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A Guide to Vintage Shopping in York

2 May 2018 | Viktoria Roskams

Oh the joy of vintage clothes shopping – never knowing what you might find, the sheer variety of colours and materials on those rails, the refreshing sense of finding hidden gems. Finding vintage shops can feel a bit like that too. Like individual pieces of clothing, they can be tucked away somewhere, offer unexpected possibilities, feel homely, chic or cool. That’s why it’s best to explore plenty, and luckily York has much to offer.

Bowler Vintage
There’s no better place to start than Bowler Vintage at the top of Fossgate. If any shop is doing the vintage ‘thing’ properly, it’s this one, down to the classic soul music always playing, and the brilliant selection of sunglasses, lipsticks, hand mirrors, and silk scarves. It’s not as ‘keep calm and carry on’, 1940s retro-style as you might think, though. There’s even a rail of denim jackets. Plenty of vibrant items of all types to keep anyone happy, even if the dominant aesthetic does seem to fit the ‘gentlemanly’ and ‘ladylike’ categories.

Image Credit: Bowler Vintage via instagram

Bowler Vintage is located at 52 Fossgate, York, YO1 9TF

More orientated towards fans of the 90s rather than the 40s is Expressions, just down the road on Walmgate. This shop boasts several rails full of clothes organised indiscriminately of gender, from cosy patterned jumpers to various neon-coloured t-shirts and sports jerseys. Price-wise both Expressions and Bowler are fairly affordable, but Expressions is a particular must-visit for anyone keen on the ever-ongoing 90s revival.

Image Credit: Expressions

Expressions is located at 12 Walmgate, York, YO1 9TJ

Dog & Bone
Also gunning for that student clientele is Dog & Bone on Castlegate. In a slightly larger space than Expressions, Dog & Bone has items separated out by type, with a large array of men’s clothes upstairs and a good selection of women’s downstairs. The vibe is fairly young but all sorts of things are available. The shop also features a gift section with prints, coffee-table books, mugs and more, all in keeping with the vintage trend.

Image Credit: Dog & Bone via instagram

Dog & Bone is located at Shop 1, Castlegate, York, YO1 9RP

The high end shopper might like to pay a visit to Priestley’s, located on Grape Lane in the heart of the city’s tiny cobbled streets. It’s here you can find several big-name designer pieces, and the prices naturally reflect this, although sale reductions can make them pretty reasonably-priced. The array is mostly in keeping with a classic, glamorous, heritage look, though there are, as ever with vintage shops, quirky pieces to be found, whether in the embroidery on a shirt’s breast-pocket, the picture knitted onto a jumper, or a particularly characterful dress.

Image Credit: Priestley's

Priestley’s is located at 11 Grape Lane, York, YO1 7HU

All in all, whatever your style, there’s plenty in York to ensure you never have to buy new again. Provided you’re willing to have a good sift through a few places, you’ll be amply rewarded.

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