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Recycled Vintage Clothing Online Central London

December 29, 2023

Finding recycled vintage clothing online Central London is quite easy. There are many carefully curated vintage shops in London, and in central London you have Soho which is a very fun place to shop and has a lot of designer pieces. It’s great to go in person, but you can also find good clothes online. There are many vintage shops in London which have a website too.


The advantages of shopping online are, of course, that you can get plenty of different carefully selected vintage pieces delivered to you without leaving the house. The advantages of shopping in real life are that you can try things on right away, and don’t have to worry about returning stuff. You can also look at everything closely on the spot. However, looking at things on a model online rather than on the rail can be really helpful and help you to choose. So there’s pros and cons!


It can also be helpful to know a bit about what vintage clothes you are looking for in advance. Here’s a little run down on various eras so you can narrow down your preferred style:

Recycled Vintage Clothing Online Central London 1910s

OK, so I don’t actually think that the 1910s are vintage, more like antique, but it seems like a good place to start. The Edwardian period, as it is known in Britain, was when women overridingly wore white blouses with high necks and long, dark skirts to their ankles. Yes, go and look at any photo from that period and that’s what you’ll find – for working class daywear, anyway. It’s like there were no other colours. 


In the summertime, sometimes they wore a white skirt and white blouse, or lovely fine white cotton dress (perfect for wedding dresses!) And they often wore a little jacket on top, in a dark colour to match the skirt. A suit, in fact. The details changed, the collar was sometimes different or the ruffles down the front, but this is a good reliable 1910s look. Add button boots and a beautiful big bun on the top of the head.


Recycled Vintage Clothing Online Central London - 1920s flapper - Image via Flickr, Royalty free.

Image via Flickr, Royalty free.

So, you want to dress like a Flapper? Have ready your bobbed haircut (or you can pin it up in a faux bob) and a nice pair of Mary Jane shoes. The quintessential flapper dress is a knee length shift. They loved decoration, so something beaded or sequinned is going to look great. Long strands of beads overlaying the skirt and dangling down work very well because they look fantastic when you are dancing! And flappers loved dancing. It was such a fun era in that regard, with far more comfortable clothing for women to wear, especially for parties.

Recycled Vintage Clothing Online Central London 1930s

Recycled Vintage Clothing Online Central London - Jessie Franklin Turner lounging pajamas 1934-5

Jessie Franklin Turner lounging pajamas 1934-5

Now, in the 1930s, everything changed and skirts got much longer again. It’s kind of a midi length. If you are talking party dresses, you really can’t go wrong with something bias cut. It was shocking, but it was awesome – these long, silky dresses clung to a woman and showed her curves like nothing else. It has been a perennial favourite ever since, and if you have an elegant event to go to, this is a good choice.


Recycled Vintage Clothing Online Central London - 1940 - Williams Fashion Shop - Allentown PA

1940 – Williams Fashion Shop – Allentown PA

1940s dresses were rather thrifty, as these were the war years. If you are thinking about something for a costume party, I recommend thinking out of the box and actually going for a uniform. Women worked in the armed forces in clerical roles and a WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) uniform is really flattering. The air force uniform is blue-grey, the navy uniform is dark blue, and the army uniform is khaki, so you can choose which suits you best. You can also have fun doing your hair in soft waves. Finish with red lipstick and maybe a bit of mascara, not much else.

Recycled Vintage Clothing Online Central London 1950s

1954 Jacques Fath cocktail dress - 1950s Pierre Balmain cocktail dress

1954 Jacques Fath cocktail dress – 1950s Pierre Balmain cocktail dress

It’s best to turn to American fashion for the 1950s. Those dresses with massive swirly skirts are brilliant. Or you can go for jeans and a tight sweater. Jeans on women were quite shocking in those day. Have a look at photos of Marilyn Monroe modelling the look – you might be surprised at how loose they were. It was kind of a relaxed fit, with a high waist. Capri pants, which she really loved and wore all the time, were a bit more fitted and cropped. Capri pants are a quintessential 1950s look.


Los Gatos -circa 1968

Los Gatos -circa 1968

The 1960s was when straight, knee length shift dresses came back in. Now they were a bit more figure hugging and made in stiff fabrics like brocade. They were sleeveless and often came with a matching coat in the same fabric, a short jacket or something like that. Just look at some of the girl groups from the period to see what I mean. The Marvelettes, The Shangri-Las, The Shirelles, The Supremes… They had some great outfits, usually either completely matching or matching but with different details.

Recycled Vintage Clothing Online Central London 1970s

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, 1970 + Halston 1976, pajama sets

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche + Halston pajama sets

The hippies were big in the 70s and it’s so easy to style yourselves like this. If you have long hair, don’t wash it for a few days and then wear it loose, parted in the middle. Get hold of some flared jeans, buy yourself some wooden beads. Or just go naked. Hippies loved to be naked. It was all about freeing yourself, so free yourself from clothes, too. See: John and Yoko on the Two Virgins LP cover.


Recycled Vintage Clothing Online Central London - The group teatral Gambas al Ajillo, 1980s

The group teatral Gambas al Ajillo, 1980s

I think for the 1980s we should look at the TV show Dynasty. This did not reflect real life at all but it was great all the same. OK, so it involves bright colours like royal blue, fuschia pink, and lemon yellow, and that goes for blouses and eye makeup. Big sweeps of bright blusher were paired with an equally bold lip – this was the decade when more was more. Do wear big shoulder pads, don’t be shy. Hair can be big, but handbags actually quite small or medium sized. They had not yet invented laptops or reusable cups so women toted round less those days.

Recycled Vintage Clothing Online Central London 1990s

Dragon Jacket, Maurizio Galante, 1990s

Dragon Jacket, Maurizio Galante, 1990s

We’re talking boot cut jeans, crop tops, and low rise bumsters, all the better to see your jewelled thong. Alternatively, be Alternative and go for a tight little t-shirt, some baby cord trousers and a lot of eyeliner. Justine from Elastica and Louise from Sleeper can be your role models here. In the 1990s, all the people in all the best bands wore second hand clothing anyway, so if you wear retro 90s clothing you need to be actually wearing retro 70s clothing or perhaps 1980s. It’s meta.


For your hair, you could have a short, assymetric cut, just like Justine, or for somethng less edgy, try a Rachel. Named after Jennifer Anniston’s character in Friends, the Rachel was an incredibly popular layered look for long hair, with volume and a lot of bounce. According to all sources, it’s on it’s way back.


Pride Dress by Liz Collins and Gary Adams for Griz, 2003

Pride Dress by Liz Collins and Gary Adams for Griz, 2003

For the 2000s we’re going to be a bit more LA and look like Britney Spears in her velour Juicy Couture tracksuit. There was a lit of midriff baring going on – so wear your lowest rise jeans and your bra top. Add a little bellybutton chain too. 


Which is your favourite period? Personally, I think there’s something to recommend each one, so it’s good to play around and pick the key moments that you love. There are many vintage stores in East London, especially Brick Lane, and also in Covent Garden, where you’ll find vintage denim particularly.