As announced yesterday, we will be hosting a shopping evening at Mary's Living and Giving shop on Westbourne Grove on Thursday 29th March! We will be working with celebrity stylist Mrs Jones at the event where she will be offering styling advice. We caught up with her ahead of the event to share her best vintage shopping tips, and here's what she said:
- Don’t be put off by smells. Some bits can have a whiff of mothballs or smell a bit musty. These can easily be removed with a trip to the dry cleaners. Although, and it is not very pleasant, body odour left on garments is one of the most difficult smells to get rid of, even with dry cleaning. Many moons ago I bought a beautiful velvet jacket that stank to high heaven of BO 3 trips to the dry cleaners later and it still ponged. So beware.
- Some old things can look really beautiful and very tempting but be careful as they can just disintegrate – especially silk and lace. Give it a little test, pull the fabric taught in both hands and with your thumb nails give it a rub/scratch. If you see the threads of the fabric move about or crumble its a no go. I once bought a child's vintage long silk dress that was in a bad way thinking I could repair it. Turned it into an stunning dress for one of my clients music videos, It looked great but all the weeks of work that had been put into it was a waste of time, by the end of the shoot it was in tatters. It left a trail of fabric droppings all over the place! I use it as a display piece in my shop and have to sweep up underneath it every day.
- Make sure you try things on. Older clothes are generally a lot smaller as people used to be smaller than they are now. For example, a size 12 will usually fit a size 10.
- The best places to get a vintage bargain are normally charity shops and car boot sales that are not in London. For example, I've found some of my best bargains at a boot sale in Cornwall.
- If you're in London, Portobello Market is full of beautiful vintage pieces and there's a shop called Rellik where you can find stunning investment pieces. Camden is okay too. The charity shops there are great for finding very cool dresses, tops and jewellery. Spitalfields is not as good as it used to be but you can find some great bits especially the Army and Navy stall – great brogues and coats.
- Ebay is amazing, just be careful that you don't get carried away on the bidding. Get a fixed price in your head and don't go over it. The best bargains are normally old ladies clearing their wardrobes out. Look out for bad pics, normally upside down and make sure you read the blurb on the garment, some bits look great but the fabric is crimplen or nasty synthetic polyester.
- My best secret top tip ever – check out Justsnipe. It will change your life.
To hear more tips from Mrs Jones, just