Category Archives: granny fashion

The significance of spring cleaning

wardrobe stuff Polaroid

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks spring cleaning my flat, de-cluttering and generally trying to be a bit more tidy, which is harder than it sounds when you have as much stuff as I do! Books, cameras, clothes, shoes – half of which I rarely read/use/wear but can’t bear to part with – find their way into every corner of my life. I love rummaging in vintage shops, charity shops and jumble sales, and my finds are often shoehorned into wardrobes, drawers and bookshelves – if there is an empty space, I will fill it. With (almost) anything.

My recent spring clean, particularly that of my clothes, has been very therapeutic (my bursting-at-the-seams wardrobe is certainly grateful to have lost a little weight) but it has also been very emotional. This may sound strange, but I think there is more significance lurking in your wardrobe than you’d think.

I’m a natural hoarder. In my younger years that meant keeping stickers and envelopes with my name on, now it’s magazines, clothes and accessories. As I was sorting my unwanted clothes into piles last night (for charity, recycling and selling) I encountered many flashbacks in amongst the belts, shoes and dresses.

There was my first wide, waist cinching belt that came free with a magazine about seven years ago, a polka dot tea dress from Primark that I went on to buy in every available colour during my second year of uni, when Primark was split over two dodgy, dimly-lit shops in Broadmead (now Poundland and part of Cabot Circus) and the shoes I wore on my 21st birthday. There are also pieces I’ve clung on to for sentimental reasons; gifts from my mum, vintage belts and dresses from my nan, clothes I have grown out of, or that are now too big for me since I lost weight.

I’ve kept these items not because I wear them even occasionally, but because they hold a significance that I attach to most of my material possessions. You must have a song, book, or outfit that transports you back to a particular day or period of time. I believe our clothes have the ability to capture a moment, like a photograph, and suspend it until you decide the time has come to move on.

So far I’ve given three huge bags of clothes to local charity shops, kept some back for a future clothes swap, and put worn clothes into the recycling box. I can’t say giving away memories, disguised cunningly as clothes, has been easy, but it does feel good de-cluttering my life and knowing than someone else is going to get enjoyment from things I never wear anymore.

Do you have an outfit you can’t bear to part with? Or perhaps you’ve recently got rid of a piece of jewellery or clothing that you’ve had for years? Share your thoughts by commenting below…

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Filed under charity shop, granny fashion, vintage

These are a few of my favourite things…

I’ve just returned from a week away – bouncing around between London, Bournemouth and Southampton – and I wanted to share with you some of the best parts of my trip…

Falling in love with a monochrome leather and canvas Pierre Cardin overnight bag in TK Maxx.

Making my first ever batch of Stickyfied Goo Goo, see above.

Witnessing first-hand the use of Supernanny Jo Frost’s Naughty Step technique (it totally works by the way)!

Raiding my Nan’s wardrobe, again!

Gossiping about the benefits of marrying a girl rather than a boy (endless SATC reruns, no smelly socks and a baking session every day, in case you were wondering).

Dressing up in a Fame-inspired outfit for a roller disco Christmas party… and channeling the stars of Whip It at the Renaissance Rooms.

Returning to a flat with fully working internet and a duvet day with Mr Ship-Shape, followed by a cracking Sunday roast at The White Bear. Bliss!

Ellen Page in Drew Barrymore's Whip It

Oh yeah, this is totally what I looked like on the rink...

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Filed under bags, costume, granny fashion

Something for The Weekend: Vintage Fashion Fair at Circomedia

Bristol Vintage Fair Oct 11

After a rubbish start to the week that included a nasty stomach bug and possible food poisoning, I’m now on the mend and looking forward to the weekend, thanks to the return of The Vintage Fair at Bristol’s Circomedia.

The Vintage Fair first graced Bristol with its presence back in January and now returns this weekend, bringing over 40 stalls, a vintage tea party and a vintage inspired pop-up hair salon to Portland Square.

Vintage stalls under stained glass windows at Circomedia

Vintage stalls under stained glass windows at Circomedia

If January’s event is anything to go by, Circomedia will be buzzing with Bristol fashionistas this Saturday so if you want the pick of the stalls my advice is to arrive early. Polka dot playsuits and cream pleated dresses were the order of the day last time but this time I’ll be on the hunt for chunky knit jumpers, leather satchels and perhaps a wool coat to stave off the increasingly chilly weather.

The event is made up of several different stalls and businesses so prices vary, but vintage accessories can be picked up for as little as £5, divine cupcakes are around £2 (look out for the red velvet ones, nom!) and retro make-up and hairstyles can be yours for as little as £8 but slots are booking up fast. For more info on the pop-up salon check out The Vintage Fair Facebook page.

If you can’t make it this weekend fear not – The Vintage Fair visits cities across the country throughout the year, including Birmingham, Cardiff and Leeds.

The Vintage Fair at Circomedia, Portland Square, Saturday 22nd October, 12-5pm. £2 entry or £1 for students and OAPs. For more info see The Bristol Vintage Fair Facebook page.

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Filed under granny fashion, shopping, vintage, vintage fair

Vintage knits and ditzy dresses at Top Deck Closing Down Party

green and white stripped vintage dress

Happy Monday folks, I’ve just about recovered from my mildly traumatic carbooting experience to share with you some gems I picked up at the Top Deck Closing Down Party. Friday evening was the last time Top Deck opened before sailing away into the sunset and A and I went down to see if we could bag ourselves a bargain.

As well as booze, live music and a SNES (!) which left me pinning for my old Sega Megadrive, there were plenty of vintage and retro gems to riffle through. While A fell in love with a pair of woven tan sandals, I found a gorgeous white and green striped sleeveless mini dress, above.

While I’m not a huge fan of polyester, I do love the prints that accompany this style of dress, and unlike most of my vintage finds this is already a suitable length to wear without feeling like I am channeling an OAP. The mint green buttons are a nice touch though I think I’ll switch the belt for a tan number. As well as this I found myself transfixed by a lemon yellow knitted tank, below.

While I am partial to a spot of ill-advised 80s knitwear, I find that, thanks to having breasts and more meat on my bones than a size 6 catwalk model, these jumpers often just make me look frumpy. Not Shoreditch chic or dripping in ironic cool, but just like they looked on your mum the first time round, only without a scrunchie and Pat Butcher earrings.

It was therefore a rather pleasant surprise to find that not only did this jumper fit me, it actually suited my shape and was, dare I type the words, flattering. The lemon colour suits my post-holiday skin and the fine knit cable details and scalloped edges keep it the right side of feminine. It took us some time to make it to the till as every rail had something to offer but I managed to restrain myself to buying just these two items.

It’s a shame to see a hidden gem of vintage finds close down and I wish the Top Deck owners all the best for the future. If you checked out the closing party let me know what you thought and what found its way into your wardrobe!

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Filed under granny fashion, knitwear, Start The Bus, vintage

Bristol’s first Oxfam Boutique has landed!

Oxfam Boutique Park Street, Bristol

Bristol's Oxfam Boutique, Park Street

London has it’s fair share, Bath and Cardiff can boast one each and for a while I was wondering if an Oxfam Boutique would ever make it to Bristol but thankfully my prayers have been answered in the city’s first Oxfam Boutique situated on the oh-so-stylish Park Street.

Sat cosily between Cath Kidson and Boston Tea Party, the newly opened Oxfam Boutique has been decked out with a signature monochrome colour scheme, minimalist layout and gorgeous white gilt mirrors. Oh, and there are some nice clothes in there too.

Yesterday morning as I ducked in and away from the rain one of the boutique’s lovely volunteers toldy me how well the store has been received. Clothing donations are always welcome, and the boutique is also on the hunt for fashion-forward volunteers. Fututre plans could see the boutique getting involved in fashion shows, developing an online store and hosting events such as Stitch and Bitch nights so watch this space.

There was a wide range of womenswear and menswear to choose from – the  a cream cable knit jumper in the mens knitwear section particularly caught my eye – and the boutique feel come through in the clean display, minimalist window dressing and of course the prices – slightly higher than your average charity shop. There wasn’t quite as much vintage stock as I would have liked – though supermarket brands and Primark labels were all to common on the rails, as is often the case with fast fashion labels – but hopefully this will change as donations come flooding in.

The way Oxfam has tapped in to the link between charity shops and the trend for vintage or pre-loved clothing is spot on and undoubtedly an inspiring factor in Clic Sergent’s ‘Shop’ on Gloucester Road. In a location that already boasts some fantastic vintage hotspots such as Uncle Sams, Motel and BS8, the boutique will have plenty of competition but lets not forget that shopping here will get you a new outfit and contribute to a fantastic charity.

If you want to Beat Poverty With Style then pop in and say hello, volunteer your time or treat yourself to a new piece of wardrobe candy at Oxfam Boutique, 77 Park Street, BS1 5PF.

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Filed under charity shop, Eighties, ethical fashion, granny fashion, oxfam, vintage

Style History

1940s pics Chris

My (soon to be) in-laws have been having a belated spring clean of their house and garage recently, which resulted in several boxes of the boyfriend’s belongings turning up at our flat, competing for floor space against books, furniture, bags and whatever else gets thrown on the floor when I walk through the door.

To cut a long story short, the boyfriend inherited the task of dealing with his grandparents house after they passed away a few years ago and so it was that we found ourselves on the living room floor, sorting through boxes of stuff he had decided to keep at the time. While he tackled military memorabilia, I was trusted with the task of trawling through 50 odd years of photographs.

As something of a photography fanatic, I was delighted to see everything from Polaroid snaps in the 70s to tiny, passport photo-size snaps from his grandparents in the 1940s. M’s grandmother Christina used to be a model and the snaps that you can see here are ones her husband took of her throughout the years.

Above: M's grandmother Chris, third from the left

This was long before the age of digital photography and yet there were literally hundreds of images like this of Chris posing on holiday, outside their home and with her friends. There were shots of her taking part in modelling competitions and on holiday in a kaftan Ossie Clark would be proud of.

One of the things I love about fashion, blogging in particular, is how important street style and different sub-cultures have become. Outfit posts are so common these days and while there are some blogs out there that excel at this (The Satorialist and What Katie Wore, for example) there are also many bloggers out there that deliver half-hearted attempts. I include myself in this majority, which is why you won’t often see me posing in my new threads.

However, when I look at all the images of what were effectively outfit posts for a different generation, I am inspired by the relationship between subject and shooter. Some shots are candid, some staged but in each Chris has that glamorous appeal that I associate with this era.

Fresh faced but with immaculate hair, fitted outfits and simple accessories, these images could appear on any vintage fashion blog today. Although fashions and models of camera changed over the course of 50 years, her knack of style and her husband’s love of photographing her remained the same.

I wish I could have been around to experience such important decades of fashion and photographic developments but for now I’ll settle for seeing them through the lens of M’s grandfather.

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Filed under granny fashion, photography, vintage

A load of Cox & Baloney

cox-and-baloney

This afternoon I paid a visit to Whiteladies Road to investigate a vintage boutique that has been on my brain for weeks. I first picked up a Cox & Baloney flyer at a launch party for Crack magazine, then when M and I went out for dinner with some friends last night the name cropped up again on a flyer for a vintage event at the Thali Cafe. Despite the boutique having been up and running for five months I never quite got round to visiting but I simply couldn’t wait any longer so went to take a peek at the store, located inside Woolies Indoor Market.

This bizarre market used to be a Woolworths (RIP) so I was surprised that inside it was full of entrepreneurs selling everything from pies and coffee to soft furnishings and books. Wandering towards the back of the market a sign helpfully pointed me towards the stairs which took me to Cox & Baloney, and I felt like I had stumbled back in time.

Leather trunks, retro lampshades, tweed jackets and geometric 70s prints were just some of the gems I noticed as I ventured in to the boutique which had been lovingly decorated with kitch flower garlands and grand gold framed mirrors. I fell in love with some ‘reworked’ Laura Ashley dresses and a carpet bag but sensibly, perhaps somewhat too sensibly, left my credit card at home.

Co-owner and vintage enthusiast Joney Lyons mans the till

Co-owner and vintage enthusiast Joney Lyons mans the till

However this did give me the opportunity to chat to shop gal on duty and co-owner of Cox & Baloney, Joney Lyons, above. Joney was kind enough to fill be in on her transition from working in the production office of the BBC to running her own vintage empire, along with friend Amy Cox. Tired of working on projects such as Lark Rise To Candleford and Hollyoaks, the girls teamed up to create Cox & Baloney, a vintage boutique focused on recycling and “putting something back” into the community.

Cox & Baloney source many of their vintage finds locally, encouraging customers to bring in unwanted garments in exchange for a share of the profits. “People bring stuff in and sometimes we buy it from them or otherwise we’ll split the profit, or give [the item] back if we can’t sell it” says Joney, “this way locals get to make some money and recycle their old clothes”.

As a customer comes up to the counter to pay for her black suede fringe boots I finger through the rail of vintage dresses and soak up the charming atmosphere. Soon Joney and I are back to chatting about fashion in general and how trends look to the past for inspiration. “Why go out and buy brand new when there are so many fantastic originals? We’re giving granny clothes a new life again.”

With all the vintage treasures on offer I’m inclined to agree – every piece in this boutique no doubt has a story behind it which is more than can be said for a brand new Topshop denim jacket. The clothes and accessories in Cox & Baloney are competitively priced, even cheaper than what some high street retailers charge so this hidden gem is worth checking out. The lovely ladies also attend regular vintage fairs such as Gimme Shelter at The Lanes and for a list of all upcoming events check out their Facebook page.

cox-and-baloney-stall

Trunks, suitcases and hat stands all help to display gorgeous vintage treasures

Table linens and cloths have been carefully folded and displayed

 

A display of shoes, fabric scraps and vintage buttons: swoon!

A deliciously tacky carpet bag - Mary Poppins and River Island would be proud...

Funky furniture creates a cosy space within which to rummage

Vintage dresses from the last four decades

Vintage dresses from the last four decades

cox-and-baloney-woolies-market

The indoor market boasts more than just boutiques, including cafes, book stalls and a Pieminister!

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Filed under Clifton, Cox and Baloney, granny fashion, vintage

>Thrifty Thursday

>

After my weekend adventures at the mall and Target, I’ve been hankering for a slightly more diverse and quirky way to fashionably spend my dollars and today I hit gold, in the form of thrift stores.
For the uninitiated, the common thrift store is an American version of a charity shop or vintage boutique. Thrift stores have grown in popularity in recent years, thanks to the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson championing vintage on and off the red carpet.
I’d been to a few of these quirky stores the last time I was in New York and the look focused very much on leather, denim and retro inspired t-shirts – much akin to the young, hip vintage boutiques in Bristol and London.
Naples is a frustrating place for fashion: the majority of locals are either rich, old, or both, which means that fashion comes in the form of boutiques and exclusive department stores. Great for designer finds, not so great for my wallet. This is why the thrift stores are perfect as all the old people donate all their designer labels and there are plenty of Granny Chic finds to be had!

Gucci pumps, Escada blazers and a stunning pair of nearly new Docle & Gabbana brogues, above, for $75… there are some amazing finds to be had if you’re prepared to rummage, which I always am! Along with high end designers there were the more obscure American and Italian brands along with the likes of Ralph Lauren and Levi denims.
I visited three shops this afternoon, all just five minutes from the house that I had never noticed before. The lovely ladies at The Rose Garden and some gorgeous vintage jewelry and gave me a map with all the thrift stores of Naples on it (the Holy Grail of my fashion hunt so far). Their shop was divided into open plan rooms with menswear, accessories and womenswear, along with furniture and bridal gowns. All the staff were really helpful and super nice, even pointing me in the direction of other store I might like using said map.
Options and Audrey’s Attic were next and both were full of treasures. Options was where I found the D&G shoes, photographic evidence of which will be posted soon. A lot bigger than the other stores, Options supports a local domestic abuse charity which one of the employees told me draws a lot of contributions from the community. There was a real mix of clothes here and although one would need to rummage to find good clothes, accessories were displayed on tables and clear perspex units making them easy to locate and identify.

Audrey’s Attic is a ‘for profit’ thrift store and as a result it looked like more money had gone into the decor and the quirky vintage layout. The collection of vintage upstairs was simply stunning and the shop is run by a British couple who were very helpful when I paid them a visit! The vintage on sale spans from the 40s through to the 80’s with some amazing lace wedding gowns and 50s prom dresses, see photo above. There were treasures aplenty and I will definitely be going back next week and taking E with me – she is a label lover and I’m sure I can lure her in to my way of thinking with some vintage Gucci and Chanel!
Stay tuned for accompanying photographs…

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Filed under Adurey's Attic, America, Dolce and Gabbana, granny fashion, Gucci, Naples Fashion, The Rose Garden

>Granny Chic: A Vintage Goldmine (continued)

>I’m aware that my last post didn’t go into too much detail about the sheer volume of accessories that can be acquired from granny so a bit more on that now…

As with any trend you might be a little unsure of, accessories provide the perfect fashion pool to dip your toe in, without getting soaking wet. If you’re unsure of how vintage/granny chic will look (or how to convince granny to give up the goods) then a pair of shoes or printed scarf are a great place to start.

Chances are that your old lady friend will have accumulated a fair few scarves, bags and pairs of shoes in her time, whether she has an interest in fashion or not. Once again it is a likely bet that the accessories in question will have been kept neatly in their original boxes/packaging, keeping them in good condition.

Shoes – can be a great find if you and granny are a similar size though be warned: shoe that are more than 30 years old are likely to be slimmer across the ball/toe than what you might be used to. If you have wide feet or ankles then this might be an accessory you have to miss out on. This tan leather shoes, far left, are a key example and require Party Feet and a large quantity of alcohol to wear comfortably!

Scarves – printed, woven, wool or silk; a decent square scarf is the multi-tasker of the accessory world. Tie it round your neck for a 50’s air hostess look or tie through the handle of a tired looking bag for instant fashion refreshment. You could of course always drape one around your neck and shoulders when cold! My personal favourites are brightly coloured paisley prints on silk, above.

Jewellery – Depending on her taste, your gran may have anything from pearls to pewter in her collection. If you like decorative, costume jewellery then you may be in luck. An example of what my elderly fashionista has given to me can be seen above, right, and includes some plastic fuchsia beads (great for daytime), a beautiful stone brooch inset into tarnished gold (perfect for smartening up hats and lapels) and some trashy gold bracelets (great for adding a bit of bling on a night out).

Bags
– leather clutches and small, evening bags are all the rage right now and granny may well have a couple she wants to get rid of. Be sure to look out for detailed clasps and a decent lining. Be sure to give back anything your granny may have left inside her bag as although you admire her style, you probably don’t have much need for lace handkerchiefs and plastic combs!

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Filed under accessories, bags, granny fashion, jewellery, scarves, shoes, vintage

>Granny Chic: A Vintage Goldmine

>Vintage clothes have always been on trend, whether they are inspiring new designs or being worn at awards ceremonies by film stars. In Bristol shops such as Billie Jean, Repsycho and La Freak Boutique mean the vintage look is easy to acquire. However, there may be one place you have overlooked on the hunt for the perfect vintage dress, and that would be your Grandma’s wardrobe.

Nan, Granny, Grandmother, Nana: whatever you call her she probably has a goldmine of clothes waiting to be discovered in the back of her wardrobe. Despite the fact that my own elderly relative only ever seems to wear the same three worn out dresses, I have been pinching her clothes, scarves and shoes for years. Dresses from the 80s that have been passed between mother, daughter, sister and cousin often seem to find their way into the care of my Nan, who always looks baffled when I ask to try them on.

And the best thing is that there are so many benefits of pinching some of Grandma’s cast-off’s (emphasis on ‘cast-off’s’: I am not implying that you rip the vintage shirt off her back). For starters, you can probably get said cast-off’s for free which is always a bonus. Not to mention the fact that not only will your garment have a history, but you’ll have someone on hand to tell you all about it. You granny will probably have kept her clothes in good condition and stored them carefully, not covered them in cider and black on a night out before throwing them on the floor. Finally she will almost certainly be; a) flattered that you’ve asked her in the first place and b) really rather chuffed that you want to wear her clothes.

So, once you’ve got you hands on the goods, what should you do with them? Well, one of the easiest things to do is accsessorise with your own jewellery, belts, bags and shoes to make the look your own, above.

If you get landed with a print that you love in a style that just isn’t you. A vintage purist would tell you not to cut up a dress or skirt but if you think that you can rework it into a style that you wear all the time then I say go for it, though if in doubt of your sewing skills consider taking it to a tailor. If you don’t want to involve a pair of fabric shears then try wearing those dodgy polyester skirts with elasticated waist bands as a dress, above.

There is no way I would have worn this pleated skirt in its original state but I loved the pattern so slipped it on like a bandeau and used a waist cinching belt to give it some definition. Add some leggings, a fitted cardigan and some jewellery and voilà, a dress fit for day or night. This is a look that I have been wearing for a few years now and have seen other similar outfits in Cabot Circus for twice the price.

If you’re interested in these looks then pop round to see your grandma/great aunt/elderly friend for a cup of tea and ask to rummage through their wardrobe. Who knows what hidden treasures you might find…

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Filed under granny fashion, skirt, vintage