Sunday, December 9, 2012

Silicon Valley Recycled Chic

Silicon Valley is known throughout the world as the center of cutting edge technology, but few know that it also has many, many vintage clothing and consignment stores.  I have been wanting to take a trip down there for a while and check it out.  In researching stores to visit, I realized that there were too many to visit in one day.  As it turned out, I saw eight stores and am including photographs from seven of them in this blog.  I plan to go again and see others very soon.  Yesterday I took along my roommate, Alex, who is a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley.  Alex is from England and was interested in seeing Silicon Valley.  He was also a great help in navigating between the different stores, located in downtown San Jose, Sunnyvale, Los Altos and Palo Alto.

Our first stop was Black and Brown (850 The Alameda, Suite 20, San Jose, CA, 408-298-1970, blackandbrownos@gmail.com) in San Jose.  The store was huge and very modern.  I loved the look of the store and liked the way they combined modern and vintage clothing.  The sales staff was very friendly and helpful, especially Lou who told us about some other stores in the area and gave us directions.  Thanks to Lou's easy directions, we found our way to Moon Zoom (1630 W. San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA, 408-287-5876).  Moon Zoom is a vintage clothes collective and is literally on the edge of downtown San Jose.  This area used to be considered antique row, but now has mostly car lots and other businesses.  The local people definitely still shop this store, as it was crowded the entire time we were there.  It had several small rooms with different clothing themes and eras in each one from the 1950's through the 1980's.  Anyone looking for that perfect costume for a party would be sure to find it here.

After Moon Zoom, we headed in the opposite direction on San Carlos Street to Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium (751 W. San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA, 408-292-6578, www.BlackCatCollective.com).  This store is owned by Chris who has a large collection of vintage and designer clothes at very reasonable prices.  She also has period furniture and other items, such as toys and records.  They are having an Ugly Sweater Party there on December 15th from 6-10 p.m. in their beautiful patio that adjoins the store.   They will be having live music to shop by, so check it out if you're in the area. 

Next, we traveled to the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose to visit Park Place Vintage (1318 Lincoln Avenue, San Jose, CA, 408-294-9893, info@ParkPlaceVintage.com).  This gorgeous store is owned by a 5th generation seamstress, Linda Ruiz, who has clothes from all eras from the 1920's to the 1980's displayed on mannequins and hanging on the walls.  She also has hats, handbags and dolls and her two darling dogs.  I loved this place as well as the Willow Glen neighborhood, which has an abundance of restaurants and other stores that I would have liked to have visited if I wasn't pressed for time.

The Nearly New Shop (225 E. Maude Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA, 408-732-6202), on the other side of Silicon Valley in Sunnyvale, is an upscale thrift shop run by volunteers who raise money for scholarships for women.  All the money from their sales goes towards these scholarships.  They told me that they didn't want their pictures taken, but I snuck a few when they weren't looking.  I bought an adorable reindeer here for $10 and would have bought shoes if they had fit me.  They had a good collection of designer shoes and fur coats from the 1950's.  

We got on the freeway and headed north to Los Altos, an upscale community on the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay peninsula.   By this time, it was almost 4, so we had to break for lunch.  After lunch,  we visited Repeter Consignment (308 State Street, Los Altos, CA, 650-949-1323, www.repeterconsignment.com) and Encore Designer Collections (197 First Street, Los Altos, CA, 650-941-2323).  Both of these stores had designer consignment clothes, purses and shoes.  Encore also had a good collection of jewelry.  Our final stop was in Palo Alto at Empire Vintage Clothing (443 Waverley Street, Palo Alto, CA, 650-325-1656, upstatedesigns@yahoo.com).  Empire is owned by Tiffany who wanted me to say that she is the only vintage store in Palo Alto.  She has a good collection of vintage and consignment clothes at very low prices.  I bought a beautiful 1940's handbag for only $13.  I would suggest that anyone who visits Palo Alto, check out her store.  It is so important to support independent businesses, especially those selling recycled chic.


 Alex & 1950's male sculpture outside muffler shop next to Black and Brown
 Black and Brown
 A view of the store at Black and Brown
 Shoes & briefcase at Black and Brown
 Metallic red & velvet suit at Black and Brown
 Christmas chic at Black and Brown
 1960's & 1970's shoes at Black and Brown
 Doc Martin's at Black and Brown
 Hot pink ankle boots at Black and Brown
 Double breasted faux fur coat at Black and Brown
 Black leather handbag at Black and Brown
 Lou, Sales Rep at Black and Brown
 Moon Zoom
 1970's disco shirt & shoes at Moon Zoom
 1960's mini dress at Moon Zoom
 Clear plastic platforms at Moon Zoom
 Boots from all eras at Moon Zoom
 Red velvet sun suit at Moon Zoom
 Fabric boots at Moon Zoom
 Alex checking out belts at Moon Zoom
 Vintage hats & handbags at Moon Zoom
 Pink drop waist dress at Moon Zoom
 Vintage purses at Moon Zoom
 1960's flower power jacket at Moon Zoom
 Hats, purses & shoes at Moon Zoom
 Moon Zoom
 1980's evening dress at Moon Zoom
 1940's party dress at Moon Zoom
 Go Go boots at Moon Zoom
 Moon platform shoes at Moon Zoom
 Outside the Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium
 Chris - owner of Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium
 Rita Hayworth dream dress at Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium
 Vintage fur jacket at Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium
 Hats & purses at Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium
 Red holiday dress at Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium
 1950's beaded sweater at Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium
 Charlie's Angels-style mannequin on 1950's couch at Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium
 Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium
 1950's men's ensemble at Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium
 Mannequin with an attitude at Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium
 Black Cat Collective Vintage Emporium


 Linda, owner of Park Place Vintage
 Park Place Vintage
 1950's velvet & satin ensemble at Park Place Vintage
 Green coat with fur trim & muff at Park Place Vintage
 Coats & capes at Park Place Vintage
 Matching coat & purse at Park Place Vintage
 Gaucho jacket & leopard print skirt at Park Place Vintage
 1920's little black dress at Park Place Vintage
 Shoe display at Park Place Vintage
 Red satin 1950's holiday dress at Park Place Vintage
 1920's dress & hat at Park Place Vintage
 Red platform boots & cap at Park Place Vintage
 Black lace-up boots at Park Place Vintage
 This sexy outfit at Park Place Vintage would get notice anywhere
 Alex in military hat at Park Place Vintage
 Alex behind fancy dress mask at Park Place Vintage
 Black leather fringed jacket at Park Place Vintage
 Hats at Park Place Vintage
 Incredible embroidered boots st Park Place Vintage

 A friendly volunteer at Nearly New Shop
 Nearly New Shop
 Designer shoes ($9) at Nearly New Shop
 Designer shoes ($8) at Nearly New Shop
 Designer shoes ($8) at Nearly New Shop
 1950's - 1960's gold fabric shoes at Nearly New Shop
Fur coat ($65) at Nearly New Shop 
 Nearly New Shop

 A view of the store at Repeter
 Prada handbag at Repeter
 Shoes at Repeter
 Shoes at Repeter
 Another gorgeous handbag at Repeter
 Black & gray shimmer wear at Repeter
 Encore Designer Collections
 Fur handbag at Encore Designer Collections
 Beaded purse at Encore Designer Collections
 Shoulder handbag at Encore Designer Collections
 Encore Designer Collections
 Alex studying mannequin at Empire Vintage Clothing
 Empire Vintage Clothing
 Red beaded holiday sweater at Empire Vintage Clothing
 Lime green leather shoulder bag at Empire Vintage Clothing
 Black leather handbag (I bought it for $13) at Empire Vintage Clothing
 1950's drop waist dress at Empire Vintage Clothing
 1950's polka dotted dress at Empire Vintage Clothing
 Leaf green faux fur jacket at Empire Vintage Clothing
 1970's multi-colored leather cape at Empire Vintage Clothing
Tiffany, owner of Empire Vintage Clothing


3 comments:

  1. Love your pictures! You go to some interesting places. Keep us informed of your adventures looks like you are having a great time!

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