How to shop vintage: tips and tricks

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Dressing in a particular style should be fun; it is an extension of yourself. The 40s/ 50s vibe that I love is a confidence boost and something that I enjoy. When I shop, I try to remember these rules of thumb to find fantastic retro pieces:

 

  • Charity shops: Always my number one port of call. Can’t be beaten for price and you’re doing a good turn by someone else, too. Win-win.

 

  • Money talks: On that note, visit the charity shops in affluent areas of your city – that’s where you will find more high-quality pieces.

 

  • My size: Ignore sizes when shopping vintage; anything can be belted, slouched, reworked into something unique and wonderful.

 

  • Try me: always, always, always check and double check with vintage. Try everything on and check it out from all angles.

 

  • Quality: Find a really good vintage shop in your area that excels in customer service and hand-picked gems. It’s worth a bit of an extra journey to find that one bobby-dazzler.

 

  • Pick your battles: You can’t always wear 50’s ballgowns, but when you can, splash out a little for something incredible.

 

  • Beg, borrow, steal: Ply your family with chocolate/ alcohol/ favours and raid their wardrobes. Your mother definitely has an 80s skirt suit in there somewhere. Also, try freecycle.

 

  • Vintage Fairs: Currently all the rage and rightly so. Time-travel and snap up lovely tidbits – what’s not to love? Look out for Lulu’s vintage fairs across the UK.

 

  • An outlet: Try outlet stores or designer warehouse-type-places that have discounted designer clothes.

 

  • It’s all in the audience: Look in shops intended for an older clientele, like BHS, for example. They will often have items with a more vintage feel. And comfier shoes.

 

  • On-the-line: For accessories Etsy is a good shout. Ebay has some good stuff, too!

 

And, last but not least, don’t be shy! Be yourself!

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Women Wednesdays: How to Celebrate

Inspired by a lovely lady friend last week, I’ve decided to celebrate womanhood every Wednesday. There is a culture of competition between women which seems to differ somewhat from that which exists between men. It seems that male competition is a competition between individuals; female competition is, all too often, a measure of desirability, which is not only harmful to the individual person, but in a wider context. There are plenty of forces willing to subjugate women already; we do not need to help in our own oppression. On the contrary, women must be at the forefront of overcoming gender bias in our society, although, naturally, it is also a men’s issue.

But, this post is about celebrating the good, in order to foster the positive change which we still need. We all need help in that, but we are also the main agents in that process. As Florence says in Various Storms and Saints, ‘I am teaching myself how to be free…’.

Here are a few ideas of how to have wicked Women Wednesdays:

  • Let’s get physical: Get body positive about yourself and your friends. That could be sharpie tattoo detailing the bits you love on each others’ bodies, it could be setting up a gym buddy system, it could be a simple, ‘you look hot today’.

 

  • Learn your lesson: Read something inspiring written by a pioneering woman. I’m currently on Everyday sexism by Laura Bates.

 

  • Boost!: Send a boost to a friend – a text message to get them through that Monday haze, or a poem that you think will inspire them out of a recent rut…

 

  • Excuse me, Miss: Compliment a beautiful stranger. Nothing like a kind word from someone with no vested interest.

 

  • Mama who bore me: Ask your mother about your birth, think about a birth plan if you want to have children, marvel at the miracle that women’s bodies can produce. Pretty bad-ass.

 

  • Memoir-moi: Read a memoir, maybe Lili Elbe’s ‘Man into Woman’.

 

  • Great things in small packages: Spend some time with a little girl, learn about her perspective on things – you will learn something, for sure.

 

 

  • Aunty Flo comes a’calling: Host a period sleepover. Sounds ridiculous but think about it – sleepovers involve a) pyjamas, b) chocolate/ sweets/ snacks and c) girl talk. Periods involve the same things. Make a night of it.

 

  • Speaking of which…: Get in touch with your period. Try an app like Clue to ger your head round it. If you have any techniques etc. on how you deal with your period, share it – you might just make someone’s period a little less crappy and that’s no bad thing, is it?

 

  • Check 1, 2: Do a boob check and remind your friends to do the same. Check out CoppaFeel!

 

  • Make a fuss: Challenge a sexist joke, or a comment that you know has slipped out without a thought – make people think.

 

  • Hello, it’s me you’re looking for: Draw attention to yourself. Don’t make yourself smaller – get up on stage, post that drawing on Instagram – celebrate you in all your glory.

 

  • This is my new girlfriend: Contact an old friend you haven’t seen in years and see if you still connect. You might meet some new lovelies in the process!

 

  • Thank you, kindly: Gratitude is a powerful way to reduce stress and to strengthen relationships. If someone has made a difference in your life, let them know!

 

  • Sage: We all have our own experiences; use your wisdom to guide someone younger or more vulnerable that yourself.

 

  • Not just a pretty face: Take photos with friends, caption it with the things you love about each one.

 

  • Tampon tax: Donate tampons and sanitary towels to homeless shelters, especially if you have purchased a mooncup and don’t need them anymore.

 

  • Do a Katy Perry: Kiss a girl, you might like it.

 

  • Live long and prosper: Spend time with an elderly lady, ask about her life, consider how different your life has been and why.

 

  • Woman crush: Choose a lady (famous or friend). One Wednesday try to emulate something you admire about them: boldness (try a new lipstick), elegance (try a classic style like Coco Chanel, for example), joy (try to laugh more freely) etc.

 

  • Be your own woman crush: Write down what makes you a desirable person, or the attributes that you value in yourself (i.e. integrity, calmness).

 

  • New to me: Discover a new female artist. Mine is Kathryn Williams – a singer/songwriter I will be doing a workshop with in February.

 

  • Paint me like one of your French girls: Look up a female artist you’ve been interested in but don’t know much about.

 

  • I am, I am, I am: Take some self-portraits, or draw them.

 

Happy Women Wednesdays!

Take it from me…

I love how a slight change of perspective can make a big difference in your life’s trajectory. Having had wonderful, powerful mentors has meant allowed me to learn how I want to live my life and to have the resilience to move towards those goals. A piece of well-timed advice can crack the whip, it can put the wind in your sails or cut a tether that you might not have even noticed snagged on your ankle.

Here are some of my favourite pieces of advice that I go back to again and again:

 

  • My cousin says: enjoy that moment when your favourite song comes on shuffle, relish walking through crunchy leaves… Focus on the little things and the big things aren’t so scary.

 

  • Dad knows best: Remember no-one is superior to you, but, more importantly, no-one is inferior to you either.

 

  • Mum’s the word: A girl should always have flowers in her life.

 

  • According to Vicky: My writing mentor and wonderful friend taught me that you shouldn’t get stuck in narratives about yourself; be open to growth. (See my post of schemas/ life traps for more on this)

 

 

If you won’t take it from me, take it from them!

 

 

Armstrongs’ Haul!

Revisiting Edinburgh over New Year gave me the chance to go back to the vintage shops I used to work in: Armstrongs. Find them on TwitterFacebook and Instagram! The customer service is exemplary.

Haul opportunity: exploited.

 

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Beige cashmere with pearly beading to drool over.

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Teal 80’s number with pleats and sailor-style collar – cute!

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*Not from Armstrongs* Charity shop find. No explanation needed. Just… amazing!

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Cream beret, amber bangle and… hello Ms Scarlett!

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Luxe cream pussybow shirt – we love!

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Fawn dress – pussybow galore!

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Pleat dreams are made of this…

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And finally… more pleats! £4 bargain skirt ❤

 

Beautiful pieces available to buy from beautiful people in a beautiful city.