I very rarely buy clothes from actual shops any more - I'm too fat for River Island, too old for Topman and too cool for Hollister. Instead I either just pick up free t-shirts from events or I buy stuff second hand. Mostly because it's cheaper.
Although I can’t guarantee the best prices right here – there’s plenty of places in the city centre and beyond for some top vintage clobber – check it out…
This place has moved around quite a bit over the years, but always within the same 500m radius and actually not through any fault of their own. Their old site was on Tib Street and had to be vacated because everyone banged their head on the way in, while they had to move again recently due to the fire in the old NQ Live Club (which is now Dive Bar). It’s great if you want denim stuff, old footy shirts and the odd XXL flannel shirt.
Blue Rinse Manchester, 21-23 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JG
One of my go-to vintage/charity haunts for many years now – the first thing I ever bought from here was a brown knitted tie way back in 2002 that I still have and wear from time to time when I’m drunk. I’m not sure how it works, but I assume that if any of the Oxfam shops around the region get anything designer or decent donated – it comes here. I can’t speak for the ladies bit but in the past I’ve bought some cracking Fred Perry gear, some Levis and one of the best leather jackets I’ve ever had in my life.
Oxfam Original Shop, Unit 8, Smithfield Buildings, 51 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR
0161 839 3160
Kilo Sale on Oldham Street
I suspect that this place is just full of all of the dregs from the various vintage and charity shops within spitting distance but it’s still pretty decent nonetheless. Located in one of the function rooms of Sasha’s – in fact – the exact same place I ever got served for alcohol in Manchester when I was at a friend’s 17th birthday party – it’s £15 for a kilo of clothes and there’s loads to choose from. I think they like the idea of some kind of order – but the execution is severely lacking.
Sacha’s Hotel, Oldham Street Entrance (Next to Blue Rinse), Manchester, M4 1SH
Barnardo’s Vintage, Cheadle
Quite possibly the greatest charity shop in the North West, and perhaps the country, this Barnardo’s Vintage in Cheadle was a thrice weekly visit place when I worked nearby, and there was always some great new gear, furniture or trinkets that I would spend my semi-hard-earned cash on. This is the place where I bought the most fabulous ski suit in the world from, and it was only a tenner – as well as countless other fashion winners over the years. Well worth getting the X57 for!
Barnardo’s, 76 High St, Cheadle SK8 1AX
0161 491 2000
Sue Ryder, Chorlton
I was in Chorlton last week and there are a couple of cracking charity shops down there that are worthy of note. There’s the British Red Cross furniture place down near Croma, as well as the cracking little Age Concern right near Morrisons. Best though is definitely Sue Ryder next to the Post Office – this monster charity shop has pretty much everything you could ever want, all at very reasonable prices. Right at the front is a great vintage section too – they had a fabulous sewing machine in last week which I would have bought if I didn’t already have one.
Sue Ryder Charity Shop, 553 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester M21 0AE
0161 881 3578
Bags of Flavor
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this place is named after the bags that the owner used to make out of old duvet sets – mostly featuring Ninja Turtles, He-Man and those Thundercats – which sold by the bucket-load and so the range of other vintage goodies grew and grew. Now slightly hidden away on Tib Street, Bags of Flavour still sell a cracking range of clothes and accessories, including one of the cities best range of old school Adidas clobber.
Bags Of Flavor, 33 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LX
0161 834 6166
A lovely little shop slap-bang up the middle of Oldham Street, Retro Rehab is fantastic for period dresses and outfits for the ladies. Which means that I don’t really know what I’m talking about – despite working for a grand total of 3 hours on Ted Baker Women’s while at Selfridges. I did buy my girlfriend a brilliantly vile red 80’s dress here a few weeks ago – it was only £10 and she loves it – so I think that proves that it’s pretty decent. They also have some proper good accessories in here too – especially their scarves.
Retro Rehab, 91 Oldham St, City Centre, Manchester M1 1JR
0161 839 2050
Pop has been an Oldham Street institution for years now and it’s combination of excellent second-hand clobber, great sunglasses, and rather excellent self-made new stuff has ensured that it has remained where it is and doing some rip-roaring trade. They have a great selection of vintage jackets downstairs, as well as some excellent homeware stuff for pretty decent prices – in fact it’s where I bought my current record player from which is still going strong 7 years later. They usually always have some sale stuff on too if you’re looking for even more bargains – you tight bastard.
Pop Boutique, 34-36 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JN
0161 236 5797
Even though things seem to change with alarming regularly within Affleck’s, it’s still one of the best places in the city for a bit of second-hand purchasing – with plenty of knowledgeable and good-natured traders all under one roof. Even if you’re not a Goth or an Emo you can still enjoy some great shops – including that geezer on the second floor who sells all them hats, a little Pop Boutique and that great vintage shop in the far corner on the 3rd floor. It’s a mecca of band t-shirts, cowboy boots, old Levi’s and leather jackets that are way too big to fit.
Afflecks, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW
0161 839 0718
Piccadilly Thrift Store
This is now my new favourite place, and a shining new beacon in the typical dire experience you encounter in Piccadilly Gardens. Not only is this place mega cheap – with stuff going for 3 for £10 – there’s a fantastic range of clothes including jackets, shirts, loads of tees and even the odd pair of striking green leggings. It’s all rather nicely organised too so you won’t spend 3 hours looking for a t-shirt among a pile of soiled wedding dresses like you would in some other places.
Thrift Shop, 39 Parker St, Manchester M1 4PH
Although I would consider Cow to be on the higher end of the vintage shop spectrum, you can still find some cracking bargains, especially when it comes to sale time. Without having to sell a kidney to buy a leather jacket that someone died in, there can be some cracking pieces to be found – for example my fantastic ‘Journey Escape 82 Tour T-shirt’ which cost me £6 and a ‘Pepsi Challenge’ tee which was only a fiver. Both still take pride and place in my wardrobe, and are actually proving to be a nice little nest-egg for my future non-existent children.
COW Manchester, 61 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD
0161 834 4926