Let's start with the part of London most acutely associated with vintage in its rawest form -- think 90s sports tees, endless Levi's cut-offs, 80s sequinned shoulder pads and kilo sales. With Brick Lane as its epicentre, east London is brimming with vintage stores packed full of bargains. Our favourites?
- There's Serotonin Vintage, the Brick Lane hotspot full of Y2K pieces that would make any Gen Zer's heart beat faster. Best for: Serious 00s designer finds, think: Fendi baguettes, Cavalli slip styles and retro designer logo pieces.
- In Dalston, find a generously sized arm of Beyond Retro with decades-worth of pieces descended from every era imaginable on rails and hanging from floor to ceiling. Best for: it's selection of sequinned 80s pieces, kitsch vests and shoulder pads.
- Finally, head to Attika London. A stone's throw from Brick Lane, it's a more curated (but no less extensive) collection of retro 'fits and re-worked pieces. Best for: everything you need to craft the perfect outfit (it's accessories and socks are as good as the rest).
As iconic as east London for locating the best pre-loved pieces, but a very different vibe, is West London and (more specifically) Notting Hill. The prices are slightly higher and the pay-off is a more selective and more highly curated offering. These are our picks...
- Stepping into Karen's Vintage Boutique is like stepping into a vintage store you'd expect to find in a movie. Quintessentially ethereal, with gorgeous, billowy, printed 70s chiffons, feather-trimmed robes and even frothy 80s wedding dresses. Best for: true vintage fun.
- Doing exactly what it says on the tin, One of a Kind boasts one of the biggest collections in London - but you wouldn't know it from the outside. Unassuming in its exterior but overwhelming inside, it's full to the brim of amazing unique pieces (that most special of which date back to the 19th century) that have been snapped up by the likes of Kate Moss. Best for: diversity and truly special pieces.
- Found and Vision can feel a little intimidating at first, but once you dive in the pay off is worth it. Exclusively designer pieces, expect to find the likes of a pair of leather Cavalli trousers 0r a silk Alberta Ferretti dress – and its wears have even entered the Love Island villa by way of Laura Whitmore.
North London might not be as prolific as it's sistering neighbourhoods (beyond the infamous Camden Market) but there's still some hidden gems to be uncovered. From Crouch End to Canonbury, scroll the best ones now...
- Laura Von Behr Vintage is not only a lovely Instagram account to follow, its also an appointment-only delight nestled in between Angel and De Beauvoir: Canonbury. If you love Laura Ashley, 70s ditsy prints and dresses – this is for you. Best for: sweet, prairie style, ditsy or gingham printed dresses
- Cast your search to the furthest reaches of north London (Edmonton) and you'll find Dirty Blonde. One of the few places in the city where a relative bargain is still possible and you can find Moschino jackets, silk blouses and more for less reasonable (not cheap) prices. Best for: quality finds without the hefty price tag.
Similarly to north London, finding the best spots in south can prove a little trickier – but, it's home to some of the best-prices vintage and pre-loved in all of London. We sifted out the gold below...
- Head to Peckham Rye and you'll find a particularly special branch of charity shop, Traid. Who both sell pre-loved donations and re-worked pieces that they've created from old garments and fabrics. Snap up something ranging from old (read: good) Topshop to Alexander McQueen. Best for: eclecticism and price.
- Also in Peckham and run out of the Bussey Building is Little Sister. Run by local (ex-camerawoman) Nicola Brierley whose 15 years of experience sourcing vintage makes for a great collection. Best for: all eras (ranging from the 20s to the 90s) and great prices (roughly £5 to £80).