Oct 7th, 2015, 03:14 AM

Go Thrifting at a Vide-Dressing in Paris

By Alice Preat
You can find vintage to haute couture pieces at vide-dressings of Paris. Image Credit: Ariana Mozafari
Let us show you what's behind the "vide-dressing" concept of selling used clothes in Paris.

Paris’ streets and its locals are used to seeing to the monthly “brocantes,” during which dozens of people in different neighborhoods set up tables and tents for a day to get rid of everything they can, ranging from clothes to furniture. It is getting harder and harder to reserve a slot at these markets, and no one really wants to be sitting in the cold all day; and, let’s face it: brocantes are not really your typical definition of glamour. Because Parisian shoppers are getting tired of expensive prices in boutiques and big retail stores, a new concept is starting to get more and more popular among Parisian girls: vide-dressings.

A few years ago, vide-dressings started off as intimate gatherings at a stranger’s apartment: if you needed to get rid of clothes and make a little money, you would post an announcement on a designated website or social media and organize a time during which people would show up and buy your unwanted clothing items. Today, however, with the “vintage” and hipster vibes trending, the concept has become a true business. The basic concept still remains the same: people get rid of their unwanted clothes and give or sell them to collectives, who then organize giant vide-dressing events so that we can go through the masses of clothing until we find our “ootd” (outfit of the day). These collectives rent showrooms or spaces, which they turn into huge thrift warehouses. The event is “cool” enough that people form long lines out the door to shop all day.

Although there are now quite a lot of collectives organizing vide-dressings around Paris—your Facebook newsfeed is probably often flooded by "X and Y are attending this Vide-Dressing"—you can still find markets to go to that won't be as crowded with tourists.

The best way to find anything underground in Paris these days is, of course, online. Vide-dressings are no different. As much as your Facebook News Feed can be a menu for vide-dressings at certain times of the year, your best bet remains checking this site frequently. Like a calendar, Vide-Dressing.org's database lists all the upcoming used clothing sales in your city (not just in Paris) and will give you the organizer's contact and Facebook page when available.

Another great way to hear about any vide-dressings coming up is to join a Facebook group to stay up-to-date on the upcoming sales, like Vide Dressing Particuilières. Members will also share other events and their opinions of vide-dressings on these pages.

To start your list, here are our two favorite vide-dressings in Paris:

Violette Sauvage 

One of the best and biggest vide-dressing collective in Paris, this association organizes huge monthly events all around Paris that attract quite large numbers of girls because of its wide range of clothing and prices. You can find brand clothing as well as vintage items at these events. 

La Frange à l’envers

This is a weekly event that is a little more laid-back and intimate. These gals are actually very keen on you selling your old clothes to them as much as they are on you buying, and always make sure you know how to do it. Their small prices and cute set ups will attract your eye until you can’t get enough. 

As far as prices go, it all depends on where you go; some vide-dressings are have mainly chic and big brand clothing and therefore more on the expensive side. However, the main idea behind this concept is to sell clothes in a collaborative manner and make shopping vintage or brand clothing accessible to almost everyone. Although sometimes you’ll be able to find extremely cheap items, don’t confuse vide-dressings with brocantes or thrift stores; you will not find everything you want for ten euros or less. Finally, organize your day around the vide-dressing: these events are usually fun to go to with friends, and often quite big: if you want to find good steals, you will need to spend time and search for that little black dress you’ve wanted for weeks.