Vintage shops can be confusing; piles of clothes shoved in between random home ware ornaments and handbags, misleading sizes (if any sizes at all), and that weird smell that lingers on the clothes. All of this and more the fashion team encountered on our tour of a few of Oxford’s vintage shops to bring you all the info you need to make your next shopping trip as easy as possible. Here is what we thought.
Where: Ship Street, central Oxford.
If you enjoy rummaging around piles of musty clothes on a shop floor, then this is the place for you. Packed into a rather small space are enough clothes to fill probably 20 wardrobes. If you’re really in the mood to shop and admire clothes, coming here can honestly be quite rewarding, because there are definitely some killer pieces hidden amongst all the boxes of hats and furs. Unfortunately, when there is another shopper in there with you and all the clothes it can feel pretty crowded, so try and go in alone.
The Ballroom Emporium.
Where: The Plain, (heading towards Cowley).
Boxes and baskets filled with nik naks line the pavement outside this shop, drawing you in before you even look at the window display. This place would be good to go to if you wanted stuff for your room, from crockery to records to a cute set of leather poufs. Inside, the shop is well organized with different rails reserved for different categories, and everything in colour order, making your shopping experience as easy as possible. There were some really cool pieces in here, especially in terms of menswear, with entire rails dedicated to suit jackets and glass cabinets displaying (very expensive) top hats. Also great to go to if you’re into costume style; there were masks, jewels and embroidery in abundance. Don’t be expecting to find any major bargains though as most things in here were fairly pricey. Casual-wear was also quite limited so if you’re more reserved in your style choices you might be disappointed.
Where: Cowley Road.
Probably our favourite of the shops we visited, Reignwear was spacious and well organized. I also found the clothes here to be more wearable on a day-to-day basis than those in the other two, with plenty of rails of jeans, shirts and skirts in a variety of textures and colours. Catching my eye as soon as I walked in were a pair of intense green corduroy flares, and there were plenty more quirky (but not un-wearable) pieces like these. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday the store opens a sale room where many items are five or ten pounds, which is perfect for when you just need to shop but are on a student budget. The only drawback is that sizing is confusing or non-existent, which can be annoying, but also maybe a blessing in disguise as you’re released from the sometimes-binding nature of sizings.