Monday, 13 April 2015

So long and onto The Vintage Girl Reviews

Thank you if you have been one of the people to follow my blog in the past few years. I ask you to transfer to my new blog for all new posts. This blog will be deleted soon, so please add your follow whilst you can.

Thank you

Holly x

Saturday, 7 February 2015

A Personal Apology from Miss Vintage UK.

I wish to begin this public statement with a quote from a great lady:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Most of the regular readers of this blog, vintage-lovers and feminists alike, will have seen the article recently published online as part of the Daily Mail's Femail content.

While I shouldn’t have to feel so apologetic for something not of my direct doing, I would however like to express my sincerest apologies to anyone who was offended by this article, because it was due to my own naivety that it was published in the first place.

It was not remotely my intention for my interview to provoke such an outrage, and I consider it to be my responsibility to fully acknowledge the anger of my peers, friends and readers alike.
I appreciate that this statement will not come as a surprise, given the reaction the article has received in some circles. I have a right – and full intention – to defend my honour, integrity and title. And I have taken time to carefully write this response, to be sure of no ambiguity or further misrepresentation.

You may consider that it is all very well making a repudiation of the quotes made in the article after the fact; however, I wish to point out that this is not the case.
I am writing this because I feel obliged to be honest regarding the content of the article, the majority of which contains factual inaccuracies, which I specifically asked to be omitted prior to the publication of the article, knowing they were completely taken out of context, and some fabricated altogether!

As a result, I am now suffering the backlash of what was meant to be an article about buying clothes to increase confidence and nothing more.

Since its publication on the Femail section, I have contacted the editors and publishers to petition for its withdrawal from public view. Both of these appeals have been ignored without any acknowledgement of my request for  a full retraction.

While I do not expect anyone to pity the situation, I feel it is extremely important to give my own true representation of the proceedings.

I will state, here and now, that I am in no position to criticise anyone for the way that they dress, nor do I have any objection to anyone who dislikes the way that I dress.
I believe that everyone should be free to dress how they want to, despite what the article claims. I have NEVER condoned sexual violence; I do NOT in any way believe that if someone wears a short skirt they are 'asking for it'!

The main focus of the article was indeed 'dress like a lady'; however, certainly NOT to the extent that the Daily Mail sensationalised the headline, that I had 'slammed' Miley Cyrus for her style. When approached, I was asked a few questions about what I thought of recent articles in the press where popstars were criticised for wearing too little, and Miley Cyrus has been featured repeatedly in every publication going regarding her lack of clothing.

Referring to my 'hypocritical' reference to Dita Von Teese as a style icon: although she is a burlesque artiste, her everyday style is far more demure and yet she manages to look glamorous at the same time. This is what was meant by my reference; nothing more, nothing less.
Yet I was blasted by the press for my supposed unusual choice of style icon.
Some of my quotes I will admit have been misguided by some of my own failings, both to comprehend the intentions of the press, and my failure to recognise that this would provoke such outrage on social media.

I do not blame anyone for wanting to criticise the article. My interview was given in blind and good faith, an example of my naivety at its worst, and I regret the outcry and hurt it has caused.
It will also surprise most of the readers of the article to know that despite my choice of style in emulating a 1950s’ housewife, I strongly consider myself to be a vehement supporter of women in the boardroom and beyond and am very much a feminist.

Furthermore, the Daily Mail claims that I ‘recommend converting to her strict dress regime in order “to be treated like a lady”’. I did NOT, in any way, shape or form say this. As far as I am concerned, it is the individual who should make the decision on how to dress. I wear jeans like anyone else, why should I be fodder for their un-PC views?

The answer, of course, is that the press are never on your side.

I have learned this in the most brutally hard way and I urge anyone in the creative industries to refuse any opportunity to get 'five seconds of fame'. That five seconds leaves an imprint which is impossible to fully retract.

I wish to highlight also another erroneous section:–
‘Obsessed with homing the perfect look and collecting precious items, Holly hopes to purchase a Lilli Ann suit worth up to £3,000, which she describes as the “Ferrari of the vintage world”’. But Holly wasn't always so confident in her appearance, and says that before discovering retro styles she had struggled to accept her body growing up and blamed feeling awkward in “ill-fitting high street fashion”’.

– This was grossly misrepresented. To those in the know, the Lilli Ann suit would have cost as just much when it was new. I did NOT say that my aspiration was to own one; I simply admire the designs with my vintage-lover‘s passion. And I absolutely did not spend my entire university maintenance loan; it was one small little joke during the interview that caused a huge row.
As a matter of fact, I spent most of the first term at university campaigning against tuition fees – note how that was left out!

My personal love for vintage and how I feel in dressing as a lady of a bygone era does not mean I consider anyone who does not dress as I do inferior to me.

And I personally refuse to consent to feeling inferior, despite some of the unfair and ill-expressed things about me that have been said in recent days following the deliberately inflammatory Daily Mail article, using me as the target for their own twisted agenda.

I will let my recent mistake in trusting the British press serve as a stark warning to others to be careful whom they talk to; you never know what the recipient’s motive is.

To those who took my publicised ‘quotes’ as gospel, please be assured they were the spectrum opposite to what was printed.

But when isn’t that the case with the press? I never knew just how much until now.
For the record: any person, any woman, should be allowed to walk down the street and not be leered at or subjected to abuse of any kind, regardless of what she wears, even if naked.

Whatever confidence I gained from finding my passion in vintage has been considerably dented by what this publication has claimed about me, and for that reason, I shall never again be caught in the vortex of a web of lies, spun solely to gain attention, without a care for the real – and decent – truth.

 With all sincere regards to readers,

 Miss Vintage UK

Monday, 12 May 2014

Birthday Celebrations at Clerkenwell Vintage Fair!

On Sunday I attended the 5th Birthday celebrations at the Clerkenwell Vintage Fair. After seeing the publicity on social media I was really looking forward to indulging in some vintage retail therapy.

Needless to say, I was not disappointed. There was such a fantastic array of merchandise, the stalls were bursting at the seems with beautiful vintage treasures, including homewares and childrenswear. There were even items that would not look out of place on the SS14 catwalk, a paint stripe dress from Richard Shops and a 1950s swimsuit with a Celine inspired print in this season's trend colours (white with primary colours, red, blue and yellow).

I made a full tour of the fair, overwhelmed by the variety of well known labels such as Kitty Copeland, Blanes, and my personal favourite, California Cottons. I managed to find three California dresses with the distinctive horizon aand sombrero label, but only one fitted. I had to refuse a lovely sunflower print California in favour of a stunning novelty print skirt from No 40 Vintage.

I love novelty prints, and I'm used to seeing pretty scenery patterns and silhouettes, but this skirt surpassed them all. In a gorgeous ivory colour with cute lockets and love letters I instantly wanted it. The design seemed to tell a story, of romance and courtship, true elegance in a more innocent world.
I stayed to have tea in the dear little cafe area provided by local caterers and then prepared to leave. Just as I was about to bid my goodbyes, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and told me about a pair of shoes she had found in my size. I followed her back to the stall: "Frocks Afloat" normally situated on a barge travelling the length of the Camden canal and tried on the shoes. Admittedly they did not fit, but I did manage to find a pair that were perfect. Olive green court, made by Bally, inscribed with the words "Champs Elysees".
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the 5th Birthday celebrations and would recommend anyone to visit the fair, even if you don't like vintage.

Just try it for yourself, YOU won't be disappointed!
Clerkenwell Vintage Fair returns on the 22nd June at the old Finsbury Town Hall, Clerkenwell, London! With a chance to win £100 to spend at the fair in the raffle, why wouldn't you?

Miss it, Miss Out!

Holly x

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Vintage Bag.

The Vintage Bag.
It occurred to me recently that I spend most of my money on vintage garments without looking at anything else. There is a whole other world besides the shoes, skirts, blouses and dresses that I covet, and it  was only when I was looking for a particular necklace for an outfit I wanted to wear to the Clerkenwell Vintage Fair that i realised I had never considered accessories to be important. Yet they are. The right bag can make a drab outfit suddenly look stunning.
I was fortunate enough to discover a vintage gem during my holiday to New York in 2012 in a very tacky secondhand shop called Beacon's Closet in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Beacon's Closet chain are the equivalent of Beyond Retro in the UK. I had walked around the vast warehouse for almost three hours and was all but ready to give up when I spotted a bag hanging up on the wall. It was very striking but was stuck behind a monstrosity of an 80s creation in lurid green vinyl. I looked at the neighbouring bag which was similar and then realised that the catch to close the bag was broken.

Disheartened, I pulled bag the 80s bag and there it was. The beauty that changed my perspective of vintage. Hand embroidered with the most beautiful design of forest animals and a large flower, I fell in love with it instantly. I carefully examined it, finding the original purse and an unused mirror inside, and knew that I had to have it. I had visions of the price being very expensive so imagine my delight when I placed it on the counter and the assistant declared:
"29 dollars, please."

That was it. I was sold.

Since then, the bag has been with me on countless trips to vintage events all around the UK, and although it looks a little worse for wear for all its travelling, it has managed to withstand several spillages and collisions with ticket barriers. (Whoops!)
It also attracts a lot of attention from traders and vintage enthusiasts alike, and whilst this is good, it also means that I have to be very careful not to put it down anywhere as it might be sold off by mistake!
The bag was made by Eric Handbags of New York. Despite attempts to trace this brand I have yet to find any others. I  can only assume that the quality of the bag itself would merit an expensive price tag in the era. If anyone does know anything about it, please do contact me.

However, what I am really coveting, amongst other things are these beautiful 1950s baskets. I already have one, a Christmas gift bought for me from Mela Mela in Teddington.
This gorgeous basket is made by Midas of Miami. Very apt, I feel as the bag exudes sunshine and summer! It is lined in yellow silk and features the label as seen below.
The label is very collectable and these sell on etsy from between £50-£100.

The top of the basket, isn't it pretty?

A Midas label. Reads: "An Original by Midas of Miami, Handcrafts Inc. Miami, 47, Florida.

The full basket. 

These are just two of my favourites.
Holly x

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Mystery of the Size 2 Shoe

This is no Nancy Drew story.

Sometimes I open my wardrobe and think how did I acquire so many shoes? Then I look at them closely and realise I haven't worn half of them and should really get rid of them. Yet, who would buy a pair of small size 3 shoes? Or an unworn pair of gingham Converse (still in box). It seemed to me that the only shoes I actually wear are my vintage ones.

Now, why is it that people with smaller feet should struggle to get shoes that fit properly? No one caters to this on the High Street, its all size 3 upwards. Yet this is no use to the small amount of us who have petite feet, what are we supposed to do? Walk around in shoes too big? There is nothing more degrading than walking into a shop and asking very politely for size 2 shoes to be told that "you need the children's section."
Not only is this bad service, it also shows a complete lack of interest in supplying for those who do not have average sized feet, the excuse of looking at children's shoes is wearing thin, and to those shop assistants who have told me this, I say to them "how would you like it if I told you to look in the mens section for trainers for girls with big feet?"
It's the same principle. Yes, there is an argument that there are a few online boutiques who provide for petite sizes but how am I supposed to buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first? That is simply ridiculous. Also, why should I have to pay almost double for a pair of handmade small shoes just because they have to be tailored to fit my feet.
I'm not talking about grabbing a pair of sale shoes on a whim just because you convince yourself that they might fit. I'm talking about the Cinderella moment. Stepping into a pair of shoes that really cling to your feet, and make you feel as though you're donning some slippers.
This is why we are forced to turn to secondhand and vintage shoes. I've seen the looks people give me when I tell them that my shoes are vintage "worn before?" (looks in disgust). I don't see what the problem is as long as the shoe fits.

 I will admit that I have quite a few pairs of vintage shoes already, but there's only so many times you can wear them before they begin to look shabby. I bought my first pair from a vintage trader at University and they were completely unworn. She regularly visited the University with lots of big sized shoes and when I asked her about smaller shoes she replied "I have one pair that no one can fit into if you want to see them."
A week later she returned and as soon as I tried them I knew. They were made for me. I think they may be 1950s or early 1960s. Either way they are beautiful dainty shoes and spurred me to find more of the same. One of my favourite shops for shoes is Prim Vintage Fashion in Norwich, and during my time at University I indulged in the variety of stock available. On one visit I found a pretty pair of small pump shoes in cream with the most incredible printed lining. They look as if they have just stepped out of Hairspray (2007 version). Think "The New Girl in Town".
Then when I went to visit a friend in Paris earlier this year I bought a pair of elegant mustard coloured heels by Capriccio which were surprisingly cheap for the quality of them. My love of vintage shoes has definitely grown since then!

Which is why, recently, I have decided to invest in them. At every vintage fair my attention has been diverted to one thing and one thing only, petite size 2 shoes. I do not consider this to be a defect in my development, it has a lot to do with genetics, both my parents have small feet (although not as small as mine) however to be told constantly that nothing is in stock is a real drain.
Then like an avalanche, size 2 shoes began to appear on Facebook vintage groups and shops and I began to build up quite a collection. A trip to London brought a pair of 1940s Harrods "Delamante" shoes into the wardrobe (which are sadly quite worn now due to my wearing them to work on a regular basis) and on a visit to one of my favourite vintage shops, Mela Mela in Teddington I found a pair of gorgeous 1950s silver dancing shoes for just £30 and bought them.
Then I came across a pair of 1950s red shoes by Crespino on the Frock and Roll Vintage Clothing page and bought those as well. When they arrived I was quite surprised by the lining. They are decorated with a figure of a girl in a pretty dress. A search on eBay found a pair of unworn 1960s buckle shoes and I purchased them.
Perhaps my best investment, however were a pair of 1920s shoes by Lotus and Delta, bought as a present for me at The Clerkenwell Vintage Fair. They are without doubt the most beautiful shoes I have ever seen. So immaculate I feel they should be kept under glass in order to preserve them, but what is the use in that if they are my size. Should I wear them?

If not, what should I do?


Has anyone else found it hard to get shoes? I can only suggest that those of us in what I am calling the "Size 2 Club" focus on buying vintage shoes and boycott the high street altogether since they have shown no interest in helping us.

If anyone else shares the same view, I'd like to hear from you.

Holly x

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Nostalgic Loveliness at Vintage Lindy Lou's

When you first think of vintage tea rooms, images of quaint villages and little nooks come to mind. The last place you expect to find such a place is in the suburbs of London. Whilst the South East is not particularly well known for its love of vintage, it seems to have gathered quite an interest in the past year, with shops popping up all around areas such as Sidcup and Bexley.

Although these places are technically London areas they have Kent postcodes, but this is not rural Kent, far from it. Amidst the hubbub of Bexley and its surrounding towns lies an exceptional oasis, known as Vintage Lindy Lou's Tea Rooms.

I visited this dear little cafe after spending a few long hours Christmas Shopping in the adjoining town of Bexleyheath and I needed somewhere to relax. I had heard about it from a relative and it seemed the perfect time to experience it for myself. I drove to Crayford, not really recognised for its "vintage" interests and parked up, looking around for the tea room, which exists right in the centre of a small park with the address as "Waterside."

From the outside the tea room isn't much to look at. A brick building previously used as a pop in parlour doesn't exactly excite anyone, but take a step further, open the door and you step into another world.

This is the era of the late 1940s and early '50s, where tea is served in china cups and tempting cakes await under glass domes. I fell in love with it at once.

The actual building encompasses a dual purpose as a tea room and vintage/memorabilia shop which sells everything from kid gloves, to glassware and vintage novelty cards, I even spotted an Enid Collins bag high up on the shelf. This was an exception to the low-end pricing for the items, at £75, which is to be expected from such a famous designer.

There were also two dresses on display which I was told later had belonged to the owner's mother who came from Italy. The dress is in simply stunning condition and I was very moved by the story that went with it. Another dress stands on a mannequin by the window with a hand painted floral design, it is truly a work of art.

Still, I was there to have the full experience so I settled myself in a large comfy sofa covered with a hand knitted blanket and waited patiently for someone to attend on me. It took about five minutes but was definitely worth the wait. My order was taken, swept into the kitchen and planted on the table barely a few minutes later. What service!

Now, I'm a bit picky when it comes to eating in independent restaurants and cafes. I am generally very cynical of anything that says "home-made" but I can honestly say that the sandwiches (I chose cheese and ham) were lovely and fluffy with hand grated cheese and even a little garnish on the side. The tea was served in a fine old china teapot with a mismatched cup and saucer. This seems to be the theme of the entire room, as everything is very cleverly put together. It is very clear that a lot of thought has gone into the design, and you can't really go wrong with Laura Ashley wallpaper! I also noticed that the owner has paid homage to tradition with portraits of Her Majesty the Queen as many shops used to do back in the 40s and 50s.

I was told later that almost every item on display has either been brought from the owner, Linda's personal collection, or donated by customers. This really does make a difference, and gives the whole place a real sense of home and comfort. I could have gladly sat on the sofa all day with a good book, but alas I didn't have much time so after two pots of tea (the hot water was replenished twice at no extra cost) and a slice of gorgeous Victoria sponge I was approached by the owner who told me all about the venture and plans for next year. All I can say is, make sure you visit during the summer!


A pot of tea
Ham and Cheese sandwiches (served with garnish)
A slice of Victoria Sponge (big slice)

Came to a grand total of £6!

Afternoon Tea at its Finest!
Not only does Lindy Lou's offer great service and delicious treats it is also great value for money!

I would recommend anyone to visit this lovely place, its worth bringing a few friends along to get the full "tea party" experience. They also offer Birthday Parties, Children's Parties and other events can be booked upon request.

It's worth the trek, and definitely worth every penny!

Holly x

You can find Lindy Lou's at the following:

The Willows, Waterside Gardens, Crayford Way, DA1 4JJ Kent, United Kingdom

On Facebook:

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Goodies Galore at The Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair

It's been a while since I last attended a vintage fair and I was determined to make sure that I made an effort for The Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair, which is one of my favourites. The theme for this particular event was Winter Wonderland and although I didn't exactly feel festive in my Horrockses dress and pink 1980s does 50s shoes, as soon as I walked in I knew.

I've been trying to save money recently and only make purchases when necessary but this proved very difficult as there was simply so much to see. First of all I met Alexandra from Alexandra Vintage and purchased a pair of red gloves, before noticing a book on St Michael and the History of Marks and Spencers. For me, this was like hitting the jackpot. I am actually an employee of the company in a retail capacity so it was a great opportunity to read up on the background!

Since it only cost £5 I wasn't too worried about spending too much, until I walked into the next room and spotted small shoes!
As anyone who knows me will say, I have very small feet that aren't suitable for the big bulky shoes found on the modern day High Street and this seemed like a great investment. First of all I tried on a pair of gorgeous boudoir slippers, which looked like actual shoes.

I'd caught the attention of the trader by this time and she began to suggest some items from her collection. I particularly liked a pair of white shoes but they were ever so slightly too narrow. I was thinking of moving on to the next stall by this time and then I saw them. A pair of stunning chestnut 1920s shoes with a thin strap and popper clasp. It took about five minutes to get the poppers to snap open and I tentatively stepped into them. The thrill of knowing that they fit instantly was overwhelming and I couldn't help but try a few moves from The Charleston in them. The trader then explained that the shoes had come from the attic of a former shoe shop on Bond Street and the owner had locked them there when he retired. He'd kept all the original boxes so naturally the shoes could be bought with the original box.

There was no question by now-I simply had to have them. Luckily I have a very generous Dad who bought them for me as I couldn't quite afford them on my own and I wandered off with them in a bag. I couldn't resist showing them off!

I decided recently that instead of indulging in any more dresses or skirts I would concentrate on vintage accessories and as a result have been buying a lot to compensate for the lack of new dresses! These have included a 1950s Jane Shilton handbag, some gorgeous 1950s peach gloves with pearl beading and a couple of scarves and brooches.

So, with this in mind I made my way around the stalls, looking around hopefully for 1950s sweaters or jumpers. They were few and far between, but fortunately I can always rely on the lovely Ginny at Retrouve to provide some of the very best in vintage. Ginny is particularly selective of her stock, she even has a superb woollen Sambo dress which is just slightly too big for me, but I hope it finds an owner soon! She had a lovely array of items, including three gorgeous 1950s sweaters! I tried on a pretty floral jumper and a beaded cardigan before settling on the cardigan sweater, which is exactly what I've been looking for!

Not bad for Vintage on a budget!

Holly x