In the past few years, I have fallen in love with searching for vintage treasures. This is partly because I just love the style of previous decades, but also because I have embarked on a journey of minimizing the waste of our home. Fast fashion has such a huge environmental impact, and over the past year I have dedicated myself to making more thoughtful purchases that support local businesses while minimizing the waste of my household. Thrift shopping in general has always been a thrill for me. I have fond childhood memories of “yard-saleing” with my parents on early weekend mornings. I also love a good browse through our local thrift stores on a regular basis. Until recently, I had no idea that Birmingham was home to an oasis of vintage shops. There is something for every aesthetic, and each purchase is supporting a local business owner. I’ve pulled together a local shopping guide to the best (in my opinion) vintage shops in our area! (This post will focus on clothing/accessories.)
Zoe’s in Forest Park
If you’re just dipping your toes into vintage shopping, Zoe’s should be your first stop! This store is a mecca for beautiful clothing and accessories from decades past. It is also beautifully organized so you can easily look through their impressive collection. If you are looking for formal wear, they have a beautiful selection of vintage gowns, perfect for homecoming or prom, or any formal event. I usually find myself in here looking for scarves. I always find gems in their collection that are perfect for tying onto a handbag or wrapping up in the winter time. They are located in the Forest Park neighborhood, which is a must-visit area of our city. The staff in Zoe’s are so nice and helpful and just lovely to chat with while you shop.
Manitou is one of the first stores I stumbled into when I started vintage shopping. This shop is nestled in the MAKEbhm space directly across from Big Spoon Creamery in Avondale. You’ll usually find a random movie playing from decades past in the store. They have the greatest selection of vintage tees I have ever seen. If you’re a fan of those baby soft tees that have been washed a hundred times, this is your spot. Their hand-picked selection is unrivaled by any other store in the area. They also have tons of vintage denim and handbags. I have an unhealthy obsession with earrings and often find myself wandering back to Manitou for their selection. They have gorgeous jewelry in addition to unique gifts that you won’t easily find elsewhere. As a bonus, Manitou often hosts vintage fairs in their shop area where sellers from all over the South gather together to show off their wares. You can also shop online here.
Sozo Trading Co.
I have mentioned Sozo before in my post about the Avondale neighborhood, and I just can’t get enough of this place. You could technically say the whole store is vintage since it is an upscale thrift shop, but they do have a few dedicated booths that are full of vintage items. I find myself in Sozo several times per week as their selection is always changing, and their items are extremely organized. I’ve walked out of there with OTBT shoes at a fraction of the cost along with some gorgeous vintage dresses. They just completed a gorgeous new mural on the outside of their building! Grab a few things from your closet to donate and head to Sozo for an amazing shopping experience! As an added bonus, they have such a special mission that I’m happy to support with my purchases.
Wow — what a gem that is nestled in the Crestwood neighborhood. TRXi shares a store front with Elements in the same Crestwood shopping area that includes Seasick Records, The Filling Station, and Urban Suburban. This is your spot if your aesthetic is feminine florals and flowy dresses of previous decades. Casey, the owner, is so welcoming and always lovely to talk to while I’m shopping. She has a great selection that includes vintage nail polishes, handbags, shoes, and jewelry! The store is always fresh and lively and is probably my personal favorite vintage spot. (Plus, she is always so gracious to hold items for me that I’m snatching up from her Instagram feed!) Stop by to shop and lounge on the big pink couch — you won’t regret it!
I attended a vintage fair at MAKEbhm not too long ago and got to chat with the lovely lady that owns Satsuma. This is mainly an online shop, but you can catch her at vintage pop ups around Birmingham. This is the first size-inclusive vintage store that I have stumbled upon. She has a great eye for plus size finds from the past that are still flattering today! Another thing I love about her shop is that she posts measurements for the garments on her listings. One thing I can’t stress enough about vintage shopping is TRY. IT. ON. Sizing has changed so much over the years. I have overlooked items because they seemed too small or too large, but I often find that they fit perfectly if I give them a chance and try it on. At Satsuma, if you know your measurements, then you’re golden to shop her Etsy shop or Instagram feed.
If you’re just dipping your toes into the vintage waters, these are some great local spots to get you started. There are so many vintage gems in our area, I am sure that I will continue to discover more of them.
A few tips for vintage shopping are: try everything on, keep an open mind, and check back often! If you find a piece you love, grab it before someone else does! I never see the same items twice in these stores and have often regretted letting some gorgeous pieces go.
It’s satisfying to know that you are giving new life to a piece of clothing or jewelry and supporting local business owners in the process! I HIGHLY suggest following all of these shops on Instagram. They often post new inventory and sale information there. Please tag me in your favorite vintage finds!