Shop Vintage Portland

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What fashion statement do True Blood actress Kristin Bauer, White House Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall and Grammy-winner Adele have in common? All are fans of the stunning vintage dresses that are up for grabs here in Portland.

And why not? Portland boasts nearly 50 vintage shops, offering up meticulously curated — and constantly updated — collections of costume jewelry, traditionally tailored suits and, of course, racks upon racks of dresses that span the decades — a bounty that has fashion-savvy visitors stuffing their suitcases to the weight limit with our secondhand goodies.

“The Portland vintage scene is thriving,” says Liz Gross, owner of Xtabay Vintage Clothing Boutique, one of the town’s hottest resale boutiques. “And people from all over the world seem to know about it.” (In fact, Xtabay has outfitted Bauer and Marshall for high-profile events, along with still more celebrities like Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia.) Gross, who started her fancy frock shop in 2001, credits Portland’s reasonable rents and abundance of estate sales and thrift shops for creating the buzz.

So what’s the key to scoring big on your own time-travel shopping trip? Gross advises going slowly and enjoying the thrill of the hunt — and having “a hell of a lot of tenacity.”

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