By Christina Sirtak
You can be green, save green and make others green with envy by wearing recycled threads. Go vintage and flaunt your environmentally friendly pick of brightly colored cotton shifts from the '60s or '80s vintage Gunne Sax blouses -- confident that no one else at the party will have the same outfit. Or expand your denim collection with gently used Seven for All Mankind jeans - at wallet-friendly prices. Whatever you choose, before you go call ahead to check hours - many stores are only open until 6 p.m. And if you're being thrifty, bring your greenbacks - because they definitely don't take American Express, or any other plastic. Need to raise some dough before you can spend it? Fly, Chi Chi and Second Showing all accept items for consignment - call for details.
It's 9 p.m. on a Saturday and you're desperate for something new to wear. Located in the heart of Lincoln Road, Fly Boutique carries a selection of men's and women's clothing ranging from Dolce & Gabbana and Nannette Lepore to Rock and Republic jeans and brightly colored vintage scarves.You're still paying Lincoln Road prices, but at $200 for an Armani jacket, you're getting more for your investment. Open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, you can run in, get your fix and still have time - and money - for a cocktail.
Armoire Chi Chi
This small shop packs a lot of fashion punch. The walls are covered virtually all the way to the ceiling with finds for women. Chi Chi carries Chanel suits and St. John pieces sandwiched between Moschino and Roberto Cavalli. With an impressive selection of suits to choose from, this is a good place to look for both business and evening wear. For evening, move into their backroom and look over the rack of long vintage gowns. Prices range from $40 for a Longchamp backpack to $200 for a Roberto Cavalli shirt.
Armoire Chi Chi
Second Showing Inc
Open since 1975, and in Pinecrest since 1999, this Miami native is worth the drive. Purchase a Burberry suit for $160, St. John for $249 and then complete the look with Prada or Christian Louboutin shoes and a Chanel bag. Of course, if you have a few extra dollars, go for the Gucci denim suit - at $1000 it's still a steal.
Second Showing Inc.
It's impossible to discuss vintage in Miami without a nod to C. Madeleine's warehouse-sized clothing emporium, where you can find a huge selection of women's items from Chanel bags and Missoni knit dresses to turn-of-the-century blouses and go-go boots, all in perfect condition -- with prices to match. For those on a budget, accessories here may be your best bet, with funky beaded bags in lime or orange or vintage straw purses still available under $100. A more limited selection of items for men is also available.
Little Big Store
Lincoln Road Antique Market, Lincoln Road; every 2nd and 4th Sunday (Oct-May).
Consign of the Times
Shopping or adventure? Why choose when you can have both at Flamingo Plaza. Not for the faint of heart, this collection of independent thrift stores has a half dozen opportunities to comb through racks of used clothing for vintage gems and hidden designer duds. Stores vary from the newly expanded warehouse-sized Red White and Blue to the small, dark New York Thrift, and prices range from $0.99 for the damaged bin to $99 for a vintage fur stole. Recent bargains included a black cotton Banana Republic women's button-down at Community Family for $5 and 1950s-era beaded sweater for $15 at Think Thrift.
Red White and Blue Thrift Stores
Red, White & Blue is the best-known thrift store in Miami for a reason. Both locations carry men's, women's and children's clothing, housewares and furniture. Be prepared to pick through racks of clothing sorted by style and color, but rest assured that you'll have some help. Gloved attendants constantly roam the store, picking up fallen clothes and re-organizing the racks by color, and even dishes are stacked in sets and taped together so they stay that way. Time and patience will be rewarded with finds from Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, The Gap and the occasional Theory jacket all for $2-20 per item, with most suits under $30.
Red White and Blue, Hialeah; North Miami
The original thrift store is still around. Flat rate pricing makes shopping easy - and you don't have to be flush with cash when most shirts and blouses are $5, pants and skirts $3 and jeans $4. Need a winter coat for your upcoming trip to Wisconsin? For $10 you can find a wool dress coat that's nice enough to keep but cheap enough to donate back afterward. This location is cleaner and better lit than the ones from your childhood, but you still have the benefit of knowing your purchase benefits a great cause. Need to make some room for all your new stuff? All their locations accept donations, too.
Goodwill Industries; Check www.goodwillmiami.com for 15 other Miami-area locations
Douglas Gardens Thrift Shop
Inside the Fly Boutique, a loungey, charmingly cluttered little shop, located at 650 Lincoln Rd., shoppers can find a racks of vintage clothing including one of a kind tie dyed slip dresses with lace, which range anywhere between$68 - 118. Photo: Barbara P. Hernanez.