Nostalgia Queen Vintage
This place is my local vintage shop, and you wouldn’t know it existed if you just walked past. Tucked away in a nondescript shophouse behind the Cathay cinema, it’s kind of a vintage speakeasy and more like a living room than a shop. The owner opens by appointment only, so it’s quite a personal experience. Then, of course, there’s the good stuff – the range is wide, bold and non-generic, and the pricing is very reasonable. I’m talking $20 for a pair of earrings up to $200 for a Burberry coat dress – it’s great value. I desperately want to accompany the owner on one of her scouting trips to Europe to figure out where she picks up such bargains. 92 Sophia Rd (9765 8257). MRT: Dhoby Ghaut. Open by appointment only.
If you like to go all-out vintage, then this is the perfect place. From ’50s candy-pink prom dresses to ’70s frocks in bold shades of yellow and green, the stocks here are so much fun and not for the faint-hearted. It’s a challenge for me not to come away with armfuls of clothes, bags and shoes every time I go there. But by far and away the best thing about this comparatively large, HDB-housed boutique is the selection of designer handbags. From ’80s Chanel to a collection of Gucci bamboo bags, this place is a bagaholic’s dream. Prices are reasonable, with some dresses starting at $50, and although the designer bags can go for $2,000-plus it’s good value for what you’re getting. #01-203 Blk 112, Bukit Purmei Rd (6274 4200, www.dustbunnyvintage.com). MRT: HarbourFront. Tue-Fri noon- 8.30pm; Sat & Sun 1-7pm.
The Good Old Days
It’s a really pleasant surprise to find this place among the knick-knacks and cheap stuff at the Bugis Village mall. Hidden away on the second level, it’s the kind of place you stumble across by accident. Selling a variety of nostalgic stuff from candy to Pez dispensers, dress-up dolly boards, old telephones and classic Coke glasses, the whole atmosphere of this place does indeed transport you back to the good old days. Printed dresses priced at $35, belts at $15 and mahjong tile earrings at $8 – the prices here are some of the best in Singapore. But don’t get distracted by the small stuff – invest some time, dig deeper and you’ll find designer vintage pieces like a Gianni Versace purse at $199. This is one of Singapore’s best-kept secrets. #02-D4 Bugis Village, 3 New Bugis St. MRT: Bugis. Daily noon-8pm.
Granny’s Day Out
Well curated and edited, this place is great for on-the-go vintage shopping. Despite a less than stellar location – among the sportswear and camera shops of the Pensinsula Shopping Centre – it’s become a staple for local fashionistas, and has even made it into the Lonely Planet guidebook. Even if you’re not exactly a vintage fan, it’s got an inviting layout, with carefully selected pieces that change every week. I love the chunky jewellery selection here (which is also sold online) and the flirty summer dresses, which are perfect for Singapore weather. Prices vary depending on the piece, averaging around $50 for a necklace and $120 for a dress. #03-25 Peninsula Shopping Centre, 3 Coleman St (6336 9774, www.grannysdayout.com). MRT: City Hall. Mon- Sat noon-8pm; Sun 1.30-6.30pm.
Oakham Market, Ann Siang Hill
This shop in a basement on Ann Siang Hill has a hipster clientele and the most London vibe of all the vintage stores. It’s also one of the few shops unashamedly peddling items as thrift as well as vintage. The place is fairly big and there is a sizeable selection both types of clothing. Each piece is labelled and priced accordingly. Most of the stock is fairly casual and easy to wear, and the price point, especially for thrift items, is under $20. I once scored a smart, cocktail-worthy chiffon top and skirt, all for $40. #B1-01, 7 Ann Siang Hill (www.oakhammarket.com). MRT: Chinatown. Tue-Thu noon-9pm; Fri-Sat noon- 10.30pm.
For more of Rana Wehbe-Flinter’s Singapore shopping tips, see www.bonjoursingapore.com.