40s-50s Hawaiian print dress, £120 from Wolf & Gypsy
Here in the UK we’re a little bit obsessed with vintage, whether it’s fashion, furniture or home accessories. To answer the question of ‘why’ would be another blog post; according to Grayson Perry it has something to do with our desire to be unique and the security of the past, but let’s just say we have an eye for the forgotten classics.
Out of all the cities in the UK, Brighton has got to be the vintage capital, with more secondhand clothes stores per capita than anywhere else in the country. Many of these can be found on Sydney Street in the heart of the bohemian North Laines, selling everything from American utility wear to luxury 1940s evening dresses. Join us as we take a look at several very different kinds of vintage to be found there.
6 Sydney Street BN1 4EN www.dirtyharryltd.com
Inspired by Manhattan jeans store Canal Jeans from the 1980s, Dirty Harry serves up an eclectic mix of American-style vintage at affordable prices. This is the place to go for that urban cowboy look, whether you’re after cowboy boots, secondhand 501s, plaid shirts or US military wear. Dirty Harry is best known for its bargain shirt rails out the front, but they also sell an inspired range of vintage-inspired new clothes including retro band t-shirts of The Ramones and Joy Division. New stock added all the time.
To Be Worn Again
24 Sydney Street BN1 4EN www.tobewornagain.co.uk
One of Brighton’s biggest and best vintage clothes stores, To Be Worn Again is famous for its regularly updated stock and sharp focus on 1960s and 70s styles. Unlike many second-hand clothes shops, TBWA is a true vintage store, selling the kind of one-off items that could either be fashion disasters or fashion masterpieces in the right hands. Peruse their treasure trove of stunning scarves, bags and gloves, as well as dresses, skirts and jackets, all 100% recycled and imported from the USA, Canada and Europe.
Wolf & Gypsy
30 Sydney Street BN1 4EP www.wolfandgypsyvintage.co.uk
Wolf & Gypsy is an upmarket vintage boutique which, contrary to appearances, is surprisingly reasonably priced. Voted best vintage shop by Company magazine, it’s perfect for those who are short on time but strict on quality, with a carefully-edited inventory that can easily be browsed in one sitting. On a good day you will find vintage gems including 1960s print dresses, colourful blouses, 1970s heels and figure-hugging Levi’s, most of which are in the £20 to £40 price range.
Hope and Harlequin
31 Sydney Street BN1 4EP www.hopeandharlequin.com
The last stop on our vintage tour is Hope and Harlequin, a luxury boutique on Sydney Street which specialises in the kind of 30s/40s pieces that are becoming increasingly hard to find. It’s a beautifully decorated store, offering one of Brighton’s most memorable shopping experiences. Among its rails you may find a Vivienne Westwood bag or dress by Ossie Clark in a star-studded line up of clothing dating right back to the 1800s. One of their specialties is unique vintage wedding dresses, and they also do an excellent line in made-to-measure vintage recreations. One of Brighton’s best!
It’s Movember right now, so get yourself down to Brighton for some beautiful vintage clothes to compliment the facial hair all around you. If these shops haven’t persuaded you, check out this video from HotelClub for more inspiration:
Image by Eleni Mettyear for Brighton Source.