LOOKCITY: Hunting Through The Ten Very Best Vintage & Thrift Stores In Vancouver
by Robyn Yager | I have a soft spot for thrifted and consigned clothing items. There’s just nothing that compares to the thrill of sorting through what appears to be junk and discovering the treasures within. I can safely say that I’m addicted to the hunt. Read on for my picks of the top thrift, consignment, and vintage stores in the city. In no particular order, they are…
This shop is always a treat. It’s a bit of a trek if you’re not from the area, but it’s worth it. The owner, Joy (Lapka) Mauro, opened the first location on South Granville in 1978 when she was just 23 years old. Word has it that this consignment store was the first a city that had previously only ever know yard sales or temporary bazaars. It’s super clean, easy to navigate, and full of interesting garments. Expect to find items from Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Burberry, A Moveable Feast, Joe’s Jeans, Pink Tartan, Tod’s, Michael Kors, and tons more. It’s easy to find incredible pieces here for mere fractions of what they originally sold for.
3112 West Broadway | 604.731.7762 | www.turnaboutclothing.com
C’est La Vie
C’est La Vie is an adorable little shop on Main Street just off 16th Avenue. From the outside it looks a little chaotic, but once inside you’re sure to find something wonderful on the racks and shelves. Although this boutique claims to be a consignment shop, many items are of the older and more “retro” variety, meaning one can find some really high-quality vintage items, too. Recognizable high end brands are a little tougher to come by, but this only adds to C’est La Vie’s many charms.
3247 Main Street at 16th Avenue | 604.876.2284 | www.cestlavieboutique.ca
YWCA Thrift Shop
Thrift stores are not everyone’s cup of tea, but this one in particular on Main at 28th is small and quiet and my encounters with the man who works there have always been pleasant (a chatty fellow, but never invasive). Accessories like jewelry and bags are abundant and I can never resist browsing through the coat section.
4399 Main Street at 28th Avenue | 604.675.9996 | www.ywcavan.org/content/Thrift_Shop/240
The Frock Shoppe
Most probably the best thrift and vintage shop in the city. They carry fantastic stuff at a good price and have the best assortment of vintage silk shirts. They pride themselves on carrying items that are made of natural fabrics and they employ women with barriers to traditional employment, giving them valuable job skills during a transitional period in their lives. Vintage shopping and helping women get back on their feet? The Frock Shoppe is doing it right!
311 Carrall , Between Hastings and Cordova | 604.682.8535 | www.communitythriftandvintage.wordpress.com
An unassuming little consignment boutique on the corner of MacDonald and West Broadway. They sell an assortment of quirky used items in the front section of the store, and if you move along to the back you will find yourself among the likes of Marni, Miu Miu, and Dries Van Noten.
2846 West Broadway | 604.739.7633 | www.immersionclothing.com
Front & Company
If you’re a fellow hunter, you’re probably familiar with this shop. Personally, it’s my go-to, but I can’t go too often because I rarely leave empty handed. Front & Co. is a consignment store that always manages to stay current. They carry clothing from Wildred Free, Community, Mackage, and Zara, as well as a designer section (my favourite) where you can find Diane Von Furstenberg, Elizabeth and James, Alexander Wang, BCBG, Cacharel, and Isabel Marant. Prices are incredibly reasonable in the designer section, and fair in the sample and contemporary sections.
3772 Main Street (between 21st & 22nd Avenue) | 604.879.8431 | www.frontandcompany.ca
The Wildlife Thrift Store
A funny store to have on the end of Granville Street. From the outside it looks like a quaint used furniture store, but walk to the entrance on Drake Street and you cruise into a wild Seattle thrift shop. It’s HUGE and fun to browse, even if it’s just for the experience.
1295 Granville Street | 604.682.0381 | www.wildlifethriftstore.com
Used House of Vintage
A welcome change from the Brandy Melville/Urban Oufitter/Aldo-type shops that line the GED (soon to open a second store on Robson). Tons of vintage dresses, coats, tops, shoes and a men’s section. Their prices are not terribly expensive, but they’re definitely leaning towards high-reasonable. Again, brands are not easy to come by, but the selection of quality vintage outshines one’s yen for familiarity.
831 Granville Street | 604.694.0322 | www.usedhouseofvintage.com
Erin Templeton, who is best known for her handmade leather goods, works in an open production studio that also serves as a vintage boutique. It’s a unique work space, and customers can engage with the designer as she works on her products and browse through the vintage items that Erin uses daily as inspiration.
511 Carrall Street (at Pender) | 604-682-2451 | www.erintempleton.com
F As In Frank
This funky shop is for those who don’t take themselves too seriously. What really tugs at my heart strings here is their huge collection of Mickey Mouse sweatshirts, t-shirts, and jackets. F and in Frank is E as in Expensive. As one of the pricier vintage shops, they nevertheless have some neat stuff that has clearly been searched for and carefully selected. They have their own sense of style, including snap-back hats, navajo print button up shirts, and vintage sports apparel.
2425 Main Street (near East Broadway) | 604.568.5130 | www.fasinfrankvintage.com
Robyn Yager is the style reporter for Scout Magazine. She runs The Rain Season blog and is enthused by anything out of the ordinary. She loves art, striped shirts, macchiatos, classic literature and picking through thrift stores for unique treasures. Her mission is to inspire Vancouverites in their sartorial choices and to see beauty and style everywhere.