Forget what you think you know about old clothes. There’s nothing musty about the fashion relics you’ll find at these enduringly hip establishments.
Men have it good at this laid-back Lyn-Lake emporium, where leather motorcycle jackets, army-surplus gear, and formalwear rule. The store, which opened in 1980, also does an enormous accessories business, including aviator sunglasses and cowboy boots. The women’s department, though smaller, is well-stocked with floral polyester dresses, leisure suits, and groovy blouses that cry out for a costume party. Note to savvy shoppers: The prices at Tatters are recession-friendly, and the store will pay cash on the spot for quality vintage goods.
2928 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-823-5285
Shopping this Nordeast gem is like raiding Grandma’s closet, where fur coats, tweed suits, and patent-leather handbags have been preserved with reverence rarely bestowed on today’s throw-away fashions. Peggy Kourie and Barb Schneider are the keepers of Melrose’s treasures, an amalgamation of their personal collections and estate-sale finds. The women’s clothing section is like an Oval Room vault, and the jewelry—pearl necklaces, art-deco brooches, and statement rings— would look fresh with a T-shirt or little black dress.
13 NE Fifth St., Minneapolis, 612-362-8480
With an emphasis on ’70s and ’80s apparel, Rewind is not for the faint of fashion. The skinny jeans (with zippers!), chain-link belts, mini skirts, and slinky lamé dresses are made for Gen Y hipsters who didn’t wear them the first time around. The shop recently expanded, better accommodating its chockablock assortment of accessories, including silk scarves, plastic jewelry, wayfarer sunglasses, and metallic clutches. The occasional designer-good find makes Rewind particularly popular with stylists and fashionistas who are willing to dig.
2829 Johnson St. NE, Minneapolis, 612-788-9870
The grand dame of the bunch, Via’s has done a bustling business for more than 25 years. Owner Kellie Cameron has maintained the store’s legacy of carrying only high-quality men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. She also kept Via’s signature bubble-gum pink decor when, a few years ago, she moved the shop into a larger space down the street. The merchandise is predominantly mid-century—and very Mad Men: skinny ties, pin-up girl pumps, pillbox hats, and swing coats. Just don’t expect old pants, which are too small by today’s standards.
2408 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-374-3649
Hayley Bush opened her pocket-sized shop 16 years ago, before the corner of Snelling and Selby was a retail destination. Her keen eye for past styles that reflect current trends keeps customers coming back. You’ll be able to spot where today’s designers get their inspiration, like the Sixties sheath dresses with bejeweled necklines, à la Michelle Obama’s inauguration outfit. Bush is scrupulous in her selection of merchandise, ensuring that every piece is in pristine condition. She also keeps Lula smelling more like a spa than old clothes—hooray!
1587 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-644-4110