(Editor’s note: This post about thrift shopping in Luxembourg, the world’s wealthiest country, is the third installment in our series on finding quality goods at great prices while making this less of a disposable society. You can see more about thrift shopping in Paris here and in London here. Also, the first version of this post had incorrect information about Lët’z Refashion Center.)
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” The words run through my mind as I glide my hand over cashmere, silk and linen.
Just feel the impeccable elegance.
Insiders know there’s an intersection where the value of quality and the sensibility of economy meet – at secondhand shops in upscale areas.
And for those who want to take the concept up a notch, try the ultimate preowned experience; bargain hunting in the world’s richest country.
Luxembourg’s Grand Duchy is home to a monied international set decked-out to the teeth. You’ll see them zipping through transport terminals covered in everything from refined “stealth wealth” to un-fur-gettable cotton-candy parkas. On workdays they sport edgy, office garb (that smoothly transitions to evening wear for entertaining clients in fashionable nightclubs).
And you know what?
They typically consign or donate; leaving deal-seekers the opportunity to unearth dirt-cheap treasures.
To get started in the Grand Duchy’s pre-owned garment scene, check these five picks that range from charitable organizations promoting ethical fashion to pop-ups in major department stores. Some businesses even offer to clear your entire home (where many items end up at flea markets for next-to-nothing).
This trendy women’s secondhand shop was the first fashion “pop-up” in Galleries Lafayette, Luxembourg. This place is great for the younger set wanting business chic to club-wear.
NOTE: Party attire in Luxembourg is 007 in nature, since many international businesses use club venues to entertain clients and celebrate company events. I attended the China/Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce cocktail party as a reporter for Delano magazine. The soiree was straight James Bond (in multiple languages: Mandarin, Luxembourgish, French, English, German, etc.). I felt fortunate to have a well-established pre-owned wardrobe with ensembles ideal for the occasion.
The owners at Pardonmycloset say: “We have people from all sorts of backgrounds, which is amazing, especially when it comes to deposits; you can find so many interesting brands that you might’ve never heard of.”
8 rue Aldringen, Luxembourg City
Coco Chanel once said that the best things in life are free and the second best are VERY expensive. If you are ready to invest in Bernard Arnault pieces, get ready to experience buying the finest at first-rate prices.
Geared to the well-off mature buyer, the showroom looks like a Channel boutique carrying Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Hermès, (they even had a vintage Birkin handbag from Hermès). Items show zero wear, which is a must for the owners, whose shop is located in upscale Belair. It’s one of the more exclusive districts in the capital where chic 30-50 year-olds live in typical three-bedroom homes that sell for 5 million euros.
First & Second Hand Concept
120 Val Sainte-Croix, 1371 Luxembourg City
Commissions: They don’t accept apparel with any trace of use – the exception, certain leather products, if scuffs are part of the charm.
Fashionista artists, these are your people. Budding fashion designers and local thrift shop owners meet here. Located two steps away from the capital’s central square, the Place d’Armes, Lët’z Refashion is the brainchild of Caritas Luxembourg. It’s the place that promotes circular fashion and ethics in the Grand Duchy. Their campaign, “Rethink Your Clothes” offers street actions, swap-meets and “Fair-Fashion” Days.
They even offer sewing lessons – so you canimpeccably tailor your repurposed thrift-duds. Check the website for events such as the plus-size swap meet planned for the near future.
8-10 Rue Genistre – 1623 Luxembourg
Trouvailles (“finds” in French) is located just 150 meters from the main train station and is the largest thrift store in the city. Carrying 300 meters squared of wardrobe staples, it’s perfect for a quick stop to “pop tags, with twenty dollars in your pocket”. They pay cash for labels from premium manufacturers. If you exchange non-brand items, you receive an in-kind voucher for 30 percent off in-store purchases.
60 Rue du Fort Neipperg, 2230 Gare Luxembourg City
Insider tip: they have top-name perfume.
This large covered “puce” (flea market) is located outside Luxembourg City selling second-hand items (including clothing). They partner with other companies such as Luxdebarras. These groups retrieve your unwanted items (from storage units, empty-premises, warehouses, homes, attics, garages, etc.) and resell them at various flea markets around the area for a steal.
Les Puces de Gostingen
10 Rue Sangels, 5425 Gostingen Flaxweiler, Luxembourg
The Grande Duchy also understands that transport infrastructure is a major factor to successful business, making a weekend in the city cheap and easy. I recently flew Luxair to Milan for 50 euros round trip: (same with Paris), making it a snap to pop into these two fashion-conscious cities looking well-turned-out.
Fun Fact: Did you know that clothes are the most sold item in the world? Maybe this fact contributes to the fact that second-hand clothing shops are doing so well these days.
Alice Verberne is a contributing writer for Dispatches Europe. She has worked in print journalism and magazine production in the United States and Europe throughout her career. She currently resides in France where she enjoys visiting former French speaking colonies and discussing history with the locals.