Manchester is a really cool town with lots to offer, so if you ever get the chance to visit, I totally recommend it. They have some really cracking designer shops (hello Vivienne Westwood!), a great arts and music scene and even a cereal cafe. What more could a gal ask for?
What’s that you say? Vintage shops? Well I suppose I can recommend a few!
Here’s my top picks for vintage in Manchester…
Two words. Retro Rehab. I’d stop my review right there, but I think you’ll be a bit mad about it! This is one of the best UK vintage dress shops I’ve come accross in some time – such a wonderfully epic selection of 50s, 60’s and 70’s pieces which seems to be harder and harder to find these days. Bright colours, bold patterns … stop me before I swoon! Everything is in really great condition because they repair in house, and they have a small but cute selection of jewellery and accessories too. They also have some re-worked items which is a really fun way to see some wounded birds turned into more modern garments. Great work team!!
I’ve always loved Pop Boutique because from the outside it doesn’t look like they have much, but as soon as you head to the basement it’s like going into Dr Who’s tardis; it’s HUGE. They have the best vintage home ware and furniture in the city, although frustratingly it’s not always all for sale. They also have a lot of great vintage that’s pretty reasonably priced as well as some of their own vintage inspired clothing which is really cute. I bought a cracking late 50’s – early 60s dress here, and as it was damaged at the seams I managed to get a 10% discount, so don’t be frightened to ask should your find be flawed.
Oxfam Original is Manchester’s greatest charity shop – it’s in the North Quarter alongside all these other great vintage stores and it’s certainly up against them in my vintage hunt stakes. Like all charity shops you never know what you’re going to get, but this Oxfam goes above and beyond to source their best pieces and curate them to appease their local customers. I ended up getting a really beautiful unworn 1950’s nightgown and matching nightdress from here at an absolute steal (less than £30 total!) so keep your eyes peeled in all areas of this shop! They also have a great men’s section too, which is quite unusual to find.
Well one can’t write about Manchester’s alternative shops without mentioning Afflecks Palace! I was OBSESSED with this place as a kid, and it’s not hard to work out why. There’s 3 floors of stores to wander through in here, including a bead store, tattoo parlours, retro toy shops, arcade, and cereal cafe. The clothing comes in all shapes and sizes, they have vintage repro shops, emo, metal, goth, kawaii – you name it. I found their genuine vintage clothing a bit of a disappointment, but perhaps it’s because I had over the top expectations and it was the awe from my youth wearing off. This place is like visiting London’s Camden market under one roof, so if you’re going to the city, you have to see it – even just once. I also found it fairly expensive, but again, it could have just been my warped view.
Blue Rinse is in here mainly because I love the name – and I am in love with those Dame Edna bags! For those who love a 80’s/90’s weigh and pay store (I’ve written before how I’m not a fan) this one is pretty great as they have rails and rails of clothing to choose from. They also have some cool re-make stuff, and a wicked selection of retro Adidas shoes which is 100% worth checking out.
Last, but not least, a shout out has to be made to Fred Aldous, one of the UKs best art and craft stores. They have a lot of my favourite American brands here as well as a photo studio, a laser studio and A SELECTION OF VINTAGE PHOTO BOOTHS THAT STILL WORK. Anyone who knows me personally will know that I am crazy-go-nuts for these, and if I could afford to own one I would buy it in a heartbeat. On that note, Fred Aldous, if you’re ever looking to sell, come to me first!!
Manchester is one of these epic cities that’s forever changing and updating, so if you find any other cool vintage / retro places in town please leave a link to it in the comment space below, because I fully intend to be heading back soon!
I hope you love this city as much as I do – definitely up there for some of the best arts and culture in the UK 🙂