The British, with their love of theatrical style, have embraced the trend for vintage clothing with particular gusto. Even mainstream places, like Liberty, Selfridges, and Topshop, all have vintage sections. And don’t forget the retro finds to be found at Camden Market, Portobello Road, Brick Lane/Spitalfields, and the following top shops.


Absolute Vintage. Absolute Vintage is a warehouse of handpicked items from the 1930s through the 1980s, but the specialty here is shoes and bags. The shop has the largest collection of vintage shoes in the United Kingdom (more than 1,000 pairs). Best of all, prices are reasonable. There’s another branch on Berwick Street in Soho. 15 Hanbury St., Spitalfields/East End, London, E1 6QR. 020/7247-3883. Tube: Aldgate East, Liverpool St.

Beyond Retro. Beyond Retro stocks more than 10,000 vintage items for men and women. From cowboy boots to bowling shirts to prom dresses, they’ve got the largest collection of American retro in the United Kingdom. There’s another outpost in Soho. 110-112 Cheshire St., Spitalfields/East End, London, E2 6EJ. 020/7729-9001. Tube: Shoreditch High St., Whitechapel.

Blitz. “Seams” like old times? It certain does at the world?s first (self-proclaimed) ?vintage department store.? This vast former furniture factory now has separate floors devoted to antiques and vintage clothing. Look for racks filled with Marlboro Man leather jackets, sequined Indian silk tops, Sgt Pepper band uniforms, and Liberty shirts. 98 55 Hanbury St., East End, London, E1 5JP. 020/377-0730. Tube: Bethnal Green.

Orsini. Eveningwear with Hollywood-style glamour is the trademark at this tiny but choice boutique, with clothes from the 1920s to the 1970s. Victoria Beckham is a fan. 76 Earl’s Court Rd., Kensington, London, W8 6EQ. 020/7937-2903. Tube: Earl’s Court.

Palette London. Every piece of clothing at Palette London is in immaculate condition. Owner Mark Ellis sells vintage Ossie Clark, Missoni, Pucci, as well as Chanel from the 1940s up to the ’90s and new European designers. His selection of ’80s Betsey Johnson is particularly strong. 21 Canonbury La., Islington, London, N1 2AS. 020/7288-7428. Tube: Highbury & Islington.

Rellik. Situated at the foot of the modernist landmark Trellick Tower, Rellik began as a stall in the Portobello Market and is today favored by the likes of Kate Moss. Vintage hunters looking to splurge can find a selection of YSL, Alaia, and Dior, as well as items from lesser-known designers. Prices range from £30 to £1,000. 8 Golborne Rd., Notting Hill, London, W10 5NW. 020/8962-0089. Tube: Westbourne Park.

Rokit. Rokit consists of two shops along Brick Lane that stock everything from handbags and ball gowns to jeans, military garb, and Western wear, and the ever-changing collection spans from the 1920s to the 1990s. Magazine and rock stylists love it. There are also branches in Camden and Covent Garden. 101 and 107 Brick La., Spitalfields/East End, London, E1 6SE. 020/7375-3864. Tube: Shoreditch High St.

Virginia. Virginia Bates’s collection of vintage clothing may be the best in London. Dresses, hats, and accessories from the late Victorian era (circa 1880) to the early 1930s are available. These are wearable collectors’ items and are priced accordingly. 98 Portland Rd., Holland Park, London, W11 4LQ. 020/7727-9908. Closed Sun.; open Sat. by appointment only. Tube: Holland Park, Ladbroke Grove.