Vintage delights: 10 of the best vintage shops in Hertfordshire
PUBLISHED: 16:25 30 November 2015 | UPDATED: 10:18 06 March 2017
Vintage shops have cast aside any jumble sale image - these days they are as smart as a high street store. Explore, and you will be rewarded with unique clothing, period homewares and furniture with a story. Julie Lucas picks some of Herts' best
Herts & Essex Antiques Centre, Sawbridgeworth
Housed in the old Maltings, this centre is home to more than 100 independent dealers offering antiques, retro and collectables. It’s a great place to search out unique gifts or just enjoy browsing says owner Nick Skalr. ‘You can spend the whole day and lose yourself here and there is always something different.’
The Vintage Barn, Hinxworth
Find retro, vintage and upcycled furniture in this barn at Farrowby Farm, Hinxworth. If you like a piece of furniture, but don’t like the colour, owner Sophie Clark (above) will custom paint it with one from her range. Sophie opened the shop as she wanted to mix old and new together. ‘I had a vintage dressing table in a brand new flat, friends told me it wouldn’t go, but as soon as I dressed it they all loved it. I believe you can mix all different decades to great effect.’
Home & Colonial, Berkhamsted
Named by BBC Homes and Antiques magazine as ‘One of Britain’s top 10 unbeatable shopping treats’, Home & Colonial is set over five floors; each with its own distinctive theme. Find traditional antiques, 20th century design, country living and decorative pieces from 30 specialist dealers. The Attic Café, with views over Berkhamsted’s rooftops, is popular with visitors who enjoy homemade food served on vintage china. H&C owner Ali Reid-Davies thinks its success lies in offering such a variety. ‘One person came in and said “This is lovely – it’s antiques for a modern space”. I hope that we offer something that reaches across the ages.’
Dress Circle, Potters Bar
Jean Howlett’s little shop on the High Street is packed with a constantly changing range of pre-loved clothes - from casual pieces to evening wear. After 17 years running the shop she still gets excited about what comes in. ‘It’s like Christmas every day,’ she smiles. Find handbags from Mulberry and Louis Vuitton and labels such as Vivian Westwood and Moschino. A red carpet evening dress for sale at £200 had an original price tag of £1,700 – it had only been worn once.
F&R, Hemel Hempstead
This clothes exchange at the top of the High Street is worth the walk up the hill. Fiona Rowels sells quality women’s pre-loved clothes, shoes and accessories as well as unusual gifts. It’s a real treat for shopaholics who don’t want to break the bank. ‘I like the fact that you can mix a pre-loved item with something up to date and it still looks good,’ says Fiona.
This dress agency and vintage boutique looks small from the outside but don’t be fooled. It not only stocks great clothes but a range of accessories and jewellery. Owner Karen Calder says, ‘It’s not only a great place to find outfits for Goodwood or Ascot but also for teenagers attending a prom.’ For brides-to-be looking for something unique Flutterby’s has a vintage wedding collection upstairs.
Credited with bringing vintage to the X Factor in 2010 as fashion director, Grace Woodward has brought designer vintage to Sun Street in Hitchin. Labels include Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. Grace believes style is defined ‘by being exactly who you want to be at that very time.’ For more vintage clothing inspiration in Hitchin, try The Shining City of Wardrobe on West Alley and Jolly Brown on Bucklersbury.
Friends Dress Agency, Bishop’s Stortford
One reviewer described this shop on North Street as ‘like popping into your friend’s house who has the best taste in fashion. Wonderful service and a happy place to be’. Owner Victoria Lee says she loves transforming people. ‘Customers come here because they want something different. They don’t want to turn up to a wedding and see someone wearing the same thing.’
Jolly Brown Vintage, Hitchin
There are curated vintage pieces galore at Jolly Brown Vintage on Bucklersbury in Hitchin. Check out the latest finds including womenswear, menswear, homeware and much more on the website and social media or pop into the shop to browse cool, unique pieces - you can even have them gift wrapped for a special someone.
Luminous & Vogue, Berkhamsted
From high street to high fashion, there is a wide range of preloved clothing at Luminous & Vogue on Berkhamsted’s Lower Kings Road. Find designer handbags, dresses, accessories, and homeware in this charming boutique. With ever-changing stock, make sure to keep checking back so you don’t miss a bargain!