Where to get those one-off dresses, 60s sunglasses straight from the set of Mad Men, Afghan coat you’ve always had a secret yearning for or that Ossie Clark dress you’ve pictured yourself in… oh and a little Chanel bag on your arm. For beautifully made, stand out individual style, vintage is the way to go. Plus, you’re recycling and hopefully bagging a bargain all in one – what’s not to love?
Here are our Top Ten Vintage Clothes Shops (in no particular order) from around the South West…
Found in Pokesdown in what’s fast becoming known as Bournemouth’s bohemian quarter, this shop is as imaginative and fun as its name suggests. It cleverly combines old and new by selling vintage from its online boutique The Cherry Closet plus vintage Alice in Wonderland inspired work from local artists, including jewellery from “Follow the White Rabbit”. Clothes from Victorian times to the 80s, sourced from all over the UK, LA and Europe. With fashion journalist Nicki Grainger in charge expect a constantly changing great window display as well as Alice in Wonderland “drink me” bottles scattered around.
This is a real trove of top quality vintage set in the Georgian city of Bath. Unusual jewellery, beaded clutches, 1920s chiffon dresses, 1940s evening dresses, strike a pose sunglasses, you might even find an Ossie Clarke dress lurking here. As well as the shop Scarlet Vintage also has an online shop with some or her finds featured.
Set over two floors and going for almost 30 years this shop is a bit of an institution. With so much gear to check through, you can be anyone you want as you head into their changing room. Specializing in vintage from 1880s through to the 1980s, available for hire or sale this has a fun vibe about it. Vintage, retro, evening wear and fancy dress. You can also have an all day breakfast here or a glass of wine in its café as you work out who your alter ego is for the evening. For all jean lovers, the café also doubles as a Vintage Levis shrine…
Where: 21 McCoys Arcade, Fore Street, Exeter, 01392 410481
We like their mantra “Why buy a copy when you can have the real thing?” With its stylish retro green façade and its roots firmly in Biba Fashion this is a well organized emporium for fashionistas. Stocking clothes from 1930s to 1980s and specializing in Goodwood Revivial costumes and the 1960s and 1970s, Foxtrot has original good quality couture, including swimwear, accessories and even some militaria. You’ll always see a great window display. Clothes can be bought or hired. It also stocks some vintage vinyl so be prepared for some good sounds whilst you rifle through the rails. Its great reputation means that film and theatre companies often use Foxtrot for their costumes.
Set in a corner of a retro 10 pin bowling alley in this 1930s former labour exchange this was set up by 2 DJs, to go hand in hand with the 1960s/indie club nights they run at the venue. Regular Gimme Shelter! vintage fairs take place on the second Sunday of the month at The Lanes – next one is on Sunday 12 February 2012. You’ll find jackets, suits, dresses, coats and accessories as well as lots of music gear with record players and old vinyl. A great recent vintage find by the owners was Pan’s Peoples trousers from Top of the Pops 1974 (Ike and Tina Turner ‘Nut Bush City Limits’). This is where to find your awesome orange and yellow satin flares!
It’s not just the name we like about this shop. Vintage and retro from 1920s, hard to find clothes sourced and they pride themselves on being affordable. They also sell jewellery and some household items. Check out the great shop front too.
Authentic vintage clothing from the 1920s to the 1970s. Lots of hats, jackets and dresses that you will long to try on. Vintage curtains and fabrics also here amongst the furniture. This is part of Bridport’s Vintage Market . When you’re here it’s definitely worth visiting the Red Brick café too for an amazing (and strangely healthy) all day breakfast. Love their garlic mushrooms.
Where: 4 St Michaels Trading Estate, Bridport : 01308 538001/422335
This is a seriously upmarket vintage boutique. Currently some great bags including, Osprey, Christian Dior saddle bag, that elusive channel leather purse, Jimmy Choo shoes, Manolo Blahnik, Ossie Clark jacket all to be found here. Not cheap but great quality and in a league of its own. Some great vintage men’s dinner jackets too. They also do a vintage clothing sourcing service on their website.
Where: 28 Milson Street, Bath 01225 337 323
This is mix of vintage and retro that is the perfect place for a fashion junkie. Owner Donna Lynch, a fashion/textile designer who has worked for Galliano and Lacroix amongst others, is a passionate collector herself and it shows as her pieces have come from Paris, London and NY. Her philosophy is to make the whole visit to her shop an indulgent experience and you’re encouraged to take your time and try things out. Kitsch pieces are mixed with Parisian chic. From Victorian clothes up to the 1970s, unusual jewellery, the occasional 1920s flapper dress and a favourite piece of the moment is a 1940s wedding dress, boxed and with accessorizes that belonged to no less than The Queen’s cousin (with provenance). Aside from the vintage (and it has homeware) it’s a great shop to have a rummage around. Donna also offers a bespoke clothing service where your clothes can be revamped and restyled.
Where: 28 Catherine Hill, Frome, Somerset, 01373 228 472
Frome, it must be said, is a haven for vintage – while you’re here check out Poot a few shops along at 23 Catherine Hill
Described by The Telegraph as “one of the best vintage shops in the country, with rail upon rail of classic 20th-century fashion”. Clobber is a brilliant vintage shop in Bournemouth, selling clothes from the 1920’s through to the 1980’s. If you get lucky it often includes names such as Biba, Chanel, Ossie Clark, Vivienne Westwood, Belstaff, Barbour, Grannie Takes a Trip and so many others. Handbags to die for and clothes that will make you feel like a star. It also has a new vintage Menswear section, full of brogues, more tweed than a country estate and all things manly. As a little extra it includes a huge collection of men’s platform boots.
Where: 920 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH76DL. Tel : 01202 433 330
And we couldn’t resist these 2 specialist vintage stores:
As a nod to St Valentine we’ve included Days of Grace in Budleigh Salterton, Devon, which specializes in vintage bridal wear as well as vintage inspired dresses. One-off designs made from antique lace and vintage textiles. Dresses from the 1890s to the 1950s. Old fashioned romance with a boho edge. Call before you go as they may have something tucked away that they can get ready for you to see.
Specializing in military memorabilia, uniforms and top quality vintage ware, particularly vintage country clothes for men. Run by Captain Johnny Hogspear. Worth checking out for his Youtube videos alone… hwww.hogspear.com/video001.html
Where : Mustons Mews, Shaftesbury. 01747 850 354
Vintage Fairs Coming up in the South West
Frome Flea (St Catherine’s Artisan Market) – Sunday April 1st 2012
Vintage Fair at the Cheese and Grain, Frome – April 22nd 2012
Gimme Shelter Vintage Fair – February 12th 2012
Next time our Top 10 South West Sunday lunches. We’d love to hear your suggestions….