Addicted to novelty since 2001

The Vintage Clothing Gender Gap

There’s a thriving industry in vintage clothing for women. From Salvation Army thrift shops to fancier affairs, every city I’ve lived in or visited has a healthy supply of used clothing for sale. The main appeal of these shops are the sartorial rarities and bargains to be had. Even if you’re not a 17-year-old raver chick after cargo pants and trucker hats, there are usually lots of options.

Not so for us men. In Vancouver, used clothing stores for men are few and far between. There’s the reliable Deluxe Junk, (with a surprisingly fancy website) and a couple of other places, but I could count them all on both hands, with fingers to spare. I’m surprised at this. To lean on a stereotype for a moment, I would guess that Vancouver would, with it’s high population of gay men, have a surplus of male vintage clothing shoppers. How many such shops can there be in, say, Regina?

Why this gender gap? Obviously, women shop more than men. There are more shops for women than shops for men. Also, shopping for vintage clothing takes more thought and effort than visiting the Gap. The shops are in peculiar locations, they may not have your size and you have to evaluate the condition of potential purchases. This scares the average man, who can’t reliably purchase the correct hue or style of (non-vintage) socks.

I don’t shop very much, but if there were more men’s vintage stores around, I’d frequent them. Why? Because I’m less likely to own the same shirt as 8000 other Vancouverites. Also, the clothes are less likely to have been made in some Third World sweatshop.

10 Responses to “The Vintage Clothing Gender Gap”

  1. Darren James Harkness

    Never underestimate the selection of Value Village, Goodwill and Sally Ann (Salvation Army). When my wife and I were living up at SFU, we’d head down quite often to the Value Village near Lougheed Mall. There’s also one or two vintage stores that have at least some men’s selection on Granville, around the Cineplex south of Robson. I’d also suggest checking around the W 10th area near UBC.

    Here in Edmonton, we actually have quite a selection of vintage stores to choose from — and the ones that I’ve been to(Remedy is the best) generally have a good selection for men as well.

  2. alan

    I’m a Value Villager myself, but there’s also Burcu’s Angels on Main St (near Broadway) and further up near King Edward, there’s Legends, I think it’s called.

  3. Darren

    Thanks for the tips…I’ll check them out. There’s also a place on Commercial, in the same block as Havana, whose name escapes me.

  4. d

    my recommendation (and my boyfriend’s): don’t forget to check kawabata-ya on w. hastings (near dressew). fabulous vintage clothing, super cheap, nice store, not well-known so there’s always lots to choose from.

    in fact, i really almost didn’t post this here because i feel like i’ve found a gem.

  5. Drew

    Well I’m not in Regina, but in Saskatoon there is a fair amount to chose from, although I have never heard of a sex-specific used clothing store. What about Divine? There has to be a Divine in Vancouver.

  6. harp

    the best thing to do is to go vintage clothes shopping somewhere more remote if you’re ever camping or whatever in or around Kelowna, for example. People bring in the coolest threads out there. Mix a roadtrip with shopping!

  7. jamie

    divine in saskatoon is a nice store, but i am terribly opposed to the idea of buying things at the local value village and reselling them for 5 times the price. trendy used clothing stores are no bargain

  8. Jessica

    I just moved to Saskatoon so I don’t really know where all the vintage stores, except Divine, can someone help me out?

  9. Gillian

    We’re having a 60th Anniversary party and am looking for women’s dresses circa 1948, does anyone have any suggestions?

  10. Toby Schilawski

    I’ve discovered your article extremely informative and fascinating. I appreciate your points of view and I agree with so a lot of. You’ve done a terrific job with producing this clear enough for anyone to recognize.

Comments are closed.