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Getting your fix of 80s vintage clothing in the UK just got easier

August 11, 2018

The variety of choice from online vintage clothing stores is so great, that getting the right 80s vintage clothing from UK retailers is just a click, tap or swipe awayShopping for 80s vintage clothing in the UK has never been this easy in the history of fashion retailing. That’s because vintage clothing online stores have made it so easy to find just the right piece of clothing.

Vintage shopping online - 800x600

Vintage shopping online


Best of 80s UK Vintage clothing

Like the rest of the fashion-conscious world, 80s vintage clothing in the UK had its special moments. Not every clothing idea from the Decade of Excesses made it to the best-of-best list.


For instance, fashion analysts looking at 80s vintage clothing trends, voted the Shell suit as “…the worst fashion crime of the 80s!!”. And then there was the Fanny Pack (or Bum Bags). Couldn’t we use our pockets to store what those Packs held?


Oh well – you win some, you lose some!


Some of UKs 80s vintage clothing winners include:


  • The New Romantic era clothing – inspired by leading British and Hollywood personalities


  • Power Dressing – an 80s clothing trend initiated by public, larger-than-life personalities, like Margaret Thatcher. Power Suits and Broad shoulders propped by shoulder pads were the highlight of this particular trend


  • Vintage clothing influenced by dancewear, sports and health and fitness


  • Bright neon colours


  • Streetwear, popularised by leatherwear and denim


For every loser, 80s vintage clothing in UK produced multiple winners. It was these that made it into the “Best of…” list in nearly every online vintage retailer’s collection – even today!

Vintage shops online uk

Vintage shops online uk

Shopping online for vintage clothing

Some will shop for their 80s vintage clothing from UK retailers online, while others will browse online collections first, and then shop at a store nearby. It doesn’t matter which strategy you pick to shop for 80s vintage clothing. What matters is that online vintage retailers across the UK are making searching for, finding and buying 80s vintage clothing in the UK more accessible.


Compare that with just a decade ago, when fewer vintage clothing retailers had an online presence.


  • Chances were that you couldn’t readily find that special 80s vintage piece that you were looking for


  • Even if you found it online, it may not have been available in the right size or colour


  • And while one online store might have what you are looking for, lack of competition would put the price out of your reach!


The expansion of online 80s vintage clothing across UK has made vintage dressing more convenient and expedient for vintage lovers. But more importantly, because of the explosion of online stores, the cost of vintage clothing has dropped dramatically. Where once it used to be a niche “fad”, vintage dressing is now almost commonplace. And we have primarily availability and affordability to thank for that.

Oxfam Charity Shop, Princess Street, Knutsford -

Oxfam Charity Shop, Princess Street, Knutsford by Roger A Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Alternates to sourcing 80s vintage clothing in the UK

Rising competition among leading online vintage stores has definitely sparked a vintage clothing revolution across the UK.  However, most (if not all!) of these retailers were established for purely commercial benefit. If you are looking for that specific piece of 80s vintage clothing in the UK, and it doesn’t have wide commercial appeal – you may not find it in many online stores.


So, what do you do then? Well, UK’s vintage lovers shouldn’t despair! There are alternates just around the corner!


Many clothing aficionados will donate their sparsely used items to charitable stores, like Oxfam or Goodwill. As a result, the isles of these chains of stores often have vintage clothing of different tastes and design. And because they are not for profit entities, they don’t really worry about offering pieces that aren’t particularly “hot selling” items. If it’s usable vintage clothing, they’ll offer it for sale.


The likelihood that you will find unique pieces of 80s vintage clothing in the UK here (at Oxfam or Goodwill), that you won’t find elsewhere, are indeed very high. Of course, it might take a certain strategy to get what you want:


  • Scout their online sites regularly, and browse through their collection


  • Use their sites’ online search facility to narrow down your choices


  • Drop-by into a nearby store and window-shop


You may find this alternate method of sourcing your vintage clothing more rewarding than going to a leading commercial online retailer’s store.


Not only will you get that rare piece that you are looking for (but which isn’t a “commercial success” elsewhere), but the proceeds from Oxfam’s sale of 80s vintage clothing in the UK are used to help the needy all around the world. Now isn’t that a truly vintage gesture?

Blue17 vintage clothing thrift store interior photo

Blue17 vintage clothing thrift store interior photo

Pulling it off

Whether you walk into a London Thrift store to buy your vintage clothing, or whether you source it online, the question always remains: How do you pull off that 80s vintage look today? Well, if you have a wardrobe full of current-day clothes, here’s how to turn your contemporary wardrobe into 80s vintage clothing in the UK:


  • The wide-shouldered look: Take a sweater or jacket – something that you don’t mind “experimenting” on. You can find shoulder pads at almost any clothier or retail shop. Stitch them onto your jacket or sweater – the larger the better! That’ll give you an 80s vintage clothing look to die for!


  • The DIY off-shoulder look: The 80s off-the-shoulder look was a hugely popular trend in 80s vintage clothing across UK retail stores. Today, you can create that same look using one of your contemporary sweatshirts. Just take a pair of scissors and cut the collar off it. As you wear it, stretch one part of the top just below your shoulder. You’re now wearing one of the hottest 80s vintage clothing trends!


  • The mix-and-match look: If you’ve shopped online and finally found an 80s skirt or dress that you like, don’t go all-out and replicate an 80s look altogether. Pair that dress from the 80s with a contemporary shoulder bag or a modern-cut jacket or top. Mixing-and-matching will give you the 80s look you want, without making it look like you just walked out of the 80s!


Girl with permed hair in the 1980s. By Diaper (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

80s vintage clothing uk wide

  • Go all over – if you want: Speaking of sourcing 80s vintage clothing from the UK, and then making them work with contemporary pieces – here’s an idea: Take a vintage 60s coat, a vintage 1970s scarf, a blouse from the 80s and a vintage 90s-era skirt, and pair it all with contemporary era earrings, necklaces or handbags. Vintage clothing doesn’t need to start and end with the 80s – you can go all over to get your perfect vintage look!


  • 80s hairdos to go: And least we leave you to believe that 80s vintage clothing UK was all about clothes – think again. An easy way to pull off that 80s retro look, is to try something with your hair. When you’ve found that perfect 80s sweater or evening dress, try a simple, classic side ponytail-look. Just gather your hair and brush it sideways – and you’re done! You will need an 80s-style crunchie to pull it off – but you can source that online too!


  • Being footloose: And then there’s 80s footwear! You can’t go wrong in vintage clothing choice, by pairing a contemporary T-shirt and jacket, with a pair of 80s washed-out jeans and Reebok Hightops from the 80s. And for a less informal look, just substitute your Hightops with a pair of 80s Granny Boots. You’re all set!


The 80s was a time where everything went big – from big hairdos, to big shoulders and baggy pants and puffy jackets. 80s vintage clothing in the UK was no different from that in the rest of the western world. However, we had our peculiarities.


The 80s vintage clothing revolution in the UK was influenced by our local celebrities and style-conscious people in power. Power dressing was likely one of the unique trends of 80s vintage clothing in the UK. With a powerful British influence, fashion ideas like well-cut business suits for women became mainstream.


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