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Vintage Brighton: a guide to second hand shopping

Isabella Silvers

Brighton is famed for its fashionable reputation. Skinny jeans and knitted jumpers often mingle with flannel shirts, battered leather satchels and gold pendants. But while you may have seen similar styles before, you won’t have seen the exact same pieces – they’re vintage.

For those unaccustomed to trawling the Lanes, vintage shopping can seem daunting. With a huge amount of stock to plough through, many shoppers can be overwhelmed by the amount on offer. So where to start?

To Be Worn Again is Brighton’s biggest vintage clothing company, with two locations in Kensington Gardens and Sydney Street. They pride themselves on good quality vintage items, offering leather belts, tapestry handbags and warm winter woollies. For the boys, checked flannel shirts are synonymous with vintage style. It’s also possible to send staff requests for images and specifics through their website and social media. Retro lingerie designer Jenny Mearns suggests having an idea in mind of what you’re looking for, but keeping your options open if you do discover something different.

Situated on both Lewes Road and Sydney Street, Dirty Harry provides polka dot and paisley shirts for the boys, or reworked dresses and tie-front blouses for ladies. Reworked items are a great way to buy into vintage, as the difficult body shapes of yesteryear are remodelled to better fit modern shoppers. Sales assistant Emily suggests shopping by trend; this is easy in Dirty Harry where different trends, styles and price ranges are grouped together. Don’t forget to wear your £12 Dirty Harry t-shirt or £18 jumper for 10% off any purchase in the store.

For a high quality, edited selection of beautiful dresses dating from the 20s, head to Hope Harlequin and Tramp Boutique, where the sales assistants look as good as the clothing. While perfect for special occasions, prices can be high, so check out Starfish instead for some great quality embellished dresses and jackets at more reasonable prices.

But if you really want to throw yourself in at the deep end, head to Beyond Retro, situated on Vine Street. Stocking every decade, style and trend you can imagine, this is one of Brighton’s larger vintage outlets. While it does take time to sort through the fanciful array of items, there are some gems to be found, as well as their selection of reworked items.

For costume and semi-precious jewellery, there’s nowhere better than Snooper’s Paradise. True to their name, you really have to snoop out the best buys displayed in glass cabinet cases. Snooper’s Paradise offer some great rings, compact cases and pearl necklaces, on top of beautiful and quirky items.

Outside of London, there’s nowhere better for vintage than Brighton, what with the Lanes, vintage sections in Juju and Urban Outfitters and regular Vintage Fairs held at the Corn Exchange. So why not give it a go? It’s not as daunting as it seems!

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