Sorry for the lack of pictoral goodness in this post, you'll just have to get your reading specs on and enjoy the written word for a change. Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon!
Ragpickers Anitfashion Emporium Costumes & Books
**RAGPICKERS McDermot Location has closed! They are in trasition - check their Facebook page for Pop Up Shop updates and other information**216 McDermot Ave
**** out of 5
Ragpickers seems to be the premiere vintage go-to store in Winnipeg. It is both a costume shop (which has recently expanded due to their purchase of the costumes from Mallabar Apparels!) and a vintage clothing store. The coolest thing about this combination is if you need a great 70’s outfit for that disco party on Saturday night, you can rent it from either the costume rental section at the back of the store or vintage items for sale at the front as long as it’s not a consignment piece. Most costume rentals range from $10 and up (for individual pieces) and $35-$65 for entire outfits including accessories, making them the cheapest costume shop in town!
Want to make a little extra money or get rid of some vintage clothes in your own closet? Ragpickers will gladly take them off your hands! They buy vintage items outright and also offer consignment. Just make sure to call ahead and make an appointment before you show up with your stuff!
Ragpickers' vintage clothing selection is by far the largest in Winnipeg in my experience. They have it all, ranging from the 40’s right up to the questionable “vintage” 80’s. There’s something for everyone. (But please note: I find the men’s section a bit sparse at times! Other times it's full of great finds! Shop at your own risk!)
They also have a large collection of accessories for sale, ranging from hats, gloves, jewelry, ties, suspenders, clutches, purses, sunglasses etc…Lots of cool things to look at!
There is also a large book section on the second floor as well as a small theatre which is available for bookings (and also houses BYOV Venue 13 during the Fringe Festival!).
Their location is easy to find as well, located right off Main St in an old three storey Salvation Army hospital. The building is a perfect place for a vintage shop, full of turn of the century charm painted in wacky colours.
There are, of course, always a few downsides. Ragpickers’ selection does not seem to vary much from visit to visit. (Although I may be a little biased as I mainly look for vintage pieces from the 40’s-early 60’s. These things just don’t come by Ragpickers’ way too often I suppose). They also don’t upkeep their vintage items as I have experienced in other vintage shops. Clothes are hung and priced “as is” which can be both good and bad.
Also, don’t ask if the items in the costume section are for sale, they are defiantly not; which at times makes my little heart skip a beat with sadness that I can never own some of the wonderful things they have in their rental section. But do go look, their costume section is full of wonderful pieces.
The lighting in the store is also quite dark, which can be annoying when checking a piece for flaws, but sometimes the staff will let you take something outside to have a better look if you’re a truly interested buyer.
This is another spot of contention for me at times, the staff. It seems to rotate and change every few years. Sometimes the girls who work there are fantastic, helpful and knowledgeable, but there have been a few here and there who have been downright mean and make you feel like you’re inconveniencing them when asking them a question.
On the other hand, Kristin Andrews, the owner is always downright pleasant and a joy to talk to. (She’s the one with the curly hair and the 50’s horned rimmed glasses running around like a busy bee) She seems to know everyone in the neighbourhood and is a wonderful uplifting presence in the store. I always enjoy my visits when she’s there!
All in all, Ragpickers is a must-visit for any vintage fashion lover, but put aside and hour or more, there is a lot to take in and look at!
**VINTAGE GLORY HAS REOPENED!! Now located at to 380 Donald St**88 Albert St.
Read my updated review here
Read my updated review here
***** out of 5
Vintage Glory is my favorite vintage store in Winnipeg. They were previously located in the basement of Hooper’s under the name “Vintage Underground” until they moved topside to their current location on 88 Albert St under the name Vintage Glory.
The owners, Doug and Lana are really great people. On my first visit to their location at Hoopers I spent nearly an hour talking to Doug about vintage clothes, the vintage market in Winnipeg and how they amassed their wonderful collection. Every piece in the store comes from Doug and Lana’s personal collection. Doug tells me they have a house full of delightful vintage treasures of all shapes and sizes (how exciting!)! This is where the impetus to open a store came from. They tell me the collection was taking over their house.
Well I for one am glad for it! Unlike many vintage stores in the city, Vintage Glory is restocked with new goodies very frequently (If I didn’t spend nearly $100 every time I walk in, I would go once a week for this exact reason). Doug and Lana also go to the pains of repairing damaged goods before they hit the sales floor. I also find the prices unbeatable!
Good men’s vintage is becoming a hard thing to come by in Winnipeg and Vintage Glory is the answer. Vintage Glory is the place to go if you like fedoras, 70’s shoes, cool smoking jackets, vintage tees and the best selection of vintage leather jackets I have ever seen (and as always, there is so much more!)!
And don’t even get me started on the ladies clothes (I could write a novel!)! If you like shoes and jewelry, Vintage Glory has an amazing selection. I was also pleased to find out that they sell full square dancing crinolines for under $100 (I am currently coveting a pink one they have in stock). And of course the ladies clothing is wonderful and regularly restocked.
The store itself is on the smaller side, but bright and cheerful nonetheless.
As you can see, I really have nothing negative to say about Vintage Glory, it has become my favorite place to shop in the past year.
If you love vintage clothes like I do and find yourself in the Exchange District in Winnipeg, go to Vintage Glory! Just tell Doug and Lana that Lisa sent you!
Value Village, Salvation Army, Goodwill Etc…
(See the local Yellow Pages for addresses and phone numbers)
** out of 5
I decided that I couldn’t do a post about the vintage clothing stores in Winnipeg without reviewing the thrift stores as well. Winnipeg is after all home to thousands of bargain hunters and so this review listing wouldn’t be complete without them. I have also decided to lump all of these stores together as my comments from store to store seem to have been very similar.
These are usually the last places I go especially if I’m looking for something in particular, but they are good when I’m in the mood to hunt or for a great bargain! Nothing is better than finding a great vintage piece at a regular thrift store for a fraction of the cost.
But I find here in Winnipeg the vintage pickings have become slim in thrift stores. My sister used to work for Value Village (which I hear is now owned by Walmart) in Thunder Bay and she said they have a screening process for clothes before they hit the sales floor. Anything heavily stained, clothes with holes, broken zippers or incredibly damaged gets thrown out! She said the number of vintage pieces with minimal wear and tear which landed in the dumpster was depressing. And forget about picking through Value Villages’ dumpsters to rescue these discarded treasures, Value Village charges dumpster divers with a trespassing fine!!
I remember once upon a time when thrift stores appeared to be full of vintage goodies, but I seem to think that there is a collective awareness among the public these days that grandma’s old dresses are valuable to some people and there is money to be made. So the number of vintage clothes in these regular thrift stores has seemingly decreased.
Where I usually have luck at these locations is with shoes, bags, scarves and coats. Vintage housewares and furniture also appear more frequently in these locations, again, at a fraction of the cost these items may be at an antique store (Just a few years ago I bought an amazing 20’s couch and matching chair for only $140!).
Now, that being said, if you’re someone who likes 80’s clothes (which I do not really consider vintage since I was born in the 80's), thrift stores would be the first place I would look. As this is newer vintage, having only been 20 years or so ago, the abundance in these stores is great. Vintage clothing stores charge a lot more for 80’s items than you would pay at a regular thrift store.
Let’s not forget to mention thrift stores in small rural towns. When visiting I usually ask someone who appears to live in town where the thrift store is (get ready for a weird look before they tell you!). I have found these places to be an untapped resource for great vintage finds (I feel the need to mention my amazing 70’s take on a 40’s dress I bought for $1 in the Gimli thrift store!). So if you’ve got the means, head out of town and have a look! Plus there’s always the added advantage of “the great story” that will accompany your new treasure (When in Gimli one woman in the thrift store said as I bought about $20 worth of stuff at their ‘Everything for $1 Sale’ “Boy! You sure like this old stuff!” Those are my favorite stories.).
A quick note on appearance and “retail help” at these types of stores (this is a review after all!): Don’t expect any “retail help” at these stores. They are by and large a help yourself kinds of places. The staff are only there to ring you through the till, stock the floor and keep the store clean. As far as appearance goes, every beast is a little different. Some stores have a clean, bright, box store type of feel to them and some are downright dark and unorganized with everything in-between.
Overall, I find regular thrift stores are fun to visit if you don’t have any expectations. Visit them for the thrill of the hunt and the surprising stories that may accompany your found treasures!
I'll be posting more reviews in the new year! Stay Tuned!