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Vintage shops in London

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

We scoured the capital to find the best vintage shops, secondhand boutiques and antique fashion houses, including Camden's rockabilly stockists and east London's thrift warehouses. Here's our comprehensive guide to pre-loved fashion…

Vintage shops by area

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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.

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North London

North London is home to more vintage shops than any other part of the city, including the considered vintage parlours of Stoke Newington and the chaotic retro jumble of Camden…

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South London

South London might not have the footfall and fashion reputation of the stores north of the river, but that just means there are more vintage bargains for the rest of us. Head to Greenwich, where The Beehive and The Emporium take their vintage buying and selling very seriously, and Crazy Man Crazy caters for the secondhand yearnings of the less fair sex…

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East London

Thanks to the crop of easygoing vintage shops that have sprung up around hipster central Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Dalston, east London is one of the best places to find trend led thrift in the city.

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West London

West London caters for a more refined taste in vintage, with long-established celebrity favourites like Rellik and One Of A Kind providing collectible, timeless pieces worth their weight in old gold.

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Vintage London

Whether you love to shop for vintage clothing and retro furniture or to visit old fashioned tea rooms and glamorous cocktail bars, there's no escaping the allure of vintage in London.View vintage London

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The best vintage shops in London

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Absolute Vintage

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.

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Blackout II

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.

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Peekaboo

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.

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What The Butler Wore

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. 

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Comments

3 comments
Joanne
Joanne

11 years ago I went to a wedding in London. Our touring took us to the Chelsea Physic Garden. On the way from the tube (Sloan ) we passed a vintage clothing shop with the most amazing collection of couture in the basement. Since I had done a couture course, I was in 7th heaven, looking at the construction of these lovely items. I can't for the life of me remember what the name of it was. Anyone out there know?