By Colette Fitzpatrick
In the past eighteen months or more I have almost entirely stopped purchasing first-hand items of clothing and have pretty much completely turned to exclusively shopping vintage. As a fashion-lover (some might say an obsessive) who has lived in the city for over a decade now, I was already pretty well-versed on where to get my hands on good vintage in Dublin but this drastic shift in my habits based on a deep concern for my impact on the environment has lead me to seek out new and better options all the time. Practice makes perfect, as they say, and all that mooching around vintage shops in the last couple of years has paid off. Here are the places that I score most frequently when it comes to vintage gems in Dublin…
Om Diva offers amazing pieces of clothing and accessories from independent Irish designers, contemporary clothes and accessories that are beautifully curated and sourced from around the globe, excellent homewares, and a basement full of vintage gems. While the rest of the store is gorgeous, the basement is the main thing that is on my radar whenever I visit. I am specifically a big fan of the vintage blouses and dresses that they stock, which are the most delicate, detailed, intricate beauties usually sourced from Japan and Korea and are often deadstock items that were never actually worn or sold before and remained pristine in storage for years after shops closed down. The difference in quality and craftsmanship between these garments and those sold in fast fashion stores today always only further underscores the reasons I choose to shop vintage. There really is no competition. If you’re in the market for a pretty vintage gúna – ruffles, florals, polka dots, sailor collars, Peter Pan collars, and lace abounding – then this is one of the best places in town. However, I will note that as these items are generally coming from Asian countries where women are often smaller and where there are a lot of “free size” or “one size fits all” clothes, there is not often much of a variety of sizes, unfortunately.
Anyone who is familiar with Bean Magazine will likely know that we (and me, in particular) are big fans of Space Out Sister. Located on the second floor of the same building that houses Two Pups Coffee on Francis Street, it is a true treasure trove full of the most incredible curation of truly stunning vintage loungewear pieces dating from the 1950s to the 1990s, as well as some homemade pieces that the owner, Kiki makes herself, and lingerie exclusively stocked from Playful Promises and What Katy Did (both consciously-made brands). It is also a beautiful shopping experience with pretty interiors, soft retro music playing in the background, a glass of Babycham in vintage glasses often cracked out for visitors, a deposit scheme, and the delightful presence of the charming and lovely Kiki. It is no wonder then that the store won two awards back in January from the Irish Enterprise Awards 2020 for ‘Best Specialist Vintage Clothing Store – Dublin’ and ‘Most Innovative Online Retail Boutique – Dublin’! If you love lounging and you want to do it in chic, vintage, environmentally-friendly style then hit her up! I’m a particular fan of the selection of pyjamas, which are made for looking more sophisticated than you are while still staying cosy.
3. Vincent’s, Unit 11, 73, 83 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2
With long opening hours and a proper vintage section, this is my favourite charity shop in the city and where I buy from most frequently; it is very easy to fall in the door on my way home from work…In addition to the vintage, there is a lot of second-hand items to choose from, occasion-wear, and a small menswear section upstairs. There is also a decent changing room and you can pay by card, which are two facilities that are generally unheard of in charity shops. You won’t get the same kind of impeccable curation or perfect condition of items of the stores above but you will find lots of unexpected gems. There is a particularly good selection of blazers and jumpers on a regular basis. Sizing is also somewhat better as these items have been donated by all sorts of people. If you’re willing to overlook the odd stain and to dig around a bit more then this is an excellent shout. I just bought one of my all-time favourite dresses and blazers there and I’m truly in love with them!
Siopaella is a Dublin institution and one of the most trusted designer resellers around. While lots of pieces fall into the secondhand category rather than vintage, there are some older pieces to be found. Really, though, this is where you should go if you want to get your hands on a designer piece at a lower price point. Of course, these are still high-end pieces that are being resold after old owners bring them in so you can’t expect crazy bargains but if you missed out on something seasons ago and you’re ready to commit now, you may get lucky, or if you have always wanted a Chanel or Gucci or Dior (etc.) bag, this is probably the best (and most sustainable) way to go about getting one!
Last, but by no means least, is Jenny Vander, which is very much another Dublin institution and Dublin’s oldest vintage shop, opened all the way back in 1974. On the ground floor you will find some dresses and other items as well as the most extraordinary curation of vintage bags, shoes, gloves, hair accessories, costume jewellery, and more. Upstairs, you will find a selection of the most incredible vintage wedding dresses and occasion-wear. I, personally, have only shopped there for the accessories but have scored the most stunning gloves (have I had occasion to wear them yet? No, but that’s none of your business) and a beautiful (and impractically small) 1920s beaded bag that I’m mad about. For vintage brides or anyone with an event or Debs or ball coming up, check it out!
Looking for more interesting posts? Check out our review of Sprezzatura and our guide to the Dublin neighbourhood of Rathmines..