Back when the 2000s was only just beginning, Beyond Retro opened its first store in East London. Seventeen years and nine shops later they’re now the UK and Sweden's largest vintage retailer with their newest store right in the heart of Bristol Shopping Quarter.

They take inspiration from their customers to create new trends, pick hugely diverse product from all over the world and sustainability ship it to their stores, ready for shoppers after vintage and second-hand gems.

The Beyond Retro team has put together this guide to vintage shopping in Bristol, packed with tips and tricks to help you seek out the best pre-loved pieces in the city.

Beyond Retro storefront in Broadmead, Bristol

Image credit - Beyond Retro

Why shop vintage in Bristol?

As more and more people come around to the idea of buying second-hand, vintage clothing stores are popping up but all over the UK. There now seems to be countless treasure troves offering fun high-quality items and a different kind of shopping experience to the thoughtful and the curious. With an ever-growing demographic of environmentally conscious shoppers, Bristol has many of these stores dotted around different corners of the city and it’s the ideal place to begin buying vintage.

Gloucester Road and Park Street are two of the best areas to hit up for a vintage shopping spree. Shop from the vintage and retro retailers in these parts of the city and elsewhere and know you’re getting value for money, unique pieces and saving the planet by choosing to be a sustainable shopper.

Shopper looking at clothes in Beyond Retro

Image credit - Beyond Retro

Vintage shopping tips

Here are a few easily digestible vintage shopping tips to get you on your way…

Try everything on! – You’ll never know how a vintage piece truly looks and fits until you put it on. A lot of clothes, especially vintage, can look incredibly deceptive on a hanger. Grab everything of interest with both arms and head to the fitting rooms.

Know your size – Knowing your measurements in both centimetres and inches will save you a lot of time. Labels have a habit of fading, and if you’re shopping for anything pre-1960s, there likely won’t even be a label.

Feel the fabrics – It’s also worth familiarising yourself with the feel of the fabrics – see what you like and don’t like, and check what you’re paying for. This may seem a little daunting at first but don’t be afraid to ask whoever is working at the store.

Remember that clothes can be altered – Unless you’re handy with a needle, get to know an affordable tailor at an alteration shop. Also, learning how to sew a button on is an invaluable skill.

Check back regularly – Unlike the high street, you don’t have to wait for the next collection to be released in order to discover new treasures. Make sure you pop back into the same stores regularly as they get fresh stuff on the floor all the time. If you make friends with the staff, they may even tip you off about any expected deliveries.

Take your time - Shopping for vintage requires a little more time and energy than your usual ‘pick a colour and find your size’. An open mind with an open schedule can make your search through a densely packed shop floor feel more like a fun forage than a demanding dredge.

Denim Levi Wrangler Lee Jeans Flatlay

Image credit - Beyond Retro 

Beyond Retro’s favourite vintage shops in Bristol

Beyond Retro

20 Broadmead, BS1 3HA

The newest Beyond Retro store and a dazzling celebration of style throughout the decades. From rare 1950s items to street style staples of the 2000s, there are 10,000 pieces in the shop, all handpicked by vintage style experts. Pop in and say hi, browse the affordable collections and pick out some old-but-new outfits for your wardrobe.

Inside Beyond Retro vintage shop in Broadmead, Bristol

Image credit - Beyond Retro

Loot

6 Haymarket Walk, BS1 3LN

Handpicked vintage with a big focus on streetwear and reworked styles which are created on-site.

Thrift

35-37 Park Street, BS1 5NH

A large vintage store that’s a favourite with the local students.

Urban Fox

58 Corn Street, BS1 2AZ

A well-curated store specialising in pieces from the 80s and 90s.

Uncle Sam's

54A Park St, BS1 5JN

Great for a true vintage find, Uncle Sam's specialise in Americana and handpicked vintage pieces.

Sobeys

24 Park St, BS1 5JA & 6 The Arcade, BS1 3DR

Pop Boutique stockists with a vintage-inspired own range (Nancy's Boutique) as well as true vintage pieces.

Rhubarb Jumble

52 North St, Bristol BS3 1HJ

Specialises in 50s-70s vintage and homeware.

RePyscho

85 Gloucester Rd, BS7 8AS

With a homeware store upstairs and record store below, you can rely on finding something you love in RePsycho.

Charity shops, markets and events

It’s also well worth your time scouring Bristol’s many charity shops for vintage pieces and looking out for markets and events dedicated to second-hand clothing. Both Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair and Judy’s Vintage Fair often host events in the city, and kilo sales by Vintage Vera and other organisers are common. Bristol Indies’ Market on Corn Street (Fridays and Saturdays, 9am – 5pm) and the Harbourside Market (weekends, 11am – 4pm) sometimes have vintages trinkets and clothes stalls too.

Keep an eye on What’s On for future markets and events.

This content was kindly sponsored by Beyond Retro. 

Read next: Food Friday: Katie Greswell from Beyond Retro

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Beyond Retro
Vintage
Beyond Retro

The ultimate vintage clothing destination in Bristol! Packed with 10,000 one-off wonders from on-trend must-haves to rare retro gems, it’s the perfect place to shop sustainable, handpicked vintage!