The Alpha Blonde


This article was written on 27 Jan 2010, and is filled under 31 days of Fresno, Fresno CA, project 350, Retro Rag, Thrift Shops, Vintage.

Day 27- Vintage, Vintage Everywhere!

Anyone who has ever seen my wardrobe probably has noticed one major trend- I don’t really shop very often. I think half of my closet is roller derby t-shirts*, a good quarter is outlandish outfits I might wear once a year- you never know when a Marilyn Monroe dress, a gypsy scarf-skirt, or a Final Fantasy Tactics White Mage** cloak might come in handy. Or hot pink cowboy boots.

That last quarter is blissfully vintage. I say blissfully because that stuff just doesn’t wear out, and when you hate looking for new clothes as much as I do, this is really important.

Truth be told, the only stores I haven’t hyperventilated in, had a nearly-homicidal episode, or broken down and bawled my eyes out in the fitting room have been vintage shops. Its easier to blame something not fitting on the “weird sizing they used back then.” instead of late night chocolate chips and popcorn.

Fresno luckily has some awesome vintage and secondhand shops.

Yoshi Now!
is kind of a paradise for anyone who collects and appreciates funky old junk. I love going in and seeing what awesomely weird stuff they’ve brought in since my last trip. It almost feels like a pop-culture history lesson going in and seeing the tables, chairs, dishes, and clothes upon clothes upon clothes that fill this emporium of the retro. A very cool thing about Yoshi Now! is that they’re more than just a crazy vintage shop, they’re also a venue and a flea market. Several times a year, they open up their parking lot to anyone who has something to sell to set up shop and peddle their wares for free. FREE, FOLKS! They always provide live music from some of the coolest bands in town, hold raffles and make it more of an event that a flea market. In addition to that awesomeness, my girlcrushfavoritepersontoeverholdaukulele*** always makes sure to do a quick set at Yoshi before she performs a full set elsewhere when she makes a tour stop through Fresno. Why? Because she, a world traveler, thinks that Yoshi is just the coolest.

Just down the street from Yoshi Now! is a whole block of thrift stores on Van Ness. I like to hit these up when I’m looking for a particular item, if you have no luck at one, at least there are many more racks to comb!

Okay, now I’m going to interrupt day 27 with a soapbox-y rant. Bear with me. I love Retro Rag in Tower District. It was my first experience with vintage clothing, and I still have the first vintage shirt I ever bought there- a lavender T shirt that says “50 isn’t old… if you’re a tree” on it. What? I was 16 and I thought I was clever. I like that it is more of a boutique than other vintage shops, and they carry new clothes -a great way to compromise with a shopping buddy who never buys anything pre-owned . What I don’t like is news I just got from Corie, my favorite Retro Rag employee- that they’re having a hard time in this economy. I know I’m definitely not shopping like I used to- which was already pretty rare- but the thought of a Fresno without Retro Rag is almost unbearable.

I don’t know if you guys are familiar with the 3/50 project, a national campaign to save mom and pop stores by asking people to identify which places would be sorely missed if they closed their doors forever. From that list, you’re encouraged to choose 3 places and spend at least $50 a month among those, putting money back into the local economy and saving your favorite haunts. Money is tight, but if everyone even dropped in to their favorite shops or restaurants and spent 10 dollars that would be something. We’re all in this community together and we need to ensure that these places that add local flavor survive this economically bad time. Retro Rag isn’t the only place affected by the economy, many of the staples of the Olive strip have been seeing decreased sales.

Where would you miss? When was the last time you stopped in?


*Whew* it feels good to get that off my chest. Buy Vintage. Buy Local. Love Fresno!

(Photo Credit to Ryan Smith/The Collegian. Google Image Search is a lifesaver! )
*Not for the faint of heart. Derby Girls have a warped sense of humor. Just sayin’. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
** Shut up it was a long time ago. But I did a SUH-weet job on it. My ex had the matching boy version. You can all geek out appropriately now. Or just shake your heads and unfriend me on Facebook.
***If you were too lazy to click the link, Its Uni and her Ukelele. Shame! You’re missing out on playsuits and muppetesque puppets and ultimate cuteness!


  1. kendall
    January 27, 2010

    Shop at Emerald Thrift! (Downtown/Van Ness)

  2. cinderellacellar
    January 27, 2010

    Would love for you to visit The Cinderella Cellar. Very unique bridal shop. Only bridal shop in Fresno that carries vintage gowns as well as the latest styles. Great place to go for gown alterations too! The Better Business Bureau give them an A+ rating. Call your Fairy Godmother for an appointment.(559)497-6644 or (559)906-1817

  3. Kim Burly
    January 27, 2010

    Hey Cinderella Cellar, My sister and my best friend are getting married, I think we'll definitely be able to find a way to make a trip to your shop, sounds awesome and right up our alley!

    Kendall- Emerald is AWESOME!

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