showcasing the best of the south west

Top 10 Vintage Shops in the South West

Updated - November 2013 1. What Alice Found, Bournemouth, Dorset

Styled like a film set and themed around Alice in Wonderland, this shop in the heart of Bournemouth's vintage quarter, Pokesdown, is the ultimate treasure trove. Alongside vintage Alice in Wonderland inspired work from local artists and jewellery from “Follow the White Rabbit", you'll find wonderful pieces mainly from the 1950s to 80s. Owner  Nicki Grainger, a former fashion journalist, sources from all over the UK, Europe and LA. The emphasis is not on designer labels, rather Nicki uses her unfailing eye to hunt down original pieces you'll love. Right now the emphasis is on bright winter coats and capes, sparkly cocktail dresses, fur hats and boots but you'll also find toys hand-made from vintage fabric, shoes, art. Loving the sound of vintage lock-ins - head here with your girlfriends for a few hours of private browsing fueled by champagne and canapes or tea and cake.

Where: 805 Christchurch Road, Boscombe, Dorset, 01202 929 531

2. Scarlet Vintage, Bath, Somerset

Head to Scarlet Vintage on Bath's beautiful, cobbled Queen Street to find wow factor Christmas party dresses from the shop's recently extended eveningwear section. Owner Debbie has an unfailing eye for detail and cut - you'll find full length 1930s, long and beaded, black ballerina-style cocktail with diamonte embellishment, sequins galore. She flies to the States to source impeccable 40s and 50s coats and dresses. Current treasures include a huge range of costume jewellery, a quilted Balenciaga jacket, Christian Dior scarves and a Gucci belt. Snakeskin clutches, 60s sunglasses, you'll need time to browse. Where: 5 Queen Street,just off Milsom Street, Bath, 01225 338677



 3. The Real McCoy, Exeter, Devon

A legendary vintage shop and cafe that has been going for almost 30 years and has an extensive collection over 2 floors - it's the perfect place for reinvention. Flapper dresses, top hat and tails, bias cut dresses from the 30s, Sergeant Pepper jackets,  60s knee high boots, vintage Levis and band t-shirts, 70s platforms and lurex trouser suits, prom dresses, even 80s puffball skirts. There's fancy dress hire and a 50s style cafe with burger and shakes for unavoidable Rizzo moments, set against a sugar-pink backdrop. Where: 21 McCoys Arcade, Fore Street, Exeter, 01392 410481







4. Foxtrot Vintage , Salisbury, Wiltshire

Housed in a beautiful Art Deco building with a retro green facade, this is the go-to place for label-heads. We like their mantra “Why buy a copy when you can have the real thing?” Founded by Elena who honed her style from her mother, a beauty queen in the 1950s, you'll find everything here from Biba and Ossie Clark to Chanel. Original, high quality couture, Goodwood Revival costumes, masses from the 60s and 70s, pin-up girl bikinis, sunglasses, fur coats. For your inner Marilyn. Where: 45 – 47 Fisherton Street, Salisbury,01722 326 633. Mon - Sat 10.00 - 5.00 pm

5. Make and Mend, Frome, Somerset

A shop to make your heart beat faster, with kitsch 60s hairslides, Parisian hatboxes, a beautiful collection of 50s dresses, a modernist tea set, vintage prams and doll's houses all artfully nestled together.  Owner Donna May Lynch, a fashion/textile designer who has worked for Galliano and Lacroix amongst others, is a passionate collector herself and her pieces have come from Paris, London and NY. Her philosophy is to make the whole visit to her shop an indulgent experience and you're encouraged to take your time and try things out. Kitsch pieces are mixed with Parisian chic. From Victorian clothes up to the 1970s, unusual jewellery, the occasional 1920s flapper dress, menswear, homeware and Ortigia soaps.  Donna also offers a bespoke clothing service where your clothes can be revamped and restyled. Where: 28 Catherine Hill, Frome, Somerset,  01373 228 472 Also unmissable in Frome is newly reopened Poot at 23 Catherine Hill

6.Strangeness and Charm Vintage, Stroud, Gloucestershire    

Head here for impeccable vintage from one who knows. Owner and former stylist Rebecca Black has been wearing jumble sale couture since the age of 8 and collecting since the punk era. She has an incredible eye for detail and her shop is full of delights - 50s silk wrap dresses, 70s Goddess dresses, beaded bags from the 30s, Victorian blouses, stunning wedding dresses. She only buys if she falls in love with a piece, if it's also a label (which many are) that's a bonus. She describes accessorising as a passion, head here with a favourite outfit and Rebecca will pull out bags, jewellery and hats to transform it. The chiffon dress pictured with gold brocade detail is £68. Check out her facebook page for regular postings of new stock. Where: 7 Gloucester Street, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1QG. Tel 01453 751818. Open Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11am-5pm  



7.Days of Grace, Devon    

A specialist shop selling vintage bridal gowns and fabulous collectible pieces from 1800s through to the 1950s. Exquisite lace and beaded wedding dresses with a boho edge will make you wonder why you considered anything but vintage. One offs from designer archives, Edwardian and Victorian christening gowns, stunning full length evening gowns and perfect LBDs from the 50s. An immaculate Edwardian embroidered lace blouse will set you  back around £120. Where: Days of Grace 15 Fore Street Budleigh Salterton EX9 6NH 01395 443730          

8.Heartfelt, Clifton Down, Bristol, Somerset

This is a lovely vintage clothing shop in a quiet backwater of Clifton. The interior is lit by chandeliers and furnished with flea market finds and everything is beautifully laid out with colour-coded clothes on different rails. There are glass cabinets filled with sparkling costume jewellery, old fashioned mannequins modelling elaborate dresses and shelves displaying leather bags, sunglasses, corsages, silk and beaded shoes, conch and top hats. Vintage wedding dresses and tiaras, stunning dresses from the 40s and 50s, it's impossible to leave empty-handed. Mandy the owner is a livewire and has been in the business of all things vintage for 35 years, cutting her teeth at Covent Garden Market after she left school. She also designs her own label, makes hats, does felting and customisation and makes bespoke clothing for clients. Where: Hearfelt 32 Alma Vale Road, Clifton, Bristol 0117 904 2898  

9.Wild Pony, Falmouth, Cornwall  

Love the name and vibe of this shop, a vintage mecca for hipster students and everyone else. Find vintage Levis jackets with sheepskin collars, flannel Navajo shirts, the full rainbow of vintage sweaters, Alexa Chung style dungarees, Parkas, ponchos and bombers. It's officially plaid shirt heaven with rail upon rail of checks in every colour combination. The shop mixes old and new,  velvet bodycon dresses and hand-made hats nestling against rayon shirts from the 80s, a fluro Nike jacket from the 90s, leather holdalls from the 70s, you get the picture. Where: Wild Pony, 45 Arwenack Street, Falmouth TR11 3JH 01326 618085    




10.Clobber, Bournemouth, Dorset

Described by The Telegraph as “one of the best vintage shops in the country, with rail upon rail of classic 20th-century fashion”, Clobber sells clothes from the 1920’s through to the 1980’s. If you get lucky you'll find Biba, Chanel, Ossie Clark, Vivienne Westwood, Grannie Takes a Trip, Belstaff and Barbour.  It also has a vintage menswear section, full of brogues, more tweed than a country estate and all things manly. As a little extra it includes a huge collection of men’s platform boots  Where: 920 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH76DL. Tel : 01202 433 330  

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