Monday, 11 August 2014

A guide to vintage shopping in Amsterdam

I was delighted to discover, ahead of my trip there, that Amsterdam is awesome for vintage shopping.  Thanks to @fiandme on Twitter, who pointed me in the right direction, I spent much of the first day darting in and out of shops (The Boy was probably less happy about this turn of events) and quickly learnt three things about vintage shopping in Amsterdam:

1. The range and quality of stuff available is incredible: it seems to me like vintage might be a fairly new thing in the Netherlands, because there was so much high quality original 1940s, 50s and 60s stuff that you just don't find in the UK anymore.

2. Compared to in the UK, vintage is incredibly cheap in Amsterdam.  I saw stunning 1940s tea dresses and 1950s sun dresses in perfect condition, which would go for upwards of £60 here, for around €20-€30.

3. Plus size vintage doesn't seem to exist.  Not just like in the UK, where it's harder to find but you usually come across a piece or two after some rummaging, but literally not available anywhere. Major sad face from me, and the reason why I came home entirely empty handed.  However, if you're sizes 8-12, you're laughing.

So, where to go to find all these riches?

Your first port of call should be the Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets), a small neighbourhood of beautiful independent shops, cafes and bars in the canal district.  There are too many vintage shops on the Negen Straatjes to name individually, but spending an hour or two criss-crossing the canals to wander up and down the streets will provide any vintage lover with plenty to see.

A ten minute walk north of the Negen Straatjes will bring you to Harlaammerstraat, home to three good vintage stores: Rumours Vintage (modern, what I'd call 'fashion' vintage, including some menswear), Marble Vintage (which has another branch on Nieuwe Hoogstraat and also offers lots of menswear), and Wini Vintage (pictured above).

Episode has three branches in central Amsterdam, including one on the Negen Straatjes and one smack bang next to the Waterlooplein flea market, and is the closest thing I saw to British shops like Rokit or Beyond Retro.  Quite fashion-driven, rather than true vintage pieces, and lots of 80s and 90s stuff, but excellent for a rummage.  This was also one of the only places I saw anything vaguely approaching my size (14-16, so not wildly plus, but where vintage is concerned I'm huge).

Tut & Hola on Korsjespoortsteeg was probably my favourite vintage shop.  It's a small store but absolutely brimming with amazing dresses at reasonable prices, and seemed especially good for 50s and 60s pieces.

Finally, a store I managed to entirely miss while I was there (despite it being on a street we walked many times) is I Love Vintage, which sells vintage clothes as well as their own retro designs both online and in their shop on Prinsengracht.

This is a mere taster of all of the vintage shopping that Amsterdam offers: tucked away on quiet alleys and canal-side streets, there are more stores than I could possibly name here.  So what are you waiting for?  Get shopping!

All images apart from the first one are from the websites of the shops and © the shop named.