Best vintage shops in London
A firm favourite in the world of vintage, Blackout 2 has been providing bright and beautiful clothes, handbags and shoes for decades. The Covent Garden spot is bursting with one-off items, from 1930s cocktail frocks to full-skirted ’50s dresses and a few slinky numbers. Menswear consists of suits, jackets and overcoats dating from the ’40s onwards. The store also has an exquisite range of 1920s flapper dresses to hire, so you can dress to kill without killing your bank balance.
Back in 2002, Reign Vintage started out trading at the markets of Portobello and Camden before setting up in bricks and mortar in London and Oxford. New stock is added daily to the bounty of retro and vintage wares, which spans everything from skimpy ’60s playsuits to jazzy shell-suits. Prices are affordable, too – around £30 for a pretty vintage shirt. Plus, its well-stocked online shop makes it dangerously easy to rummage through the virtual rails.
Is this a vintage shop, or a museum of historical artefacts? It’s hard to tell at The Vintage Showroom, a refined menswear store specialising in Americana (denim, sweats, a few choice tees) and classic military and British pieces. The incredible collection is the work of Roy Luckett and Doug Gunn, who lovingly curate stock of an incredibly high calibre. Price tags reflect the time and care gone into cataloguing these pieces, but fans of heritage menswear will get it.
Fun, refined, and neatly turned out, it’s easy to find an entire outfit at Pelicans and Parrots. Around 90 percent of stock is sourced from Italy, hence why you’ll find brands like Moschino, Valentino, Missoni and Versace, together with objet d’art from around the world. Need somewhere to rock your new garbs? Check out the underground events space for gig nights with a fashionable lean – you’ll just need to find the secret entrance first.
What started out in a London warehouse in 2002 has grown into a behemoth of the vintage world, with stores across the UK and Sweden. Beyond Retro has a mammoth selection of clothing and accessories, including a range of reworked dresses, skirts and tops with more contemporary tailoring. There’s styles to suit all tastes, too, including silk, sportswear, denim and tie-dye. There are three shops across London to get lost in, but their flagship in Dalston is still a favourite, with a vast but well-edited collection of clothing as well as an onsite café.
Find French workwear jackets, Levi’s denim and camo shirts galore hanging from the bountiful rails of Atika, one of London’s slickest vintage department stores. There’s more than 20,000 items to browse, and it’s all killer and no filler in this well-curated shop. Buyers Jan Skinners and John Howlin look to nearby Brick Lane for their inspiration, offering a selection of easy-to-wear and high-quality items, peppered with a few reworked original pieces.
When an off-the-rack frock just won’t do, head over to Circa Vintage. Their impeccable selection of vintage gowns, blouses and blazers are among the best in the capital. Shop online and in their Fulham boutique for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Moschino and more from the ’20s through to the ’80s, all steam-cleaned, listed online and ready to rock. Bargain basement this ain’t, but if you need a bougie outfit for a special occasion, Circa Vintage is the one.
When Lady Gaga is making midnight trips to check out a vintage store, you know it’s worth a visit. Rellik is the secret weapon of many a Londoner who wants to curate a unique look. The Ladbroke Grove boutique is a chocolate box of vintage jewellery, shoes and all manner of fun and flashy pieces from the ’30s onwards. Despite the high-end design, neither the shop nor its price tags are intimidating. Got something specific in mind? Ask owners Fiona, Claire or Steven, they’ll be happy to help out.
For glitzy, show-stopping gowns, Pennies should be your first port of call. Roaring ’20s beaded flapper dresses abound here, but they specialise in gorgeous vintage wedding dresses. Offbeat brides can score exquisite outfits at a pinch of the usual price tag. Choose from dresses including a 1940s lace prom-style dress, or a dainty 1920s ivory satin dress and jacket co-ord with floral applique, all from around £250. Take that, extortionate wedding costs.
This cute little store in Holdrons Arcade is run by Peckham local Nicole Brierley, and boy does she have good taste. Vintage clothes are lovingly curated in this indie boutique, and her Instagram page offers outfit inspiration if you’re feeling lost. Both menswear and womenswear populate the rails here, with everything from bold paisley print dresses to slick silk shirts and boxy jackets.
With a spread of clothing, shoes and accessories dating from 1900 to the 1980s, it’s easy to dig out some gems at east London's Paper Dress Vintage. Helpfully, the shop offers alterations, and even has an event space hosting comedy, burlesque, club nights, yoga and more. If that wasn't enough, the boutique has a well-stocked bar and a coffee machine to make the bargain hunting even more of a hoot.
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