Niles is a very small town about a 45 minute drive from Berkeley, heading south towards Silicon Valley.  From the freeway, you head down Alvarado Niles Road and once you’ve passed the new development that is Fremont, you are in Niles.  The dividing line is actually a large bridge.  Once over the bridge, you are there.  Niles is a town that is lost in time.  There is no new development, the buildings are old and the pace, despite the tourists looking for antiques, is slow.

Niles was also the home of one of California’s first movie studios, starring Bronco Billy.  That studio (started in 1912) liked the canyons surrounding Niles for its cowboy westerns, which were very popular.  Charlie Chaplin even filmed here and had his own theater for a short time before he moved on to make films in L.A.  The theater has been restored by community efforts and shows silent films.

I came to Niles to find interesting vintage and designer clothes.  I visited two shops that specialize in clothing and one antique store that had a closet of clothes and a collection of amazing vintage hats.  I know you will enjoy the photographs, as I included the best ones of the many I took there.

The first store that I visited was Switch Designer Resale & Consignment owned by Marisol (37400 Niles Blvd., Fremont, CA, (510) 894-1499,,  Marisol had a nice collection of designer clothes, purses and shoes as well as one room with nothing but 50% items.  I scored a new Betsy Johnson dress (with tags attached) for only $19.50.  I also got a few other things at very reasonable prices.  I would definitely return again to Switch Designer Resale & Consignment for some serious shopping.

The second store I wanted to check out was at the other end of the town (about 6-7 blocks away) called The Armoire Closet (37825 Niles Blvd., Fremont, CA, ( 510) 449-1503, ,  This store is owned by Kaleo and his partner Heather Boyer.  Heather designs her own jewelry, which she sells in the store and Kaleo is a stylist.  Their store has a nice collection of vintage clothes from the 1950’s through the 1990’s with some great contemporary boots and shoes.

Kaleo and Heather told me about a third store in Niles that had a great collection of vintage hats, so I said “thanks, see you later” and headed for my final stop, Niles Antiques(37759 Niles Blvd., Fremont, CA, (510) 744-1602, ).  This shop is owned by Ron and Madeline Sixby.  It has a little bit of everything and the rooms of antiques seem to go on forever.  It didn’t take me too long before I found the hats.  There were so many that it was hard to focus, but I did my best to capture their beauty.  I also found a few other vintage clothing treasures from wandering around the store, including a black cape and a coat and blouse from the victorian era.

Downtown Niles, CA (aka Fremont)
Rolling hills above Niles

The Florence - Niles' biker bar

 Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 The 50% off room at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 Sunglasses at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 Mink jacket at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment ($399)
 Sexy black platforms at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 Lovely purse at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 Designer section at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 Shopping at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 Black suede ankle boots at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 Coach flats at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 Suede faux fur-lined boots by Daisy Fuentes at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment

Black floor length evening gown at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment

Red leather pumps at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment

Cole Hahn shoes at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment

Cheyenne wearing suede boots by Daisy Fuentes ($20)

Gucci purse at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment ($699)

 Prada cloth purse at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 Retro open-toe pumps at Switch Designer Resale & Consignment
 Patty Play Pal and antique friend in window display in Niles
 The Armoire Closet
 Kaleo & Heather, owners of The Armoire Closet
 Marilyn & 1950's bathing suit at The Armoire Closet
 Lime green dress & matching hat at The Armoire Closet
 The Armoire Closet
 1980's workout suit at The Armoire Closet
 Heather's original jewelry at The Armoire Closet
 Cool collar at The Armoire Closet
 The Armoire Closet
 Gold shoes & hat at The Armoire Closet
 Black lace dress at The Armoire Closet
 Hot black dress with puffed sleeves at The Armoire Closet
 The perfect combination of accessories at The Armoire Closet
 Such an amazing necklace - at The Armoire Closet
 Black leather boots with bows at The Armoire Closet
 Stunning black suede boots with gold side buckles at The Armoire Closet
 Tangerine beaded bag at The Armoire Closet
 Men's section at The Armoire Closet
 Sunglasses, etc. at The Armoire Closet
 Beaded purse at The Armoire Closet
 Fur & leather purse at The Armoire Closet
 1980's tri-color clutch purse at The Armoire Closet
 1950's-60's geometric purse at The Armoire Closet
 Missoni dress at The Armoire Closet ($100)
 Black velvet hat at Niles Antiques
 Suede hat with feathers at Niles Antiques
 Dramatic black velvet hat with flowers at Niles Antiques
 Gorgeous black lace hat at Niles Antiques
 1930's - 1940's black cloth purse at Niles Antiques ($55)
 Cinderella's hat closet at Niles Antiques
 Satin hat with feathers & flowers at Niles Antiques
 1940's Mark of Zorro hat at Niles Antiques
 Ambulance cap at Niles Antiques
 Fantasy clothes closet at Niles Antiques
 Blue suede boots at Niles Antiques
 Child's Victorian coat at Niles Antiques
 Beautiful cape at Niles Antiques ($450)
 Victorian blouse at Niles Antiques ($165)
 Lace cap (1920's?) at Niles Antiques
 Child's coat at Niles Antiques
 Jet beads on fabric at Niles Antiques
 Niles Antiques
 Niles, CA
 Niles Silent Film Museum
I ended my day with a coffee at this Niles cafe


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