I remember the days when my mom would load up our family in the car and we would head on an hour long journey to the mall. It always felt like such a trek so we’d spend the entire day there shopping. Back then we a few malls and some discount stores like Kmart and Clover, and those were the only places to shop and buy new things. Fast forward many years later and now you can find something new anywhere you turn. Although I don’t enjoy shopping quite as much anymore (more about this in a soon to come post), and I prefer online shopping to brick and mortar, there are still some cool finds in unusual places. Don’t be afraid to shop outside of your usual places and spaces. You never know what you’ll find!
Here are some of the most unusual, oddest places to shop for fashion, beauty, and home products, plus fun, kitschy stuff!
What I’m Wearing:
Dolce Cabo Chevron Faux Fur Coat // similar options here, here, and here
White marble frame sunglasses // similar here and here
Wandler Hortensia bag // also here, here and here
H&M Fuzzy sweater // similar here, here and here
White ankle boots // Similar here
The kids department
I picked up the pink fluffy sweater I’m wearing at H&M – in the kids department! It sounds crazy, but hear me out. I was walking by the store and saw it hanging in the window and it immediately caught my eye. I saw pink, I saw fur – so I went inside to check it out. When I realized it was a kid’s sweater, I almost passed it up, but decided to snag one. It fit just fine and it’s one of the softest, coziest, cutest sweaters I own!
*Side note: The men’s department also has some cool finds. If you want the perfect-fitting pair of boyfriend jeans – buy them in the ‘boyfriend’ section!
Every time I go to visit my mom, she wants to go to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. And while we wait to be seated, we often browse through the ‘general store’. I’m telling you, Cracker Barrel has some of the cutest finds – fashion, home, random gifts, and baby stuff. I’ve purchased some cute accessories for myself, as well as some fun stuff my dear sweet baby nephew.
I also visited a restaurant in Michigan over the holidays, which had a pretty large gift shop in the basement. While most of the goods were overpriced, I did score a pair of fabulous sunglasses for under 30 bucks.
And I recently visited New York City’s infamous pink restaurant, Pietro Nolita. For pink lovers, it’s a pastel dream! And the perfect place to pick up some fun pieces. I was obsessed with the restaurant’s mini shop. I wanted the “Pink as F*ck” sweater but that would have set me back $150, so I settled for the matching mug for $20.
Given the current popularity of Instagram, perhaps this isn’t so weird. There are plenty of people who use the app to promote their online shops. And plenty just sell straight through the app. They post some cool pics and you DM to purchase.
The beauty salon
Every time I go to the beauty salon, there seems to be someone coming through, peddling some goods. I’ve purchased cool jewelry and even some clothes while waiting to get my hair done.
I’m so drawn to novelty stores. Anytime I travel, I always seem to find a novelty store and cannot pass up browsing through it. New York City is my favorite place to do this because there are always a ton of new stores, and you never know what treasures you’ll find! For instance, I visited last year and was browsing through Union Square and discovered Flying Tiger Copenhagen, which is a mix of Target and IKEA, and I picked up a variety of cool things, including these pearl ankle socks. Just down the street is Fish’s Eddy, where I discovered a cool collection of snarky dishes and mugs.
Museum gift shops
If you visit a museum, you can’t escape the gift shop since they’re often set up to funnel you right into it. But they’re often full of great artistic finds – of course. The MoMa is one of my favorites because it has some of the most unique modern finds. I snagged a cool NYC necklace there a year ago, as well as a feminist notebook a month ago. Special exhibitions are great too because they bring special themed merchandise with them. I recently missed the Rodarte exhibition at the Museum of Women but there’s still accessories available for purchase online.
If you can manage venturing through hordes of slow walking tourists, you can often unearth some great finds in touristy areas. In San Francisco, for instance, Fisherman’s Wharf has a ton of great stores where I’ve purchased some really unique pieces. NYC of course has gems everywhere. I bought some amazing jade bracelets on the side of the Great Wall in China. Pretty much anywhere you go, you can find some cool things in tourist locales. I’d suggest going at an off-peak time so you really have the opportunity to browse through everything that’s there.
Where are some of the weirdest, most unusual or odd places you’ve shopped?