Or maybe it's just scavenging through somebody else’s old wardrobe.
(An insider tip: some of the more expensive shops will rent you an outfit for a night or a couple days for a fraction of the price.)
Anyway, here are nine vintage shops in Shanghai for you to decide for yourself!
Lolo Love Vintage
This secluded, almost mystical-looking yard is hidden behind a tiny blue gate on Yongfu Lu. The collection goes back to as early as the 1920s and as late as the 1980s. Every piece deserves a closer look.
All of their pieces come from Europe or North America and are picked by the owner, Ms. Lolo. They also sell some of their own clothing line. Prices go above 2,000rmb, especially for designer brands, but most are between 300-500rmb.
A new addition to the vintage-shopping scene, this little shop opened in May 2020. Chris and her boyfriend worked together on this shop after returning from the UK, where shopping at vintage or thrift shops is more common. They might be a scourge on Oxfam, but they sure look trendy.
Lots of floral patterns and silky fabrics, which say a lot about Chris’s sweet disposition. The shop carries both men’s and women’s apparel from the 80s and 90s that are good for your everyday wardrobe. Nothing too elaborate, but affordable. The clothes are mostly from Japan and traded at markets in Thailand. A lot of men’s ties, too.
Jojo In The Box
Jojo in the Box is one of the best vintage shops in the city. Walk up a narrow stairway lit by a disco ball, and you'll find the showroom on the second floor (hence the Chinese name) painted in fiery red.
Jojo spent many years in fashion retail before she opened this shop. Most of the clothes date from the 70s to the 90s, bought by Jojo on global shopping trips.
The selection here is good for everyday occasions, nothing too fancy, but even simple stuff like shirts and blouses are exquisite and stylish. Only women’s clothes though, except a couple of men’s jackets that could serve double-duty. Good value for the price: you can walk away with an excellent find for around 400rmb.
Small Wonderful World
Eccentric and colorful. Most of the stuff at this Small Wonderful World is from Japan, from the 80s and 90s. Neon colors, big bright flower prints, puffy Cinderella dresses and playful Hawaiian shirts. Definitely not "old" old, but the clothes all have strong attitudes that require an equally bold wearer. This is cooking with truffle oil. Price is reasonable. You can get a decent shirt for 200rmb or less.
Dot Collection Vintage
This is the place to go if you’re looking for mid- to high-end stuff. Dot Collection has been around for 10 years, specializing in designer brands. Expect to spend a stack of red ones on a sleek Yves Saint Laurent suit dress from the 80s or a Ferragamo jacket that is no longer available on the market. Also on sale are luxury brand handbags, women’s shoes, and vintage jewelry.
D.House Naughty Dot, its other shop inside the historical Abe Apartment on Huaihai Zhong Lu, has plenty of casual wear from the 80s, but more importantly, is probably the only shop to get vintage wedding dresses in Shanghai. An absolutely extraordinary line of gowns from the 50s to 70s. Make a reservation before you go for fitting.
A longtime destination store for the masses. At one point this consignment store slash vintage shop occupied a sizeable row house. Several years after we visited, they have shrunk the store down to a two-story loft on Xiangyang Bei Lu.
Still, they carry some good stuff. Luxury brands are all kept in good condition. The vintage clothes are mostly on the second floor, arranged according to color on separate racks. Aged, unique finds mixed with average thrifty stuff, so spend some time digging.
Annata Vintage takes its name from the Italian word for "time." It has been open for nearly eight years, first on Jianguo Xi Lu and now in a lane house with a garden on Gao'an Lu. They carry an imported selection of vintage clothing and accessories from the 30s to the 80s, with a keen focus on party gowns and wedding gowns from the 30s — heavily beaded, embroidered, glamorous, glittering, and in excellent condition. If you dig the classic flapper-girl look, this is your destination.
They have lots of accessories to go with the style too. The owners say that they have hand-picked every piece from 15 countries and aim to capture the look and feel of a ’30s Shanghai boudoir with their shop. Prices range from 500-800rmb for everyday looks to as high as nearly 10K for evening gowns.
Mian Vintage Shop
A friendly and affordable neighborhood shop. Excellent for your daily wardrobe. The room is small but filled with good stuff. Except for dresses and skirts, the majority of their clothes are unisex, especially the shirt collection - super cute and unique shirts that fit the guys or the gals. They also have a rack of vintage Japanese sports jackets that’s quite unusual.
New arrivals are often available weekly, so come back once in a while if you dig their taste.
Aloha with five Os. This one is for serious collectors and fashionistas. Located inside a warehouse office park under the Nanpu Bridge, this shop has been around for 10 years. They focus on vintage, second-hand luxury brand handbags, as well as high-fashion clothing. Every big-name designer brand you may know of...
The shelves full of logos are outrageous thought not all bags are strictly vintage. This place also does a lot of consignment, so expect to find many contemporary items mixed with older, more unique ones.