Old seventies leather jackets, deep blue jeans of forgotten brands, and delightfully ugly shirts with collars big enough to serve as spare wings on a jumbo. As I began exploring these stores, some of which actually sell clothes by the kilo, I began to realize that this town is not the used clothes paradise I first believed it to be.
Most of the stores, sadly, are really only appropriate for those who don’t just ignore style, but actually detest and have sworn themselves to a life-long pursuit of its destruction.
For those of you who are too lazy to partake of the joy of hunting for second hand duds, you can always buy online. Online-obleceni.cz has tons of cool English second hand, some real bargains too! But for those who love the hunt, there are a few gems hidden away in Prague’s corners, that are definitely worth a look for the economically minded, yet non-fashion abhorrent shopper.
Prague Thrift Store
This is an awesome store, depending on who you are and what you’re looking for. They have tons of cool stuff crammed into this hip Vinohrady shop, filled with previously loved clothing and accessories for men and women, all priced right for the frugal shopper (or the long suffering English teacher)…
They accept donations and even pick up, but unlike some places, they are committed to finding quality brand name goods, gently worn, and selling it at very affordable prices. Also unlike lots of second hand thrift shops, they believe in running a socially responsible store, and give their proceeds to progressive causes through the International Woman’s Association of Prague, helping to fund shelters for the homeless and single moms, children’s education initiatives and encourage everyone to support the community.
The people running the shop are the Szendes, a Hungarian family that made their way to Prague via a stint in the US, where they picked up the second hand passion. Therefore, if you speak Hungarian Czech or English, they’ve got you covered… and they work hard to make sure that Prague Thrift Store is not your typical thrift store. Besides specialising in hip brands in a great range of sizes, there are tons of electronics, tools, books, kitchen gear and artwork and various decorative knick-knacks for sprucing up your grey panalak… . Feel free to bargain and trade when you visit, this is a bargain hunters dream place!
Please contact them if you would like to make a donation, if you choose to donate, they can reward you with a discount voucher for goods in the shop, and they will even pick up your stuff!
Sekáč (Smoking Woman)
Another hidden hole-in-the-wall worth sniffing out is the Smoking Woman at Italská 16, Praha 2, near the dog park at Reigrovy sady (but don’t worry, it’s far enough out so that you don’t have to watch for slobbering dogs chasing balls). The outside, which looks exactly like every other second-hand store in the city, is deceiving. This place is probably a little bit more geared for girls than guys, but they have some really kickin’ sh*t for both sides of the street.
The jeans here are the best merchandise, well varied, worn in, and priced about the same as other places, but once again afflicted with the Fat Albert virus. They also have sweaters which are worth wearing, jackets in inconsistent but quality supply, and plenty of eyebrow raising (and use your imagination) skirts for the girls. These are, of course, not the only places to find good gear in the city, but are worth visiting if you want quality clothes and second-hand prices, without having to shift through kilos of moo-moos and grandpa get-ups.
Not far away at Moravská 6 is Toalette, they also have a branch at Karolíny Svetlé 9). Long a staple on the scene, Toalette is very popular with people who like to create their own image. If quality vintage piece you can do that, the original details set a piece apart from modern mass produced pieces. With a plethora of beautiful high heels alongside beautiful silk skirts, scarves and shawls, they also have a great selection of clothing choices for the dapper Dan.
If you’re around the Old Town, there’s a really nice little shop at Konvitská 13. Last time I was in there, there were a lot jackets that had the early eighties break dance appeal, all reasonably priced, as well as racks of jeans for men and women, each pair running about 250Kč. They really do carry the best selction for western men.
They also have a good stock of the unusual, such as tight, neon green, fake snakeskin pants (around 300Kč), which gave me the first and last reason to ever want to be a woman. I mean damn! This is definitely a place of equal opportunity for both genders; very fly sh*t at very good prices. Larry Mackler, the owner, keeps this place open out of a love of style and rumour is that it might move or cease when the lease is up… let’s hope not.
Also, if you’re looking for the biggest and some say the best, check out K-Oukey. With seven stores, (Karolíny Svetlé 9, U Radnice 6, Krakovská 19 and Od Simona Krakov), they carry the quality second hand clothes, most of it branded. If you’re looking to save a few or even a lot of korunnas, well, K-Oukey has the best deals in town!
If you’re looking for something really special, the kind of outfits that ends up with you never having to pay for drinks and your pocket full of business cards, then you need a fabulous cocktail dresses, embroidered top, or a luxe velvet jacket, all of which you can find in Retro (Uhelný trh 9, near Dr Stuart Botanicus). A recent arrival in Prague’s second-hand scene, the owner Natalia Yosupoba hails from Russia, where she used to manage a second-hand clothing concern. Her first venue was Second hand Ráj (at Václaské námestí 27), which sells vintage costumes as well as normal second-hand clothes, many of which end up gracing the major fashion glossies, they are that unique.
If fancy pants is beyond your means or style, then head on out to these more everyday vintage shops where price smart Czech moms shop for their families: Exclusive Second Hand (Revoluční 18 and Bělehradská 73) has a nice orderly selection; Second Hand Market sells their clothes by weight: i.e.: 1 kg of coats costs 500 CZK, (Klimentská 1); Second Hand (Plaská, 2, Mánesova 50, Milady Horákové 32 and Rumunská 30); and Start Shop Genesis (Bělehradská 12).
Photo: Jeffree Benet