Saturday, 24 November 2012


That would be my dress^
My life seems to revolve around the been and gone. I was brought up in an old fashioned family where the week was for working and Sundays were for church and roasts. So naturally, I'd not only be drawn to the old music but the clothes that went along with them. I guess I'm a rarity in the modern world where you're judged on your labels and everyone seems to be a clone with a Hollister hoody.
Now, I find large problems shopping on the high street due to my body shape and general size (I'm a 5ft1 hourglass, not a 6ft stick insect) so my mother introduced me to Vintage fashion. She did this by giving me one of my Grandma's original 50's dresses which when described sounds hideous (orange, brown, burgundy with hints of green and black) but suits me down to the ground. For years now, I've been trawling through charity shops and vintage fairs as well as online vintage stores to try and build a collection of stunning and one off pieces.

Now, knowing Belle is all about the 'proper way' and she's an utter magpie when it comes to jewellery, I asked her to join me last weekend on a jaunt to Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair. It was nice being able to show her around my little piece of heaven and help her fall in love with old clothes. So here, my dears, are some top tips for buying vintage.

1.      Understand that the piece is 'second-hand': it may say vintage on the label but truth be told, vintage fairs are charity shops for old clothes. If you wrench at the thought of wearing some old lady's clothing, maybe stick to vintage jewellery and accessories. Or it's really easy nowadays to get vintage inspired pieces which aren't the real thing but sure look it.

2.      Pricing: yes, vintage can seem very expensive. On Sunday when Belle and I went, I think the most expensive piece I saw was £400 BUT that was for an Ocelot (imagine a small leopard) fur coat. Which was stunning and I wanted so badly but I think my mother may have murdered me had I bought it. You can sometimes haggle with the stall holders but remember, the pieces are quality. Many have survived 40/50 years and will survive many more if cared for properly.

3.      Shop around: if you're still crying about prices, have a look around. Online stores like do reasonably cheap vintage clothing along with eBay. However, word of warning, on eBay you HAVE TO know what you're looking for as a lot of things are mislabelled vintage. Other places to look are charity shops. On Sunday there were hundreds of cream and white and brown blouses with lace detailing on the collarbones, with each selling for about £15-£20. I bought 2 in a charity shop, each for £2.50.

4.       Try before you buy: this is so important with vintage clothing as no 2 pieces ever fit or look similar on. Take your vital statistics before you go (chest measurement, waist measurement and hip measurement) and then the stall holders may be able to give you some idea of the fit. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing as a lot of fairs are held in halls with no changing rooms and some sellers are uncomfortable with you removing items from their sight. I'd suggest something reasonably tight fitting (I tend to wear a sheer blouse with a cami-vest underneath so I can use that as a base and skinny jeans) so you can easily try on clothes without completely stripping. Also, you can't take it back so don't kid yourself it fits if it doesn't.

5.      Take care: if you're new to vintage this is probably the most important note. Take care of your items when buying and throughout ownership. Check for loose threads, broken clasps, spare buttons and stains. Also, moths. An amazing old jumper could easily be full of the horror ready to attack the rest of your wardrobe as soon as you get it home. My tip would be to a) find a good seamstress or dry cleaners to make alterations and fix your purchases (don't be scared of shortening items or moving the waists up but beware of zips and clasps), b) keep some space in your freezer. I was told by a lovely lady whom I bought a 1980s batwing mohair jumper off of that the best thing to do with vintage knits and coats is to put them in the freezer for 24-48 hours to kill off anything living in them so that it's all fine and dandy.
Collection of photos Belle took at the Clerkenwell fair ^

1 comment:

Chloé Akari said...

That dress is lovely! I loveee vintage shopping it is my favorite!
I am your newest follower! I really like your blog, it is very unique!
I would love it if you stopped by my fashion blog!

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