Unless you're talking about cars, 'second-hand' can be something of an ugly word in certain carioca circles, where a city on the up and up simply means more and more people are showing out in style. The second-hand clothing shop (or brechó) scene in Rio does have its gems, though, opening up a glorious world of possibilities for the more creatively-minded dressers, often in the most unlikely of places.
Desculpe, Eu sou Chique
Time may not have been so kind to this once stunning house in Laranjeiras, but that merely makes it feel like all the more of a treasure trove deserving of a serious picking-over. The old theatre space means there are plenty of unlikely costumes lying around as well as a bar to retire to after a dust-laden trawl through clothes, furniture, books and records.
Rua Alice 75, Laranjeiras (2225 6059).
Eu Amo Vintage
Militantly drawing the line at the 1980s, anything from that decade of high taste and understatement and before is fair game at Eu Amo, and the website nicely updates fans of what is in stock and what they have just missed out on. Stunning womenswear from frocks to undies and accessories, and a nice range for the boys to peruse too.
Rua Monte Alegre 374 (house 1), Santa Teresa (2221 2855/
Vintage sold with a passion, the knowledgeably stylish Catherine Labouré has been located in the heart of Ipanema since early 2006, selling national and international second-hand brands from her quirky headquarters in the Galeria VIP Center shopping gallery.
Rua Visconde de Pirajá 207 (shops 104 & 212), Ipanema (2287 9630/
Café das Misturas
Another wonderfully eccentric little hangout in Ipanema, this half-bar, half-vintage store keeps to its own unique timetable, opening from 8pm until 6am and attracting an interesting, nocturnal crowd as a result. Some of the cheaper second-hand style to be found in town.
Rua Texeira de Melo 30a, Ipanema (3087 7213).
Starting along the path of cast-offs after a clearout of her own wardrobe rendered three suitcases of odds and ends and eventually a walletful of cash, owner Daniela broadened her collection base until there were enough of her friends' and family's Diesel, Levis and Seven jeans (among others of course) to open a business proper.
Rua Visconde de Pirajá 550 (shop 319), Ipanema (2239 3707).
The environmentally-conscious second-hand store sees the recycling of clothes as an important part of helping to reduce the waste that is damaging our planet, so expect to find an ever-changing display of shoes, bags, clothes and accessories and a good selection of men's shirts.
Rua Senador Vergueiro 218 (shop 23), Flamengo (2554 6282/
De Salto Alto
Specialising in items from the '50s through to the '70s, this Copacabana stalwhart has long been a haven for the wardrobes of television and movie sets. Regularly stocking the most famous of names including Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Dior, regular snoopers are likely to be well rewarded. Rua Siqueira Campos 143 (shop 44), Copacabana (2236 2589/ brechodesaltooriginal.blogspot.com.br).
Maria com Graça
If it is a classic hat you are seeking then this is the place to come. Vintage headwear stylings from the '20s coupled with a variety of items from the '60s and '70s make for a diverting rummage when the majority of shops close by are rather more 'exclusive'.
Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva 1079 (shop 117), Leblon (2540 5111).
La Botica da Jane
You have to book a visit in advance to this little gem tucked away in Tijuca, but the house is crammed full of an ever-changing array of vintage clothes. The owners also set up a stall at the Praça XV antiques market on Saturdays if you prefer a slightly less formal approach to your browsing.
Rua Pereira Barreto 71, Tijuca (3185 5177).