Contrary to what the big-name brands and their glossy advertising campaigns would lead us to believe, looking stylish doesn’t have to mean wearing box-fresh kicks and a brand new shirt. Not only that, buying new can actually be bad for the planet.
Taking your shopping expedition off the beaten track and into vintage shops is a surefire way to unearth rare pieces, combat the environmental consequences of fast fashion and save yourself a small fortune in the process.
The only issue is that sourcing a good second-hand store is like finding gold. Which is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do a spot of prospecting and bring you an informed roundup of only the very best vintage stores on the planet.
There are precious few establishments in which a man can pick up a great book, have a flick through a retro magazine, and then go and have his nails pampered. All while wearing his new second-hand kimono and vintage Carhartt chore jacket. London’s Atika is one of them.
A real-life vintage mecca in the heart of bustling Brick Lane, you’ll find gems from the 1970s onwards, including unique pieces from the likes of Burberry, Armani, Barbour and Champion. Essentially, everything you need to blend in seamlessly in trendy East London.
55-59 Hanbury St, London, E1 5JP
Unless we’re talking about AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and that cut-off denim jacket, Newcastle and vintage Americana aren’t two things that typically go together. However, behind the doors of this Toon treasure trove lies a very different story.
Flip has been flying the flag for vintage clothing in England’s northernmost city since 1978. In that time founder John Woods and his son have been flying back and forth between Newcastle and the States to line their rails with throwback treats. They no doubt even got a Geordie or two to wear a coat in the process. Truly groundbreaking stuff.
104 Westgate Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4AF
Battling through piles of unorganised, unwashed clothes from the 1970s that smell like your Nan’s loft isn’t for everyone. Those who prefer their shopping trips to be a bit more on the ordered and relaxing side of things would be well advised to head directly for COW in Manchester.
This second-hand paradise takes the conventional vintage shop model and gives it some much needed structure. Clothes are organised and presented beautifully, making it all the more easy to find that one-of-a-kind Stone Island steal or bargain Burberry mac.
61 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD
Mr Ben Retro Clothing (Glasgow)
Putting Scotland on the fashion map for something other than kilts and sporrans, Mr Ben Retro Clothing has been flooding the city with vintage garms since 1990. This menswear store is regarded by those who frequent it as one of the best in the world and you only have to step foot inside to understand why.
The cavernous interior is decked out with retro trinkets and uniforms, including Libertines-esque military tunics and flight suits aplenty. Beyond that, you’ll find rails upon rails (upon rails) of the finest vintage clobber north of the border. We’d advise against one of those tunics though, no matter how cheap they are.
Kings Court, 101 King St, Glasgow G1 2RB
The Vintage Showroom (London)
If faded LA Lakers tees and Coogi jumpers aren’t really your bag then The Vintage Showroom at Seven Dials might be more up your street. The Covent Garden outpost is the shopfront for one of the biggest archives of vintage menswear anywhere in the world and stocks only the most unique and historic pieces to be found.
It boasts super-rare items from eons ago, including Soviet army surplus, flight suits and sailors smocks. There’s also a separate showroom where the main collection is housed. In here garments can be bought or hired but admittance is by appointment only. A true menswear haven if ever there was one.
Seven Dials, 14 Earlham St, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9LN
Wooden Sleepers (Brooklyn, NY)
Nestled away in the artsy riverside neighbourhood of Red Hook is a bona fide Brooklyn hipster haven. Wooden Sleepers forgoes the boilerplate jumble sale format of so many thrift stores and instead provides a carefully selected edit of only the finest vintage workwear, military kit and Ivy League attire.
But it’s not just clothes on offer here, the store is packed full of interesting antique furnishings, books, magazines and office equipment. Perfect for making your home Instagram friendly.
95 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Bobby From Boston (Boston, MA)
What started out as a personal collection of rare and historic pieces slowly evolved into showroom, then a shop and eventually one of the main attractions on the globe when it comes to vintage fashion.
Sadly, charismatic founder Bobby Garnett passed away in 2016, but his daughter and her team of dedicated staff are just as passionate and work hard to keep the space running. As well as serving as a shop, the showroom is also a main resource for the film industry when it comes to wardrobe. A truly unique collection and one of the best places on Earth for all things vintage.
19 Thayer St, Boston, MA 02118
Mister Freedom (Los Angeles, CA)
If you think frenchmen are all breton tops and berets then clearly you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Hollywood-dwelling, vintage-loving, French expatriate Christophe Loiron. Owner of the world-renowned Mister Freedom, which falls somewhere between a shop and a showroom, Loiron looks as if he’s fallen into a wormhole during 1950s America and suddenly found himself here in the future.
The 3,200 square-foot shop really is something to behold. Rare vintage clothing is arranged into what Loiron refers to as ‘concept islands’ where you can find anything from early explorer goods to depression-era workwear.
7161 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Stock Vintage (East Village, NY)
In the heritage-hungry world of menswear, brands are practically falling over one another to create the most elaborate and farfetched backstories. However, it’s not a problem that Stock Vintage has, as each and every garment here has its own unique history.
Located on an affluent East Village street, this Aladdin’s Cave of menswear delights is far from the cheapest vintage shop out there, but it is one of the best. After all, where else can you get up close and personal with a 1940s boxing champ’s kit, or buy a shirt from the turn of the century? Such places are few in number, but this is one of them.
143 E 13th St # 2, New York, NY 10003
Kokorokoko (Chicago, IL)
Do find yourself playing the latest and most advanced games console yet hankering after an Atari? Is the sound of a dial-up modem music to your ears? If you answered yes to one or more of the above then confusingly named vintage clothing store Kokorokoko will be right up your street.
The Chicago-based shop boasts one of the largest collections of 80s style and 90s throwbacks anywhere in the world and for anyone from that era, will provide a veritable roller coaster ride down memory lane. Expect to find snapbacks, printed shirts and logo tees aplenty.
1323 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Bungalow (Toronto, Canada)
It’s a vintage shop, but not as you know it. Located in the heart of Toronto, Bungalow offers up an enticing mix of old, new and everything in between.
Box-fresh clothing from recognisable modern and heritage brands such as Herschel and Pendleton sit alongside rare vintage pieces from various points in time. There’s also a big focus on interesting antiques and weird and wonderful homeware, including 50s toasters and Danish hanging lighting.
273 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2M1
Wasteland (San Francisco, CA)
Don’t go into Wasteland expecting moth-bitten Lacoste polo shirts and ill-fitting Wrangler denim, because a thrift store this is not. It’s better to think of this California institution as a pre-owned designer goods shop and you’ll have a better feel for what to expect.
The sprawling collection inside is updated daily with pieces from the likes of Chanel, Prada, Goyard, Supreme, A.P.C. and many more. There are a few negative reviews floating around online but these mainly appear to be from customers who have gone in expecting $5 flannel shirts and instead been greeted with $200 Gucci loafers. But if the latter is your thing then you’ll know fine well that’s actually a bargain.
1660 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Kiliwatch (Paris, France)
In a city famed the world over for its fashion pedigree, to be classed as not only the best vintage shop, but also one of the best shops in general, is nothing short of incredible.
Kiliwatch is a place like no other and technically speaking is more of a concept store than just straight-up vintage. New clothing, footwear, watches and accessories from leading brands are beautifully laid out right alongside old ones. If you tire of hunting through the garments (which you won’t), check out some of the books, magazines and lifestyle goods on offer too.
64 Rue Tiquetonne, 75002 Paris
Dandy Horse (Berlin, Germany)
Do you like to feel like you’re doing your bit to save the planet? So do the people behind Berlin’s Dandy Horse. The shop is big on cycling as a means of getting around and sells a selection of beautiful vintage bikes to prove it. Fast fashion is also one of the owners’ premier bugbears, which is why they set out on their mission to make sustainable shopping available to the German capital 24/7.
Aside from the cycles, expect to find vintage bargains from the likes of Prada, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Missoni, Moschino, Valentino and more.
Glogauer Str. 4, 10999 Berlin
Holala Ibiza (Barcelona, Spain)
With heritage spanning back 40 years and a collection of vintage clothing to match, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Holala has been frequented by the likes of John Galiano, Hedi Slimane, Jean Paul Gaultier and Domenico Dolce over the years.
Maybe it’s the rails lined with carefully handpicked vintage fashion that entices them through the doors. Or perhaps its the jaw-dropping collection of retro furniture and oddities. Whichever it is, suffice to say that Barcelona’s Holala is well worth a visit.
Carrer de Valldonzella, 2, 08001 Barcelona
Chart (Tokyo, Japan)
To the west of Tokyo’s bustling shopping capital, Shinjuku, lies the lesser-known area of Koenji, which just so happens to be vintage menswear heaven. The range of fantastic stores here is so broad that there are many shopping maps aimed at guiding bargain-hunting sartorialists around. But even with this much on offer, Chart still stands out against the crowd.
Owned by friendly, vintage-loving menswear nerd, Mr Kenji, Chart places its focus on historic casual dress from America and beyond. Shoppers will find tees, jeans, tailoring, ties, footwear and more. If that’s not what your after, simply pop to the sister shop next door to browse the collection of old surplus military gear.
Suginami-ku, Koenji Minami 4-30-8, Misato Building 1st-2nd Floor
Midwest (Hong Kong)
If Americana-style heritage clothing is Hong Kong’s menswear heroin then Midwest Vintage is the needle. This workwear-packed boutique has been in operation since the early 90s, witnessing countless trends come and go while its rails remained unfalteringly lined with denim, chore coats and lumberjack shirts at all times.
This steadfast commitment to the aesthetic has seen Midwest gain a reputation as one of the best in the business and a hub for followers of one of Asia’s most recognisable menswear cults. Put simply: if it’s old and from America, you’ll probably find it here.
Shop 58, G/F, Victoria Centre, 15 Watson RoadTin Hau, Hong Kong
Hayatochiri (Tokyo, Japan)
While you’re in Koenji, you absolutely must pop into Hayatochiri. But don’t forget to take your sunglasses, unless you want to leave with a migraine. You see, the guys behind this anime-inspired madhouse like brightly coloured stuff. Like, really like brightly coloured stuff.
In fact, these people love vibrant things so much that they’ve made it their life’s mission to fill an entire shop with them. Here you’ll find neon tracksuits, stuffed toy animals, eccentric decor and plenty of not-so-subtle nods to anime culture. You might not walk away with your new favourite outfit, but you’ll certainly be glad you poked your head in.
3-4-13 Kita-Koenji, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
REST OF THE WORLD
Martin Fella (Melbourne, Australia)
Not everyone is able to jet all over the world, attending fashion auctions and picking up rare vintage pieces. Luckily, Melbourne’s own clothing connoisseur Martin Fella has made it his mission to do the leg work for us. What a nice fella.
Puns aside, Martin’s collection of vintage designer menswear is probably the best in Australia, bringing clued-up sartorialists from near and far to get a slice of the action.
556 Queensberry St, North Melbourne VIC 3051
Goodbye Folk (Mexico City, Mexico)
This Mexico City local’s favourite feels more like a boutique than the sort of sprawling vintage stores most thrift shoppers will be used to. Carefully selected collections of vintage band and logo T-shirts line rails, sitting next to leather jackets, ponchos and an Instagram-worthy selection of custom-made leather footwear.
That’s all well and good, but what really sets Goodbye Folk apart from the global competition is its additional features. For example, if you happen upon the perfect vintage find but it’s not quite the right fit, you can opt to have it altered there and then in the store. Or, if you’re having a bad hair day, you can get it sorted out by the in-house barber.
Córdoba 55, Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Retro Addiction (Auckland, New Zealand)
With a selection of not just clothing but art, furniture, lighting, jewellery and homeware, this Kiwi treasure trove is a vintage-lover’s wet dream.
Owners Tasha and Mark live and breathe vintage and will even go out of their way to go on the hunt for you if there’s a particular retro item you’re looking for. Expect to find bargain men’s and women’s fashion from years gone by, retro furnishings and nostalgia aplenty.
849 New North Rd, Mount Albert, Auckland 1025