Many of today’s trendy styles are reminiscent of earlier decades, especially in cosmopolitan areas where vintage fashion is making a comeback. Choose from new apparel that could have been worn in the ‘50s, ‘60s or ‘70s, or buy vintage clothing actually worn in those decades. London is full of fashionable vintage boutiques, thrift shops, and markets where you can find unique duds and hip fashions.
London’s open-air markets often feature vendors selling vintage goods. Portobello Market is a little more conservative and high-end, a place where you might find a shift dress reminiscent of Jackie-O or a pair of classic pumps. It strays toward the edge of tame, but pairing a classic piece with a surprising modern flair can really get you noticed.
Camden Market appeals to the younger crowd. The vintage pieces found here are usually more “alternative.” The Arches at Stables has clothing from the ‘50s through the ‘80s, and the Electric Ballroom has a great selection at terrific prices. Some vendors even sell clothing from the turn of the century.
At Alfie’s Antique Market, collectors of vintage pieces can find clothing and other unique items. It’s funkier than your grandmother, and with about 200 vendors, it offers a little something for everyone.
Secondhand shops are full of all types of clothing, from modern to hideously outdated. But they also can offer vintage gems hiding in the racks. You never know what you might come across in a thrift shop; it’s a little like collecting antiques from unaware sellers. Shops in different areas of London reflect the styles in those areas, so it’s best to frequent a few different locations to find a well-rounded wardrobe.
Beyond Retro is a huge vintage shop in a converted warehouse in Shoreditch. Bargain prices and thousands of items that date back to the 1940’s ensure that you’ll go home with something fabulous.
Radio Days is a great shop for both costumes and “streetwear.” If you’re looking for something with a particular theme or an item of memorabilia from another era, you can find it at Radio Days. It’s a little bit quirky, but very fashionable. You can fill your wardrobe or your home with finds from this shop.
Rellik is a vintage shop that attracts the rich and famous. Kate Moss is rumored to have bought some boots there that sparked a fashion craze, and the clothing provides inspiration for famous designers. You might rub shoulders with Kate or Sienna as you dig through the racks.
Traid is a combination of old and new. It offers vintage, secondhand, and “upcycled” pieces. The store is even eco-friendly; the décor is largely made up of repurposed wood and fabric.
Lost ‘N’Found has two floors filled with just about anything from shoes to handbags, wedding dresses to tuxedos.
If wearing clothing that has been worn by other people doesn’t exactly fit with your program, you can find new vintage-inspired designs at stores like Fever Clothing. Fever features styles influenced by vintage design, but the clothes are new and the appeal is modern. It has two retail stores in London, but the collection is sold throughout the world at independent retailers.
The various nooks and crannies of London each have their own cultural flavor, and the vintage shops reflect this. East London is full of hipsters and creative types, vinyl and ‘80s style—while West London is home to more bohemian, sophisticated fashionistas. Central London has fewer vintage shops but a healthy mixture of styles.
An avid vintage shopper, Genevieve Chamberlain is a content contributor for amazingdomains.co.uk, specializing in brandable clothing domains for your unique specialty stores.