I love a good thrift shop. But how do you choose from all the second-hand shops in Manchester? The short answer? You don’t! You go to all of them and find it very hard to resist a new jacket, hat, and pair of jeans, like I did. You walk away with just one vintage Helmut Lang dress and a big smile on your face because it was a bargain. And then you head home and write a very similar guide to this one (!)
7 Of The Best Second-Hand Shops In Manchester
If you’re looking for the best second-hand shops in Manchester, you’re in the right place. This is my definitive list (and yes, I did visit a few that didn’t make it onto the list I’m afraid), with a bit of a warning at the end too…
Please note: this guide only covers charity shops, thrift stores, and vintage fashion boutiques. If you’re looking for furniture, I’d recommend Oxfam Emporium, but don’t know many others!
1. COW Vintage
COW Vintage, 61 Church St, Manchester, M4 1PD
COW Vintage was *the* place to shop when I was at uni. As a student, I couldn’t afford to shop COW Vintage in Birmingham. I also couldn’t afford to shop COW Vintage in Manchester, either. Now, while I can, I will say that I do still think there’s some overpriced tat in any given COW. Rolling up the sleeves on a t-shirt does not make it vintage. Especially if it has a Rick & Morty print on it. In any case, it’s not worth £18…
That being said, I had to put COW first, because it’s both the place I always wanted to shop at, and it’s also the place I found a vintage Helmut Lang dress, reduced from its original $500 RRP down to £40. If you know what to look for, you can find some great items here!
2. Blue Rinse Vintage
Blue Rinse Vintage, 29-31 Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JG
Next up, Blue Rinse. This is what I expect from a good vintage store. The rails are really well organised, full of true vintage items, and priced accordingly. You might pay a little more for a vintage leather jacket here, but the team at Blue Rinse have done all the heavy lifting for you. You’ll be able to find a whole array of sizes, styles, and fits. And this place is huge, too. It’s basically a warehouse dedicated to vintage, located in the heart of Manchester city centre. What’s not to love?
Afflecks, 52 Church St, Manchester, M4 1PW
Ah, Afflecks. Another old student haunt, and despite the multiple trips to the store, it still feels like a maze in there. Afflecks isn’t a vintage store – it’s an indoor market. Bubble tea shops back onto homemade soap stores, vintage rails merge into piercing studios, and in-between all these are staircases, corridors, and doors that lead to nowhere. It’s a lot of fun (and a little bit scary). Inside I found Beg Steal & Borrow, a tiny vintage store with some really whimsical garments, as well as another store I couldn’t find the sign for. Definitely go in and explore!
4-5. Oxfam Originals & Oxfam Emporium
Oxfam Originals, Unit 8, Smithfield Buildings, 51, Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JR
Next, we have to talk about the two Oxfams on the same road. (Am I dreaming? This is heaven!) Oxfam Originals is the special store out of the two, stocking true vintage and designer items. It’s really well presented, staff are incredibly friendly, and prices are competitive when compared to nearby thrift stores. Here I found Dior tights for just £3!
Oxfam Emporium, 8-10 Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JQ
The other Oxfam is known as Oxfam Emporium. This is your traditional Oxfam, with contemporary clothes for rock-bottom prices. It’s a giant store, with womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, shoes, homewares, records and more. You’ll have to go in for a rummage, but it’s definitely worth it!
6. British Heart Foundation
British Heart Foundation, 51 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2AP
British Heart Foundation gets a place on this list for the sheer organisation of the place. The management team in this store really keep it looking like a high street store, with themed displays, well stocked rails, and a true vintage section.
But! A word of warning: a sustainable fashion birdy told me that many of the items in this store are old stock from fast fashion brands – and therefore, not technically second-hand. It means that you may not be supporting a circular economy when buying from here… Shoppers beware.
7. Bare Necessities
Bare Necessities, 26-28 High St, Manchester, M4 1QB
I also wanted to add a final shout-out to Bare Necessities, a relatively new thrift store that I sailed past while visiting Manchester, and thoroughly regret! From reading reviews, this is the place to go to find affordable vintage clothing, and it’s based in the city centre too. I’ll be making a bee-line (get it?!) back there when I’m next in Manchester!
Got any more recommendations? Please let me know! I’d love to discover more on my next trip…