Style Capital

Vintage boutiques in the capital are not only ‘in,’ but treasure troves as Purim approaches.

Vintage store  (photo credit: NAAMA BARAK)
Vintage store
(photo credit: NAAMA BARAK)
Secondhand shopping in Jerusalem was once the realm of people who couldn’t afford to buy clothes in “regular” stores. Over the past few years, however, the city has become home to a wide array of secondhand and vintage clothing stores, catering to an ever-growing crowd of fashion-lovers and those in search of a bargain buy. In addition, with Purim coming up, these shops can be handy for finding attractive, low-cost costume components.
Here is a short guide to some of the city’s more prominent secondhand stores, which range from highend to bottom-price, satisfying all tastes and budgets.
Now Me, or Naomi in Hebrew, has been situated in one of the Mahaneh Yehuda market’s busy alleys for the past six years and is one of Jerusalem’s most established vintage and secondhand clothing shops.
Run by French-born Beatrice and her daughter Sarit, this cozy store is a vintage-lover’s paradise, with ceiling-high shelves stacked with beautiful clothes and accessories.
Beatrice, who studied fashion design, was horrified to discover the extent of pesticide use on cotton fields, and she decided it would be far more environmentally friendly to work with existing clothes. She says that more and more people are starting to shop for secondhand clothes because of similar ideologies, which she hopes will outlast the current trend for vintage and become a lifelong habit.
According to Beatrice, the concept of buying secondhand clothing has become less foreign to people, although some are still surprised to find that the prices of quality vintage pieces aren’t cheap just because they’re not new. Most of the clothes are from France and Italy, while some are brought over from the United States by regular customers.
The store caters to a wide clientele, and the large collection of clothes is priced accordingly. This way trendy teenagers can find NIS 20 shirts hanging on the bargain rack at the entrance to the shop, while more established customers can treat themselves to vintage designer handbags costing thousands of shekels.
The store is a good place to start the secondhand shopping experience, as all clothes are in pristine condition and the place itself gives off a rather luxurious air. Another benefit of shopping here is the helpful shop assistants, who are always more than happy to pull out possible options from the neverending shelves and recommend their favorites.
Now Me, 8 Hashezif Street, Mahaneh Yehuda market.
Sunday to Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. until one hour before Shabbat.
Located in the middle of Nissim Bachar Street in Nahlaot, secondhand and vintage shop Trumpeldor symbolizes the gentrification of the neighborhood over the past few years. Surrounded by cafes, a frozen yogurt stand and a bar, the store adds to the young and lively feel of the area.
Trumpeldor offers a large variety of secondhand items, from beautiful sweaters to elaborate dresses and gorgeous bags, as well as a sizable selection of men’s clothing. The clothes are hand-selected and collected from around the country and from abroad, and all are carefully laundered and laid out in the shop in immaculate condition. The prices are quite reasonable for a secondhand store, ranging from NIS 20 to NIS 150.
The store is run by husband-and-wife team Shira and Avi Friedman, originally from South Africa and the United States respectively. The two actually met at the shop when Avi ventured in, although it was Shira rather than clothing that he was looking for. The two enjoy working together, and the relaxed atmosphere they create in the store is truly welcoming.
Shira has been running the shop since 2010 and says that the image of secondhand and vintage apparel has improved dramatically over the years. At first, the neighborhood’s elderly residents were surprised that despite selling secondhand clothing, the shop wasn’t actually a gemah, or Jewish free-loan institution.
Nowadays the store enjoys a wide range of customers who appreciate the value of buying reasonably priced one-off pieces. The Friedmans say they feel blessed with their growth in clientele, and are also happy about the expanding community of secondhand shops and customers around town.
Purim is going to be a particularly busy time for the two, as they have a collection of more than 90 overthe- top vintage wedding dresses to be sold as quality costumes. They also hope to run a Purim fashion show at one of the nearby bars in Mahaneh Yehuda.
Trumpeldor is definitely a good place to start for novice secondhand shoppers, as the neat store and helpful service, both in English and Hebrew, make the experience user-friendly.
Trumpeldor, 18 Nissim Bachar Street. Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Attic, tucked away in the corner of the old Mashbir building in town, is a well-organized little secondhand and vintage store that holds a wide array of men’s and women’s clothing, as well as plenty of accessories and other knickknacks.
Owner Olga, a stylist, believes that the vintage scene in Jerusalem has greatly improved in recent years and that the local awareness of secondhand shopping is much more common compared to when she opened the store five years ago. Her clientele is diverse, and the customers range from people looking for a cheap buy to those who are in search of something special that can’t be found in chain stores. She says the Jerusalemite customers are quite solid in their choice of clothes and tend to go for laid-back looks verging on the safe side.
Most of the clothes in the store are sold to Olga by her regular customers, who in turn get a percentage of the retail price once she sells it. The rest of the clothes, all clean and in good condition, are brought from abroad, as are the various knickknacks that decorate the store.
The prices range from NIS 10 for scarves and other small items, up to NIS 1,000 for gold jewelry and the like.
The store, although a little difficult to find, is definitely worth searching for. The clothes are neatly displayed, and rummaging through the racks is a pleasure. Olga herself is helpful in searching for special, one-off pieces.
The Attic, 34 Ben-Yehuda Street (corner of Eliash Street).
Sunday to Thursday 12 noon to 6 p.m., Friday 12 noon to 2 p.m.
The Metzion, or “The Find,” is a recent addition to the Jerusalem secondhand and vintage scene. This large, two-story shop opened this past summer just off busy Ben-Yehuda Street and offers plenty of bargain buys for those willing to take a good look.
The store, while attracting a large and varied clientele, seems to market itself specifically to people searching for low-cost items. The huge selection of items for sale include clothes and accessories, secondhand books in both English and Hebrew, and housewares, all offered for very low prices.
Store manager Ruth says that people have become more used to the idea of secondhand shopping, especially after discovering how much sense it makes financially. The store has become increasingly busy in the past few months, and its owner, Avi, hopes to open more branches in Jerusalem and in Tel Aviv.
The Metzion works in cooperation with charitable institutions around town such as WIZO and Na’amat, and many of the clothes are that aren’t sold are then passed on to them. The store also employs staff from Shekel, a community service for people with special needs, who come in to work for a few hours each day.
While you probably won’t find glamorous vintage pieces here, the Metzion is a great place for those who enjoy hunting for a good bargain, and has the additional feel-good factor.
The Metzion, 5 Dorot Rishonim Street. Sunday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The once predominating concept of musty used clothes shops is quickly fading away, and Jerusalem’s residents are discovering the many plus sides of buying secondhand items. Love of fashion, the desire to wear something different, the ideological factor and the friendly prices are leading people to embrace this style of consumerism, which hopefully won’t be a fading trend.