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A New Take on Second Hand

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

Vintage clothes can be a bit scary. You can trawl vintage and second hand shops for hours and find nothing at all. What’s more, it may be cheap, but the look can also be notoriously hard to pull off – if you can make wild, 80s knitwear work then hats off to you, but I know that I for one can’t.

Enter a new breed of shops that cater to my needs, letting anyone carry off that vintage-inspired look with ease, free from fear of looking like you’ve been dragged backwards through a jumble sale.

Leeds has a good range of retro-inspired shops: there are plenty for the true vintage lovers, and loads for trendsetters who are handy with a sewing kit, but what about those of us who are a little intimidated by vintage? Well, after a little shopping around, I’ve found a few gems to share with you.

Mad Elizabeth

Tucked away on the top floor of the Corn Exchange, this cute and quirky shop provides vintage clothes for the trend-following student. They don’t specalise in certain eras of fashion, instead the focus is on what’s in fashion now. Rather than rails of 1950s style dresses, you’ll find cheaper and more unique versions of what’s in Topshop and River Island at the moment. Packed full of skater skirts in unique patterns, grungy 90s plaid and army jackets, Mad Elizabeth will give you good quality and easy-to-wear vintage. Alongside some interesting vintage finds, they also do a great range of new, retro-inspired jewellery and sunglasses.

The Corn Exchange, Call Lane


Pop Boutique

Pop Boutique is a hidden vintage gem, with shops in Leeds, London, Liverpool, Manchester and even Sweden. The store provides a mixture of vintage clothes and vintage-style new items, culminating in two floors full of stylish pieces. Again, the shop is trend led and caters for those who want the latest looks for less. From Varsity jackets to Alexa Chung style tunic dresses, I can guarantee you’ll find something here you love. As well as true vintage pieces, Pop Boutique also makes their own vintage-inspired items, taking classic styles and making them easier to find and wear. What’s more, you’ll never have to worry about altering them as they come in a range of sizes. You won’t end up breaking the bank either, as all their items – new and old – are very reasonably priced: a pair of cut off denim shorts will only set you back £15. In fact, Pop Boutique supply some items – including their cut-off Levi’s – to Urban Outfitters’ Urban Renewal range, who then sell them for £32! So top tip: save your money and buy them here.

12-16 Central Road


Best Leeds

Walking around the city centre, it’s hard not to see at least one person wearing a ‘B’ emblazoned sweatshirt or t-shirt: Best Clothing Leeds is truly taking over. Situated opposite the Corn Exchange and run by passionate young business partners Perri and Alex, Best is the place to come for unique, urban clothes that you definitely won’t see elsewhere. Shying away from branding their store a ‘vintage’ shop, Perri is quick to explain that it’s not vintage they’re looking to supply. Instead, the shop is packed full of high-quality second hand items. What sets Best apart, however, is that all their items have been altered, fitted and customized by their Leeds-based team, meaning all their clothes and accessories stand out from the crowd.  Whether it’s adding studs to denim, cropping a shirt, or dip dyeing a dress, they take everyday and ordinary clothes to the next level. The shop stretches across three floors, and every inch reflects the clothes for sale: full of cool design details and quirky touches. With a unique mix of stuff for guys and girls, they even offer a discount for students: I challenge you to go in without finding something your wardrobe needs.

Dip Dyed Ralph Lauren shirt dress £40

22-24 Newmarket Street