Vintage shops in north London

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


Vintage shops in north London

  • Cafe Vintage

    Mountgrove Road, London, N5 2LT

    Tucked away on the largely residential Mountgrove Road, Cafe Vintage joins a petite parade of independent shops. Sisters Aysha Sparks and Nadia Allman head up the bijou boutique-café crossover and offer a distinctly nostalgic nod to 1940s Britain. The charming café (featuring homemade, retro-influenced cakes and artisan breads) leads to a small backroom rammed with personally selected, washed and ironed vintage. The wartime era is well represented here, but '80s and '90s outfits, shoes and accessories also feature and, though the space is small, a good scour is usually well rewarded. If you have spare threads yourself, Cafe Vintage also runs a competitive consignment service, with 50 per cent of the sales price going back to the seller. View the Cafe Vintage listing

  • Camden Thrift Store

    51 Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AN

    Clothing and accessories are piled up on every surface of this long, narrow shop in Chalk Farm Road, but don't be put off by the madcap merchandising. While this store is lacking a little in presentation, the varied stock and helpful owner more than compensate. She'll ask what you're looking for and pull out several items for you to try on - a rare service in vintage shops. We were tempted by an immaculate '60s A-line pure wool dress, for £25; as well as a '70s coat suit at £30. The quality of some items is a bit hit and miss, but, with bags for £10 to £20 and tops starting at £10, prices are reasonable for the area. View the Camden Thrift Store listing

  • Deborah Woolf Vintage

    28 Church Street, London, NW8 8EP

    We're delighted that former Camden Lock stallholder-turned-music-video director Deborah Woolf has returned to the world of vintage. Her shop offers a fantastic mix of clothing and accessories from luxury brands through to high street. As well as a passion for Eastern European folk garments, Deborah also has an amazing collection of '50s, '60s and '70s costume jewellery and precious pieces by top designers - and she has supplied stock to the V&A shop as well as films such as 'X-Men: First Class'. The shop itself is organised and easy to browse, as Deborah keeps her overflowing archive (which you can visit by appointment) across the road at Alfies Antiques Market. Prices start at £60 for dresses, but the quality and attention to detail of each piece ensures that paying £260 for early '80s Yves Saint Laurent is entirely reasonable. While womenswear is the focus of the shop, there is a small selection of menswear, including ties and cufflinks. View the Deborah Woolf Vintage listing

  • Dirty Blonde

    129a Church Street, London, N16 0UEH

    his cosy little shop is a pleasant place to have a rummage. There is a smattering of vintage finds at reasonable prices; we found a Moschino tailored jacket in fair nick for £65. But most of the small store is filled with tightly packed rails of classic vintage - armfuls of silk blouses (£25) and retro-waisted dresses (£35). The shop has a friendly, local feel to it - and staff are welcoming and game for a gossip. View the Dirty Blonde listing

  • Episode

    26 Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AG

    This easygoing store could do with a tidy up (Converse sneakers, £21, were strewn on the floor at our last visit), but it's a cheap and unpretentious place. Episode is an Amsterdam-based chain and stocks mostly European brands. There's a uniform price policy, so all dresses are £21, whether it's a Paula Yates-style fuchsia and black cocktail frock, or an on-trend orange and brown paisley shift. It's the place to go for hats, especially berets (£8.50), and accessories in general; gloves are £12.50, bags £21.This is a warehouse and dead-stock outlet, rather than a hand-picked experience, but everything is well displayed and it's easy to locate what you're looking for. View the Episode listing

  • Painted Black

    22 Veryan Court, Park Road, London, N8 8JR

    Owner Amelia and her dog Rose can often be found behind the counter watching 'The Good Life' in this beautifully presented shop just away from the main thoroughfare of Crouch End. The shop predominantly sells clothes, accessories and a few curios - such as Derek the taxidermied crow who, as we went to press, could be purchased for £150. If that's a little dear, evening classes in DIY taxidermy take place in store. With this and the animal skulls on the wall are taken into account, Amelia's 'no fur or leather' policy can seem a little odd. Keen eyes can spot real vintage rarities, such as the £250 Christian Dior 'Beetlejuice' suit and the stunning £115 Jean Varon mint-condition dress we spotted. There is also a small collection of men's shirts and jackets, a variety of vintage cameras on display, old milk bottles and desk lights - including a cracking '60s white and gold lamp discarded by local actor James McAvoy. Silly man. View the Painted Black listing

  • Pelicans & Parrots

    Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7XJ

    Juliet Da Silva and partner Ochuko Ojiro are a couple stuck in the past - in a good way. Da Silva scours Italian markets and stores for fashion from the '60s, '70s and '80s, and showcases them in the fashion branch of Pelicans and Parrots. A few doors up, Ojiro sells stylish vintage furniture and ornaments, as well as the odd bit of clothing, from Pelicans and Parrots Black, the homewares outpost. Both stores are beautifully turned out, with neatly presented stock, stylish art deco fixtures, and a selection of product bought with the Dalston hipster demographic in mind - think silk blouses, £30, and Barbour jackets, £80. Not cheap, but good value. View the Pelicans & Parrots listing

  • Persiflage

    Alfies Antique Market, 13-25 Church Street, London, NW8 8DT

    If you're unfamiliar with the rabbit warren layout of Alfies Antiques Market it can be daunting, so we recommend a beeline for the cosy vintage shop on the second floor. Owned by Gwyneth Trefor-Jones, who is also responsible for Essex Road boutique Past Caring, Persiflage has been going for an amazing 25 years and is frequented by fashion students, stylists and even, apparently, Whoopi Goldberg. The shop features a wide variety of pieces from the '20s right through to the '80s, as well as Victorian items, with prices ranging from £30 to £200. If you're into restoring or recreating vintage clothing, then you'll love Persiflage's secondhand lace, buttons, beads and sequins, as well as sewing patterns and books on how to become an expert dressmaker. View the Persiflage listing

  • Strut and Stroll

    182 Church Street, London, N16 0JL

    Hoana Poland is a veteran vintage buyer and is quietly amassing a chain of excellent vintage stores across north-east London. Strut of Stoke Newington was her first, and it is still the best in the area. The large three-roomed premises sells a good variety of well-priced vintage with a mix of designer and no-name stock - we spotted a Marc by Marc Jacobs paisley dress for £60, as well as a statement chunky cardigan for £30. Changing rooms are far more civilised than most, and staff are happy to pop their head round the door to help you with suggestions and a bit of fashion banter. The store hosts buying days on Mondays, when you can sell your own seconds. Stroll (at number 111) is Poland's psychedelically painted high street store selling recent wares from Reiss and Whistles rather than retro styles. There is also a new contemporary vintage store by Broadway Market (see East). View the Strut and Stroll listing

  • Velvet Atelier

    Alfies Antique Market, 13-25 Church Street, London, NW8 8DT

    Owners Anna and Mike recently moved from the second floor to the ground floor of Alfies Antique Market, giving them a street-facing shopfront. Velvet Atelier is already a favourite with the 'Downton Abbey' wardrobe department and designers such as Nicole Fahri because of pieces like a '20s flapper dress or a '50s creation by Marilyn Monroe's designer Ceil Chapman. They can also be rented for 20 per cent of their cost, a great option for brides-to-be who only need one day in white. If you're after something a little more contemporary, the shop also stocks a carefully chosen selection of '80s and '90s pieces from the likes of Moschino, Vivienne Westwood, Oscar de la Renta and Alexander McQueen. View the Velvet Atelier listing

  • Vintage King

    Unit D04, Stables Market, London, NW1 8AH

    A mini-emporium of rock 'n' roll clothing for guys and girls. On our visit, stock included an amazing '50s gold lamé trouser suit that an Ikettes-era Tina Turner might have worn on stage. The stock is well signposted - trousers are divided into '30s-'50s, 'RnR', jive, swing, gabardine, wool, rayon and tweed. Men can choose from Loake loafers for £40, original Hawaiian shirts at £23, and 'Sopranos'-style knitted tops from £15. Girls get '60s and '70s dresses from £20 to £35. The store's soundtrack runs from rockabilly to The Clash and fits the rebel aesthetic perfectly. View the Vintage King listing

  • Vintage Planet

    Stables Market, London, NW1 8AH

    Hunters of '70s and '80s treasures could graze for hours among the rails of this stall, which meanders across three sections of the Horse Tunnels in Camden Stables Market. There's a huge selection of denim, with 'flares' starting at £10; branded skinny jeans are slightly more (Levi's, £25; Diesel, £35). You can pick up retro extras such as a Polaroid camera for £55, and even a pair of '70s roller skates for £45. An '80s designer rail included a Céline velvet jacket (£160) and and a YSL Rive Gauche coat (£120). The owner is approachable, knows her stock and is happy to haggle, so you'll get a bargain. View the Vintage Planet listing


Users say

4 comments
Nicola
Nicola

I adore vintage, but Time Out you missed off the best vintage shop in North London which is Scarlet Rage Vintage. They constantly have new stock on their shop floor and website and actually sell true vintage without feeling like you've had to remortgage your life. It's all beautifully set out aswell. No work out needed.

Bang Bang-Goodge Street
Bang Bang-Goodge Street

I'm in love with vintage clothing. But I most certainly am not in love with vintage clothing stores. Why? Because when I say vintage I mean VINTAGE, not old and dirty clothes. And that is a great problem with the vintage stores, because in order to sell more, they buy more, and because no-one wants to give away precious vintage, they start buying just unwanted clothes and call it vintage. But...One of a few exceptions is Bang Bang. Basically, you come into the store with the clothes or other items you want to sell, and a vintage expert very kindly takes that stuff, and chooses the coolest things she sees, gives you the cash for the objects she/he chose and without making you feel embarrassed about the things you didn't sell gives them carefully back to you! Of course, you, who sold the clothing or whatever other item start to realise it's true value, and how really COOL it is, but.., you've got the cash and you know it's too late to turn back... Another amazing thing about that store? they can either give you cash for the items, or..another vintage item you choose in that store for the same value that your clothes or whatever you sold! Their clothes are simply unbelievable! They have the rarest prints, the rarest pieces, the vintage brooches, the REAL Dior and Chanel ''before they were famous'' pieces, and many many more... But their secret isn't even all these brands, but finding the right pieces, and carefully choosing the style... Great shop, I would even call it a sanctuary for the vintage clothes!

Oliver Ross
Oliver Ross

I like the article, but Pennies Vintage is pretty amazing, especially for exquisite original 1920s beaded flapper dresses, vintage bridal, and antique lace. I'm surprised you haven't mentioned them. Here's their website: www.penniesvintage.com

Sinead Wall
Sinead Wall

Interesting articles but you should fact check more thoroughly. One of the best north London vintage shops is Mishka on Middle Lane, Hornsey High street. You should call in and see for yourself