Did you ever find yourself dreaming of going back in time to the mid ’60s just so that you could stroll down Carnaby Street or King’s Road and take in the sights, the sounds and yes the shops that permeated what was considered “Swinging London” at the time? Whether inspired by the fashion in “A Hard Days Night” or “Quadrophenia”, or the fact you just have to have an outfit like the one Brian Jones wore during his eighth drug bust in 1967, there are places that allow you to shop and dress in a manner befitting a true ‘60s inspired retro fashion plate that would set even Mary Quant’s heart a flutter. Sadly “I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet” and “Granny Takes a Trip” no longer exist and The Beatles’ “Apple Boutique” went bust in 1968 but there are plenty of shops out there with some incredibly cool looking threads that you can buy and everything I mention here is available online so best of all you can enjoy this virtual private shopping spree from the benefit of your own home. Are you ready? Slap on Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake by the Small Faces and let’s shop!
The first thing to remember when looking to shop for vintage clothing is, if possible buy local. Your local flea market or open air bazaar will often have all kinds of cool stuff at very reasonable prices. Check out your local Yellow Pages and look for “vintage clothing.” You will often be amazed at what is available in your own neighborhood. And don’t forget places like thrift shops and Salvation Army stores.
For a lot of people, shopping these days can be best summed up in one word: eBay! The volume of goods sold on eBay is staggering and the selection changes hourly. You have the choice of either doing a general search (try “vintage clothing” or “retro clothing”) or you can go to an eBay store like Retroscope Music and Fashion or Vintage Violet Clothing which are great because they are extremely convenient and well organized. You can spend hours on eBay but the rewards are often well worth the time.
Vintage clothing is extremely popular and a quick Google search will probably overwhelm you (but is fun none the less) so here are just a couple of general vintage clothing stores that you can visit on the ‘Net which feature not just ‘60s inspired clothing but stuff going back to the ‘20s:
· The Rusty Zipper
· Glorious Vintage
· Party Pants (cool name!)
· Viva la Vintage
· Sazz Vintage
· Ballyhoo Vintage
For ‘60s inspired fashion specifically there are a couple of pretty cool places you might want to check out. The first is Velvet Illusion in the UK. In addition to collectables and cool videos and books, Velvet Illusion have an incredible variety of mod and psychedelic clothes that will light up your lava lamp. Highly recommended amongst the retro fashion set. Another very cool store is Dadadie Brücke’s modern and vintage designs based in St. Paul, Minnesota USA. Custom designed new clothes for men and women inspired by vintage ‘60s fashion with a modern twist that can be ordered over the ‘Net. The selection is really good and you know that the quality will be high since the clothes are new and that they will fit. Guys, if you ever wanted to look like Austin Powers this is the place to go! Another highly recommended store by those in the know. If you are looking for some sexy Swinging London inspired fashion then Pin-Up Girl Clothing out of Los Angeles has some pretty amazing stuff. If you have always wanted a Union Jack mini skirt, Pinup-Girl Clothing is the place to go. Oh do behave!
When I started on this post I didn’t expect that there was so much in the way of cool retro clothing stores on the web but then hey, I’m a guy! The Video Beat (which offers an amazing selection of ‘50s and ‘60s rock and roll movies, expect a review soon) has a great list of fashion links that you might want to check out for even more fab stores that should satisfy all your vintage shopping needs (at least for this week right ladies!) and because there is so much out there I’ll try to revisit the retro fashion scene on a regular basis. After all, no one will deny that rock and roll is at least a little bit about image (just ask the guys in The Darkness!) and if you are aiming for a little bit of retro in your life, The Rock and Roll Report is only too happy to point you in the right direction. Thank you and please come again!
UPDATED! June 20th, 2004