We’re big fans of vintage, but only when it’s done well. Overpriced, overstuffed retro hell has no truck with us: instead, we’ve put together a roundup of shops that are pleasingly organised and have strong stock. Get stuck in, shoppers!
Here are our top 5 picks
COW Vintage’s interior was designed by Peter Masters (also behind Oi Polloi’s kit-out) and comes complete with pink railings, a wall of filing cabinet doors and a slate roof inside. The changing rooms are the best bit, with eclectic carpets and antique doors. On to the important part, though: the clothes. Expect endless rails of vintage finery, well curated and with each item given the proper amount of space. It’s moo-sic to our ears (oh, god).
Take a short bus ride leading out of the city, and you’ll find Insitu on Chester Road, the queen of architectural salvage in Manchester housed in a Grade II-listed former Victorian pub. If you’re after wood from pews to make shelves out of, or the conjoined seats of an old cinema, this is the place. Part of what makes Insitu worth the trip is its size: there are sinks and fireplaces in the basement, doors, wood, furnishings and jewellery on the ground floor, and furniture and vintage clothing one flight up. It’s eclectic, it’s epic.
A clothes shop on the ground floor with a home furnishings section in the basement – the one and only Pop Boutique. Here you’ll find a mix of vintage, second hand and own brand, usually arranged by type. There’s a section bursting with sequins, and another for all your patterned jumper needs. Whatever vintage trend is coming round next, Pop are usually on it. Did someone say tattoo chokers? Downstairs you’ll find art deco mirrors, glass cabinets, retro coffee tables and vases – as well as a whole load of printed cushions. Watch what you fall in love with though; the occasional piece will be marked with a “not for sale” sign.
OK, so charity shops don’t always have the best reputation for fashion – but Oxfam Originals on Oldham Street has been done with a difference. Its beckoning window displays are often comic and, once inside, you’ll find quirky shirts, perfect for tucking into cut off denims or a high-waisted skirts, characterful jackets, fabulous handbags and much more. They’re super friendly, too.
A little way past where Oldham Street turns into Oldham Road, you’ll find charitable organisation Mustard Tree. Set up in support of the homeless, this organisation has many branches, one of which is this furniture, homewares and clothing warehouse. The quality can be mixed, with leathery old sofas jostling for room – but there are treasures to be found – vintage record players, beautiful wardrobes and antique sewing machines, all at an astonishingly low cost.