Among students, St Andrews is often criticised for its lack of good shopping – especially in the category of trendy, warm but well-priced garments. While St Andrews may have a small number of shops cumulatively, its thrift stores contain numerous hidden gems.
In town, the best thrift stores are predominantly located on South Street, Very Vintage being our best vintage store find. On the outside, Very Vintage initially appears to house mostly miscellaneous, quirky objects. Once inside, however, one is greeted by a quaint café and an assortment of vintage jewelry, bags, dresses and jackets. Dress-wise, a blue velvet number stood out in particular. While the dress was of a larger size, its £25 price tag allows for it to be tailored to the wearer’s liking. Layering this piece with a leather jacket, scarf and wool tights would add a unique gothic texture to the look.
Even though the velvet dress was quite unique and on trend, the £40 plaid blazer was the clear winner among Very Vintage’s racks. Once layered over a t-shirt and jeans, this blazer added a surprising amount of warmth and an air of Scottish chic to a plain outfit.
The bags at Very Vintage also possess a lady-like vibe that would look excellent with either a classic Christmas ball dress or a trench coat and trousers.
A few doors down from Very Vintage, Oxfam also had some versatile items – in particular, a £6 grey wool blazer. Another standout blazer made of wool and velvet was found at the next shop, Cancer Research UK. While the arms were a tad short, rolling up the sleeves and sewing them at a quarter length is an easy fix, making the short look intentional, and far more preppy than sloppy.
In the second Cancer Research UK shop, a red pea coat situated on a mannequin in the middle of the store was also eye-catching. With the removal of the black dress, scarf and necklace and the addition of a striped button up and cashmere scarf, this £45 coat would be elevated to appear far more expensive.
As a whole, it is important to acknowledge that while vintage clothing is used, it should not be damaged. Even though none of the shops mentioned had obviously damaged items, it is quite common for goods in even the most popular thrift and vintage stores to be found damaged or stained. Altering a dress from a larger size to a smaller, tailored fit is doable, but removing a 10-year- old stain probably isn’t. If a piece needs to be altered, having a clear plan in mind is essential – especially if the garment is over £10.
Adding a thrift store item to a look for any occasion not only saves money but also might cause onlookers to reconsider their opinion of shopping in the Bubble.
Step away from Amazon, and instead take a stroll down South Street – what you’re looking for just might be here in St Andrews.