Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Yet another dress

On Saturday I managed to get the right weekend to go back home for my friend's birthday party.

Having arrived at Lancaster train station with a bit of time to kill before the event, I decided to call in at a vintage place I'd heard about.

- For anyone who knows Lancaster, the place concerned is just down the road from the train station and near the Waterstones. It's held in the Assembly Rooms on King Street if you know the roads well.

I wasn't particularly happy with the dress I'd bought in blind panic (it wasn't very me), so I was kind of hoping to find something perfect at the last minute- and I did.

I was honestly really impressed with the Assembly Rooms market. I often moan about a lack of vintage shops and events in my area (my original area that is) and this was so good I can't believe I was unaware of it up until a few weeks ago.

(picture quality isn't great on these, still missing my camera. Pink Nikon- send it my way if you see it!)

The market is like a mini vintage flea. Upon walking in, I was hit by its eccentricity and unorganisedness; everything is cluttered together like an overcrowded jumble sale. I thought the prices might reflect this somewhat but it seemed not. The prices were reasonable on the whole, just not bargain basement as I'd hoped.

I found a gorgeous black velvet mini dress, tinged with blue (I promise it was nicer than it sounds!) at the stall above, though sadly it was too tight.

Whilst moseying off to the toilets to try the depressingly small frock on, I found another room around the corner.

This room is like an Aladdin's cave of vintage. I can't begin to tell you how rammed this little area was with racks of cloths; not to mention all those adorning every inch of the walls (and possibly the ceiling- didn't think to look up!).

The room has one downfall though- its owner. The person I was faced with was possibly the most eccentric (not in a good way either) oddball I've come across in some time.

I wish I'd got a picture; though I think your imagination might work just as well. He was wearing a brown Crocodile Dundee-esque hat, a red woolly sweater vest and had very few yellow teeth.

I spotted a great dress in his bizarre boutique- a short green velvet number with black lace sleeves and back panel with awesome peaked shoulders; unfortunately this was too tight too (nb: News Year's diet on the cards?!).

I went to try this dress on in the toilets with the other I had, though he kept insisting that I should try it on in the corner and use his makeshift curtain (apparently he likes to see the outfits on so that he can use his fashion expertise to suggest other items- he wasn't convincing me with that ensemble he had on himself). I was apprehensive to say the least due to extensive experience with impromptu changing rooms swiftly erected with cardboard and stallholder's backs at vintage fairs.

On my return from the toilets I dug out another dress from a huge pile of evening dresses. This was a great find: a black velvet cocktail dress with a lace top. What's more, I knew it would fit too as looking at the label told me that it was most probably 80s Twilight by Monsoon- the very same as the first dress I bought from ebay which was too small; though this one was a size bigger.

I asked the price before trying and the guy said that as the one I'd brought in from the other stall was only £15, he would lower the price to around £20-25.

I eventually agreed to try it on in the unappealing corner and stepped out to have it zipped up by my mum, who was tagging along. I was having a good look in the mirror when she said that she thought she could smell burning. The man suddenly rushed into the cordoned off area to bring out my black faux fur coat, smelling like BBQ'd hair.

Seems I'd chucked it onto an old fan heater on the floor in there hidden amongst the masses of clothes! The damage had been done and I'd singed a big line in the back of the coat. "It's ruined!" I exclaimed. Truth be told, I wasn't too fussed. The coat had only cost £3 and the mark was barely noticeable anyway with the coat being black.

After my mum near enough said that she should get health and safety down there (nothing like my mum for overreacting) he agreed to give me the dress for a tenner- result!

The dress is really gorgeous. The whole thing's velvet with the lace covering the top part.

You can see the bustier part underneath
Attention is drawn to the waist with the ruched velvet band underneath the lace.

Quick one of the label
Thought I'd best post one of me in the dress on Saturday night. It's definately more me; I think I'm most comfortable in black.

This was taken by my mum before I left. My face looks a bit strange for some reason so forgive that. I also took the fascinator off just after this because I thought it looked a bit like funeral attire!

Hopefully some better pictures will start appearing on good old Facebook soon; I'll try and get hold of some pics of my fave vintage outfits posted too.

Much love,


Friday, 26 November 2010

Beautiful readers! Please help!

This post is a bit of a cheeky appeal for you guys to help with my very exciting third year uni project- you wouldn't want me to fail would you?!

I am basically planning to produce a national contemporary ‘craft’ magazine focussed mainly around fashion. The magazine will uphold the values of money saving, recycling, creativity and individuality. I will call the publication, 'Trashion'.

What I'd like you, my marvelous readers, to do is to help by completing a very short survey as part of my research.

The survey is for females aged 18-30, but don't be too disheartened if this does not include you. This is just my target audience for the magazine and does not in anyway mean that I would not value your opinion.

To reiterate this point, I read many blogs by writers outside of this age range and regard them as just as fashionable, interesting and inspirational as the next.

I'd love for everyone to enjoy my final product, which may be, but I must have a target audience in mind when creating my project and unfortuately, that targeted group cannot be too broad.

If you are a female aged 18-30 and interested in fashion in any way (that may be high/designer, high street, vintage, secondhand, thrift etc.) or crafting (sewing, knitting, customising, making things...) or both! Then please consider helping out a poor student and complete this quick survey.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.
I've attempted to embed it above, but it may be a bit annoying as you have to scroll across to view its entire width. If in doubt, here's a link.

I'd love your feedback on the magazine- the concept, the name- anything!

If you'd like to know more about it then feel free to contact me on the magazine's official email address: trashionmag@gmail.com

Thanks in advance my loves.


Monday, 22 November 2010

I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached to my neck...

As I've been talking about for a while, I was going to party over the weekend- or so I thought.

Yes, the bash I was so looking forward to wasn't on; why? Horrific weather? A tragic accident? Nope, I'd got the bloody date wrong.

Turns out it's happening this coming Saturday; not sure how I missed that after reading the invitation at least five times.

Luckily, it seems an angel from work has agreed to save my life and cover my shift this week, so my little mistake should be rectified.

Seeing as I had advance train tickets that couldn't be refunded I thought I may as well have a nice little weekend in Yorkshire.

There wasn't much going on (just for a change), but a quick look at the local rag revealed that there was some music fair on at the nearby town we'd planned on visiting.

So off me and the boyf popped to Skipton.

We wandered into the town hall aimlessly, strolling past the admissions desk without paying (sorry, genuinely didn't see it). I enjoyed the fact that there was a 'student' price for admission, even though there's probably no more than ten in the area.

There was a lot of vinyl at great prices. There were boxfulls of records for just 50p!

I picked up these two Blondie 7" singles for just £1 each.

Backs of the singles. This one has 'Die Young Stay Pretty' as the B side- one of my faves!

Shamefully, I don't have a record player (not in use anyway) but I bought them mainly for the sleeves- and of course the fact that I love Blondie!

I thought they might be nice to frame; though I wasn't very impressed that the Atomic single had been written on!

I of course found the time to have a quick nosey in a charity shop, just after my cinnamon latte at the new Costa ( a bit of a sore point with some locals!).

I was lucky enough to pick up this amazing gold picture frame from the St. Martin's Children's hospice shop for a mere £2!

It came with this embroidered, rather grand looking French chap, who I initally thought was old Willy Shakespeare before my fella quickly dismissed my suggestion- shows what I know!

I don't know how I'm going to get him out though, as the frame is held together with nails! Which I didn't notice in the shop.

Wholly bargainous though, as peeling back the price sticker revealed that the frame was initially on sale there for £10. The frame is really great quality too- the label on the back shows that it originally came from a bygone local picture framing shop.

I plan on framing my new (but old) French fashion magazine. Though the frame's a little big for it.

I might do what I did with this other charity-shopped frame which was too big for its intended photo.

I think it really adds character to this otherwise dull picture of me and the fella in formal attire! I used some gorgeous textured wrapping paper from Paperchase, which was expensive at £2 a sheet, but I had some left over.

Chris, who hates charity shopping with me, was chuffed to pick up a working 1998 Nintendo Gameboy Colour with a game for £5 in the St. Martin's Childrens' Hospice shop too; it certainly kept him quiet on the train for a bit!


Thursday, 18 November 2010

A completed quest

Those who've been following will have gathered that I was on the hunt for a vintage dress for an upcoming party.

The search is over!

Amidst the panic that broke out on day 'week before party' I committed to buying something- this dark pink, fluffy shouldered thing from COW2, Birmingham.

Again, it's not as authentic as I would've liked, but the rush of getting something (anything!) got to me somewhat. It's actually one of COW's reworked pieces under the Salad brand.

I'm not crazy about it, but I like the colour, it was only £15 and it has wear-again-ability.

It was marked as £16, however I managed to get £1 knocked off (to the disgust of the shop assistant). I thought it was fair enough to ask as one of the belt loops is broken, as is the loophole for the button on the back at the neck. Fine for original vintage, but for a piece that's been altered, I'd expect things like that to be sorted.

The dress is a bit sheer, flesh coloured bra on the night methinks!

I picked up the fascinator in the first picture from ebay for 99p. Not sure whether I'll wear it or not though.

If you look closely, you'll see I'm also wearing a pair of black back seamed tights, which I thought would be a nice touch. I got these from TK Maxx and couldn't resist picking up a few more pairs.

The dogstooth ones are Jonathon Aston and were only £2.99- anyone who knows me should be all too aware that I'm drawn to anything with a dogstooth pattern.

The other pair are nude with a really cool black snake back seam; they were £3.99.

I've never heard of this hoisery brand before but they have some awesome tights! (I love these). Dots, bows, leaves, flowers and all kinds of gorgeous patterns. I almost took them all home with me.

And today I've been very, very bad because I splashed out a little. I came home with these beauties.

I lusted after these patent Dr Martens boots all last autumn/winter. I literally saw a girl walk past in a pair today and had one of those 'fuck it' moments; so off I trotted to Schuh to buy.

With 10% discount they were a completely justifiable £67ish.

And a swift internet check finds that they are, in fact, even more bargainous than I first thought.

In Schuh, I couldn't understand why a shorter style was £10 more than my 'Diva Darcie' boots. I also thought that the boots were around the £90 mark when I tried them on last year. Hmmm...

Looking on the Dr Martens online store, the boots are listed as £90, as are they at ASOS. Schuh's website however confirms that they are indeed £74.99.

Good job Schuh was my first point of call!



Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair

And affordable it was!

(I would've liked to post this sooner by the way, though unfortunately I've been a bit ill. Feel free to send cards and grapes.)

On Saturday I ventured over to Aston University's union for some vintage shopping. As a BCU student, I felt a bit like I was on enemy soil- hence me not asking anyone where the union actually was and subsequently getting a little lost (even though I've been there before!).

There was also a little simmering resentment at how pretty the Aston campus is. It's build around a gorgeous lake (well, not a lake, somewhere between that and a pond) complete with little duckies. Aww.

This was the first vintage fair I've been to under the 'Judy' brand. I find this rather confusing as the web domain is 'vintage fair' which I thought was the 'other' big one, usually held in the Custard Factory when comes round to Birmingham.

Anyway, same brand or not, I instantly sensed that this fair was a little different.

The first thing that struck me was how big it was! It was easily as big as the one held at the Custard Factory and not nearly as busy. There's nothing like being shoved and squashed by other stressed, sweaty shoppers to wind me up.

The thing I liked about this fair was the variety of stuff on sale. One thing I loved were the stands holding baskets of old watches, hairpins, toys, charms, keyrings, earrings... I could go on. These were cluttered together by signs reading, 'everything 50p' or £1 in some cases.

If I'd been wearing boots, I would've filled them; despite the undoubtedly painful, barefooted walk home...

I refrained from collecting bags of stuff and managed to walk away with this simple hair comb for 50p

There was a great haberdashery stall too, selling vintage buttons, thread, wool, plus lace and velvet trim.

There were also a couple of stalls selling old postcards, maps and photos very cheaply. I'd have loved a few old black and white photos of some beautiful 50s ladies to frame, but couldn't escape the fact that most of the photos were really personal.

I was really chuffed to pick up this 1938 French fashion paper magazine.

My basic grasp of French tells me that the title reads, 'the small paper of fashion'- I think.

It really is gorgeous; I plan on framing it and hanging it in my room. I'd loved to frame some of the inside pages as there are some beautiful coloured illustrations- though I don't think I have the heart to dismantle it.

'For the thin women'- rules me out then!
I picked up some presents for my friend's birthday too, which I best not post incase she sees!

If you see a vintage fair bearing the 'Judy's Affordable' brand, I'd highly recommend going- I was really impressed.

I'd say the fair was definitely more 'affordable' than others I've been to; there's some great bargains to be had.

That there Judy, whether fictional or real, sure knows what she's doing- well done!



Saturday, 13 November 2010

Unlike Shakira, my hips certainly do lie

I've recently been on the hunt for the perfect dress to wear to a friend's birthday; the theme being 'posh vintage'.

I thought I'd found said dress- it seems not.

I picked this gorgeous green Monsoon dress up from ebay for £15. It's not as vintage as I'd like it to be (80s) but I was really drawn to it.

Though upon arrival, it seems that it's just not to be. The dress is a size 10; however, as vintage annoyingly often is, it's a bit small.

It fits great other than on my hips (curse these damn things). After measuring the dress, the hips are infact only 34"- more of a small size 8.


The search continues...

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Frock On Vintage

As I mentioned in my last post, I discovered something rather exciting in Birmingham on Saturday.

My hunt for the perfect vintage party dress (which is hopefully over now!) took me to The Custard Factory. I remembered that the vintage flea market was on and, being late (just for a change), I hurried over to have a swift browse. No luck there.

On the way to my final destination, Urban Village, I was collared by a very stylish female who offered me a little preview of her brand new vintage shop in The Custard Factory's Zellig building- I didn't need asking twice!

Frock On Vintage is a fabulous appointment-only boutique offering a very personal shopping experience. Pam's little boutique is crammed with amazing pieces, and she was kind enough to let me take a few pictures.

There's plenty of sparkly pieces, perfect for the party season. Pam admitted having a bit of a sequin fetish!

Sequins Galore

A couple of dresses caught my eye, but weren't really suitable for my event; I had to resist taking everything else home with me though!

Pam is lovely- particularly for trusting me with her gorgeous stock whilst she nipped out to find somebody! I wish her all the best in her new business and sure it'll be a great success.

Make sure you Birmingham vintage lovers join her Facebook page. It's well worth booking an appointment just to have a browse at her great stock; even the trail up several floors of The Custard Factory!

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