There are many draws to shopping vintage. On one hand, secondhand shops offer access to discontinued products — or simply those that have changed in quality or design over the years. But they also give buyers the chance to discover pieces that are comfortably worn-in with a patina that only decades of wear could produce. While scouring eBay for clothing, footwear and accessories is practical, convenient and oftentimes cheap, nothing beats the rush from exploring vintage shops in person. Here are 15 of our favorites from across the country. Good luck hunting.
Flight Club – Los Angeles, CA
Mister Freedom – Los Angeles, CA
Time Frame – San Francisco, CA
The Wasteland – San Francisco, CA
Matthew Bain Inc. – Miami Beach, FL
The Tough Boot – Atlanta, GA
Cisco’s Gallery – Couer d’Alene, ID
Independence – Chicago, IL
Bobby From Boston – Boston, MA
Santa Fe Vintage – Santa Fe, NM
Stock Vintage – New York, NY
Rock and Rose PDX – Portland, OR
The Bowery Vault – Nashville, TN
New Bohemia – Austin, TX
Lucky Vintage – Seattle, WA
Los Angeles, CA: For sneakerheads, it doesn’t get any better than Flight Club. The store features a large selection of classic deadstock sneakers nearly impossible to find elsewhere. So whether you’re looking for a discontinued New Balance edition or a pair of rare Jordans, Flight Club has you covered.
Los Angeles, CA: Christophe Loiron has redefined the Los Angeles vintage game with Mr. Freedom. One part vintage mecca, one part boutique for new retro-inspired goods, it’s hard to tell where the old ends and the new begins. Unlike many people who dare to mix vintage and modern, Loiron gets it right thanks to his ability to craft new garments that closely resemble the originals in both appearance and quality.
San Francisco, CA: This little boutique in the Mission District has one of the best collection of vintage new-old-stock frames and sunglasses on the planet. Its cases are stocked with countless grail-level shades from Japan, Italy and France.
San Francisco, CA: The Wasteland is the grandaddy of San Francisco’s vintage and thrift culture. The selection is broad enough that finding both the perfect polyester camp-collar shirt and some secondhand Dries are not only possible, they’re likely.
Matthew Bain, Inc.
Miami, FL: Matthew Bain is a Miami watch dealer who specializes in used and rare timepieces. While you’ll find a solid selections of Rolexes here, what Bain excels at is giving other vintage brands their due. Peep his inventory of Patek Philippe and Zenith watches — they’re mid-century works of art.
The Tough Boot
Atlanta, GA: Located in the Westside Provisions District, The Tough Boot stocks heritage brands like Filson and Barbour, but their vintage selection is what makes the store unique. Worn biker jackets and bombers, faded jeans and creased belts. If rugged outerwear is your thing, this is the place to find it.
Coeur d’Alene, ID: Cisco’s has a collection of Western Americana better than any museum. And it’s all for sale. Come to this part of Northern Idaho to find that perfect Navajo bracelet, Santo Domingo necklace or just to be inspired.
Chicago, IL: For men who care about EDC, look no further than Independence. While this Chicago store has an excellent selection of hard-to-find men’s brands, their vintage accessories put other shops to shame. Check out the selection of turquoise jewelry,rugs from the 19th century and paisley bandanas made in the U.S. of A.
Bobby From Boston
Boston, MA: Bobby Garnett — Bobby From Boston’s proprietor — passed away last year, but his namesake store soldiers on. It’s the place to find a 1960’s suit or a classic-cut oxford shirt; few vintage stores in America have a better selection of tailoring, and Bobby’s is a good place to find great formal wear on the cheap.
Santa Fe Vintage
Santa Fe, NM: Santa Fe Vintage is Scott Corey’s appointment-only showroom that carries the best Western-wear in the United States. If you’ve been searching for the perfect classic denim shirt and can’t find it at your neighborhood thrift store, it’s probably here, as are the cowboy boots you didn’t know you needed. It’s like the RRL store you always dreamed about, except that it’s carrying secondhand, well-loved clothing that tells a story.
New York, NY: A strong workwear selection keeps customers returning to Stock Vintage. Their curated selection of vintage t-shirts also merits attention. Many of these tees date back to the 1950s and earlier, and feature eye-popping logos and classic construction that were relics of the era, touchstones that will stand the test of time.
Rock and Rose PDX
Portland, OR: Portland, Oregon, is a vintage mecca, but many of its stores are cluttered. Not Rock and Rose, which features a solid smattering of vintage outerwear and flannels in a well-lit atmosphere. The shoe selection is strong as well, and with a classic pair of hiking boots, you’ll be ready for both months of rain and warm summer hikes.
The Bowery Vault
Nashville, TN: The Bowery Vault is a rock ‘n’ roller’s paradise. Many of the clothes look like they could’ve been worn by the legends of CBGB and other Bowery haunts, minus all the holes and beer stains. If their prime selection of leather jackets and vintage boots don’t make you feel like a rock god, then nothing will.
Austin, TX: Texas is the home of cowboy boots, and there’s no better place to get them than at New Bohemia. Located in Austin, this small vintage store stocks a stellar selection of boots befit the Lone Star state. Saddle up a few bucks for a pair, and rock them with everything from jeans to a suit (yes, they do that in Texas).
Seattle, WA: Lucky Vintage is the place to go for clothes that embody the PNW’s creative style. You’ll find flannels on flannels here, but the store’s varied selection also provides a few left-field treasures, like bolo ties and seed-sack shirts.
More From The Grails Issue
An exploration of the products in our lives that are so singular, so special and so intensely personal that no others compare. From brand new multi-million-dollar jets to Brazilian rosewood furnishings, these are Grails. Read the Stories