by Jodi Panayotov
The rise and rise of vintage fashion has been attributed to cult show Mad Men and the revolt against poorly made mass-produced clothing, yet the emergence of the vintage boutique, with its guaranteed hand-picked collection of clean ready to wear clothes, quirky decor and knowledgeable owner has played a sizable part in it.
Brisbane's vintage shops may be scattered around town but the best of them, listed below, are well worth a visit, whether for the diehard or the novice.
A charming light-filled Queenslander with polished floors, retro art works and a rabbit warren of themed rooms – kitchen, ladies and men's rooms and a sun tiki room. The range is eclectic but the '70's rule, with halter necks, flares, maxi and mini dresses, jumpsuits and a crochet revival.
Owner Lisa is a retro poster girl down to the tips of her liquid eyeliner and the old antique store of ready to wear vintage grew out of her own personal collection. Here's the place to find daytime glam, from silk tea frocks, twinsets, bowling blouses and pencil skirts to pill box hats. And there's a spiffy gentleman's parlour too.
From its digs in Vulture St West End this boutique is a stalwart of the vintage scene. Here you'll find whatever takes the owner's fancy, from cruise or Hawaiian pool party wear to cowboy boots and fur stoles, with knick knacks and adornments and the odd retro bicycle thrown in.
One of the first to hop on the vintage tram, Retro Metro are firmly ensconced in Paddington, with their garage store for a walk on the wild side and dabbling in costumery (think glam rock jeans) and their shopfront a mix of his'n'hers quality vintage (maxis, ball gowns, safari shirts) and vintage-inspired designs.
This chic little parlour tucked away in Morningside's shopping strip is all about old world glamour, with a hand-picked selection of vintage finery from the golden era of the '30's to the '50's both here and the US hats from the '40's to the '80's and Hollywood-inspired Vera Vintage jewellery.
A pocket-sized shop in a pocket-sized lane, Sunday Social will take you back to when Sundays were fun days. Stocking the best of vintage wear through the decades (for both him and her) as well as sunglasses, baubles, bangles and beads to finish the outfit, whether it be for the Sunday drive, lawn tennis, a spot of bowling or a martini on the sun lounge.
In an old general store the lino floor is shared by a fabulous stash of gear from the '60's to the 80's and an in house coffee lounge that spills out to the back yard. Owner Holly is a veteran of the vintage pack and keeps the stock turning over fast and furious, in between organising her latest venture – weekend live music gigs down by the Hills Hoist.
A staircase beside Bent Books leads to this quaint vintage lair in an attic, with clothes for the non-shy and retiring type. Feathers, fringes, beads, sequins and studs abound and fashion-wise expect to find ra ra skirts, gypsy blouses, waistcoats, psychedelic T-shirts, punk and ballet skirts.
A little vintage boutique that is constantly on the move, towed around town by a candy coloured 1967 holden. When it's open for business a faux lawn, pink flamingos and blow-up swimming pool greet customers out front.
With the drawback of vintage fashion being that it only comes in one size, more enterprising individuals are getting around this by blending a vintage collection with new vintage-inspired fashion. Trash Monkey in the Valley leads the way with its take your pick range of rockabilly, pin-up, siren, burlesque and other cult gear and hot on its kitten heels is Ursalady Creations at Stones Corner. Otherwise Ra Ra Superstar, the little store tucked down a pink lane by a Paddington coin laundry also presides over a charming blend of old and new.
© Must Do Brisbane