Don Majors, Bristol
Photograph: Don Majors

The 8 best vintage shops in Bristol

Bargain hunting in Brizzle? Turn up some second-hand treasure at one of these brilliant vintage shops in Bristol

Huw Oliver
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Ever wondered how Bristolians always look so effortlessly cool and well dressed? Vintage stores, that’s how. Bristol is somewhat of a mecca when it comes to unique clothing with stories to tell, offering many more bargain-hunting opportunities than most places its size. You might be worn out after a long day exploring this city’s dazzling array of attractions and things to do, but we highly recommend dedicating time to indulge in some second-hand retail therapy.

Pick your decade – the city offers an enviable list of institutions exhibiting 1990s streetwear, 1980s jackets, 1970s flares and 1960s pearls. Each shop is curated by vintage veterans with immaculate taste, so whether you’re searching for a haute couture treasure, a tweed two-piece or just a few boho bits and bobs, you’re bound to find a piece for the ages. This is our pick of the best vintage shops that Bristol has to offer.

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Best vintage shops in Bristol

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In a city dominated by thrifty millennials, Loot Vintage Warehouse is right on the money with its trendy interior and anti-mainstream ethos. Hand-picking its garms in the world’s coolest cities – including Miami, New York and Paris – and lovingly reworking them on the shop floor, Loot takes vintage retailing to the next level. Conveniently located just off the Bearpit, the store’s stripped-back design allows its vibrant contents to take centre stage. Loot is a failsafe for well-priced, well-presented clothing for both men and women.

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One of the city’s oldest vintage shops, RePsycho opened up on Gloucester Road in 1995, but has existed as an entity for much longer, previously trading on London’s Portobello Road and on university campuses. Among its three storeys of vintage goodness, the ground floor is packed with printed shirts, shell suit jackets and sequined party wear. On the first floor, you’ll find a mesmerising 1960s time warp, stacked with fun trinkets and homewares emulating the funkiness of yesteryear. Explore the basement to discover a wealth of second-hand records from all genres, including dance music classics.

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The owner of Urban Fox is well versed in the vintage business, having been at it for more than 25 years. He also co-owns RePsycho on Gloucester Road and runs vintage stall in St. Nicholas Market. It’s safe to say that he has an exceedingly well-trained eye, and Urban Fox is the destination for only his best finds. Close to the market, Urban Fox is impeccably organised to minimise rummaging frustration. It is predominantly focused on ‘young’ vintage from the 1980s and 1990s; rare long dungarees and coloured jeans or leathers are just a few foxy finds.

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Capitalising on that oh-so common full-wardrobe-but-nothing-to-wear dilemma, Rag Trade Boutique cuts out the middleman to provide designer women’s clothing at a fraction of the usual cost. Customers can sell directly to the store, either for cash or a fresh item from the rails. Unlike your typical vintage outlet, Rag Trade Boutique gives the impression of a truly high-end affair. Garments are on the dressier side of things; sparkly gowns or statement jackets dominate the rails, and more often than not are presented in pretty much unworn condition.

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The longest-running vintage clothing shop in the city, Uncle Sam’s imports its hand-picked stock straight from California and is jam-packed with pieces dating predominantly from the ’40s to the ’80s. Now one of three vintage outlets on Park Street, Uncle Sam’s authenticity keeps it high in the popularity stakes. It isn’t the easiest to browse – simply due to the volume of stock occupying the small space – but keen eyes will never be disappointed, given enough time and patience. Quality denim, leather, varsity sweaters, sportswear and work wear are available at very competitive rates, as is the plentiful and rare vintage vinyl.

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Perhaps less known for its vintage than its range of local and handmade streetwear and graff artwork, Don Majors could easily be overlooked by the eagle-eyed thrift shopper. But take a look inside and you’ll be greeted by a collection of covetable vintage streetwear pieces at a comparatively low price point. Located near the intersection of Cheltenham Road and Gloucester Road, Don Majors’s individual style is ideally placed. Specialising in 1990s sports and streetwear, the vintage selection features classic Ralph Lauren shirts, Levi’s denim, quirky tees and one-offs.

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Bristolians will almost certainly be familiar with BS8 on Park Street; this place has been central to the local independent shopping scene for more than 20 years. The vintage section at the rear of its expansive floor is a key part of the store’s current identity. Thanks to an ever-growing list of nationwide suppliers, it now stocks a wide variety of vintage styles. The stock is hand-picked, with a focus on quality and street style trends; a discerning approach which succeeds in providing rare designer gems – from Balmain to Versace – at a bargain price.

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That Thing, formerly Dutty, has become a bit of a Bristol institution since it was set up at St. Nicholas Market in the early ’00s by the DJ/MC collective Dutty Girl. Now nestled in the heart of Stokes Croft, the colourful store boasts a range of That Thing-branded and customised streetwear plus a basement brimming with of some of the best vintage in town. Heavily inspired by 90's hip hop and UK garage culture, you will be greeted by faster track pants, retro shell suit jackets and enough oversized shirts to satisfy your inner gangster rapper. One-off accessories are another mainstay here; a cornecopia of handbags are available at surprisingly decent prices.

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