I am not a fashion guru and I am not trying to start a new career, so don´t worry this is not going to be an embarrassing post. As part of my weekly article about Hungary, I would like to share this time some insights of Budapest “fashion behavior” (if you can say anything like that) that I find very interesting and unique.
Before I moved to Budapest I was living in England so it was not hard for me to notice that most of woman were wearing clothes from some of the most popular (and inexpensive) shops based in the UK. I used to shop there myself and I knew that what they were wearing was from a couple of seasons ago, so I felt relieved and told myself: “Good news darling, they have the same shops here than there so you do not have to wondering around for shops you can like”.
After a few moths living in Budapest I decided to go on shopping. I wanted to get a little something to cheer myself up, so I went on-line and google “New look in Budapest”, “Gap Budapest”, etc. To my disbelief, the results of my search were very disappointing, all what I got were on line articles about second hand shops in Budapest in where you could find gardments by the above mentioned brands. I was desolated. I could not believe it and it took me several minutes to put myself together. You might think “All right, get over, it is not the big deal. I do not understand why you make such a fuss”.
Well, you are right, it is not the big deal and it is not even bad news but it came as a cultural shock to me. Even if in England I got used to the Antiques Markets and enjoyed very much going to Portobello Market (of course I was never able to afford anything there), went to have a look at small antiques road shows on weekends, and bought a few vintage accessories at Camden, this time, this thing about Budapest was different. This discovery meant that nearly everyone in Budapest buy second hand British clothes. Clothes that people in UK give away to charity and it is resold a very low price to Hungarian retailers -who by the way, might make a good money with it- and who sell it to locals at a very reasonable price. The “good price” is not always true, some shops are quite overpriced so you need to look carefully before buying anything at a price you might regret.
Fishing treasures in Budapest or this new concept (new to me) of buying second hand clothes and home decorative pieces as an everyday thing was difficult to digest. In Latin America we have no culture of buying second hand stuff, maybe now it is starting to get more common, but in general speaking is not a common thing when talking about clothes or home design articles. It took me nearly a year to put my prejudice aside and be able to go on shopping to a second hand store and guess what? I loved it! I know it can sound weird but the excitement of finding a beautiful or unique garment is only compare to fishing out a treasure from the bottom of the sea.
It is not always easy to find a nice piece of clothing, there are plenty of useless stuff or in bad conditions but if you know where to look you can add a wonderful jacket, hand bag, blouse, pair of trousers or a party dress to your wardrobe. I suggest to mix new clothes with second hand stuff (something that not everyone here in Budapest does), otherwise the outcome is quite tasteless and you do look like you are coming back from a trip back in time, if you have been to Budapest you might know what I am talking about. Second hands shops (and the low salaries) are the responsible for Budapest being so out of fashion when we speak about “street cat walking”. So please do not be to hard on them, it is really hard to get good quality and new brand clothes at reasonable prices in this city, moreover second hand shopping has become a habit for locals and a sort of sport to some people who could afford new stuff but still enjoy the adrenaline rush that fishing out treasures can give.
I share here a few links of articles related to this topic and the address of places I recommend you to go and have a look if you happen to be in Budapest and would like to give it a try. Enjoy the view and your shopping.
Best second hand shops directory: