Looking good needn't mean looking like everyone else. Vintage is an original choice, plus it's an environmentally-friendly way to buy clothes. Below are some of the best shops in London for vintage dresses and retro clothing. If you're looking for cheap second-hand clothes, take a look at London's charity and thrift shops.
If you love shoes, step into Absolute Vintage in East London, just around the corner from Old Spitalfields Markets! The shop has a huge selection of cheap vintage shoes, with prices averaging around £20 per pair. It's also great for bags, accessories, dresses, skirts and men’s vintage clothing with plenty of treasures to be found if you're prepared to rummage!
Alfies Antique Market
This is the place to come for antique and vintage clothes, collectables and 20th-century design pieces. It's the largest indoor market of its kind in London. Vintage lovers will spend hours browsing through the market's 70+ dealers, crammed with everything from rare vintage finds to colourful baubles. Alfies Antique Market also has a Rooftop Kitchen boasting panoramic views over London.
Head to Brick Lane's original Beyond Retro vintage clothing shop for a fine selection of handpicked vintage clothing. Find occasion dresses, going out dresses, summer dresses, as well as antique accessories and vintage shoes. The shop has its own fashion label which gives vintage clothes a new lease of life. You can also find Beyond Retro branches in Soho and Dalston.
Blackout IICovent Garden’s vintage clothing shop, Blackout II has been trading for nearly two decades. Pop in and browse through two floors of well-stocked shop. Alongside antique hats, handbags and shoes, you’ll find vintage jewellery, lingerie, and men’s suits from the 1940s. Staff members have extensive knowledge of all things vintage and are on hand to help you find the right outfit.
Blitz is a huge located in East London. Inside you'll find on-trend, handpicked, affordable vintage clothing, reclaimed furniture and eccentricities alongside bikes, books, posters, luggage and much more. There's even a coffee shop if all that vintage browsing leaves you in need of refreshment.
Cabbages & Frocks
Head to elegant Marylebone and discover designer vintage clothes and accessories. Hidden in a cobbled courtyard near St Marylebone Paris Church, the Cabbages & Frocks vintage market is a treasure trove of designer brands at bargain prices, as well as offerings by new designers.
Bag some bargain vintage or a really special one-off piece in Camden Market. There are lots of second-hand shops and stalls selling everything from elegant 1940s dresses, to cheesy 70s and 80s disco wear. Look out for Thea Vintage and Lost'n'Found Clothing in the Stables Market. Explore as much as possible as there are treasures to be found within.
House of VintageHouse of Vintage is a small vintage boutique just off Brick Lane in East London. It specialises in 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s fashion, although there are one-off pieces from as far back as the 1920s available. This shop also caters to brides. The Vintage Bridal Showroom has some of the best vintage wedding dresses in London at affordable prices. Appointments only.
One of a KindHead to Portobello Road for a One of a Kind luxury vintage fashion shopping experience. Designers such as Gaultier, McCartney and Lagerfeld aren't just stocked here, they shop here too, as do super models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. This shop holds some very rare items. Find Chanel, Christian Dior, Gucci, Hermes, and Vivienne Westwood labels in "The Back Room".
Stock up on retro and kitsch items from the 60s, 70s and 80s at Pop Boutique in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden. Each piece of second-hand clothing is carefully chosen by the vintage-mad staff, and those pieces that can't be sold are recycled, or upcycled, under the stores own brand. Great for a quick party outfit or key piece that is both new and old.
The trendy Lower Marsh behind Waterloo Station is where you’ll find Radio Days, a treasure trove of 20s to 80s vintage clothes, accessories, collectibles and memorabilia. This is a must for hardcore vintage addicts. Plus, the shop is usually open until late so you can carry on shopping for those vintage dresses, hats, and gloves long after the other shops have closed.
A favourite with designers, magazine editors and It girls, boutique vintage shop, Rellik in West London, specialises in designer women’s clothing and accessories. Think Vivienne Westwood, Pierre Cardin and Comme des Garçons. Clothes are beautifully displayed on the bare brick walls and the racks are packed with well-sourced couture from the 1930s to the present day.
Find some great retro gear and help a good cause at Retromania, a charity shop (profits donated to the FARA charity) specialising in retro and vintage clothes and memorabilia. There's a good mix of cheap clothes and pricier designer pieces. Make an afternoon of it and create your own personal catwalk trying on different outfits. Lovely vintage household items are on sale.