The Best Vintage Shopping in and Around Philly

Newly opened outposts, highly curated shops, size- and gender-inclusive choices, proprietors who know their stuff — this is Philly’s vintage clothing scene. Here’s where to find the best ’fits in and around town, spanning from the 1800s to the 1990s. (Yes, the ’90s are vintage now!)

vintage shopping

Vintage shopping / Photograph by Gene Smirnov

Goodbye, Shein hauls and Amazon overnights. Fast fashion is having a reckoning, and shoppers eager to be more eco-friendly are looking to vintage stores — and their expert curators — for high-quality, long-lasting clothing. And while Philly (and its ’burbs) has long had great vintage to offer, a recent crop of new shops is putting the city on the secondhand map. Whether you’re in search of a designer gown, a throwback jersey, office attire or chic sunglasses, these retailers, from trusty standbys to innovative newcomers, are worth checking out.


For curated couture …

Moore Vintage Archive

Keesean Moore calls his Bok Building store “a testament to the quality of garment manufacturing and production”; in his view, clothes aren’t meant to be disposable, but rather should be “preserved and taken care of.” His reverence for fashion is evident in the museum-quality designs he sources from across the globe — think femme–leaning designer pieces from the 1890s to the 2000s, with an eye to designers of color like Patrick Kelly and Junya Watanabe. Prices typically range from $125 to $1,000. Moore is adding an outpost on historic Fabric Row that opens this month. 1901 South 9th Street, South Philly and 725 South 4th Street, Queen Village.

Keesean Moore of Moore Vintage Archive / Photograph by Gene Smirnov

For a working-woman wardrobe …

Wayward Collection 

At this Queen Village boutique, racks are organized “by vibe,” owner Haley Pelton says, and “Everything is selected for modern wearability.” Garments from the likes of Halston, Moschino, Missoni and Willi Smith are in excellent condition, so you can grab a dress off the rack and wear it to a wedding the next day. And if you need a handbag, scarf or jewelry to complete your ensemble, Wayward’s got that as well. Most items are priced from $40 to $400. 707 South 4th Street, Queen Village.

For those who love the hunt …

Bulk Vintage Clothing

Want to spend all day rummaging through a floor full of cardboard boxes marked with names like Glitter Party, 1980s Blouses and Frilly Lace? This wholesale business is typically where vintage shop owners find their inventory, but on select days of the month, the warehouse is open to the public; check out the Instagram account (@bulkvintage) for open-house announcements. Luckily, the space is big enough that it never feels crowded. One recent find? Authentic Aran sweaters for around $10 each in a box prosaically marked “Wool Sweaters.” 3843 D Street, North Philly.

For elegant nostalgic looks …

Briar Vintage

If Cate Blanchett in the movie Carol is fashion goals for you, this is your store; it’ll make you want to kick sweatpants altogether and live in vintage furs and fit-and-flare ’50s frocks. The selection of men’s fashion is even more impressive, especially when it comes to suiting, with items that reach back to the 1800s. This curated store is directly above Bulk Vintage, so make sure to hit them both up. Be prepared to spend some cash lest you leave with regrets — I’m still yearning for a $100 Ungaro dress I left on the rack. 3843 D Street, North Philly. 

For discounted gowns …

Bryn Mawr Hospital Thrift Store

My number one rule for thrift-store shopping: Go to the neighborhoods with money. In NYC, that’s the Upper East Side. In the Philly area, that’s the Main Line. At this no-frills shop that benefits the hospital, go straight to the designer rack on the first floor for wedding gowns priced so low, you’ll want to get married all over again, if only to walk down the aisle for $150 instead of $3,000. 804 County Line Road, Bryn Mawr. 

For body-positive local creations …


Shopjennron founders Jenna and Cameron Forrest met on Bumble and soon discovered a shared passion for creating clothing for all sizes and genders. Each garment they make is sourced and sewn by them from vintage or sustainably sourced fabrics in the couple’s South Philly rowhome. While they hope to open a brick-and-mortar soon, you can currently find their colorful, genderless frocks, tops and more at local pop-ups; markets like Feminist Flea, Now & Then Market and Punk Rock Flea; and online.

For celeb-worthy shades …

Vintage Julz

Inside an unassuming South Street storefront lies a mecca for vintage eyewear enthusiasts. Shop owner Julian Emani, a.k.a. “Vintage Julz,” counts Cartier, Jean Paul Gaultier, Dior and Chanel among his favorite brands to hunt down. Celebs including Pop Smoke and Meek Mill have sported the shop’s authenticated shades, which are all deadstock pieces (meaning unused and unworn, often with original tags) dating from the late ’70s to the early ’90s. 625 South Street, Bella Vista. 

For easy wearability …


If you yearn to wear vintage but aren’t sure how to mix it with contemporary pieces, a walk through this Old City boutique will give you plenty of ideas. Affordable vintage finds — -cotton sweaters, Brooks Brothers button-downs, mom jeans — blend perfectly with the utilitarian styles of this shop that’s long championed independent designers and breathable, well-made items. Want an effortless wardrobe? These all-season staples in neutral colors are a great way to start your own capsule collection. 37 North 3rd Street, Old City. 

For vintage delicates …

Made and Maker 

You may recognize Made and Maker from Season 5 of Queer Eye, which featured the boutique for its commitment to sustainability. Owner Eilidh Macintyre drew inspiration from her elegant grandmother’s closet in curating this small but well-stocked shop, and the result does feel like stepping into Grandma’s boudoir. Beaded clutches, chiffon nightgowns, candy-colored pumps, and even delicate wedding dresses make the cut. 2021 Frankford Avenue, number 1920, Fishtown.

Toppers at the Raxx Vintage Emporium in Queen Village / Photograph by Gene Smirnov

For grungy goodies …

The Raxx Vintage Emporium 

The sheer size of this South Street institution guarantees easy browsing through dozens of racks for virtually any retro ensemble you could want. Don’t be fooled by the vastness — this shop is expertly curated, with attention paid to current trends: Think tie-dye crop tops, hot pink “Barbiecore” dresses, ’90s slip dresses, miniskirts, college sweatshirts, flannels, and any and all iterations of the denim jacket. Most items are priced well under $100. 534 South Street, Queen Village. 

For collectible t-shirts …

Urban Exchange Project, Suplex Vintage, and Sol Reminisce 

The vintage t-shirt market has been booming for a while, and Philly has dived in with shops dedicated to collectors. Suplex is set to open Suplex Vintage Wrestling, featuring nothing but wrestling memorabilia (not as niche as one might think!). Sol Reminisce is filled with nods to ’80s and ’90s culture via band and TV-show tees — you know you want a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And Urban Exchange Project, with its endless racks, just might have that gem you didn’t even know you were looking for. Urban Exchange Project, 1868 Frankford Avenue, Fishtown; Suplex Vintage Wrestling, 720 South 5th Street, Queen Village; Sol Reminisce, 11 South 3rd Street, Old City. 

For approachable vintage in a charming setting …

Bear Bone Vintage 

If you head to Lambertville and New Hope for a day of vintage shopping, don’t skip Bear Bone, where you’ll find sleek trench coats, ’60s sheaths, pastel skirt suits, patterned silk and polyester tops, and delicate dresses, all in a range of sizes. Since they’re big on sales, you’ll likely score a great deal; to really maximize bargain potential, follow the shop on Instagram for regular “story sales.” This Bear recently partnered with clothier/seamstress Amy Bishop for alterations and a reworked vintage collection. 14 Church Street, Lambertville.

Bear Bone Vintage in Lambertville / Photograph by Gene Smirnov

For country-club chic …

Junior League Thrift Shop

A thrift joint for the preppy set. This Lilly Pulitzer-heavy shop has a charitable mission, with sales benefiting the Junior League’s community programs. While most of what’s here isn’t vintage, it’s worth checking out for the odd choice find, like cashmere cardigans or gently worn Prada or Stuart Weitzman shoes. This is where the understated elite bring their castoffs; many cocktail dresses and gowns still have the tags on, and it’s not unusual to find a $500 dress priced at $50. 25 Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore.

And also …

For an even deeper dive, check out these shops we’d be remiss not to mention: Philly Vintage Bazaar, Big Top Vintage, B-Bop Vintage, Retrospect, Night Bird, Philly AIDS Thrift, Malena’s Vintage, Black Soul Vintage, N.R.S. Boutique and Mesh.

Lancaster / Photograph by Denis Tangney Jr./Getty Images

Lancaster County

Ready to switch out city sidewalks for some leaf-peeping this fall? Head west to Lancaster County, which has a well-earned rep as an antiques mecca. With seven miles of shops and markets dedicated to antiques and vintage, quaint Adamstown is known as “Antiques Capital USA”; the Dutch Country destination is less than two hours from Center City by car. (Keep an eye out for Amish quilts.) For a more curated experience, head to the nearby city of Lancaster, where downtown retailers including Telltale Dress, Scarlet Willow and Building Character boast vintage clothing and accessories on par with those you’ll find in Philly. Mind the horse-and-buggies!

Flea Market Finds

Can’t make it to Rose Bowl Flea or Portobello Market? Shop these local markets for multiple vendors in one spot. 

Philly Vintage Flea

More than 50 of Philly’s best vendors assemble here; follow @phillyvintageflea for updates. Through noon on October 1st, general admission is $5, and for $10, you get Early Bird access an hour earlier.
October 23rd, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks.

Punk Rock Flea Market

Vintage with a rocker bent. Nab some rare vinyl while you’re at it.
December 17th and 18th at the 23rd Street Armory ($10 admission).

Golden Nugget Antique Flea Market

Browse outside vendors and indoor shops at this year-round spot that’s been open for more than 50 years. Among the latter is Elizabeth’s Vintage Shop, where you can find beaded cardigans, cocktail dresses from the 1940s through the ’70s, and sweet baby outfits like christening gowns.
1850 River Road, Lambertville.

Published as “What Goes Around … ” in the October 2022 issue of Philadelphia magazine.