Vintage shops in central London

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From boutiques to thrift stores, Time Out recommends the best vintage shops in central London

Don't think that a central London location means that shopping is limited to high street chains and designer boutiques. Vintage and secondhand shops are there if you know where to find them, like the W1 outpost of Absolute vintage, Lucy in Disguise – the ritzy showcase for Lily Allen's vintage collection – and off-the-radar places like Reign Wear and Peekaboo


Vintage shops in central London

  • Absolute Vintage

    Berwick Street, London, W1F 8TL

    Smaller than its east London counterpart, this Soho branch of Absolute Vintage moves away from the ramshackle, bursting-at-the-seams approach of its sister establishment, though it does share its focus on shoes. Lined up by the dozen on packed shelves, both men's and women's styles are arranged in meticulous order by colour and by type. So, if you're looking for a pair of gold loafers, black Dr Martens, or brown ankle boots, the search is made infinitely easier here. The boutique-style store also has a solid selection of bags as well as a back room packed with apparel. It's a whittled-down selection, helping you avoid a complete rummage-fest. View the Absolute Vintage listing

  • Blackout II

    51 Endell Street , London, WC2H 9AJ

    Blackout II was peddling vintage threads long before it became fashionable. For some 25 years, the Covent Garden store has specialised in antique apparel (largely dresses from the '20s and '30s) as well as more wearable men's and women's clothing and accessories from the '40s through to the '80s. The duplex store is heaving with stock, and you'll need a great deal of rummager's enthusiasm to prise through the stuffed rails, but incredibly knowledgeable staff, together with signs on rails indicating era, make the shopping experience a smidge easier. An ideal place to go if you're after a specific item from a specific decade. View the Blackout II listing

  • Lucy in Disguise

    48 Lexington Street, London, W1F 0LR

    Enter this glamorous boutique and you'll find Lily Allen and her half-sister Sarah Owen have done all the hard work for you. They've scoured the globe for premium beaded '50s-'60s prom dresses (many at £80-£120), 1920s silk slips, brocade gowns, and on the '80s/'90s rack, an awesome pair of clown print Versace jeans (£120). At the top end are some fabulous Ossie Clark jumpsuits, which, if you can't shell out £450, can be hired for £90. Plus, in an effort to make this a one-stop glamour shop, there's retro hair and make-up styling on the floor below. It's not the place to come if you're on a tight budget, but it's worth coming for a look at how the other half spend. View the Lucy in Disguise listing

  • Peekaboo

    Ganton Street, London, W1F 7QL

    Styling itself as a boutique - rather than a jumble-style vintage den - this classy store in the Newburgh Quarter is a great place to find occasion wear. Founders Emily Bothwell and Michael Caunter (the pair behind Topshop's long-loved Peekaboo vintage concession) have moved away from the colourful, secondhand party garb that made them so popular on the high street and have focused instead on the more exclusive, grown-up side of vintage. Designer gowns and day dresses meet clutch bags, hats and immaculately kept heels. As you'd expect, price tags reflect the ethos, with dresses starting at around £90. View the Peekaboo listing

  • Reign Wear

    12 Berwick Street, London, W1F 0PN

    A favourite among Soho's media types, this Berwick Street store is well stocked with unique buys. The owners head to Austria, Germany and Italy (among other European countries) to source apparel, so items have a fresh feel compared to vintage dens that rely on American and British secondhand. There's also real attention to detail when it comes to arranging stock: items that work well together are paired on rails, and clothing is largely colour-coordinated - it makes the process of fashioning a complete outfit almost effortless. Prices are fair given the central London location, and you could walk away with a striking Nordic wool cardie for £30. View the Reign Wear listing

  • What The Butler Wore

    Lower Marsh, London, SE1 7AE

    This brilliantly named store specialises in '60s and '70s fashion for men and women. Sandwiched between two cafes on Waterloo's Lower Marsh Street, the small but well stocked shop sells everything you need to pull off a polished retro look, from Mary Quant-style shifts and floral flares to kitten heels and maxi dresses which we can picture south London native Florence Welch stepping out in. Prices are reasonable, with shirts from £25 and dresses from £50, while gentlemen's jackets go from £45 to £80 for velvet trimmed suit jackets. Friendly staff are more than happy to let you rummage - particularly in the back where the furs, capes and evening dresses are kept alongside costume jewellery and accessories. View the What The Butler Wore listing

  • Wow Retro

    179 Drury Lane, London, WC2B 5QF

    This airy secondhand store is filled - but not overstuffed - with affordable garments. Unusually, the men's section is up front, offering a choice selection of leather jackets, suit blazers (from £40), cool army coats and surprisingly, football shirts. The womenswear ranges from the '40s-'00s, although the last two decades err on tatty. There's a smattering of slightly dated designer clobber from Prada and Mui Mui, as well as Burberry trenches from £125 and Liberty print dresses from £30. If you're in the area, check out the additional men's and women's Wow Retro branches on Mercer Street, but don't expect to find pristine vintage; these items are well loved as opposed to lovingly preserved. View the Wow Retro listing

  • The Vintage Showroom

    14 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LN

    An expertly curated selection of men's vintage awaits discerning gents in this Seven Dials boutique. Among the usual plaid flannel shirts and flat caps, the store sources an interesting edit of vintage military jackets and holdalls, quality tailoring and tweed, and a solid selection of designer coats from Barbour to Belstaff. Dead stock is also part of the mix, together with a few contemporary labels including the lovely knits of British brand, North Sea. View the The Vintage Showroom listing


Users say

2 comments
Jason
Jason

Check out Trash or Treasure in Maidstone for Vintage items without the silly prices

lu
lu

vintage