Their flagship Grassmarket shop was established in 1840 in the shadow of the Art School of Edinburgh. Behind a seemingly unassuming exterior nestles a simply massive collection of vintage clothing and accessories with almost every imaginable style represented, from the modern day right back to the Victorian era.
Two more shops were to follow: one in Clerk Street in the heart of Newington (a popular student area) and the other in Teviot Place, right beside the University of Edinburgh.
Vintage shop W. Armstrong & Son — Photo courtesy of W. Armstrong & Son
Armstrong’s is a great place to look for a fancy dress costume, as you are likely to find a costume which is authentic, individual and most likely a better value than in any standard fancy dress boutique. However, the collection really comes into its own for those who love idiosyncratic fashion and have the confidence to start, rather than follow, a trend.
In the men’s collection, velvet smoking jackets sit comfortably beside cool retro t-shirts, Great Gatsby-inspired tweed suits and cool '60s leathers. Women can be inspired by 1920s flappers or 1960s hippy chicks, or try out an oriental silk robe or 1950s prom dress. The range of accessories is also very impressive and will offer something to suit every fashion taste.
It is perhaps no surprise that the shop is so popular with students (art students, in particular), but Kylie Minogue and Franz Ferdinand are also amongst the fans of this eclectic boutique. Unlike many vintage shops, Armstrong’s is very reasonably priced. The staff are clearly enthusiastic about vintage fashion and happy to help if you are having difficulty making up your mind.