November 29, 2016 by Stefanie Martinez
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The Holiday Season(s) has been well underway for a few weeks now, and it seems like the push to snag the best deals lasts longer then just Black Friday & Cyber Monday. Deals are being thrown at you left and right and sometimes it can seem overwhelming, especially if you aren’t the type of person to give ‘basic’ gifts. Maybe you want to gift a special someone, something that is unique, meaningful and will help support our local economy. Coming from a world of working retail for over 8+ years, the deals in Major Retail Stores aren’t always the best to splurge on. Prices get marked up on certain items and you end up spending what you would if there wasn’t a ‘Black Friday Sale.’ Now not all places are like that, especially our local business’ who are slashing prices on their already affordable goods. This past Thanksgiving week, I was able to do a little window shopping before I dived into spending on gifts for family and friends. I like to avoid the chaos that is Black Friday, especially after working so many years of endless banter and anger from customers who are looking to save a few dollars. In my personal opinion, I don’t see the appeal of spending Thanksgiving evening rushing to Target or Best Buy for the best deal on the latest electrical gifts (but to each their own, am I right?).
Instead of making my way out on Friday, my fiance & I went into Downtown San Antonio this past Saturday to play ‘tourist’ and see what we could find from the local gift shops in the Downtown Plaza area. We parked at River Center Mall with enough time to avoid the evening crowd coming to check out the newly lit Christmas Tree in front of the Alamo. I admit I had to contain myself from spending my hard earned cash on me when it came to all the lush jewels and clothes that I saw. Instead I made a mental note of, ‘I’ll come back for that later!’ Since I am currently camera less, I didn’t film the great items that I found and for good reason because all the stores we walked into, wouldn’t allow filming or photos. I may have snuck around to snag some images of the great things I saw, so my apologies for the lack of fine quality in my images.
I didn’t walk into this particular store but the window displays were more then enough for me to drool over all the luxurious cuffs and necklaces that were on sale. The lighting fixtures on the inside were the best part! Stop by this store if you’re in the Downtown area, located on 519 East Houston Street San Antonio, TX 78205. Know someone who loves chunky, funky jewels and exceptionally, unique lighting fixtures? This is definitely a one stop shop for that gift you’ve been looking for.
Right now I am heavily influenced by the latest GUCCI F/W ’16 Collection with all the fun embroidered prints and details, from suits to gowns and everything in between. However, with my current budget, my GUCCI wardrobe dreams are just dreams…BUT there’s always an alternative, especially for a thrifty shopper like myself. Fashion history repeats itself tremendously and even though every season it seems like the latest trends are ‘new’ we all know they are just refurbished remakes of the classics. These classic staples are prominent in Texas Fashion, especially the embroidered trend. I found that the rose pattern is something that local San Antonians have been curating since the late 70’s. We stopped by a small leather works store located down E. Houston, just a few stores down from BAZAAR ISTANBUL. The pungent smell of genuine leather hits you the moment you walk in, and you can see the dedication of making one of a kind goods for customers. Cowboy wear isn’t my cup of tea personally, but I find the intricacy so spectacular, I can’t help but stop to admire it. The gentleman at this shop was kind enough to explain to us that he’s noticed more locals are getting into the fashion of owning ‘custom made’ pieces and that it’s helped his business stay open. Though these are custom made pieces and the price tag might be steep, the fact that it is custom made to fit you or the person you’re gifting it to, makes it that much more special. Keeping it local and supporting business’ that have been in the downtown area for decades is what keeps our thriving community strong.
The next store we walked to is a place that I have always passed by while driving into Downtown from Broadway Street. I was in Antique heaven the moment we stepped into the Alamo Antiques Mall. With only 30 minutes to enjoy the copious amounts of vintage, antique goodness, I was snapping photos from the get go! I have an appreciation for the home goods of the past, mainly because growing up and visiting my grandma in the 90’s made me nostalgic of all the plates and kitsch decor she once had. I love the smell of old things too (is that weird?).
The Alamo Antiques Mall is located off of Broadway and Travis St., 125 Broadway SATX 78205. If you’ve never been here before, I recommend making a trip and spending a few hours here. Theres 3 floors filled from top to bottom with enough antiques to redecorate your house with, if you’re into that old is new look. Collectibles galore and remnants of history, this place literally has ‘something for everyone.’ This very special shop has been in business for 35+ years and has been a staple to help locals sell their vintage goods. Each glass case contains items from different sellers, and there’s always a SALE or Discount on select items. I spoke with Levy & Ray, who have been the owners of the store since the beginning. They’re knowledge in antiques is vast and their down to earth, San Antonio native souls will help you out in any way!
I couldn’t imagine finding just one thing here for my family, so I plan to go back and take my sweet time to find that perfect piece that will have a great shock reaction.
Before I overwhelm and overload this blog post with more photos, I’d like to say that if you have a thrifty sense of style you can be the chicest, coolest person on the block because vintage fashion IS THE BEST FASHION! I’m straying away from the fast fashion retail consumerism because it’s just too much and too trendy for me. I find myself feeling stuck and in a fashion rut whenever I walk into Forever 21 or H&M. Yes, the clothes are made to meet the demands of fast seasonal trends, but the trends of today are trends from the past. Velvet dresses are a hit right now, but they were a hit in the 90s and the early 50s. Even before my time of actually caring about how I dress, I look back at photos and see myself dressed in styles that are prominent today. I’d wear what I wore as a kid, but of course the adult version.
Fun fact…I left with nothing but a silly gift for my brother-in-law. We ran out of time to explore the other two floors but I highly recommend this spot for a good gift! Even if you think some antique items can be ‘overpriced’, the value is in the fact that it’s a piece of history. Passed on from decades ago, the fashions and home decor of yesterday are just as good as available items of today.
We stopped at one more local ‘touristy’ type store that caters to the Western Wear lover, which again isn’t my style but the appreciation for the details is what I’m in to. Located on 502 E Houston St., 78205, this shop had something for the All Day Rodeo Wear Fashionista. Sparkles, turquoise and fringe were abundant among the clothes at this shop.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and hopefully it sparks the wheels to gift from local spots that you would never second guess to have great items! From the vintage lover to the Texas Hill Country gal, the tourist type shops have some of the best finds this Holiday Season. You never know what you’ll find when you go Downtown and avoid retail shops. Happy Holidays, Style Lushes!