Clothing styles from decades past are so hot right now, retailers are offering up new reproductions at every price point.
But if the real thing is what you’re after – and you want to be sure nobody else looks just like you – then head to one of the many vintage clothing stores in Charlotte and its surrounding towns.
If you’re new to the vintage scene, here are a few spots to try out:
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Inside Sleepy Poet Antique Mall; 4450 South Blvd. kitchycoolvintage.com
A shop inside of a shop, Kitch-y-Cool Vintage is located smack in the middle of the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall on South Boulevard.
Owner Christi Schiavo-Williams is constantly replenishing the ample racks with thousands of items, including a large variety of vintage apparel, cowboy boots, sunglasses, even vintage lingerie, sunglasses purses and luggage.
At Christmastime, the shop is home to what is surely of the region’s largest ugly – er, vintage – Christmas sweater offerings.
And it’s a popular stop for party-goers wanting to look like they just stepped out of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s or ’80s.
LeMond Modeling Vintage Boutique
516 E. 15th St.; 704-712-9531
This eclectic NoDa men’s boutique offers a mix of vintage and newer menswear, with lots of options for the businessman seeking a standout look.
Owner LeMond Hart opened the shop in October 2013 and has a big social media presence. He says he considers helping men dress well his ministry, so visitors to the shop are offered his personal styling services (as well as a coffee at Hart’s in-store barista stand).
Hart says he prices items to sell quickly – most dress shirts are in the $10 range, and pants in the $15-$25 range, depending on the label – and he also sells jewelry, scarves and ties made locally as well as crocheted lapel pins he makes himself.
1216 Thomas Ave.; 980-224-7321
Just opened this year, Stash Pad in Plaza Midwood (next door to Boris & Natasha) has a funky, hip vibe and offers vintage clothes for men, women and kids as well as vintage jewelry and home goods. New wigs and a handful of new vintage-inspired items ranging from T-shirts to handbags round out the shop.
Owners Corrie Throckmorton, Heather Lamparter and Kelly Call are veterans to the Charlotte style scene, and they welcome customers ranging from teens looking for the perfect vintage prom dress to drag queens and young moms.
The 1970s and 1980s are perhaps the best represented, although you’ll find older items and vintage from the 1990s. (Feeling old? The term “vintage” is defined as being between 20 and 100 years old, so clothing the 1990s is considered vintage.)
901 Central Ave.; frockshoprevival.com
Situated in a 1902 Victorian home with a sweeping front porch on Central Avenue, Frock Shop offers a mix of upscale vintage clothing, shoes and accessories as well as new items.
Owner Caroline Cook-Frers says she takes “pinkies-out” approach to vintage at the shop, which was a pop-up store before moving into the brick-and-mortar location in 2013.
Cook-Frers says she takes pleasure in helping customers find ways to mix vintage pieces into their existing wardrobe. Having new items in addition to vintage helps her craft complete looks for customers right in the store.
442 E. 36th St.; 704-371-3599
If a laid-back shopping atmosphere is what you’re seeking, you’ll find it at Rat’s Nest in NoDa, where members of the local – and sometimes national – music scene show up to buy vintage T-shirts and boots and just hang out. Among the racks of clothes and boots sit comfy lounge chairs and throw rugs, and the fridge is stocked with beer and soda.
Owner Brian Wilson says the 11-year-old store has always “tried to keep that super-laid-back vibe.”
Cowboy boots and T-shirts are among the big draws for vintage lovers here, but you’ll also find dresses, vintage purses and cowboy shirts.
Wilson (who also co-owns local bar The Thirsty Beaver with brother Mark) prices T-shirts from $8 to $400 and cowboy boots from $20 to $400.
Cristina Bolling writes about style and fashion for the Observer.