If you’re anything like us, you’ll know that there’s no better feeling than finding your next favourite jacket hiding in a rail of vintage clothing, or finding that book you’ve always wanted just sitting on a busy shelf. Rummaging through the hidden gems in one of York’s best secondhand shops is easily one of the best ways to spend a day in the city, and makes for a welcome change from the usual shopping trips.
We’re all trying our best to be sustainable shoppers right now, and this is the perfect time to embrace the joy of finding vintage and reclaimed items and giving them a new lease of life. There’s a great selection of places to shop sustainably in York, so we’ve compiled a list of our favourite vintage boutiques, record stores, and bookshops. But be warned – you can easily lose track of time exploring the vast array of pre-loved treasures on offer!
Dog & Bone Vintage
A one-stop shop for vintage fashion and lifestyle pieces, Dog & Bone has been a feature in the city for well over 10 years now. Originally starting as a market stall before setting up shop on Castlegate, the store has established itself as one of the best places to find secondhand threads in the city centre. You’re likely to find a vast array of styles and brands hidden amongst the rails here, from granddad sweaters and blazers to biker jackets and polo shirts. Each and every item has its own personality, and Dog & Bone are here to help you find the one the perfect piece for you.
After beginning their journey down the road in Hull, vintage specialists Chinese Laundry opened up their York store way back in 2015. Playing host to a vast array of timeless vintage clothing and well-known labels, this is a great place to find your new favourite outfit. The team behind Chinese Laundry source all of their vintage items from the US and Europe, before checking every single piece to make sure it lives up to the high ‘grade A’ standards that they’ve set. With their shop just tucked away on Goodramgate, make sure you take some time to explore their goods and garms next time you’re in the city centre.
Bowler and Betty
Specialising in vintage and reproduction pieces that evoke the style and swagger of British culture, Bowler and Betty deliver a huge range of high quality, timeless pieces. The team behind this incredible local business are committed to finding their customers an outfit that will express their authentic selves and help them feel more confident than ever. Head to their store on Fossgate to explore some incredible vintage inspired items, whether you’re planning for a 40s themed weekend or just a new outfit for the office!
Delivering a huge collection of American sportswear and vintage brands to the streets of York, Expressions is a great place to add to your list of secondhand shopping locations. Stocking a huge range of authentic sport jerseys from the worlds of basketball, hockey, football and more, the team here are experts at stocking and grading classic vintage pieces from across the pond. The rails at Expressions are also home to plenty of traditional vintage items to explore, including branded t-shirts, jumpers, jackets, and shirts. Head down to their store on Walmgate to get a taste of American style without leaving the city walls.
Garba Sutra @ SPARK
One of the newest additions to the secondhand scene in York, Garba Sutra is the brainchild of local performer and DJ Christina Alexandra. Operating out of the vibrant SPARK complex every Saturday and Sunday, this vintage clothing store specializes in vintage sportswear from the likes of Fila to Supreme. With items to suit all ages and styles, as well as some incredible deals in store, you won’t want to miss out on this vintage hotspot next time you’re in the city centre.
With vinyl continuing its resurgence as the cool alternative to streaming, there’s never been a better time to pay a visit to one of the city’s record stores. Earworm Records is a truly independent record store, tucked just off Goodramgate in Powell’s Yard, and they’re committed to delivering high quality vinyl from all genres and eras. As well as their impressive selection of new releases and reissues, the team at Earworm also stock a well-curated mix of preloved records for you to browse. With the emphasis firmly placed on quality over quantity, you’re guaranteed to find something truly special here, and the staff are always on hand to give you any advice or even a personal recommendation.
Named after the street it calls home, Fossgate Books is a reader’s paradise, filled to the brim with secondhand and vintage books from across a huge range of genres. Spread out across two floors, the collection here spans from children’s books and stories to historical treasures and special editions. Visitors are welcomed with a smile from the owner, always on hand to help out with their search, and after exploring the maze of books, it’s hard for anyone to leave with just one in their hand.
The Minster Gate Bookshop
Sat in the shadow of York Minster, this bookshop may look unassuming from the outside, but in reality it’s anything but small. There are a whopping five floors of secondhand books on display here, and every nook and cranny of this tall and narrow building is lined with them. Every room offers a new genre to explore, making it easy to spend hours just browsing through the rare topics and editions on display. With so much on offer, it’s hard to force yourself to leave – no wonder there are so many stools and chair’s dotted around the place!
Festival of Vintage @ York Racecourse – 30th April & 1st May
This bank holiday weekend, York Racecourse will be travelling back in time to mark the 10th anniversary of the Festival of Vintage. Bringing together the best traders, music, and entertainment from the 1930s-60s, this celebration of all things vintage is the perfect place to find some secondhand treasures. All kinds of independent traders and stores will be selling their wares amidst the crowds of well-dressed revellers – and there’s even a prize on offer for the best dressed guests. Head down throughout the weekend to experience the incredible sights and sounds of the past right here in the city.
Images: Dog And Bone Vintage, Chinese Laundry, Minister Gate Bookshop, Festival Of Vintage.