Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

What's Old Is New: The Glory of Secondhand

Although most women expect to get flowers and chocolates for March 8, Mariana Sokolinskaya has an unorthodox shopping list for her own female friends.

Instead of heading for the nearest candy shop, Sokolinskaya, a 23-year-old artist, tours the secondhand stores for goods.

"There is, of course, a type of women who would get offended by a March 8 present from a secondhand store, but there are also creative women who I know appreciate this kind of thing," Sokolinskaya says.

In fact, if you can't afford an haute couture outfit for your female friend, secondhand shops are the next best place to look for extravagant clothes - with the added advantage that she will probably never see another person wearing the exact same ensemble.

"I have been to lots of secondhand shops dozens of times, but I never came across the same sweater or pair of pants, like I do in normal stores," says Tatyana, 30, who professed herself a modnitsa, a woman who likes fashionable clothes. Dressed in dark-blue wool bell bottoms, a tight white sweater and a short green-and-red checkered coat - secondhand purchases all - Tatyana turns her attention to the contents of Shivorot-Navyvorot, a store on Begovaya Ulitsa in northwest Moscow which sells used clothes by the weight.

Tatyana said she would "probably not be comfortable" giving a second-hand item to anybody who is not a close friend. "It is somewhat against tradition," she said. "But come to think of it, the way we celebrate March 8 now is somewhat against tradition as well."

But Valentina, a saleswoman in her fifties who works at Second-Hand on Nikolskaya Ulitsa - which sells everything from military fatigues (200-500 rubles, or $7-$17) to 1980s leather jackets (1,500 rubles, or $52) - said she was "strictly against" buying March 8 gifts at her store.

"I may sound like a hypocrite. I think what we sell here has fine quality, but to give it to someone as a gift - this is unheard of," Valentina said. "It is just rude. Somebody has already worn all of these things."

Second-Hand, 9 Protopopovsky Pereulok. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Metro Prospekt Mira. Tel. 284-2514.

Second-Hand, 4 Nikolskaya Ulitsa, second floor. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Metro Ploshchad Revolutsii, Kuznetsky Most. No telephone. Both stores offer pants, T-shirts, skirts, jackets and coats for 150-700 rubles ($5-$24). Leather jackets are a bit overpriced.

Mesto Pokupki Modnoi Odezhdy (The place to buy fashionable clothes), 18/1 Pyatnitskaya Ulitsa. Open Monday-Friday from noon to 8 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 7 p.m. Metro Novokuznetskaya, Tretyakovksaya. No telephone. A very cozy, youth-oriented place. Bell-bottom jeans and silk slips can be found if you search long enough.

Shivorot-Navyvorot (Inside Out), 6 Begovaya Ulitsa, korpus 3. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Metro Begovaya. Tel. 946-0159. Carries on the novel shopping concept of "odezhda na ves," or clothes by the weight. 210 rubles ($7) per kilo for a collection which weighs less than one kilogram, 180 rubles ($6) per kilo for between one and two kilograms of clothes, 150 rubles ($5) per kilo for over 2 kilograms. A lot of children's clothes and, last time we checked, a solitary pair of little-worn men's Dr. Marten's at 1,000 rubles ($35).

Finally, if it's more than clothes you're after, check out the Komissionny store at 16 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya. Open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Closed for lunch from 2-3 p.m.) Metro Belorusskaya, Mayakovskaya. Tel. 251-6598. Has a nice selection of relatively inexpensive antiques: a set of six silver spoons cost 300 rubles ($10) and a grandfather's clock costs 2,000 rubles ($70).