Palm Beach is famous for its high end consignment shops and its reputation is justified. On a recent buying trip to Florida I scoped out the vintage clothing scene in Palm Beach. The city of Palm Beach is located on a beach barrier island across the Intercoastal waterway from the mainland and connected to it by a couple of short bridges. An enclave of the very rich, Palm Beach features elegant hotels and restaurants and Worth Avenue, one of the world’s great shopping streets if high-end designer goods are your thing.
Many of the the consignment shops are conveniently located in a one block cluster near the intersections of N. County Road, Sunset Avenue, and Via Testa (which is a charming pedestrian passage that runs between Royal Poinciana Avenue and Sunset Avenues).
Along Sunset Avenue you’ll find Attitudes and Razamataz which specialize in high-end designer clothing, some which is VERY high-end. If you’re in the market for high-end designer clothing and accessories in impeccable condition, these stores are for you. In the midst of these high-end consignment shops, is the fanciest Goodwill I’ve ever seen. With its wood paneling and built-in casework, if you didn’t know that this was a Goodwill you wouldn’t know that it was a Goodwill. The prices are also higher than a typical Goodwill, but generally reasonable for the quality of merchandise for sale. It is clear that Goodwill sends a lot of its best items to this shop and I found a beautiful 1940’s bracelet there. One caveat: Goodwill is a charity and not always expert on telling fakes from genuine designer goods so on high-end items it’s best that you know how to identify them yourself.
Entered on Via Testa, is Deja Vu, another great consignment shop. Several other smaller specialty consignment shops are located along Via Testa, although many were closed because it was “off season” during my visit.
Around the corner on N. County Road is Groovy Palm Beach, a jewel box-sized vintage clothing store packed to the rafters (literally – a lot of the clothing is hung from the ceiling) with mostly mid-20th century clothing. The store specializes in vintage Pucci and Lilly Pulitzer and has an eye-popping collection of these designers’ clothing and accessories for sale. If you are in the market for one of these designers, this is the place to go. The owner is delightful, knowledgable about his merchandise and a complete enthusiast.
Update, January 2015:
I’d previously read that The Church Mouse Thrift Shop in Palm Beach was a great place to shop, but they are closed from mid-June until September. But on my most recent trip I had the opportunity to visit and found that it lived up to its reputation. The Church Mouse has a great selection of newish clothing, on par with mid-range consignment shops. The prices were higher than most thrift shops, but the merchandise was of high quality. The Church Mouse is located in the small downtown of Palm Beach, only a few blocks from the elegant shops on Worth Avenue.
Where to eat:
For a snack, check out Peterbrook Chocolatier around the corner on Royal Poinciana Way. Peterbrook is a small chain based in Florida, the type of independent choclatier that used to be common but is increasingly hard to find. Since it was a hot day, I had an ice cream cone and, while they don’t make their own ice cream, they dip their waffle cones in homemade chocolate and it was a standout, with a thick shell of chocolate extending about 1/3 of the way down the cone.
If you’re staying nearby, one of my favorite special-occasion restaurants in the Palm Beach area is Cafe Boulud, one of chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurants. With its classically French menu this restaurant also is a great bargain, offering a three-course prix fixe menu for $35 off season, seven days a week and for $45 in-season on weekdays (at least that’s what it cost last season), with several choices each course.
Attitudes, 212 Sunset Avenue, Palm Beach
Razamataz Consignment Boutique, 208 Sunset Avenue, Palm Beach
Deja Vu Consignment Shop, 219 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach
Goodwill Embassy Boutique, 210 Sunset Avenue, Palm Beach
Groovy Palm Beach, 109 N. County Road, Palm Beach
The Church Mouse, 374 South County Road, Palm Beach
Peterbrook Chocolatier, 253 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach
Cafe Boulud, 301 Australian Ave., Palm Beach