Vintage threads seam pretty cool

Everyone knows the very best part of the “back to school” tradition remains the age-old ceremony of back-to-school shopping. Seeing as how Portland can never have too many well-dressed hipsters, it’s important for fashion-forward college gals to have a keen awareness of the many choice shopping spots around the diverse metro area.

Whether you’re shopping for the perfect, one-of-a-kind, ’50s cotton dress with matching belt or the freshly discarded, perfect condition Gap sweater at one-third its original price, fear not; your indie sensibilities will not be led astray if you heed the advice below.

Buffalo Exchange – 1420 S.E. 37th Ave.

One of the most well-rounded stops on the must-shop list remains the oft-affordable Buffalo Exchange. Amid the myriad of corporate look-alikes one can often find amazingly affordable vintage jewels whose counterparts would cost an arm at most true vintage shops.

The secret with this location is to come as often as possible, as new finds arrive every day, all day, and the Zeppelin T’s and vintage-stitched converse don’t stay on the racks for long.

Low budget tip: Everyone퀌_s got clothes they don퀌_t wear… bring them, sell them and profit. (Westside location:1036 W. Burnside St.)

Red Light Clothing Exchange – 3590 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.

When you’re finished shopping at the southeast Buffalo, skip across the street and pop into the Red Light Clothing Exchange. Even if you can’t find anything to buy, there’s always an abundance of eye candy, like true vintage gems; aisles and aisles of poofy dresses, Movin’ On Levis, and ’70s purses await Red Light shoppers.

Sound too perfect? Despite the abundance of cool looking stuff, make sure you glance down at the price tag …ouch. Also, if you퀌_re in the market for clothing over size 8, you might want to head somewhere else; sizes tend to remain on the small side.

Xtabay – 2515 S.E. Clinton St.

In the heart of the Clinton Street neighborhood resides the small, tastefully-stocked location of Xtabay. While the selection here may not be as large as others, it seems as though each piece was chosen with careful deliberation and an expert’s eye.

Take some time, carefully browse and enjoy the effortlessness of shopping in a store full of stylish finds.

Best of all, Xtabay has a diverse collection of sizes, from super-small to (fairly rare) curvy-sized. Rock on.

Value Village – Multiple locations

Lastly, it is important to mention the true bargain shopper’s paradise: Value Village. Visit one of the many locations to weed through the seemingly endless mounds of horrifying ’80s castoffs in order to stumble across the occasional worthwhile $3 cardigan and the $5 polyester man-pants to wear with it. You know it’s worth it. (A couple of options: 4420 N.E. Hancock St; 5050 S.E. 82nd Ave; check listings for additional locations)

Whether you have $20 or $200 to spend on new threads this year, be sure to stop at these Portland staples in order to properly outfit yourself for the halls of your local urban university.