Photo by Maia Schoenfelder
Rev your engines, backcomb that beehive and head to one of these reservoirs of retro-cool and glamour. From 1950s baby doll dresses and petty coats to 1960s leather jackets there’s plenty to satisfy any modern-day Marlon or Marilyn.
Sterling Gold €€€€
A wonderland for dress shoppers of any shape or size, Sterling Gold sources its vast collection from the States and is constantly getting in new gowns with details to die for (think feathers, sequins, sewn-in pearls, chiffon layers, high necks and swooping backs).
The shop has an excellent tailor; just in case that wonderfully blue satin, perfectly black-sequined, or fantastic white wedding gown with the lace-and-pearl-covered corset (€75-250) doesn’t hug you in the right places.
The array of clientele comes in the form of brides, professional dancers, theatre houses in search of costumes, teenagers fishing for party duds, society women after elegant, sexy cocktail dresses and designers hoping to be inspired for the upcoming season.
Of course, there are also those who just love the feeling of sifting through the 15-plus racks and finding something fun to try on.
Heckmann Höfe, Oranienburger Str. 32, Mitte, S-Bhf Oranienburger Str., Mon-Fri 12-20, Sat 12-18
You are not only greeted by sounds of Elvis and the comforting smell of musty clothing in this little boutique, but also a colourful, whimsical whirl of attire from the 1880s to present day, with the majority of pieces from the 1950s.
For the past 16 years (eight at its Berlin location), SJ has been giving vintage-lovers the opportunity to outfit ourselves in leopard-print coats (€35), 1960skitsch print dresses (€40) and everything in between.
Another wonderful thing about SJ is the men’s collection it houses in the side room. In between the 1950s black and grey wool fedoras and costumelike (sometimes ruffly) dress shirts, there is rumoured to be a men’s jacket from the 1880s. Go check it out for yourself.
Husemannstr. 5, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz, Mon-Sat 12-19
Bonnie und Kleid €€€
Disguised by its unassuming underground entrance, at Bonnie and Kleid, you’ll discover an endless labyrinth of vintage clothing, costumes, accessories, homewares and a vinyl collection.
Come for the treasure hunt and leave having rented a like-new white-and-cream-coloured flapper dress and luxurious feather shawl (€30) for that party on Saturday night. Or just peek about and enjoy the mix of avant-garde and wearable items like faux zebra fur coats (€60-70), a red-sequined body-hugging mini-dress (€30), and a neon Hawaiian shirt, among the tamer shift dresses and 1950s band tees. Whether you’re renting or buying, there’s something here for every occasion.
Gneisenaustr. 9, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Gneisenaustr. Mon-Sat 12-20
Rocking Chair €€€€
Of the many second-hand stores plaguing Friedrichshain, this is the only one with real vintage cred. With a funky tropical rockabilly décor and two rooms of treasures, both genders will leave happily sated.
The like-new women’s purses in glass cases amaze with their huge range of sizes and designs (hello alligator, gold chains and pearls!), but the real gems here are the men’s clothes, with more Hawaiian shirts (€45-130) than a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, a rack of leather letterman jackets, well-made flannel shirts and the owner’s personal collection of army bowling team shirts (€45-150). Strike!
Gabriel-Max-Str. 13, Friedrichshain. U-Bhf Samariterstr. Mon-Fri 12-19, Sat 11-16