Are there any vintage stores near me?
The chances are, yes, there are vintage stores near you, or at least there are stores that will contain all manner of items to complete your vintage look.
In this directory we list vintage stores of several kinds; vintage clothing stores, thrift stores (or charity shops as they're called in the UK), antique stores, vintage and antique markets, and other places that sell not just the clothes, accessories, jewellery and other bodily adornments of the 20th Century, but also the household items of the same eras.
The mention of vintage stores will probably conjure up images of clothing stores packed with the clothes that your grandparents wore, and indeed many of them are, but as we shall see we should expand our horizons and seek out places where gems may be hidden from the casual browser.
Antique Stores & Markets
We tend to think of antique stores as places that concentrate solely on the furniture and fittings from a hundred or so years ago but of course they can contain a treasure trove of items, many of which would suit a collector or vintage enthusiast who wants to complete a complete vintage lifestyle look.
Perhaps you're not content with simply wearing retro style dresses and you want to recreate the look of a certain decade in one or more rooms in you home or for theatrical performances that require attention to detail. Where would you go to find the fixtures & fittings, the furniture & soft furnishings, and the utensils and other items of everyday use in the 1940s & 1950s or any other decade?
These items may not in themselves be of any monetary value but could form part of a job lot of goods, tucked away under a table in an antique store. This means they would be inexpensive to buy but on the other not so easy to find. You'll have to visit these antique stores and look very closely at what is tucked away, perhaps hidden from view.
Other items from past eras do fetch a higher price if they are well known brands. A 1960's Dansette record player in good condition will not only cost more than a similar model made by a less well known brand but will also invoke fond memories in the eyes of your grand mother or grand father. So when you're asking yourself, "Are there any vintage stores near me?" be sure to check out the antique stores.
Thrift Stores & Charity Shops
Thrift stores are recycling centres for items, toys, clothing etc that are too good to be recycled by being broken down into their component materials. Our torn and worn out clothes and shoes can be recycled and made into new clothes and shoes but thrift stores are where we send those that perhaps belonged to deceased relatives and which may therefore decades out fashion but nonetheless of interest to fans of vintage clothes.
Fashion has a tendency to travel in circles. It's an old joke to say that if you wait long enough that jacket in your wardrobe that you can't bring yourself to throw away will one day be back in fashion again. Think of the design of the floating summer dresses or the flared jeans and trousers of 2020 and 2021. They are very reminiscent of the sames items worn in the 1970s. Fashion, like music, takes influences from the past and creates something very similar for each new generation.
Thrift stores are the kinds of places were you will find vintage clothes before they are found by the owner of a vintage clothing store who picks out the item and places it within their own store at a higher price.
Similarly, if you're that way inclined, you could pick up a bargain in a thrift store and sell it online and make a profit. It's a form of retail arbitrage and people do this will all kinds of items found in thrift stores. There's even an app you can download that will scan the bar code of books and let you know what it might sell for on Amazon.
Antique & Vintage Fairs
Depending on where you live and the time of year you might see antique fairs or vintage fairs advertised. They may be regular, seasonal events or a one-off, and they vary in size from small town halls to large arenas packed with hundreds of stalls.
These are well worth a visit, though it's worth planning your trip to make the most of it if you have to travel far. If it's a big event some distance away from you then perhaps an overnight stay is justified. If it's being held in a village or a small town you may have to book early as others might have the same idea so the nearest hotels and guest houses may fill up quickly.
Store owners use these events to display all kinds of stock, not just the items they have on display at their main store but also stock that has been hidden from view for some time, perhaps never shown before. So even if you recognise the names of the exhibitors don't assume that you'll be seeing everything you've seen before in their store or on their website. They may have some surprises for you, so if you're wondering "are there any vintage stores near me?" maybe not but there could be some vintage fairs coming your way.
Garage Sales & Car Boot Sales
Another potentional source of vintage clothes, furniture, and household items are at garage sales, or car boot sales as they called in the UK. As the years pass items and clothing that we no longer use but can't bear to part with are stored away if lofts and garages. Eventually the need for space and some extra cash (usually both) forces us to have a clear out.
Some of this ephemera may end up in the local thrift store but perhaps not before we've tried to sell it ourselves on our front lawns or at a car boot sale. The items for sale may not be that old, perhaps the toys that the teenage children once played with for example, but other items may have belonged to living or deceased older relatives and they are therefore of a certain vintage.
Some people have been lucky enough to find all kinds of treasures at garage or car boot sales. For many, visiting these events is a past time which is a pleasure in itself but for a few it can be very rewarding. There are plenty of program on TV that show how people can pick up something for next to nothing at a sale only to find it is rare and valuable. When the antiques expert tells them the true value of the item the reactions vary from shock to joy. Imagine finding out that the old glass vase you've been using for years is actuarlly a rare Lalique worth several thousand.
So if you're asking yourself "Are there any vintage stores me?" then the answer may be "Yes. Someone in your street is having a temporary one on their front lawn next Saturday."
Antiques dealers and secondhand shops often have another service they offer to their customers and this household clearances. Alternatively, there are those who offern household clearances as part of a 'man and van' hire service. They then present the items they've acquired in this way to an antiques dealer will pick through to see if there's anything worth buying as stock for their stores.
House clearances, life funerals, are a fact of life and they continue throughout the year and throughout all the economic ups and downs that sometimes suspend other businesses. The harsh reality is that after someone dies there comes the practical task of sorting through and disposing of their personal belongings and effects.
Heirlooms may remain the family and items may be bequeathed to relatives and friends. Other items with no emotional attachment may be sold individually but at some point the family will be left with clothing and furniture with little or no monetary value. They may decide to take the clothing to the local thrift store but the furniture and other items will remain and this is often when they call someone who offers a house clearing service.
There is an opportunity here for the keen vintage collector. All it takes is for the person to build a relationship with whoever does the house clearances. Once the relationship has been established and you've made it know to them what exactly you're looking for you may be called whenever there is new stock to view. You may be able to view these items before they go sale to anyone else.
Sometimes the house clearance is rushed because the deceased had no living relatives, or even if they did they may be indifferent to the contents of their late relative for all kinds of reasons. They may in instruct someone to clear the house or the apartment ready for a quick sale of the property.