Need something to do this weekend? Here are five unique vintage clothing shops that'll make you say goodbye to Value Village.
Front and Company, 3772 Main Street
A visit to this prolific consignment store will have you wide-eyed and wanting more than just clothing: a stellar selection of quality consignment attire, affordable antique collectibles, and chic vintage jewellery can all be found beyond the doors of Front and Company. With a history that dates back nearly 25 years, the Main Street spot sources items from more than 5,000 consigners, making variety—albeit cleverly curated—the name of the game.
Another great quality of Front and Company is its dedication to organization. As with any consignment shop, a little rummaging is always in order, but a well-laid-out sales floor and reasonable prices will make your search effort well worth it. Of course, if you’re simply in the mood for a good window-shop, Front is the place to do it.
Thematic displays that can only be described as masterpieces have for years caught the eyes of passersby: everything from an 18th-century French ballroom to an ode to Alice in Wonderland have filled the large windows. If you manage to drive by Front and Company without fighting the urge to crane your neck and ogle the ornately dressed mannequins, you must be colourblind.
Community Window, 11 West Hastings Street
Accessible price points don’t typically come hand in hand with the shops that line the posh streets of Gastown, but just a few steps from its centre, Community Thrift & Vintage provides some budget-friendly relief. The store’s inventory, which focuses on men’s and unisex wears is carefully selected from local warehouses, so prices are as low as $5 for old-school band Ts and $10 for knit sweaters and coats. (God bless the sale rack.)
Organized tidily in the rustic-cool space—think high ceilings, wood beams, and whitewashed brick walls—are other one-of-a-kind finds, like snazzy, polka-dot bow ties, genuine leather jackets, and an extensive range of graphic Vans, Converse trainers, and Doc Martens.
In case you’re not already sold, the store’s profits go toward the PHS Community Services Society, which helps house thousands of Vancouverites in the Downtown Eastside.
Mintage, 1714 Commercial Drive
No list of local vintage meccas would be complete without this Drive mainstay in the brick heritage storefront, with its 3,000 square feet of fashion finds. The collection is somehow sprawling yet edited with an incredibly discerning eye.
In the winter, we head here for Cowichan-style woollies, cozy plaid flannels, and, of course, ugly Christmas sweaters. In the spring, you can find a seriously original party dress on the extensive, well-organized racks here: we've spotted everything from gorgeously embroidered Audrey Hepburn silhouettes to elaborate crinolined 1950s ballgowns to spazzy ’70s hippie-floral frocks to the kind of sequinned shifts Ginger might have slinked around in on Gilligan’s Island.
Beautifully preserved cowboy shirts, Motorhead–look leathers, cocktail-era slingbacks, decorative beaded clutches: every era is celebrated here in style.
Mine & Yours, 1062 Hornby Street
Sometimes, Lady Luck is on your side when you hit the thrift: you stumble upon a pair of Manolo Blahnik pumps, a Versace shearling coat with the buttons still intact, or a vintage Emilio Pucci scarf that you once spotted Sophia Loren sporting in the ’70s. But for days when you find yourself leaving your local Value Village empty-handed, it’s nice to know that you can turn to Mine & Yours.
The luxury consignment store stocks its sleek, gallerylike space with a dizzying number of high-end pieces from designers like Alexander Wang, Fendi, Chanel, and Prada—all at ridiculously low rates. Trendy frocks, dazzling jewellery, and quilted handbags are all part of the shop’s coveted offerings, though the crown jewel, in our humble opinion, is the floor-to-ceiling display of drool-worthy Acne booties, bejewelled Dolce & Gabbana flats, Louboutin stilettos, and the schoolboy-chic platform loafers of your dreams.
The store pays cash up-front in exchange for designer goods, so you can bring in your own stash of pre-loved wears to help fund your next buy.
Used House of Vintage, 831 Granville Street and 1008 Robson Street
Don’t let the wall-to-wall blood-red carpeting and polar-bear hide, complete with a snarling head, at the Used House of Vintage scare you. Sure, you may feel like you’re shopping in a weird, royal-palace-meets-wacky-’70s-mansion mashup, but the delightfully kitschy space serves to further highlight one of the best vintage-clothing collections in town.
Among the well-edited stock are darling Victorian-era skirts, ’80s patterned jumpsuits, studded cowboy boots, and a seemingly endless assortment of luxe, faux-fur coats and denim jackets. Elsewhere, antique jewellery, brooches, fascinating curios, and vintage handbags from designer brands like Alexander McQueen and Gucci command attention from shining glass cabinets and surprisingly well-dressed mannequins.
Needless to say, Used should be one of your first stops when putting together a Halloween outfit on a budget, though with a selection of brand-new items like sunglasses, hats, and shoes, you’ll want to add it to your regular shop rotation, too.