I had a couple of interesting conversations this week - I'm quite well known for frequenting charity shops, vintage shops, fairs, eBay - pretty much anywhere that I might pick up a sweet little vintage item (30s-60s being more my eras, heavily 1950s). However, when it comes to the boys, where can they go?
The answer, it turns out, is lots of places. After asking on Twitter and a few friends, the answers are below for your delectation.
Firstly, the obvious places:
Everyone's online auction friend. I've been using it for years and have bought some amazing pieces from sellers there myself and, having browsed the mens section, this too is well populated. A word of caution, it does take some trawling if you want to find individual pieces - particularly if you're like me and have a wide spread of preferences. On the other hand, trawling can be worth it - really worth it. Settle yourself down one lazy afternoon and have a look.
Ok, so these too can be hit and miss, but ask any charity shop fan worth their salt and they will tell you that the chase is part of the fun. Who doesn't like randomly finding a gorgeous pair of handmade shoes for £20? Or a pair of 1930s trousers sitting on the rail in mint condition?
There are lots of these going on all the time. One of the most well known is Judy's Affordable Vintage Fairs - they happen all over the country and really do have affordable items, as well as the more exotic and expensive. Another excellent example is the Textile Society's fair that happens every six months - a little bit more abstract in some ways, you can buy everything from jewellery, to knitting yarn to, yes you've guessed it, clothes. The next one is 23 September 2012 and takes place at the Armitage Centre, Fallowfield.
Now to some little places you might not have considered:
If your passion is 80s and 90s, this place on Piccadilly Plaza is worth a nosey.
One of the originals in Manchester, this is still one of the best places for retro styled clothing, 1960s vintage and mod.
Another inhabitant of Oldham Street, this I've found to have some amazing items - well worth a look for a big variety of eras and designers.
The Vintage Village:
At Stockport Market Hall is probably one of my favourite options. This has everything you could ever possibly want under one roof. Clothing, accessories, ornaments and on 8 July, there is the Vintage Village Yanks event. A must for anyone interested in the WWII era (and lovers of a man in uniform!)
And now for the online retailers:
This site covers just about everything - and so you are welcomed by a vast array of items at your disposal. The only limitations I've found is that it's often not clear what era you are looking at.
Probably one of my favourite sites. Prices are good, the interface is pretty and the range is excellent.
Savvy Row and Tweedmans Vintage
Oh heaven for suit lovers everywhere. Tweed, velvet, herringbone. I do love a man in a suit....
For all your mod needs... Their stock is beyond impressive.
A limited selection, but a good one.
Needs no introduction at all.
So gentlemen, a nice little bunch of places for you to try. Let me know how you get on - let me know of other places you find, the pieces you buy. I am, after all, a fan of a smart dressed man.