it goes on a bulletin board in the front and you get a discount on your purchase! So fun.
(See examples of items from Yoshi here: top , hat , jacket , bag )
This is a newer and smaller vintage boutique in Fresno, that’s kind of hidden and like yoshi, has furniture and other vintage besides just clothing and accessories. It’s so pristine and wonderful in there and you actually feel like you’ve stepped into the past except for one desk with a computer on it that they play music out of. It’s very well organized and beautiful – but they know what is worth more and worth less! For the most part though, their prices are reasonable. They also have a great collection of mens vintage – boots, TIES (amazing) and hats. Ladies, there are many different styles and generations of dresses – pristine 50s, 60s, and 70s gems. They have beautiful vintage sun umbrellas and regular umbrellas too that I’d love to splurge on next season. I really admire their vintage purse collection, too! So many wonderful embroidered hand bags and/or unique clutches. I say you could walk out with about 3 or 4 really great pieces for less than $100. And they have 10% off the whole store quite often! I forgot to mention, like yoshi now!, they are only open Thurs-Sat so you have to plan it right! I really hope they survive because they have a wonderful and unique collection of vintage and I’d hate to see them go out of business. I only have a few items from there since they’re newer and haven’t been around as long as I’ve started shopping vintage in Fresno. But they are easily one of my newest and most favorite boutiques in Fresno!
I haven’t shopped here as much as I used to in high school – in general, I haven’t been shopping as much as I used to because well, I’m an “adult” and me and my boyfriend have rent and bills and such to pay, you know! I do show my face here ever so often and I always find something fabulous when I do. It was my “hidden gem” in high school because it was on the other side of town from where I lived (now it’s practically right down the street!) and I always found some great unique vintage pieces! Retro Rag is a mixture of old and new – they sell vintage clothing, accessories, shoes for men and women but also have a collection of paul frank pieces and some cheap but cute and fun purses/clutches, jewelry and sunglass collection! I enjoy the mix of old and new because the vibe still screams “vintage” and after all, that is my favorite! As you may now know about me, I love vintage scarves to wear around my neck in a bow. This place has a whole BIN of them. Every time I am there I wade through it and always find something new and wonderful. I have a couple of “new” clutches from there that my boyfriend bought me and they were so reasonable and not poorly made, either. Durable! My favorite would have to be their dress collection – they have oodles from all different eras and again, their prices are fairly reasonable. Yes, some dresses are over $20 or $30 but that isn’t anything unlike etsy shops, right? My boyfriend always finds a lot of nice vests and button ups there to match with his extensive tie collection – so men, if you like that vintage look, I suggest you take a peek as well! It’s a smaller store but it’s located in the heart of the Tower District in Fresno, and I always love their front window displays – it always draws me in!
I know so far I’ve only detailed on “second hand” or “previously loved” shops but there is a real lack of reasonably priced local shops in Fresno! There are a few boutique type stores worth mentioning, which are unfortunately out of my budget for the most part these days…
BB Pepper – I’ve found some good prices on denim and more formal dresses here – it seems to have an older demographic but you can always find one great unique top or something that you can’t really find in the department stores.
Stella Laguna Beach – Although this isn’t necessarily only local, it’s not quite a “chain” – as far as I know, it only has one Laguna Beach location and has two in Fresno! I am not wearing it, but I’m sure you’ve seen in some older posts the big mustard colored flower/rose ring I have? It came from this store. I also found the most perfect black dress with pockets and a cute tie bow open back accent – except they didn’t have it in my proper size! It’s a small boutique with a good mix of reasonable priced items – I’ve found some great items on sale there – of note were the most amazing geometric and striped black and purple leggings by Nikibiki. They have a great bag collection and many variations on the “little black dress” that are cute, simple and classic. Again, another place where you can find a unique jewelry piece, dress or top that you can’t find anywhere else in this city. (See ring , and see necklace , no photo of me in the leggings yet!)
Lastly – I have to mention my staple non-local stores because well, I shop at them too! Target, Urban Outfitters and Macy’s would have to be on my list because well, I find some amazing tights and socks and blouses at Target, and wonderful shoes and bags and jeans at Urban Outfitters, and Macy’s is good for work clothes, accessories, make up, shoes, etc. They help me stay chic in Fresno along with all the others!
So if you ever find yourself in between Los Angeles and San Francisco, you’ll know where to go to stay chic in MY city!! =)