London Embraces Vintage Style

Antique fairs and flea markets make London a popular center of vintage fashion. Special events celebrating vintage style are a regular feature in the British capital, covering all aspects of retro ranging from glassware and furniture, through to fine art, vinyl records and fashion. Vintage fashion events, some held on an annual and others on a more regular basis, include Frock Me! Vintage Fashion Fair, So Last Century Vintage Market, Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair, London The Way We Wear, Hammersmith Vintage Fashion Fair and The National Vintage Wedding Fare. Tourists brush shoulders with avid collectors in a shared interest for retro finds.

London is a veritable delight for shoppers of vintage fashion pieces. Its many markets and boutiques make it a treasure trove of retro and vintage, a prime spot for shoppers with the vintage bug. Here we put the spotlight on some of the best vintage shopping spots in the capital.

Cabbages and Frocks

Cabbages and Frocks is a high-end fashion market open every Saturday in Marylebone. It is a choice place for vintage finds and is very popular with fashionistas and A-list celebrities.

Beyond Retro

East London’s Beyond Retro has an enviable reputation as the place for vintage fashion. Beyond Retro has the largest selection of vintage clothing in the UK, stocking dresses, coats, jumpsuits, blouses, swimwear and much more. Accessories include bags, hats, sunglasses and scarves, and you can always find a vintage thigh-high boot to go with that 60s mini dress. Beyond Retro also caters to vintage lovers outside London through its online store.


Rokit has grown from its original Camden market stall to its now four bricks and mortar stores across London and an online shop. Their vintage fashion pieces range from the 1930s through to the 1990s and are handpicked for their uniqueness and their appeal to the style conscious.

Rokit stocks inspired vintage clothes and quirky accessories. You can find classic vintage, party dresses, jumpsuits and lingerie, in addition to designer vintage labels including Alexander McQueen, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino.

You can browse through the vintage wedding collection or even kit yourself out in vintage ski wear. The man on your arm won’t be bored as you shop as the men’s collection includes vintage clothing, braces and bowties.

Radio Days Vintage

Fashion at Radio Days Vintage in Waterloo spans the 1920s to the 1980s. In addition to vintage clothing this store stocks books, jewelry and homeware. Every item is genuine vintage rather than retro reproductions. Radio Days appeals to men as well as women, with its wonderful selection of vintage cravats, cufflinks, tie clips and cigarette cases. Radio Days is an Aladdin’s Cave of rare vintage.

Blackout ll

Covent Garden’s Blackout ll has been selling vintage apparel and accessories for three decades and specializes in quality vintage pieces. Period clothing ranges from the 1920s to the 1980s. Retro dresses include casual and cocktail, evening gowns and wedding dresses. This is a great store for vintage suits for men. Blackout 11 has featured in Time Out’s list of London’s best shops.

Vintage Wedding Dresses You Can Wear Today

Wedding dresses are the ultimate wear-only-once fashion item, often an extravagantly expensive purchase that will only ever be appreciated once. Eco-friendly brides who love the romantic appeal of retro style vintage wedding dresses may consider investing in a vintage gown for the occasion, reviving new life into a treasured garment that has been packed away in an attic for decades.

There is something intrinsically romantic in breathing new life into a wedding gown that once graced an earlier bride. Brides may consider shopping in vintage stores or online, or revive the dress originally worn by a beloved grandmother. Vintage wedding dresses often cost less than modern gowns, particularly if they are pre-worn. Brides should not think of a vintage wedding dress as second-hand but rather as pre-loved, steeped in the romance of a wedding from a bygone era. Vintage gowns, having passed the test of time, are timeless. Classic styles with a retro aura will look amazing in the wedding photographs, particularly if the bridesmaids choose dresses reflecting the era of the wedding dress.

Brides considering choosing a vintage wedding dress have many decades of designs to choose from. The 1920s was the flapper style era, popularized by tea-length shift dresses, while the 1980s was the decade of puffed sleeves. The Bohemian style of the 1970s has inspired many modern Bohemian wedding dresses, but if the bride wants original retro there are amazing original vintage dresses from that era to be found.

If a bride has decided to go with vintage she should be aware sizes have changed over the years and vital measurements are the key to a good fit. It may be necessary for a professional seamstress to make alterations to a vintage wedding dress. Additionally the fabric should be closely checked for any discolorations that have occurred over the years. If a bride opts for vintage for her wedding there is more than simply the dress to consider. There are vintage wedding veils and head-pieces, and accessories such as vintage garters, gloves, and brooches.

Brides looking for vintage wedding dress inspiration can consider these styles representing five decades of dresses, from the 1940s to the 1980s, each available online via Etsy.

Vintage Wedding Dresses
1940s long sleeved satin wedding dress.

This 1940s long sleeved satin wedding dress was designed for a British wartime bride. A very high sweetheart neckline nestles between the shoulder pads of this simple yet elegant dress.

 

Vintage Wedding Dresses
1950s knee-length French wedding dress.

Above, this 1950s knee-length French wedding dress with an A-line silhouette is styled in silk damask. This petite, embroidered vintage wedding dress has a jewel neckline, 3/4 sleeves, cinched waist and an oversized bow adorns the skirt.

 

Vintage Wedding Dresses
1960s vintage satin wedding dress
Vintage Wedding Dresses
1960s vintage satin wedding dress

This 1960s satin vintage wedding dress with a slim A-line silhouette features long sleeves. Delicate lace daisy appliques adorn the illusion neckline and the back waistline.

 

Vintage Wedding Dresses
1970s vintage Bohemian style organza wedding dress

This 1970s Bohemian-style organza vintage wedding dress features floral lace appliques embellishing the bodice, the long cuffed sleeves and the high round neckline. The lace applique trim is mirrored on the waistline and the scalloped hemline of this A-line gown.

 

Vintage Wedding Dresses
1980s cocktail-length wedding dress

This 1980s cocktail-length wedding dress is styled in sequin fabric with a peplum and puff sleeves. The bodice showcases gold embroidery and the puff sleeves are a classic of the era.