5 of the Best Vintage Menswear Stores in London

While vintage shopping demands dedication, the rewards are bountiful — a sustainable wardrobe stocked with utterly unique pieces unavailable anywhere else. These five UK destinations are the apex of vintage menswear, captained by curators obsessively unearthing prized garments from a bygone golden era.

5 of the Best Vintage Menswear Stores in London

Slipped down cobbled alleyways or standing proudly in plain sight, London's best vintage shops have refused to compromise on style, quality and experience in their endeavour to offer circular, sustainable options to the capital's most discerning sartorial connoisseurs. The idea of vintage clothing has redefined menswear over the last 15 years, inspiring designers and fueling a revivalist movement that has recalibrated our understanding of history and quality of construction.

Exceptional vintage pieces that were once disregarded as mere "second-hand" garments now command premium prices as supply dwindles. By exceptional, we mean benchmark examples of design and construction originally made for military personnel, labourers, sportsmen or the well-heeled - not piles of loud polyester dreck that often masquerades as "vintage." For the discerning menswear collector, anything produced within one's lifetime can hardly be considered true vintage. The golden era was the period before the 1960s when men's clothing was built to withstand the rigours of daily use and endure for decades.

Seeking out these rare gems requires passion, knowledge, connections and a keen eye — attributes the buyers at London's cult vintage stores possess in spades. From acclaimed destinations to labyrinthine treasure troves of antique fashion ephemera, the concrete jungle reveals its second-hand secrets to those who search. Here are 5 of the capital's best for unique menswear finds.

The Vintage Showroom.

The Vintage Showroom, Covent Garden

Portobello vets Doug Gunn and Roy Luckett carefully designed this Covent Garden store with an emphasis on quality menswear. Find serious labels like Levi's, Grenfell, Belstaff alongside rare military deadstock. The immaculately-dressed owners are often on hand to share their encyclopedic knowledge. For rare vintage tees, varsity jackets, striped ties and more preppy gems, this museum-like mecca excels.

Hornets, Kensington

Epitomising quintessential English gentleman style, Hornets has proudly stood for over 20 years with 3 stores near Kensington Palace. This esteemed establishment specializes in defining attire of the English gentleman — from country tweeds and Savile Row suiting to handmade leather shoes. The classic decor and air of exclusivity provide an unparalleled experience for those seeking the pinnacle of traditional English fashion.

Nordic Poetry, Shoreditch

Founded by Swedish entrepreneur Ameli Lindgren, this Shoreditch shop is a vintage destination created for the Instagram generation but with more substance than its picture-perfect interiors suggest. The carefully curated rails mix beautiful designer pieces spanning every decade and major brand. Despite its worst-kept-secret status and fiercely loyal following, Nordic Poetry's website packed with outfit inspiration offers armchair shopping for those unable to visit in person.

Breuer & Dawson.

Brewer & Dawson, Margate (one-time Portobello)

The one-time Portobello traders Paul Breuer and Matt Dawson decamped to seaside Margate (okay, not London, but still worth it for a day trip), where their store/warehouse/studio space is a mecca for vintage finds — especially mod-era pieces. In addition to the buyable stock, there's an extensive archive holding a comprehensive selection of unique fashion items spanning centuries, all available for hire.

Atika, Shoreditch

Formerly BLITZ, Atika is a concept/vintage store stocking cult classics like MA-1 bombers and 80s ski jackets alongside up-and-coming indie labels. The in-house Remix range up-cycles vintage pieces, while bespoke illustrations and alterations are done locally to reduce the environmental impact. This exposed-brick, cowhide-strewn destination is a hit with the Instagram fashion pack.