When Jeannie Ritter became Colorado’s First Lady in the 00s she put vintage wear on the local fashion map. No matter who lives in the Governor’s mansion, vintage is always in. Some women wear it as a form of high-fashion recycling and reusing. Others because they like a look popularized in previous eras. Still others because they have a strong thrifty streak. Regardless of why you choose to wear a “previously-owned” outfit, it makes for both fashion sense and dollars and cents to shop at upscale consignment stores. Here are some of our favorites.

(credit: goldminevintage.com)

Goldmine Vintage

1123 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 447-0065

This super-cool shop on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall carries vintage apparel through the decades. Most of the constantly changing inventory is post-World War II including the classic elegance of the ’40s and ’50s, the beaded and fringed hippie style of the late ’60s, the Gucci-Pucci-Pulitzer mod vibe of the ’70s, the disco look of the ’80s to the roving hemlines and silhouettes of the 1900s and early 21st century. In addition to vintage women’s fashions, Goldmine is also literally a goldmine of vintage menswear, shoes, skiwear and other sports apparel, costumes, fashion accessories and even music (want both your album and your raincoat to be vinyl?). Open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

(credit: jld.org)

Second Time Shop

5042 E. Hampden Ave. (Happy Canyon Shopping Center)
Denver, CO 80222
(303) 789-4055

Odds are the fashionable attire you see spotlighted in the society columns will make its way onto the racks of The Second Time Shop, a terrific upscale boutique operated by the Junior League of Denver. The selection may be heady, but the prices are down-to-earth, even designer labels such as St. John or Oleg Cassini. Ladies can shop for jackets, suits, dresses, jeans, sweaters, shirts, hats, scarves, shoes, purses and more. Second Time Shop also carries men’s and children’s clothing and a smattering of home décor. The League prefers the Second Time Shop to be called a “boutique,” not a thrift store, but because it sells donated items, values resemble those offered by thrift and consignment shops. Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(credit: upscaleplus.com)

UpScale Plus & UpScale Princess

3980 Kipling St.
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
(303) 420-5423

Sure there are dozens of consignment stores in the Denver area, but aren’t you tired of only being able to find a wide selection in sizes 4 or 2 (who wears size two except those girls on America’s Next Top Model)? Leave it to Denver to have a consignment shop that specializes in clothing for the “average” woman (size 14w through 28w), as well as  — in adjoining space — smaller sizes, 6 to 16. UpScale Plus and UpScale Princess sell dresses, shirts, pants, jeans, sweaters, coats and more. Not only can real women get great deals on fashionable department store brands (on average about 1/3 of what a regular retail store would charge), but they can bring in their own gently-used clothing and make some extra cash when it sells. Dressing rooms are “roomy,” the atmosphere friendly and the staff has expertise in helping customers pull together a complete “look.” The stores carry designer purses, scarves and jewelry, too. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Snob Shoppe

560 S. Holly St.
Denver, CO 80246
(303) 333-7662

After more than 20 years as an East 6th Avenue fixture, The Snob Shoppe moved into new digs just off Leetsdale. The neighborhood may not be as upscale but the clothes are, with everything from Missoni to Trina Turk. On one visit we spotted a Escada jacket and a Valentino evening gown suitable for a red carpet premiere. The light-filled store crams a lot into a relatively small space, but you can easily browse through well-organized racks of designer jeans, leather jackets, sweater sets, slacks as well as shoes, belts and purses. Owner Jo Ann MacDougall is usually on hand to point out any hidden treasures she thinks is a fit with your look. The pricing system is a winner, too. Each item’s price tag is dated when it goes on the rack. One month later, the price is an additional 20% off, dropping 10% each month up to 50% off after four months. Open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

– Mile High Cheapskates Claire Walter & Laura Daily keep Denver/Boulder residents informed about the latest deals, discounts and freebies at www.MileHighOnTheCheap.com.

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