Since Body Confidential started its list of vintage treasure troves in 2012, there have been welcome additions to the city centre's retro second-hand fold. We decided to reacquaint ourselves with the best of the old and point the eagle-eyed fashionistas in the direction of some of the more recent sustainable style spots. 

There are only two stores within this ‘Best Of MCR’ list that lie outside the city centre, meaning the majority are all within close proximity, thus saving the soles of your antique brogues...

Blue RailsBlue Rinse Vintage Rails

Afflecks Palace

For over twenty years Afflecks Palace has set the tone and feel for the city's free spirited outfitters. It's provided some with neon fishnet tights and others with well cultivated vintage clobber.

The labyrinthine corridors cause confusion and claustrophobia to unfamiliar frequenters of the building. Afflecks Palace is home to umpteen shops spread across three storeys; stumble into the right stalls and you will leave clutching a new wardrobe, with pieces acquired from an array of places.

Thriftette is one of the best women’s vintage shops in Afflecks. The whole aura of this shop allowed customers to believe they are living in a different era.

Another favourite stall is Vagabond on level three. Here, you can pick up the best authentic, oversized band tees, purses and most importantly, retro suitcases. These suitcases might not make you the envy of the rest of Easyjet, but they will make you feel like a fifties film star. How practical these suitcases are is another matter entirely.

52 Church Street, Northern Quarter.


Blue Rinse

Finding something to buy from Blue Rinse is usually the easiest of challenges. Its layout makes it effortless to find the pieces you desire, dividing different styles so they are easily spotted by the lazy shopper. Blue Rinse is great for high waisted denim shorts, usually offering a variety of colours, embellishments and sizes.

Moth-ridden-vintage was brought to the high street when Topshop and Urban Outfitters began sampling this stores delight. Be aware that your unique, vintage item may have an evil identical twin. This 100-of-a-kind garment could creep up on you to ruin your big night out.

Does selling clothes in high street shops take away the uniqueness and magic of buying a ‘one of a kind item?’ Maybe. Would this stop you from buying that perfect pair of shorts? Probably not.

21-23 Oldham Street. @BlueRinseUK

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Think of Cow as the Topshop of second hand clothes. Like Topshop, it can be extremely pricey, leaving one wondering why they are buying a coat for 300% of its original price, even though said coat has been worn millions of times before. On the other hand, boys can pick up a pressed Ralph Lauren shirt for £20, so you know, rough with the smooth.

The sheer size of Cow offers space for every piece of vintage clothing, which may or may not make a comeback, to be housed. This generally results in the discovery of at least one wearable item. Vintage variations of the same item are always on sale, meaning if you find a cut and a fit you love, you can stock up for eternity.

COW have a brand new shiny store on Oldham Street, Northern Quarter, M1 1JN.

New Cow store on Oldham StreetNew Cow store on Oldham Street


Deep Vintage

Manchester has been lapping up Deep Vintage’s new take on old clothes since it opened in 2013.

Unlike the clutter and hodgepodge most have come accustomed to when shopping vintage, Deep Vintage is modern, organised and doesn't smell as if you're shopping under a giant sweaty armpit. A much welcome change.

Here, you can find reworked second-hand denim, cotton and cord shirts and more without having to resort to handbags at dawn when fighting over a one-off item. Deep Vintage is better suited for the shopper who likes to browse with ease and has a deep affinity with cut-off denim Levi shorts.

10 Hilton Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M1 1JF.

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Gin & Tonic Vintage Fair

Vintage stylists and traders, Gin and Tonic (Tash and Clare), understand that for those enslaved by high street trends, buying vintage can be difficult to get their head around. Questions such as, 'how brave do I have to be to wear this in daylight?' can present itself when faced with a 90s neon bomber jacket and 70s style denim flares.

On the first Saturday of every month, the stylists take the best of their online store selection (think 80s and 90s vivid colour) and put together a market in the NQ's Terrace Bar. While trying on, the Gin and Tonic are on hand for styling tips and confidence building in the process.

Terrace NQ, 43 Thomas Street, M4.

Img_7826Gin and Tonic Vintage Fair

Img_7835Vintage Stylists Tash and Clare


Contrary to its name, Junk is one of the best vintage shops in Manchester. It is a tad pricy, but the clothing is often in better condition than most vintage shops around. Most garments are reworked, so come without holes, pulls or that old person smell. It is a huge bonus to be able to wear a new, spangly purchase straight away and this is a bonus that Junk makes you pay for. Quirky jewellery is mandatory in Junk; you can usually find an assortment of musical instruments on necklaces, animals on rings and cutlery earrings. Why this is fashionable is unknown, but if it is sold in the Northern Quarter it must be cool, right?

2 Dale Street, Northern Quarter and 174 Burton Road, West Didsbury.


Junk 2 (Photo credit: Junk)

Insitu Architectural Vintage

Nearly 30 years old, Insitu has been responsible for supplying the period features and occasionally quirky token gimmicks to over 40 bars in Manchester such as the Deaf Institute, Takk, Blue Pig, Odder and more.

Based on Chester Road, Hulme, the three-storey former pub isn’t hard to miss, but given its closest surroundings are a garage and a few takeaways you might be more likely to stumble upon it by accident.

Yet Insitu is a great store to stumble upon and once inside you continue to stumble. It's a treasure trove of ‘architectural salvage’ such as timber flooring, cast iron radiators, stained glass windows, chandeliers and fireplaces. Yet amongst the genuine antiques and taxidermy you can find leather accesories, tweed, wooly jumpers and denim sourced by Planet Vintage Girl

252 Chester Road, Manchester M15 4EX. 


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Oxfam Originals

If something is on the rail here, it is because it is chic and will sell, so you generally have to be quick off the mark. Buy now, deal with the consequences later. The clothes are frequently replenished due to the popularity of them and so the mannequins change their outfits more often than a paisley shirt is spotted at Glastonbury. Oxfam Originals is great for cheap, vintage dresses, blouses and bags.

51 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter.


Pop Boutique

The perfect finishing touch to the seventies decor of Pop would be a mandatory pair of sepia tinted glasses handed to every customer.

Pop constantly has a choice of in-your-face attire. This consists of bold paisley patterns and bright block colours which only the most daring and alternative tend to wear. Polka dot dresses that wouldn’t look out of place at retro diners are always readily available here. There is an exquisite selection of leather shorts which are worth mulling over. Pop is belt heaven; a chunky, worn brown belt, which will be located on the ground floor, only costs £5.

34-36 Oldham Street and in Afflecks.

Pop BoutiquePop Boutique

Retro Rehab

If you enjoy the feel of finer, elder clothes, displayed before you in an immaculate fashion then you may just find that you become a regular at this little Oldham Street gaff. Fond favourites from here include patterned midi skirts and kitsch dresses which you will probably recognise from that black and white snap of your glamorous granny.

91 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter. Rehab 2

Ryan Vintage

Row after row is home to garments squeezed on rails, mountains of bags and the odd, creepy rocking horse. If you have a few hours spare and love rummaging, Ryan Vintage will be bliss. If jumble-sale type shopping is not your forte, you could find yourself lost amongst the almost-antique, almost-colour-coordinated clothes. Ryan Vintage is great for handbags, retro sportswear and one of a kind shirt-dresses, but there are also mass produced pieces to be found. Those festive jumpers you spot every indie kid snuggled into over the Christmas period - yes, they were bought here. Not exactly unique, vintage and retro, but it is the shoppers’ way of expressing that they’re trying their damned hardest to be.

46 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter.

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Ryans Vintage