London Vintage Shopping Hotspots
Ah… London. I’ve been living here properly now for four years and in my eyes, the amazing opportunities for affordable vintage finds make the crowded commute totally worthwhile.
This list has the potential to go on for ever, but here are just a few of my favourite London style spots to get you started:
I just can’t get enough of this place! Three wonderful London stores: a gigantic one in East London for a serious weekend shopping session, the newest on in Dalston and a smaller Soho branch perfect for lunchtime jaunts. Their stock is bang on the money and best of all it’s very affordable. (http://www.beyondretro.com)
An old favourite, as this is where I used to shop as a teenager before I moved to London properly. I love shopping in outdoor markets more than anything and Portabello is a fabulous warren of various stalls, offering everything from retro T’s, fresh young designers and gorgeous old telephones. I tend to start at the Ladbroke Grove end and meander all the way down to Notting Hill Tube, past veggies and antiques alike. (www.portobellomarket.org)
Another fail-safe East London haunt of mine. I quite literally spend hours perusing their enormous range of vintage shoes and handbags, apparently the largest collection in the UK. Their clothing isnt half bad either, and they’ve also just opened a smaller store in Soho’s Berwick Street. (www.absolutevintage.co.uk)
Columbia Road Flower Market
I was tipped off about Columbia Road by my good friend Sarah, and it has become one of my favourite London spots for a Sunday morning. Come rain, shine or snow, the narrow lane is packed with proper East-End stallholders yelling out their sales patter, surrounded by beautiful blooms. ‘Three for a fiver!’ – love it. And they are all so affordable that it really is possible to fill every room in your house with flowers. I even bought my Christmas tree here last year – much to the dismay of my boyfriend, who had to help me get it home on the bus! Best of all, Columbia Road itself is lined with gorgeous independent shops, from beauty salons to bookshops. There’s always a couple of stalls selling food and second-hand homewares, and you can bet on being serenaded by a band or two. Seriously, if you haven’t been yet, just go this Sunday! (http://columbiaroad.info/home.html)
I’ve lived in Islington for a couple of years and this little gem has got to be my best find during that time. Running parallel to Upper Street, you’ll discover a charming shambles of vintage stalls and shops spilling out onto the pavement, run by a motely collection of characters, polishing their jewels. It’s perfect for browsing and treasure-hunting… there’s antiques, knickknacks, jewellery, books and vintage clothing. You won’t leave empty handed! And there are countless places on the passage and in the rest of the area to pick up a bite to eat or a coffee as you wonder around. Best to head there on a Saturday or a Wednesday, when this little market is at its fullest.
Juno Says Hello
If you are looking for something really special, you have to head to Juno Says Hello… a truly gorgeous online boutique dedicated to the finest selection of luxury vintage dresses. Browse online, then arrange a time to pop to their London studio so you can try your dress on before you buy. when I was there recently, I feel head over heels in lust with this 1930’s cocktail gown…how beautiful it it? (http://www.junosayshello.com/)
Beatrix Brown at Portabello Market
With their beautiful array of vintage-style bows, I always look out for Beatrix Brown’s stall at Portabello Market. I’ve bought a fair few of these bows already and wear them almost constantly. They come in a wide variety of fabrics and are either backed with a brooch, a hair elastic or a hair-clip, so they can be worn in a multitude of ways. I’ve gone for the hair-clip ones which are so versatile even in themselves: I not only wear them in my hair, but attached to cardigans and sometimes to the straps of my handbags. Love it. (http://www.beatrixbrown.co.uk/store)
Bourne & Hollingsworth
This Rathbone Place gem is definitely high on my list of top drinking establishment… Its cosy vintage vibe makes you feel deliciously comfortable yet at the same time luxuriously spoilt, as you decadently sip well-designed cocktails from floral teacups and jamjars. http://www.bourneandhollingsworth.com/ http://www.bandhgroup.com/
Not exciting enough for you? Boy you are hard to please… Lucky for you, the genuises behind this place (who are also responsible for the fabulous monthly Blitz Party, Belle Epoch and Prohibition nights) have recently come up with the wonderfully quirky The Fourth Wall, London’s first wandering bar. Its actually a complete replica of the Bourne & Hollingsworth bar that will be touring London, occupying a different location every Friday and Saturday night.
Like a film set or a theatre prop, this wandering bar will be packed away at the end of the night and move on. Best of all, The Fourth Wall’s wandering location will remain a well-kept secret and only disclosed by word of mouth. There will be hints left around London in the form of notes, emails, messages and codes, but these will only be available to in-the-know Londoners. Intrigued? Apply for clues here… http://www.whereisthefourthwall.com/
More coming soon… in the meantime, please share your London vintage hotspots below!