The ultimate guide, a vademecum, a virtual Cicero that will guide you in the glorious proposal of vintage and second hand shops that Milan has to offer. You can love contemporary fashion or early 20th century fashion (or both, why not). You can prefer the Suq style – where you need to browse through to find a bargain – or the 5-star boutique – where you can find rare pieces and unique items –. Whatever your style is, if you are a bit of a ‘fashionist’ inside, it will be impossible to resist the charm of these six unmissable boutiques.
The family affair (Isola)
Selected by The New York Times as one of the 5 unmissable places in the Isola neighborhood in Milan, Ambroeus offers vintage pieces, for both man and woman, in particular between the ’60s and’ 90s, along with pieces by famous contemporary brands – Gucci, Prada, Missoni – and more pop brands. The formula of the shop – the American Buy-Sell-Trade – also allows you to sell your clothes and accessories gaining in return the 35% of the sale price (in cash), or a voucher of 50% to spend in the store. If you are interested in selling, you just have to send an email to make an appointment.
Via Pastrengo, 15
#2 Madame Pauline
Vintage a la parisienne (Foro Buonaparte)
What makes Madame Pauline special is the atmosphere that you will experience entering this shop, a living room in the uptown Paris of the ’60s. The boiserie and the warm colors are the background for a dreaming selection of clothes, bags and jewelry: pieces from the early 1900s to the 1970s, with frequent forays into contemporary high fashion. The concept of the store imposes impeccable quality and a very high level, so be prepared for Valentino’s evening dresses, Hermes bags, Prada shoes, but also unsigned pieces, where the storytelling is all up to the superfine materials and a couturier style.
Madame Pauline Vintage
Foro Buonaparte 74
#3 Cavalli e Nastri (Brera & Colonne di San Lorenzo)
A real institution. With three locations in the heart of the city (two in Via Mora – man and woman – and one in Brera) and a unique selection of vintage clothing and accessories from the 1800s to the present, Cavalli e Nastri is the vintage Mecca of Milan. A landmark for designers, actresses, models and also for all of us, shopaholics, the first store opened its doors in 1970, paving the way to vintage, a kind of fashion that exceeds trends.
Cavalli e Nastri
Via Gian Giacomo Mora, 3 & 12
Via Brera, 2
#4 East market
The vintage hipster Gran Bazar (Mecenate)
In this ‘bazaar’ anyone can have his own space and sell more or less what they want. The East Market, in fact, is dedicated to common people, who can request a ‘stand’ by writing an email to the organizers, specifying what they want to sell and attaching some images.
Talking about shoes-bags-and-much-more, you will find a kaleidoscopic proposal of different styles. From the stand entirely dedicated to denim to the more ‘vintage’ one, from handmade Memphis style jewels to crochet swimwear and to cowboys camperos.
East Market Milano
Via Mecenate, 84
#5 Il Bivio
The American style (Porta Venezia & Colonne di San Lorenzo)
Il Bivio has been inspired by the American formula “buy-sell-trade” that turned out to be successful in New-York and on the West Coast. Its motto “Keep just what you love, bring just what you think will be loved by someone else” completely reflects the idea of circular and sustainable fashion. Differently to the other second hands, for each sold item Il Bivio offers immediately at your choice either money or a voucher and not only when (and if) these items will be sold.
You can find whatever you want… from shoulder bags of Gucci’s last season collection to Zara jackets, from the unsigned leather jacket to Missoni’s beach robe. For those people who love hunting for a deal it represents a real paradise!
Via Lambro 12
Via Gian Giacomo Mora 4 & 14
#6 20134 Lambrate
The cecilia’s way (Lambrate)
In the heart of Lambrate, in a street that seems to be out of the times, under a barber’s banner from the 1940s, we find a little vintage jewel. From 20134 Lambrate you can find pieces from the ’20s to the’ 80s – dresses, bags, French bijouterie – and contemporary – only hugh level brand, Hermés, Prada, Marni, Chanel, Dior – blended into a superb selection. The fashion addicts, in fact, are not the only ones who love this store, that is well known also by fashion insiders and designers who go at Cecilia’s place to do research on behalf of major fashion houses.
Via Conte Rosso, 22
All images © 2019 Le strade di Milano