5 of the Best - Institutions

Independent Shopping Guide

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Grassmarket and Clerk Street, Edinburgh, www.armstrongsvintage.co.uk
The grandmamma of vintage shops, its cavernous depths are hung with old furs and flapper frocks, as well as many wearable bargains. Must-stop for fashionistas.

Tam Shepherd’s Trick Shop

Queen Street, Glasgow, www.tamshepherdstrickshop.co.uk
Pretty much our definition of an institution, as it’s been in the same place for over a century, selling practical jokes and funny hats.

Mr Ben’s

King’s Court, Glasgow, www.mrbenretroclothing.com
Another vintage clothing shop, and one responsible for transforming pallid Glasgow Uni freshers into splendidly-Afghaned hipster creatures of the night.


Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, www.avalan cherecords.co.uk; Dundas Street, Glasgow, www.avalan cheglasgow.co.uk
Arguably the Central Belt’s best-loved muso havens. Generally staffed by minor members of Scotland’s indie aristocracy too.

Word Power

West Nicholson Street, Edinburgh, www.word-power.co.uk
Opened by James Kelman in 1994, Edinburgh’s only radical independent bookshop feels increasingly necessary in the current climate. Part local treasure, part rallying point for the community.


83 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HJ

There is no better place in Edinburgh to take a walk down fashion's memory lane than WM Armstrong & Son. Established in 1840 and locally known as Armstrong’s, its two branches (the other is at 64 Clerk Street) combine to make a huge emporium of…


64–66 Clerk Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9JB

Whether you're a fashion student or just a dedicated follower, a visit to the granddaddy of Edinburgh's vintage stores is essential for anyone with even the slightest interest in clothes. The Grassmarket branch has by far the bigger, more eclectic…

Tam Shepherd's Trick Shop

33 Queen Street, Glasgow, G1 3EF

Pretty much our definition of an institution, this family-run business has been in the same place for over a century, selling practical jokes and funny hats to anyone with pocket money. Inspired Louise Welsh's novel The Bullet Trick, and the minds of…

Word Power Bookshop

43 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DB

A book shop with a strong political identity and focus on promoting non-mainstream literature. To this end they run the annual Edinburgh Book Fringe during August, with a series of free literary events featuring offbeat writers, and the Edinburgh…


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