WORDS BY KATIE DOHMAN AND MARY LUCIA
When it comes to vintage shopping—whether fashion, housewares, furniture, whathaveyou—the Twin Cities houses an absolute embarrassment of riches. Some vintage shops have endured for decades, now carrying pieces that were once in the “new” shops (ever found a ’90s TK in a vintage shop that once only seemed to have things up to the ‘70s? We regret to inform you, your youth is now…old.) And just pre-pandemic and especially during the pandemic, a wave of vintage shops popped up both virtually (Instagram, Poshmark, Depop)—and then some made the leap to storefront when they wanted an in-person experience (or a better place to store their goods than their basements).
There’s something about the allure of thrifting or shopping vintage: Running across a nostalgic favorite that had been lost to the dusty recesses of your brain folds, finding the perfect gift for a friend that won’t be in any current gift shop, or the adrenaline rush of finding something you absolutely cannot live without—how HAD you survived, til now?—finding that it fits like a glove, might have a great backstory, doesn’t look like anyone else’s, and feels fated to be yours? That’s true style, babies.
Then there’s the environmental factor: Fast fashion (and most fashion, honestly) is one of the largest—some report the second largest—industries of pollution, waste, and contributors to climate change. Yeouch. Combat fashion that will fall apart after two washes or the denim factories turning wilderness into wasteland by pulling on a pair of perfectly-worn-in Wranglers (you’ll notice Wrangler has recently released a retro line, *ahem*…) or show up to an event in a showstopping vintage dress that guaranteed, no one else will have. You just have to be patient and know if it doesn’t fit—it just wasn’t meant for you. But something will be.
The bloom of vintage shops and the recent re-interest in vintage and secondhand shopping is all to Twin Cities’ shoppers’ benefits: Great competition, a variety of price points and viewpoints, a mix of eras and styles, plus fab shopping experiences. There are far more really, really good vintage shops than we could list in this prescribed space, so know that if you got left off this time, we still love you and we’ll come back around. Just like every fashion does.
The grande dame of of St. Paul vintage, Hayley Bush has been outfitting everyone, from stylish promgoers to gala attendees, to era-specific enthusiasts with one-of-a-kind looks since 1992. She has a supernatural sense for the exact size you wear and the ability to pull something off the rack that turns into the Cinderella-perfect thing in the fitting room. She loves the soul of vintage and can often recount the stories of whence the pieces came, imbuing your purchase with a satisfying sense you’re carrying the torch of spirited, stylish people from every era forward. 1587 Selby Ave, St. Paul, 651-644-4110, lulavintagemn.com
The Golden Pearl Vintage
Golden Pearl feels like stepping back into a glamorous old-school department store, with its wall of shoes, glass case full of jewelry and accessories, and expertly merchandised clothing. Find gorgeous gowns from the ’20s on, fun surprises like a ’90s leopard-print Moschino Cheap and Chic suit, fur stoles, and more. There’s lots of reasons Golden Pearl has become a don’t-miss stop on every vintage-lovers dance card. 507A E. Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-378-3978, thegoldenpearlvintage.com
316 Vintage, owned by Mike Bailey (@316_vintage on the ‘Gram) is quite a few South Minneapolis vintage lovers’ well-kept secret. Mysterious hours and a cash-only buying structure only seems to add to the allure. Bailey has great inventory, including an amazing shoe selection. You know how every time you see a cool pair of cowboy boots screaming your name and then you take a closer look to see they’re a doll-size minus-1? Not here! Bigfoots welcome. 316 W 42nd St, Mpls., 612-867-1495
Time Bomb Vintage
Time Bomb has you covered for decade spanning cool vintage clothes and also pangs of “Oh man, I had one of those” collectables (like the Bionic Woman board game) vinyl, comic books, figurines, and, for me, a $12-dollar large plush pug. For Katie a givin’-Edie-Sedgwick-a- run-for-her-daddy’s-money sick leopard coat.
3543 E Lake St, Minneapolis, 3543 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-724-2662, timebombvintage.com
Northeast houses some great one-park, multiple-stop vintage neighborhoods including Central & Hennepin. Carrie Martinson (of Olio name) and a collective of vintage lovers—Salty, Blck Nvni, and local style maven Jahna Peloquin’s Rosella, plus a rotating guest curator—come together to sell designer vintage, unique pieces, vintage home goods, plus local art, jewelry, and other gift items. 21 5th St. NE, Mpls., @olio.mpls on Instagram
B-Squad is a local neighborhood thrift shop that highlights a great mix of clothes, vinyl, and groovy train cases, which are perfect for stashing makeup or storing 45s. Plus their shop soundtrack blasts the best music to shop to. Hint: The best part of any vintage shopping experience is to look up to the ceiling, as the rarer and more stellar pieces hang above your head. If you gotta ask for the pole, you’re laying down more dough—but you’ll walk out with a one-of-a-kind gem that lived closer to heaven. 3500 Nicollet Ave., Mpls., 612-825-4847, b-squad.com
Corner Store Vintage
Corner Store Vintage has been a constant in my ever-evolving life as a secondhand punk who will always prefer to wear dead people’s clothes. Retaining its magical draw of cool since 1979 it stands at the corner of 900 West Lake Street. A welcoming Hendrix mural adorns the side of the building. Linda, the owner, has an amazing eye for curating items too good to be true. Think more broken in Levi’s than you’ve ever seen in one place. She clearly has a strict “No Crap” buying policy. The selection of horsehide leather jackets alone makes me gag. This store and everyone who works there should receive a key to the city when they hand that sort of jive out. 900 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-823-1270, corner-store-vintage.business.site
Hunt and Gather
Hunt and Gather is the ultimate hidden treasure vintage shop. Crammed into the space you can find nearly anything with over 15 vendors. The key word here is crammed. It’s the Jenga of thrift stores. Not advised to wear a big puffy winter coat while hunting for treasure as an entire Star Wars collectables display can be easily toppled onto you with one wide left turn. Their outdoor selection of statues, birdbaths and oddities is legendary. If you’ve been looking for a Paul Bunyan sized plexiglass letter A, search no further. 4944 Xerxes Ave. S., Mpls., 612-455-0250, huntandgatherantiques.com
Amanda Baumann’s burst-of-sunshine personality radiates through everything she collects for her shop, Tandem Vintage, which opened a brick-and-mortar in the Kingfield neighborhood in 2021. Her approachable philosophy is so refreshing, especially for those new to vintage. Find collectible, wearable clothing, stunning-to-kitschy housewares, and more from the ‘50s-’90s in her shop and on her Instagram. 316 W. 38th St., Mpls., tandemvintage.com
The Vintage Village
Ashley Beccera has been vending her colorful streetwear-to-glam vintage and secondhand wares through her online shop, Everyday Ejiji, since 2020. Now, for the holiday season, catch her in person, where she hosts a rotating cast of handpicked vintage vendors and local notables selling their gifty goodness. 3914 W 50th St., Edina, Saturdays and Sundays through December 18, 11 AM to 6 PM • @everydayejiji on IG