Business

Dispatches’ list of the best of Amsterdam’s 2nd hand/vintage shopping

Designer sunglasses at Gimme Glitter

(Editor’s note: This post about 2nd hand/vintage shopping in Amsterdam, is the sixth in our series on finding quality goods at great prices while making this less of a disposable societyYou can see more about thrift shopping in Florence here, Berlin hereLuxembourg hereParis here and in London here.)

I’m that guy … that husband who likes to shop as much as his wife and daughters. While the other guys are watching sports or doing manly things like playing golf, I’m checking out the 2nd hand/vintage shops with my wife Cheryl or daughters Lucy and Lale, looking for high-end apparel and low, low prices.

Years ago, a few of my buddies in the States were into bargains, hunting for those Armani suits someone’s wife bought and they hated, or they outgrew before they even wore them. (I actually found a brand-new Armani suit at a consignment shop for $80 back in the day.)

Now, thrift shopping and vintage are starting to crowd out the High Street chains as a new generation of thrifty young shoppers want to do well while doing good. Even the fashion mags have noticed the trend.

Thrift shopping has been very, very good to me since Cheryl turned me on to it before we got married. Before that, I’d hit the department stores and buy what I wanted and never look at the price.

To quote Hermoine Granger, “Whaat an idiot.”

Now, I rarely buy full retail, though De Bijnenkorp is my favorite store for end-of-season sales and I really like the fashion outlets such as Roermond, which Cheryl says are ripoffs. Otherwise, I groove on getting great apparel at crazy prices. At Ismooi in nearby Geldrop, I’ve gotten some incredible deals such as a 400 euro Burberry coat for 24 euros.

Recently, I decided to go big-time in Amsterdam, and it really is a different game.

So many thrift and vintage shops you can’t believe it. And many are really close to each other, not too far from Amsterdam Centraal train station.

This post will be updated as we visit more stores.

COUTURE

Gimme Glitter

Let’s start with high-end couture … 2nd-hand/vintage, of course.

On the first day we (my friend Sunny and I) hit Amsterdam, we walked about 10 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal to Gimme Glitter at Herenstraat 19 in the chichi part of Amsterdam.

If you’re a fan of “The Devil Wears Prada” like I am, you’ll want to hit this tiny shop first. Owner Elin Engelhard, a former Levi’s executive, has filled it with runway-ready clothes and accessories. My notes from our visit includes “a LOT of Louis Vuitton. A LOT of Prada.”

This is not place you’ll find giveaway handbags and accessories because Gimme Glitter only has quality goods But, a nearly new Prada bag will run you 300 euros, not 3,000 euros.

Her clothes are modestly prices,, with Levi shirts at 24.99 euros and a cotton hippie top at 35 euros. Oh, and she has a killer collection of sunglasses. Just in case you’re headed someplace sunny.

Gimme Glitter

Herenstraat 19, 020 786 8998

OTHER STUFF

Before fast-fashion, H&M and disposable micro-trend apparel made of synthetics became a thing, mid-range and mid-level brands such as Levi’s, Wrangler, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger made clothes of cotton, wool or cashmere that lasted. Forever. And this tends to be what you see along with items from Scotch & Soda, Suit Supply, Zara, River Island and other European brands.

Sunny models sunglasses

Time Machine Vintage

From Gimme Glitter, it’s about a five minute walk to Time Machine Vintage at Nieuwe Hogstraat 5a.

This is one of those “vintage” shops that’s just packed with every imaginable thing from sweatshirts to shoes to shirts – women’s and men’s. Tees, and a lot of inexplicable stuff. Sunglasses. Jewelry. I wanted to ask where all this stuff comes from, but none of the kids working there were talking.

I have to say that while this isn’t the most fun shop, I did see some bargains including Tommy Hilfiger chinos – nearly new – that were 29.50, or about 60-percent off retail.

By the way, this claims to be the oldest vintage shop in Amsterdam, dating back to 1969.

Time Machine Vintage

Nieuew Hogstraat 5a, 020 625 3162

Jenny de Jager

Bis!

I have to say this is one of my favorites. This shop in Nieuwmarkt is truly vintage with great clothes. And it’s fun visiting just to talk with Jenny de Jager, who opened the shop back in 1973 when was 18 years old. We’re not the only ones who think Jenny is the coolest. We’ve been twice and both times people from the neighborhood were hanging out.

This is really three shops – one men’s, one women’s and one with a lot of vintage military apparel and gear. The one item I really wanted – Jenny had a really cool, authentic man’s shearling coat for 125 euros.

Bis!

St. Anthoniebreestraat 25A, 020-620-3467

Vintage Fabrik

We really liked Vintage Fabrik because it’s a nice store in a great area. And the staff was chatty including Michele, who was really welcoming. Michele noted that 2nd hand/vintage is becoming a really big business, with even full-price chains such as Urban Outfitters adding vintage and re-worked 2nd hand.

This store was heavy with American brands including Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger men’s shirts for 24 euros. There were cutoff Ralphie jeans fo women, also priced at 24 euros. And we started noticing that 24 euros tends to be the standard price for shirts and pants at these sorts of stores. That said, a high end-ish brand sweater or hoodie will run you 45 euros. Still, much less than at full price High Street stores.

If you can’t get to the store, Vintage Fabrik has a robust on-line store as part of their website.

Vintage Fabrik

Kalverstraat 182, 1012 XG Amsterdam

Episode

This is an Amsterdam-based chain of vintage/2nd hand stores, with multiple locations there, stores in all the major Dutch cities outside the Netherlands as well as in Oslo, Bergen, Paris, Antwerp, Copenhagen and Brussels. This is a real business, with the stores full of high-end stuff.

For example, there were racks of Levi’s blue jeans (averaging about 40 euros per pair,) Burberry raincoats, Ralph Lauren apparel and Tommy Hilfiger sweaters in the store we visited.

Episode

You can see all the locations on the website here.

Website | + posts

Co-CEO of Dispatches Europe. A former military reporter, I'm a serial expat who has lived in France, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.

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