Secondhand America: Kowboyz

America's wealth of secondhand stores is not exactly a secret, but it it can be pretty intimidating in its vastness. Follow our writer as she tiptoes through junk, browses the shelves of antique malls and bargains with vintage brokers, reporting back on just what makes our resale shops so damn good.

Santa Fe’s Kowboyz is the dreamiest little shop for all aspiring cowgirls. That it’s been a magnet for celebrities looking for authentic Western wear and a regular outfitter for TV and movies is just a cherry on top of an already attractive dish. The small-but-mighty building is on the outskirts of downtown Santa Fe, and is set up like a sweet little house of treasures—take plenty of time to meander through the stock. You’ll find rooms devoted to clothes for men and women, and walls upon walls of cowboy boots for both genders. The urge to play dress-up might be overwhelming, but this is no novelty shop: this is the point where you figure out how to work really awesome cowboys boots into your wardrobe, because you can’t live without them.

You’ll have the urge to go straight back to the women’s section, but linger in the airy front room for a spell. There are racks upon racks of cowboy shirts for men and the across-the-board $10 price tag means you should grab as many as you can—slightly boxy and oversized is always in, yes? Also in the front room are accessories, like really cool $5 beaded collar tips, lariats, tooled leather bags, plus cool New Mexican collectibles. Once you’re ready to move on, head to the back rooms for ladies clothes and boots galore. This footwear is the real deal, so prices are not cheap (they vary, but expect to spend more than $100) but the boots are seriously so good. You will find your dream boots here (mine was a pair with embroidered spiderwebs, though unfortunately a touch too small), whether you’re into fringe or floral, starbursts or lace-ups.

There are plenty of must-dos when you head to Santa Fe—mostly, to eat as much fry bread as you can—but be sure to add “visit Kowboyz to find my dream vintage boots” to that list.

Freelance writer Alison Baitz (who also writes for Bust and Refinery29) is so excited that she gets to visit thrift stores and antique malls as part of her job.


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