Fashion / Fashion Feature

Forget Brandy Melville, here are 10 stores we go to for vintage-inspired basics

stores like brandy melville

Finding the perfect wardrobe basics is not as easy as the name would suggest. All of us have different bodies, styles and preferences, all of which calls for an equally as particular fit. For all its attention to the zeitgeist, and semi-interest in manufacturing locally, it's this point that European label Brandy Melville has been critiqued most harshest for: it's one-size-fits-all approach.

But if you find yourself drawn to the nostalgic cuts of the company, we're here to bring you some alternatives. From iconic baby tees straight from the 90s to tennis skirts and spaghetti strap singlets, these are stores doing vintage-style basics like Brandy Melville, but with a conscious, more size-inclusive approach. Find them below.

 

1. Pretties

 

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Home of the OG 90s baby tee, as seen worn by Rachel in Friends, Sofia Coppola and Tai in Clueless. Although, that's not the only thing Pretties does well. Dive into this Los Angeles-based label to find flirty cotton pointelle mini dresses, cutesy singlets with picot trimming and butterfly motifs, all pieces that belong in the closet of your favourite 90s 'It' girl. Knowing that it's all made ethically is the cherry on top.

 

2. Gil Rodriguez

 

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If it's wardrobe basics you seek, then none hit the intersection of affordable and well made quite like those from designer Eliana Gil Rodriguez. Her eponymous label is form-fitting and body forward, speaking to those who unapologetically take up space and refuse to feel uncomfortable in their skin. I'm a big fan of her Bellevue tees and LaPoint Tank Mini dress, and as a mid-size person find her Isla Margarita swimsuits to be a flattering cut. All designs are made in the USA from locally sourced, high quality materials.

 

3. Tank Air

Like most, my love affair with Tank Air began with a certain viral bodysuit. Since then the label has slowly built up a small repertoire of minimal pieces that nod to the 90s. You may have seen them worn by Lourdes Leon or Bella Hadid; or you've probably just bookmarked them on Instagram. Either way, nobody is doing a better black tank dress, mini skirt or midi skirt for that matter. Nor are they creating them for anyone bigger than a size 12.

 

4. Los Angeles Apparel

Everyone has their own take on what year indie sleaze ended. If you argued that it died just before American Apparel went bankrupt (the first time), then you wouldn't be far off the mark. By the time the store closed we had sworn of its iconic tennis skirt and those disco hot pants we'd rather forget. But ever since its founder Dov Charney started over with the similarly named Los Angeles Apparel we've been warming up to the brand. Made in Los Angeles and offering everything from leotards, skorts to oversized sweats, the brand makes a slightly better alternative to Brandy Melville.

 

5. UNIF

 

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Think of UNIF like the grungy, marginally more inclusive Brandy Melville. Some pieces are made in Los Angeles, likely more are made in China. Either way, all we know is that like Brandy Melville, UNIF is the place you go when you can't be bothered trawling Depop or Etsy for actual 90s and Y2K vintage. Is that a good thing? We'll let you decide.

 

6. Juliet Johnstone

 

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If you're after a pair of Los Angeles creative, Juliet Johnstone's, cult customised carpenter jeans, then you're going to have to be quick. The same goes for her equally as elusive baby tees and tank tops. Basically, just sign up for story notifications on her Instagram. Juliet Johnstone is what would happen if Brandy Melville ditched Europe and fled to the West Coast. And sourced vintage. And hand-printed each piece. And...

 

7. Baserange

 

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Baserange does what it says on the box. A French and Dutch favourite, it's understated and comfort-driven clothing, with a conscious approach. What more could one ask for?

 

8. Re/Done

 

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Re/Done has all your bases covered. There's upcycled denim and sloppy joes, ribbed singlets and souvenir-style t-shirts. Cotton dresses and crochet minis also make an appearance too. It's Brandy Melville but elevated and with a conscious mindset. Although, its sizing could certainly be more far-reaching.

 

9. Cheep Store

 

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Buying investment pieces is a privilege not all of us can afford and a lot of sustainable fashion is (understandably) more expensive. In the words of Agnes Choi, "sustainability in a capitalist world isn’t always affordable and accessible". With inflation and an outsized cost of living, there's a want to feel cute, affordably. Cue Cheep Store. Originally founded in Perth, the independently owned store has outposts in NSW, VIC, QLD and WA, selling youthful pieces at an affordable price point alongside a curated selection of vintage.

 

10. Réalisation Par

 

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Réalisation Par may have caught our attention for its coquettish summer dresses and romantic approach to dressing, but it's also a suitable source for vintage-inspired essentials too. Take its popular zodiac baby tees and tie-dye long sleeves, or its nostalgic cotton baby tanks in soft pink and chocolate. Sizes range from an XXS to and XXL, so there's that too.


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