Thursday, 25 October 2018

Shop Around - Vintage High Street Fashion and Secondhand Finds


Don't adjust your screens, I'm wearing something from the high street but there's no cause for alarm, there's no dubiously produced fast fashion to see here. This is vintage British high street fashion from Miss Selfridge, a brand as old as me (created in 1966) and still going strong today.

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I spotted the dress listed in eBay's non-vintage section as a 1970s-style maxi but was pretty certain from both the style, those gauzy cotton sleeves, tiered skirt and ribbed bodice just shouted 1970s, and by the metal zip, clearly visible in the picture, that it was the real thing and not a reproduction. I imagine that the seller was too young to know that Miss Selfridge had been going since the Sixties and just assumed it was a modern dress.Won for the princely sum of £6, my initial suspicions were confirmed when it arrived and I saw Made in England printed on the label. It's a sorry state of affairs when there's so few clothes manufactured in the UK these days that a Made in England (or Made in Great Britain) label is, more likely than not, a vintage garment.

Source: Get Some Vintage Appeal

Back in the day Miss Selfridge stocked clothes by Thea Porter, Ossie Clark and Gina Fratini. While mine's of the same era (the adverts all date from 1972) it's just a bog standard house brand, but the quality of the cotton is incredible and the fit is perfect. Back then fashion didn't come cheap and I imagine the original owner would have saved hard to afford something this pretty and, judging by the condition of it, it was treated with love and respect. How times have changed, eh?


I'm definitely feeling the floral vibe at the moment. This was Tuesday's outfit, all items I've had for ages but that I'd never worn together before. I love it when a plan comes together! The handmade '70s handkerchief-hem skirt, belt and boots are all vintage but the top was bought....new! It's okay though, I've had it 18 months now, no throwaway fashion in my wardrobe.


I'm not really into bags but spotted this adorable leatherette vintage vanity case in the £3 and under charity shop this morning, it even has the original key. Made in Denmark by Cavalet, a company founded in 1945 and, like Miss Selfridge, still in business today. In the old days before computers were invented, I used to have to go the library to research the labels of vintage treasures I'd found, nowadays it's all there at the click of a button. I even discovered a couple of 1970s adverts for Cavalet.

Vintage Cavalet advert SOURCE

In other shopping news here's some of our latest finds. We've only been out a couple of times but haven't done too badly.

Clockwise from top left: Mellor Model chiffon maxi dress; Amazing 1970s braided suede blazer; Phool midi skirt and waistcoat set; Cotton and lace maxi dress with a print featuring hot air balloons and Edwardian ladies (only in the 1970s!); 1980s St Michael green velvet blazer; 1970s St Michael pure new wool Herringbone maxi coat

Clockwise from top left: Dutch waxed cotton African dashiki; 1960s St Michael pea coat; the best leather patchwork blazer ever and a moleskin wool waistcoat worn over a 1970s disco shirt by "Spaghetti Western"
You'll find these treasures plus many, many more on our rails when we trade with Pop Up Vintage Fairs this coming Sunday. I promise to take a photo of the chap who eventually buys the patchwork jacket, he's going to be a seriously cool dude.


See you there!


Talking of fairs here we are last Saturday, ready to sell, sell, sell at Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Leamington Spa. We had a fab day, caught up with some of our lovely vintage trading family and even met a blog reader (hello, Liz!)

SOURCE

I met Natalie at the last Leamington Spa fair we did back in the Spring where she bought some groovy 1970s trousers from us. She's a super talented photographer and also has a blog. Check her out HERE.

See you soon!

53 comments:

  1. I used to shop a lot in Miss Selfridge in the 90s and early 00s. My purchases included softest suede slingbacks, and a sleep set with silk chiffon trim. No such high quality materials these days!! Your dress is stunning. A good find. Wha a nose for vintage you have! Xx

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    1. I got a Miss Selfridge mohair cardi from a chazza earlier this year, unsure if it's age but possibly 1990s, and it's so warm and cosy. I haven't been in one of their bricks and mortar stores for years - the Walsall one shut down about 15 years ago. xxx

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  2. That patchwork blazer won't last long before someone grabs it. I definitely would! Your necklace in the first photo is stunning.

    Someday you'll find a Thea Porter, it is just a matter of time.

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    1. I think I'd pass out if I ever found a Thea Porter, I live in hope! xxx

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  3. Gone are the days when High Street fashion equaled quality! But then again, people didn't binge buy clothes back then, and indeed saved up for a purchase, so that there was no need for cheap 'n cheerful stuff of doubtful and unethical provenance. I often find vintage C&A, for instance, and the quality is unbelievable. Love your Miss Selfridge frock and well done for spotting it on eBay. Ah, I have a bit of a thing about vanity cases. I've quite the collection, though none of them are actually being used as vanity cases. I store all sorts of things in them! The patchwork blazer is a thing of beauty. I wonder who will snap it up! xxx

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    1. Yes, vintage C&A is fab especially their insane 1980s sportswear lavel, Rodeo. It never lasts long if we have any on our rails!
      I've a bit of a thing for mini suitcases - I've got a tower of them in the spare room, stuffed with allsorts!
      I do hope that blazer finds a home on Sunday - I was disappointed that it was too tight on Jon! xxx

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  4. Ah the handkerchief hem. I'd forgotten about that, but you have reminded me of the skirt my Mum made me in the 70s which had one. She made all our clothes and the long party dress was always the one we cherished.
    Arilx

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    1. I've got a 1970s pattern for a handkerchief hem maxi - I did have a go at making one once using old saris but I started to lose the will to live, it took so much work! xxx

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  5. such pretty dresses!!
    the miss selfridge fower printed beauty was made for you!
    its the same with "made in germany" - since 1990 the textile industry moved eastwards - first to poland, later to romania, turkey, then india/bangladesh - arriving in china...... waiting for "made in *an african land*".....
    gorgeous B&W pic!
    have a great fair! xxxxx

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    1. Thanks, Beate!
      Yes, I think the 1980s was the last era to produce well made clothes. Fast fashion wasn't a thing and clothes were saved for and looked after. Just as "Made in England" usually means it's vintage, made in China probably means it was made last week! xxx

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  6. Looks like another great week of vintage finds--both business and personal! Good thing both you and Jon enjoy the buying, preservation/maintenance and selling of vintage treasures.

    The Cavalet ad on the left reminds me of Samsonite ads of the same period, although you would need to substitute an airport for the train station! That train in the photo looks seriously cool though! I never have lived where train travel was a serious option, so it's a bit of a mystery to me on a practical level.

    Here's hoping for stellar attendance at this week's event so all of your hard work has an opportunity to pay off!

    Taja

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    1. Hi Taja! Train travel is wonderful, especially using the Indian Railways. One of my friends travelled on the Orient express for her 50th birthday, the photos were amazing!
      Jon and I do love the hunt and getting the stock ready to sell. This week we've dyed a dozen 1960s American prison jackets and our task tonight is to replace all the buttons and add some vintage sew-on patches - daunting but hopefully they'll look good when they're finished! xxx

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  7. I love the pea coat. We where a lot of that type of coat as it gets chilly by end of September and does nt quit until May.

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    1. We've been spoilt this year, the temperature has only started to drop significantly this week. I've been wearing my coat in the house today! xxx

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  8. My mum is from central London and has often told me about when Miss Selfridge was still part of Selfridges. She was too poor to shop there, but I envy that she even got to walk around all of the cool London boutiques in the 60s and 70s.
    You found some amazing things, that Phool set is stunning!

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    1. Hi Sydney! I'd have loved to have seen those boutiques in their heyday. Mum used to shop in Bus Stop when I was a child and that was fabulous.
      That Phool set is fab, isn't it? Just as well that the skirt's not a maxi or I'd have to keep it! xxx

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  9. The guy that buys that jacket is going to be a badass rock star!

    Amazing that you found that Miss Selfridge vintage dress on Ebay.

    Wishing you loads of customers this weekend!

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. I've been told that quite few celebs shop at Hampstead (it's very posh) including Martin Freeman - I wonder if we can tempt him with the blazer? xxx

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  10. I've seen a few Miss Selfridge things here on my side of Canada! We have a lot of ex-pat Brits here in my town, lots of "old money". That is a glorious dress on you - I always look for signifiers like metal zips for dating things. What a score you got.

    Love that patchwork jacket - L would wear that in a heartbeat! Good luck at the sale!

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    1. I love that our British labels travel! Miss Selfridge was pretty cool up to the late 1990s and then sadly went as samey as the rest of the high street.
      I can totally see your L in that jacket, he's a rock star! xxx

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  11. I'm loving that braided suede blazer! Phool is still in business too (since 1978, I think they have a website & I have worn plenty of their broomstick crinkle skirts throughout the year. Love that scarlet red on you & the more florals the better I say!
    xox

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    1. I wanted to keep that blazer but it was too big - boo!
      I didn't know Phool was still going on the subcontinent. The label went really off in the late 1980s, no hippy or block printed, and I thought it had finished sometime in the 1990s. xxx

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  12. Great finds again this week. The red frock is lovely, but how about the 'bastard massive' necklace! That fab vanity case is in great nick. Enjoy London. Xxx

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    1. I should have done a close-up of that bastard necklace, it hasn't made an appearance on the blog for years! xxx

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  13. Hi Vix, what a beautiful dress you've found! And all your other scores too - that patchwork jacket is FABULOUS! XXX

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  14. That patchwork blazer is amazing - I look forward to seeing who it finds a home with. It is funny how long some brands have been going; I've got a 60s dress by Evans and really hadn't realised they'd been going *that* long.

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    1. You do wonder how much longer they'll be around, don't you? Vintage Wallis stuff is gorgeous, too.
      I'm dying to see where that blazer ends up! xxx

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  15. What a beautiful dress, the print, the shape and colors are amazing! Love a floral red dress. And love the vanity case too, such a quality piece!
    And I love particularly the patchwork jacket (and all the last finds!) and I'm looking forward to see it 'in action'.
    That last picture is so wonderful!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica. I was so happy to win it as such a great price!
      That blazer is amazing, I'll be sad to see it go. xxx

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  16. That patchwork blazer really is something! It's wonderful that something so iconic has survived, and I'm sure it's going to find a very appreciative home.

    I remember Miss Selfridge well - as a teenager in the 80s, I always coveted their clothing, but could rarely afford to shop there!

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    1. Miss Selfridge in the 1980s was fab, wasn't it? I'd often go and kill time in the Birmingham branch before I got my bus home.
      That blazer is amazing. It must have cost a packet and has hardly been worn! xxx

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  17. Well done on that Miss S purchase. You're right....People used to save for and threat their clothes with care- those were the days. But maybe there is still time for the world to come around? It's not impossible.

    As always I love everything you're wearing. Your Thursday outfit is fabulous, love that red maxi...and the brown maxi is beautiful as well. That leather vintage vanity bag is super cute. Great vintage finds...love that patched jacket.

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    1. Hi Ivana. Wouldn't it be nice if we went back to the days of saving our cash and buying something special? These days everyone wants it now and sod the quality or the ethics behind how it was made. xxx

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    2. yes, and that doesn't apply only to clothes. Sometimes I think they purposely make things to last for a short while (for example cellphones), just so that we would need to buy new ones. But goes both way. If people learned to take better care of their things and weren't such consumerists, then the manufacturers would be more motivated to make better quality items.

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  18. Hi Vix, great finds. I'm sure I read somewhere once you once worked in q charity shop if so please could you share your experience and how long you worked there. Thanks B x

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    1. Hi B. You've got a good memory. I volunteered for Scope (then known as the Spastics Society) from the age of 17. I won a long service award as I was with them for over ten years but my corporate career robbed me of any spare time and I had to call it a day.
      It's been 25 years since I volunteered, I had a lot of fun with the mostly retired volunteers, rescued countless vintage treasures destined for the bin as they were considered "old fashioned" and once discovered both a dead dog and £1000 in £20 in the donation bags. xxx

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    2. I can imagine the donations being eventful at times, why would you donate a dead dog lol. After you left the corporate career what did you work as? Have you ever taken a job just because it pays the bills? (I have). Love the blog it makes me feel cheerful x

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    3. I know, a dead dog, it beggars belief, doesn't it?

      Before I quit my corporate life I made sure we were financially okay - I was renting out the house I bought before I met Jon and the mortgage on the house we lived in was tiny. I'd never had a loan or a credit card so our only expenses were utility bills and the council tax.
      After a few weeks of sorting my head out I registered with an employment agency and asked them to find me a job doing anything and that I was prepared to work for minimum wage. The manager of the agency offered me a job as one of her recruitment consultants but I told her I wanted something with no pressures. She said that I'd made such an impression on her, quitting a very well paid job and prepared to do anything to get a bit of cash - apparently it's very rare for a high earner not to care about status.
      I worked in a local factory as an admin assistant for a few months and ended up being put in charge of the payroll (there were over 400 employees back then) and after a couple of years I left to work as a manager for a chiropractic clinic. The boss noticed my awkward gait, asked if he could X-ray me and discovered that I was in imminent need of a total hip replacement due to an undiagnosed defect at birth. My X-rays are still used today to teach orthopedic students how bad a hip can be! By this time we'd sold the house we were living in, bought my Grandma's house and paid off the mortgage.
      After the hip replacement in January 2006 I had to have six months off work as it took me a long time to heal. During that time I'd lived on minimum sick pay and realised that I didn't need a lot to live on - I went back to work for another six months and resigned at the beginning of 2007.
      I'd been selling on eBay for about 6 years by then - mostly Indian clothes I'd bought back from Goa for pennies and vintage stuff I found in the local chazzas on my day off so I decided to sell full time on eBay instead. The rest, they say, is history! xxx

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    4. Aww thanks for sharing I work in recruitment it can be very pressured. Financially savvy wise I'm of the same vein x

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  19. Miss Selfridge was my dream and favourite shop in the 90's- oh how I cherished my items bought in there- they were so expensive for me but worn so much- I had a pair of flared white hipsters and a black top with electric blue edging and some daisy print trousers plus 2 vest tops I wore to death!
    Your dress is gorgeous!! I did know Miss Selfridge had been around a long time but not aslong as that!x

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    1. That's the thing, isn't it - their clothes were expensive but, like you say, you cherished them. Clothes are so cheap these days they're bought on a whim and chucked away, more often than not after being barely worn, when the next in-thing comes along.
      Did you know that Topshop is even older, launched in 1964? xxx

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  20. Your blog comment conversations are always worth reading! Do show and tell us more about those "dozen American prison jackets"!

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    1. You don't miss a trick! I'll share them when I've finished them - promise! xxx

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  21. I hope Hampstead goes well.
    I read your blog and really enjoyed it, then scrolled down your comments. Your career has been fascinating and after reading the comment above by Beth Waltz, I had to go back and see what the prison jackets were, and I was equally intrigued!! xxx

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    1. Thanks, Sally!
      My reply to Dawn Rose went on a bit, didn't it?
      I'm just finishing the first batch of reworked prison jackets. I'll take some photos at the fair tomorrow. xxx

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  22. I'm another person who coveted Miss Selfridge as a teenager it was mostly too expensive for my pocket. I do still have a couple of items and when my beloved velvet pinstripe mini skirt went mouldy in the other house I wept.

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    1. Oh dear, what a shame about the pinstripe skirt.
      I wonder if teenagers today covert clothes, I bet they wouldn't understand the concept! xxx

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  23. I had no idea Miss Selfridge had been around that long! I loved your Miss S maxi dress, the yellow blouse with the pink floral maxi looked gorgeous and the giant maxi paisley print maxi dress (what a mouthful) is fabulous.

    The leather vanity case is brilliant. Will you use it as a vanity case?

    What wonderful finds; I love the braided 70s blazer and the leather patchwork jacket is simply amazing. Can't wait to see which lucky bloke buys it!

    Have a fab week.
    xxx

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    1. Thanks, Vronni!
      I'm a big failure in the vanity department, you could fit all the makeup I own in a tiny bag. I'll probably use it as a bag or just store stuff in. I love the idea of posh travel accessories but I'm a backpacker at heart! xxx

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  24. I used to love Miss Selfridge but the clothes are definitely not as well made as they used to be. Love that dress,it is definitely very you!

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    1. Thanks, Ceri! I blame Philip Green! xxx

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  25. What a beautiful find!! I also loved the orange and red outfit, gorgeous combination. And the dress on the far right (with air balloons and Edwardian ladies??) is so pretty! Though, many of your finds are special, loved the patchwork jacket.

    I read that unusually long comment you left as a reply to your reader and learned some bits of your life I didn't know before. You are definitely not a ordinary person!
    Lots of love!

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