Guide to Shopping in Buenos Aires

Guide to Shopping in Buenos Aires

June 1, 2016
By Stephanie Cohn

So you’ve finally booked that trip to Buenos Aires, and you’ve made sure to leave plenty of room in your suitcase for the city’s famous leather goods and artisan crafts. Yet when you arrive at the many markets you’re overwhelmed and cannot decide on quality, taste, or fair prices. That’s where Local Guide, Sophie comes in. The former fashion editor and current personal shopper knows the city’s emerging design scene like the back of her hand. To help visitors through the shopping in Buenos Aires experience, she began leading fashion tours, taking her guests to all the best, hidden shopping spots. Today this fashion expert is dishing some of her top Buenos Aires fashion secrets, so you can explore with ease. 

Local Guide Sophie in Buenos Aires

1. Search for all-natural

Today, I would say the trend throughout Buenos Aires, is definitely all-natural fashion. More and more local designers have started to get into eco-fashion, which takes advantage of the country’s natural resources to create more environmentally friendly works of art.

While everyone knows about the leather market in Argentina, you can also find beautiful hand-made work using llama wool, recycled materials, and natural dyes. When shopping, keep an eye open for this sort of work. 

2. Go to hidden showrooms

Buenos Aires has a truly exciting, emerging fashion scene, with lots of talented local designers. For many of these talented, up-and-coming designers, it’s cheaper to sell their designs out of an apartment or showroom. If you know where to go, you can get beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces for a great price. 

Sewing a pink dress

3. Check out the blogs

You’re probably wondering how to find these showrooms now. I have connections in the industry, so many of the secret showrooms I find are through word of mouth. I also keep up with both local and fashion bloggers and social media accounts.  

For example, you can check out English-language expat blogs like The Bubble to find them yourselves. Or you can join me on one of my tours (like my shopping on a shoestring tour), and I’ll do the searching for you ;). 

4. Have a keen eye for quality

While hand-made is certainly the trend in this city, you have to be careful. When shopping, carefully inspect everything. While this may seem obvious, in the overwhelming markets it’s easy to forget to check.

But always remember to ask yourself, is the glue coming apart in that shoe? Is the hem-line even? Most importantly, examine the seams! A tiny tear or tug in a seam is a tell-tale sign that the product probably won’t last.

5. Consider investing in leather

If you are looking to go leather shopping in Buenos Aires, do a little research. While the leather market is cheaper here, don’t be afraid to invest a little bit. Spending a little more on quality will ensure that whatever you buy will last a very very long time. As I mentioned before, hidden showrooms will often give you the best prices because they don’t have the same overhead as the shops. Sometimes they will even give you wholesale prices.

If you really want to make an investment, in the city center there are plenty of leather tailors who can make you a custom, high-quality piece. It’ll cost you, but you will have something unique that will last for decades to come.

Leather bags in a Buenos Aires market

6. Know the right neighborhoods

Knowing what you want will help direct where you go. If you want to check out some beautiful, high-quality boutiques, head to Palermo Soho. In San Telmo, you’ll find plenty of vintage shops and artisan crafts. Colegiales is home to most of the best, hidden showrooms, and Villa Crespo has some cool second-hand shops and is a great place for budget leather shopping.

7. Dress like a locals

Lucky for you this is very easy in Buenos Aires. The city is very casual and almost everyone wears jeans year round. Make sure to pack comfortable shoes, because many of the streets are cobblestone. If you are coming in the winter, the weather is chilly, but not freezing. Think autumn in the USA.

Wear layers, a scarf, and bring an umbrella for the occasional rainy day. If you like to dress a little funky, you don’t have to be shy in Buenos Aires, the city is full of people rocking creative styles.

Shopping in Buenos Aires

Bonus Tip: Discover the city’s closed-door scene

In addition to the hidden-showrooms, Buenos Aires is a city full of secrets. Its closed door scene also includes art galleries, restaurants, and bars. In addition to The Bubble, you can also read Gringo in Buenos Aires and Pick up a Fork to find out what’s happening. Also, a quick Google search of closed-door restaurants and bars can really point you in the right direction.

Ready for your shopping spree? For more expert tips and to immerse yourself in Buenos Aires’ design scene, take a tour with Sophie. After you can show off your new look as you explore the city!

The city of Buenos Aires - Casa Rosada in the background

Categories: Argentina, Meet our Guides, Travel Tips