Flora of The Rookie Woman gives us a treasure map leading to Amsterdam’s best vintage goods.
When I was younger if you wanted to go shopping you needed to make a crusade with your friends into town, clutching your pocket money and wondering how far your five pounds would go in the aisles of New Look, Tammy Girl and Miss Selfridge. Surprisingly, in a good sale you could usually always find yourself a boob tube that you would never be allowed to wear, or a bra that was about 3 sizes too big and sulked at the bottom of your drawer for the next few years.
You can now view the sartorial wonders of every clothing store at the click of a button, a few more clicks and that item is on its way to your front door without you having to get out of your pyjamas. This new ease of purchasing is alarming, and fast fashion as you will be well aware (unless you have lived under a rock for the past 5 years) is having a detrimental affect on the planet as well as the people who make our clothes, usually working in poor conditions for an unfair wage. I’ve recently tried to cut down on new clothing, allowing myself one new thing per month (January is already going great btw and I haven’t bought anything even in the sales!). One of the most sustainable ways to shop is to scour the vintage and charity shops and buy something pre-loved and give it a second life. The best part? Secondhand is usually cheaper and you won’t see anyone else walking around in the same skirt as you.
I recently started a blog called The Rookie Woman writing about all things sustainable. The lovely Melodie from Melo Moods has asked me to write a guest post on the blog. So here I am writing about one of my favourite things to do: vintage shopping. I’m currently living in Amsterdam and so I will give you my favourite places to find secondhand gems in the city of bikes and cheese. If there is one thing the Dutch love it is a bargain. So stroll briskly past the beautiful over-priced boutique stores in the De 9 Straatjes, safe in the knowledge that there are more affordable treats to be found further afield.
IjHallen If this flea market is happening whilst you’re in Amsterdam, I fully recommend a visit. As the biggest flea market in Europe, it has roughly 500 stands full of clothes, furniture and bric-a-brac. You get there via a 5 minute free ferry ride from Amsterdam Central station. Entrance is €5, bring bags and a bike so you can explore beyond the market. Make sure you haggle, and avoid the stands that are regular sellers (ones that look like a vintage shop) to find yourself a real bargain. If you are going in the winter, wrap up warm and bring snacks and water (and a flask of tea). There is a GREAT brewery in the same area called the Oedipus brewery which also does the best burgers at Beefchief. There is also a windmill you can visit if you really want to make a day of it.
A pair 70s earrings for €1
A pair of winter boots for €2
3 pieces of Cos clothing for €10
De Ruilhoek (The Exchange Corner)
I discovered this place a couple of months ago and it is now one of my favourite places. It is more expensive than most other vintage shops, but you can sell your old (decent) clothes here for a good price and anything they won’t buy from you they will donate to charity. This tends to be higher end stuff, think Stella McCartney, Chloe etc so this place is great if you need something for an event or some fancy workwear. It is always busy on Saturdays so get there early. Also, pricing the clothes fairly means you won’t flippantly buy additional things you don’t need.
Acne Studios shirt €20
100% cashmere blazer €60
Kilo Shop, Eerste van der Helststraat 11C, 1073 AA. I stumbled on this place recently whilst for hunting for some good coffee (FYI Scandinavian Embassy round the corner does a pretty banging espresso). It is the first “weigh your own” shop vintage I have come across in Amsterdam, and I think it is definitely worth a visit. Strangely, prices can vary- the lowest price is €25 for a kilo and and the kilo price goes up from there. Each item has a coloured tag on attached that indicates which price category it belongs to so it is not quite so cheap as other shops I have come across, but they have some pretty great pieces.
Thick 100% wool fisherman’s jumper €40
Emporium of Wonders ,Tweede Helmersstraat 19-21, 1054 CB Amsterdam. A HUGE vintage emporium- 350 square metres to be precise. This place is adorned with all kind of vintage beauties from furniture to baubles. You can also get a coffee here and even take a yoga lesson. There are frequent events happening so be sure to check out their Facebook page. If in the area take a trip to the wonderful FoodHallen for a beer (try Mannenliefde, it’s delicious AND local) and some pretty tasty Banh Mi.
Secondhand earrings: €7
Waterlooplein Markt – This is close to the centre, and is another “proper” flea market so you need to be ready to have a dig and dive through the crap to get to the gems. This is a fun place to go to anyway, and there’s an Episode store nearby (a bit like a True Vintage in the UK) , so if you cannot find anything you like you can hit this place up for an injection of neatly organised secondhand beauties.
Vintage leather suede jacket €20
Another place worth visiting is Episode, this is much more organised chaos, in the sense that you can get about 20 denim jackets that all look suspiciously like each other and find them grouped together. You can usually always find something pretty great and there are a few of these stores throughout Amsterdam dotted all around the city.
Vintage leopard print leotard €8
I hope you enjoy and happy hunting!