It's only recently, in the past year or so, that I've truly fallen back in love with it. I think maybe with age- as I've grown I've started to appreciate the feel and quality of a fabric. I've began to want, nay NEED not the latest Primark designer copy but a more timeless, substantial piece. I've kicked the habit of buying tons of rings and necklaces from High-street stores and have found myself saving up instead for Zoe and Morgan and Alex Monroe. I think as shoppers (maybe as a result of the recession) we now want more from a garment, not just a nice print or a cool 'look' but a flattering shape, an item which can take us from day to night. There's a reason why Vintage is 'cool' again, and that may be it. Years ago people did not have 'throwaway fashion', they didn't have the money we have now, so all clothes were versatile. We were a lot more manual back then too, Digging for Victory and the like, and as a result our clothes had to work harder from the strain. You only need to look at Vintage boutiques holding 50s and 40s clothes, and from many years before that to see that clothes back then were more durable- how many of our recent clothes can be said the same?
So I thought I'd share some of my Vintage loves. Some future and some enduring:
Beyond Retro Shopfront, London. Source
Every year, around this time, when the leaves are falling off the trees and you can feel that it is just the right time to look for knitwear, I journey to Beyond Retro- my Vintage Mecca. A colossal looming warehouse (formally a dairy depot). Inside coatigans, cable-knit jumpers and fur (faux and real) jackets await. Set in the East End, near the infamous Columbia Road (pop into Rob Ryan's Ryantown if you're passing on a weekend) it's bloody difficult to get to (if you're me anyway, possibly the person with the worse sense of direction) but when you do, oh how you're rewarded. They have a Scarf Bin- what more could you want from a shop?! Essentially this 'bin' is a treasure trove and as long as you're willing to do some digging (literally. There were scarves flying everywhere) you can come away with a 'I can't believe it's not Hermes' scarf or a Celia Birtwell esque printed scarf, whatever suits. The stock changes with the seasons, so expect swimsuits and tropical printed maxi dresses in the Summer and chunky warm knits in the Winter. Be warned though, the owners know their clothes, so don't expect to come away with a 2.55 Chanel handbag for the price of a New Look one. Other stores are the slightly smaller site in the West End and Brighton. Also a heads up, an online store is planned, so keep an eye on that one.
Beyond Retro: 110-112 Cheshire Street, London E2 6EJ
58-59 Great Marlborough Street, London W1F 7JY
42 Vine Street, Brighton BN1 4AG
LUCY IN DISGUISE
Lucy in Disguise Selfridges. Taken by Lily Allen on her Twitter.
Lucy In Disguise: www.lucyindisguiselondon.com
Selfridges Pop-up Shop, London.
EBAY: THE RAGGED PRIEST
The Ragged Priest. Source
And now to the dirty stuff. eBay. This auction site practically gives me palpitations whilst bidding, and it's probably seriously bad for my health. It's Abundant with counterfeit goods but also full of stunning Ican'tbelievethisissocheap BARGAINS. And also home to The Ragged Priest, a diamond in the rough of eBay horrors and one of my favourites. 'Revival is Revolution' is their stance, and they've got that just right. They have a way of making you want practically anything they sell through cool edgy models and fantastic outfitting. Back in May I managed to wangle a hand knitted Arran Cardigan (knitted with love, it even has the original owner's name sewn into the back) at only £25 and I've just purchased a pair of leather shorts, after beating off a fair few competition- which may have sworn me off bidding for a bit. It was scary. I'm already excited at receiving them (expect a blog full of capitals and exclamation marks) and dispatched a mere day after payment I've not got long to wait. The Ragged Priest is not only stylish but also ethical- all packaging is made from recycled materials, the last package I received was made out of old recipe book pages. Brilliant! If you don't fancy giving yourself a heart attack bidding, get yourself down to Topshop's flagship store on Oxford Street and find The Ragged Priest in the vintage section.
The Ragged Priest: www.theraggedpriest.co.uk
Topshop Oxford Circus Vintage section.
So from high end to low, there is vintage for everyone. Personally my sister and I are hoping to inherit some fine Vintage Chanel suits from a rich mother-in law. I guess the whole 'charity shop chic' has given Vintage a bad wrap- some call them 'used' but I call them 'once loved'. Find your perfect partner in a 50's pea coat or 60's blonde faux fur coat (I did!) and give a once loved item a new home. I implore you.