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You must start out by knowing that I live in Paris and that I absolutely love vintage clothes and accessories. The way I see it, there are many reasons to love vintage.
The first and obvious reason being the price (buying vintage treasures for a fraction of their original price never gets old), the second and more interesting one is the incredible spectrum of style possibilities offered by vintage items, and the third one is the uniqueness of the pieces you can actually find, which is much more appreciated than the H&M and Zara cyborg-like copycat era.
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My Top 6 Vintage Store Picks in Paris
Here is a list of my 6 top vintage store picks in Paris that I have gathered in 3 distinct groups:
Refined & Unique Luxury Vintage
Here we have these two hidden gems: Pretty Box and its 'little brother', the very trendy and more accessible Vintage System.
1 // Pretty Box
Pretty Box is the lovechild of Nicolas and Sarah, two creative designers who have decided to uplift and polish old gems in order to create a unique and timeless atmosphere in their “Nord Marais” store (46 Rue de Saintonge).
Don’t get me wrong, we are talking about one of the top 5 vintage stores in the world, matching the best ones you can find in Tokyo (J’Antiques for instance), in London (first name that comes to is “What Goes Around Comes Around”) and in NYC (Amarcord for example).
The women’s selection is done by Sarah. You'll find unique Chanel dresses (designed by Coco herself…), Christian Dior jackets, and you can find jewels from another era like a true gorilla-leather jacket and rare vintage bags (Hermès, Chanel…).
The men’s selections is the work of Nicolas, and let’s face it, it’s very leathery, with an impressive range of motorbike jackets and a no less impressive offer of vintage t-shirts and branded blazers (and from time to time, great accessories such as watches and sunglasses).
2 // Vintage SystemFor those of you who are looking for less expensive items, you can try Nicolas and Sarah new baby: Vintage System. This store is basically 200 meters away from Pretty Box in the “Nord-Marais” and also offers the trademarks of Pretty Box (huge selection of high-end dresses, beautiful jackets and vintage bags for women; and very cool blazers and leathery stuff for men).
Address: 17 Rue Barbette, Paris
The "Too Big to Offer You Bargains, But Still Pretty Interesting” Vintage
In this section, we are about to deal with two of the biggest vintage institutions in Paris: Kiliwatch and Episode. Because of Paris traditional neighborhoods’ segmentation, it isn’t surprising that they are both in the Montorgueil area (1st and 2st arrondissement).
3 // Kiliwatch
Kiliwatch is one of the pioneers of trendy vintage stores in Paris. Episode, on the other is a bit younger. Kiliwatch offers a full-range of clothes from vintage tuxedos to Baseball jackets and Military outfits; it is the main expression of the holistic and slightly overpriced vintage store where a simple Levis’ vintage denim jacket is roughly 30% more expensive than in one of the third section stores. For the record, Kiliwatch also sells “new” stuff (a.k.a. not vintage).
Address: 64 Rue Tiquetonne, 75002 Paris | Tel: +33 1 42 21 17 37 | Website
4 // Episode
Episode is less edgy and holistic in its approach, and slightly cheaper than Kiliwatch. The selection is huge so you will need to dig into clothes and shoes much more than at Pretty Box for instance. Episode also offers its own creations which are basically interesting redoes of vintage-like pieces (such as leather jackets that wouldn’t be discordant in a Starsky and Hutch episode…).
Address: 12-16 Rue Tiquetonne, 75002 Paris | Tel: +33 1 42 61 14 65 | Website
The Tiny Vintage Stores of Le Marais
I have only selected two of them but there are dozens of vintage stores in Le Marais. These two have a “je ne sais quoi” which makes them different.
Vintage Desir and Free’p’star are very messy and very tiny but you'll find beautiful hidden pieces –if you manage to find your size of course - that can be a really good addition to your everyday look.
Indeed, contrary to the previous two sections, those kind of vintage stores doesn’t really offer you the possibility to build an entire look amongst their selected items. Here we are talking about specific accessories and items that can make your entire outfit (a hat, an overall, a pilot jacket…).
The prices are similar to the messy atmosphere, they are all over the place. So if you have time and aren’t looking for some piece which is about to amaze everybody with its singularity, go there and you will definitely find something.
5 // Vintage Desir
Via: Fashion Steele NYC
Address: 32 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris
6 // Free’p’star
Via: 20PH Paris
Address 1: 8 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie | Address 2: 61 rue de la Verrerie - Tel: +33 1 42 78 00 76 | Address 3: 20 rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris - Tel: +33 1 42 77 63 43 | Website | Facebook Page