Shopping for Vintage Clothing in Antigua, Guatemala

Back in the fall we were in Antigua, Guatemala for about ten weeks to study Spanish.

Ten weeks is the longest that we have stayed in any one place for quite some time.  Granted, we did spend the first two weeks in a house with a friend and then we moved to our own apartment, but still, it was definitely long enough to unpack our backpacks.  A pleasant change and what I needed after feeling so travel weary.

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My meager amount of clothing actually hanging in a closet.

Antigua is a pretty town, but it is small, you can walk across the whole town in about twenty minutes.  What surprised me was that there actually was a pretty big market in town.  I had heard that on certain days (I think Monday, Thursday and Saturday) there was a big second-hand clothing section set up and things were pretty cheap so I had to go check it out.

Although I didn’t take many pictures, it was a really big second-hand clothing market and you could spend a lot of time there.  Interestingly enough, the clothing appeared to be clothing from thrift stores in the U.S.  I even saw thrift store tags on a few items.  I love thrift store-ing in the U.S. so this really was a pleasant surprise.  It was even more fun when I actually saw vintage clothing.

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While I unfortunately didn’t take a lot of pictures of the market, here’s an example of an item of vintage clothing that I saw.

I discovered that items just thrown on tables were really cheap.  I found a nice poly vintage blouse and if I remember correctly it only cost 5 quetzales (about 68 cents in USD).  While I know that you were supposed to bargain, I didn’t try bargaining because I try to have a rule that I don’t bargain over an amount less than one USD.

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I’ve actually grown quite fond of this shirt but since it’s a thick polyester it takes up way too much space in the backpack.  I’ve been trying to wear it on every travel day to avoid having to get rid of it, but at some point we’re going to again be traveling where it’s really hot and I’ll probably have to ditch it because it won’t be worth the suffering that would be involved in wearing it on a long, hot, sweaty bus ride.

I also found a certain dress that I liked.  I didn’t think it was vintage, but it did have some interesting buttons that looked kind of vintage and I liked the bright floral pattern.  The first time I saw it I let it go, but then it was one of those dresses that I just kept thinking about and when that happens that means I should probably just buy it.  So I went back another day to see if I could find it again and I did.  I believe that cost 30 quetzales (about $4 USD).  I tried bargaining with the guy but he wouldn’t budge at all so I just bought it.  I’m sure I paid more than I should have because you are supposed to bargain things down, but I wanted the dress and $4 really wasn’t a huge expenditure for me so whatever.

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I actually saw some other items that I liked as well, but I’m still limited by what can fit in a backpack (well, and in my tote bag) so I couldn’t get too carried away.  Sadly I did have to say goodbye to one of my vintage dresses that I had started the trip with.  It was just so faded and I was constantly sewing parts of it back together, but the last straw was when I somehow got stains all over it, it was just time to say goodbye.  I did cut out a little square of it, maybe someday when we settle down again I can put it in a frame and remember my faithful friend.

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Back in the early days in Taiwan, R.I.P. my faithful dress.  You can actually see how faded it was in the picture of my “closet” up above.  It’s the second dress from the left.

At some point while we were in Antigua I realized that I hadn’t looked to see if there were any vintage clothing stores to check out.  I was pretty doubtful since it is such a small town, but to my surprise I did a search and came up with one:  I Heart (with a literal heart) Vintage.  One Saturday I went to check it out but it was closed.  I have no idea if it was just closed then or permanently closed down.  It looked really small so I have to confess that I just never went back.

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We decided our Spanish still needs some work so we’ll be back in Antigua in March, so maybe I’ll try checking out the store again.

Of course there is other touristy shopping in Antigua and I did buy this purse too, I kept walking by it hanging in the doorway of a store every day and one day I didn’t see it and was afraid it was gone.  That’s when I knew I should just buy it.

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Until next time….

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