When it comes to the vintage scene, Boston is starting to make a serious footprint. There are all kinds of vintage stores across the US that have a stronghold in areas that are both remotely and in crowded cities. From LA to NY there are hundreds of some of the most iconic vintage stores packed with original Levis and adorable swing dresses. Many times, these stores are the places that Hollywood turns to for outfitting dated movie and television scenes. In fact, one of the names on this list has been featured in many movies across the big screen and they’ve been in Boston this whole time!
What is vintage? The term “vintage” and “antique” oftentimes overlap when spoken about from day to day. In terms of “true Vintage” we, at Diversity Consignment reference that phrase to anything that is at least 20 years old. Many department stores and boutiques will carry new “vintage inspired” outfits that may contain elements that one would commonly see in a vintage piece. These elements could include natural frays, dyes, or patina characteristic of a true vintage, aged garment. Not as good as the real thing in my opinion.
For this list we scoured the internet and by car for places within our home-town, Boston, Ma. in search of the absolute best true vintage stores in the area. There is no particular order to which of the top 5 is better than the others; this list is more of a comprehensive list of high-quality true vintage stores within Boston. Get ready…Go!
Bobby From Boston
Bobby From Boston is the OG Boston vintage store. It was established in 1995 by the true legend Bobby Garnett. Bobby started off his career in the vintage game by establishing his personal collection and growing it into his personal showcase. He must have been a true pioneer at the time when vintage clothing certainly didn’t have the mainstream buzz that it does today.
He eventually evolved his personal collection into an internationally sensational storefront. Bobby From Boston has outfitted countless movie sets and inspired incredible fashion designers. They have thousands of pieces from every era throughout fashion history. I believe that they do not accept anything later than the 80s to be brought into their showcase for sale.
Prices are on the higher side of second-hand outlets; however, you are sure to find exactly what you’re looking for and more! Today, Bobby From Boston is run by Bobby’s daughter Jessica since his passing in 2016. Jessica continues to run the warehouse with the legacy of Bobby in mind while adding her own creative twist.
The warehouse is absolutely massive. It’s barely even a store really. There are thousands of garments and outfits from every era imaginable. The focus is certainly male-oriented but as we know, anything can be and should be worn by anyone. The place is a museum of hand-picked gems and should be recognized as one. Maybe it will be someday!
They are currently located in their warehouse at 545 Washington St. in Lynn, Ma. Bobby From Boston is exclusively open to the public on Sundays from 11-4.
40 South St.
40 South St. in Jamaica Plain may be one of Boston’s greatest hidden gems. The store has been in business for over 30 years and run by former rock star Hilken Mancini. Hilken was a rock star from the golden age of punk and was a member of bands such as Fuzzy, The Count Me Outs, and Shepherdess.
The store brings out that punk rock energy in such a terrific way. There are hundreds of true vintage gems all over the place! Included in the inventory are vintage rock shirts, womenswear as well as a vast selection of menswear. The place is a real vibe and Mancini contributes to that energy in a great way. She really is the queen of vintage Boston. It is easy to get lost in the mix of colorful 60s, 70s, and 80s fabric.
The store is certainly on the smaller side and is loaded with clothing. The place is vibrant and colorful. It is located at 40 South St. in Jamaica Plain, Boston. The store is open Thursday 12-6, Friday 12-6, Saturday 11-6, and Sunday 12-5. Definitely come check it out!
It’s pronounced “VeeVaunt”! Vivant Vintage pays homage to the rebirth of clothing. After all, the word vivant itself is the French word for life. Vivant Vintage has that goal in mind; to resurface life into cast-away and discarded clothing, shoes, and accessories and wow are they giving them life!
From the Traveling Spectacular cart owner Justin Pomerleau constructed in 2011, to the brick-and-mortar store he has today, Justin has created a legacy. So detailed, in fact, you can read the play-by-play history on the Vivant website. It is a true American Dream brought to life.
Vivant Vintage is housed in a unique location within Allston. It is close by to a candle factory so oftentimes there is a fresh candle-making scent lingering nearby. I think this adds to the charm of the shop. The store itself is organized in a very aesthetically pleasing organized clutter. Not to say that it is cluttered, because it certainly is well organized. The store just screams vintage. Hundreds of vintage jeans. Everything there is hand-picked by Justin and his team of experts. Nothing is not vintage, and that passion shows. They have an excellent selection of all things old but jewelry in particular is what stands out the most. Check it out for yourself!
Vivant Vintage is located at 318 Lincoln St, Allston Ma. They’re right there at the end of the footbridge. You may also see Justin and the team on the road as they stick to their roots by regularly scheduling pop-ups throughout various marketplaces in Boston.
High Energy Vintage
Another vintage shop in Boston with humble roots in the street markets is High Energy Vintage. High Energy Vintage began on the streets of SoWa Vintage Market in Boston’s South End. In 2012 they were able to secure their first location in Teele Square, and in 2016 they moved to their current location at Union Square.
High Energy Vintage is one of those places that once you’re there, you never forget. The place is decked out in neat decor and childhood nostalgia (I guess if you were a child near the time I was, at least). The place is laced in vibrant, colorful clothing and some staple classics. Think 1980s as a store front and you’ve envisioned yourself within the walls of High Energy Vintage. The owners really do bring the energy when it comes to the decor and the vibes. They have a fairly large storefront and always have plenty of gems to choose from at very reasonable prices.
High Energy Vintage is your 1 stop shop for all things nostalgic. They even have a rad selection of vinyl records and VHS tapes! Also, I have to admit, their Tiktok and social media pages deserve more views and likes than they get. The marketing is absolutely fabulous!
Find High Energy Vintage at 429 Somerville Ave. in Somerville, Ma. They’re open every day except Tuesday. You can also find High Energy Vintage on the road as well! They’re oftentimes setting up shop at the local markets and have a schedule to see where they’ll be right there on their website.
Great Eastern Trading Co
Certainly, the oldest vintage shop on the list is the Great Eastern Trading Co. Originally created as an army/navy surplus store in 1969, Great Eastern Trading Co has a long and detailed history. I won’t go into all the details within this article, but the information is readily available on their website. The current owner, Nephtaliem McCrary has brought the store to the forefront of the “modern” vintage scene of Boston.
With locations in Cambridge, Malden, and Somerville, the Great Eastern Trading Co has roots that stretch to all corners of the city. The stores themselves are what you would want to walk into when desiring something different. The store specializes in true vintage garments and costumes. They have a huge selection of the perfect costumes for any party/event and especially Halloween. The stores are stocked full of eclectic displays and decor. The characters are really brought to life anytime someone tries something on and poses for a photo for the web page or social media.
When I tell you this place has energy, this place has energy. There are gorgeous styles from all eras (20’s – today). Owner McCrary really loves to test the limit of sanity with the fun stylings and displays inside and outside of the store. You can find all sorts of fun events scheduled on their website to keep you in the loop of what’s happening within the vintage world. Be sure to keep Great Eastern Trading Co on your list of must-see vintage shops in Boston.
So, there you have it! My list of the top 5 true vintage stores in Boston. Like I said, Boston is on the rise for cool and eclectic vintage shops, and I hope that this list guides you. Don’t forget to check us out as well! Diversity Consignment has been doing its thang, although I would not consider us a true vintage store, we definitely carry some awesome vintage stuff!
I hope that more stores carry on the tradition of recycling clothing and forgotten gems. The world could use more funk and I love to see the future generations rockin’ some unique stylish stuff as opposed to the cookie-cutter styles ugly department stores continue to push on us. Stay humble, stay cool.
-Ian Drake, Diversity Consignment