Vintage clothing is a wonderful thing to spend money on. Each garment is a pre-loved piece of history. Every shop feels like a treasure trove. Sticking two fingers up to fast fashion while you look fabulous and marvel at the look of an old M&S label really is a pleasure indeed. Vintage clothing provides a level of quality that most of us can’t usually afford to have in our wardrobes. It also helps anyone wanting to build an individual look as most items you find in vintage stores will be one of a kind by now. Here’s a list of my favourite places in London to find good (and exciting) vintage clothing and accessories.
Radio Days Vintage
Just round the back of Waterloo station on Lower Marsh sits a little gem of a shop called Radio Days. Womenswear, menswear, accessories, homewares… they have it all! When my partner wanted a vintage dinner suit, we headed straight for this place and he ended up with quite a few to choose from. Friendly and full of gorgeous items, this shop is a real gem.
Although it’s not specifically a vintage store, all the clothing that Bang Bang Clothing Exchange sells is pre-owned and some is genuine vintage (which I personally consider to be 1980s or older). I have found many beautiful items of clothing from the 50s through to the 70s, nestling in amongst the more recent second hand designer and high street items on their rails. The original shop is on Goodge Street in Fitzrovia, and there is a newer store on Berwick Street in Soho which also sells men’s clothing.
Berty & Gerty
I discovered the wonderful Berty & Gerty whilst wandering around Camden Lock Market (see image on the left). They now have two shops there – clothing is upstairs, accessories are downstairs – and all items are interesting and very good quality. They have a lovely collection of vintage shoes, bags and sunglasses which are definitely worth checking out. If you can’t make it to London, you can also buy online as they have shops on ASOS Marketplace and eBay.
It might contain more items that seem suited to an 80s fancy dress party than properly wearable vintage pieces these days, but Beyond Retro is still really good for those who like to rummage. Their big shop on Great Marlborough Street in Soho and massive warehouse on Cheshire Street off Brick Lane can reveal some absolute gems to those willing to spend a bit of time sifting through the stock. I have lots of lovely dresses and skirts that I found in their London and Stockholm stores (yes, I’ve shopped for vintage clothing whilst on holiday!).
Perfect for those who love shoes, Absolute Vintage on Hanbury Street near Spittalfields Market is also good for a rummage. Their 80s frocks generally have fewer sequins than those in Beyond Retro, so most items are very wearable indeed. Two of my favourite summer dresses came from this place, and I even spotted a pair of evening sandals just like the ones my mum had when I was a kid. The place is full of memories as well as bargains.
So, that’s my top five. I have also been told that Blackout II on Endell Street is fantastic for even older vintage items, but I have yet to make a trip there. I suspect my bank account would suffer greatly if I fell in love with a 1930s evening gown! Do let me know in the comments if you have any recommendations for other affordable vintage shops in London, as I’d love to discover more.
Main image via Salami English. Other images by lipsticklori.