Monday 28 September 2015

Foxy Lady

After a very busy and profitable day in the shop on Saturday, I was ready for a relaxed Sunday. With some local vintage shopping thrown in? Oh, go on then. 

One of my favourite buildings in Sheffield, which has featured on the blog many times - Abbeydale Picture House. 

I haven't been to the vintage market there for a while, so it seemed appropriate to take advantage of a sunny Sunday and have a browse. 
There was an Eighties fashion show featuring Material and Uptown Girls...

and some very stylishly dressed folk who agreed to have their photos taken.
The couple on the left were lovely, friendly and funny and extremely well-dressed; the ladies on the right stood out in their colour and print.
The vintage market has grown over the years, and I am delighted to see the Picture House being used for events like this. I bumped into lots of people I knew, had a good rummage, chatted to stall holders, and a couple of hours passed very happily.

Colourful ceramics...

and both musical and alcoholic accompaniments.
Oh, don't try and tell me you aren't sniggering, I won't believe you.

This one's for Fi - that's you, that is!

So what did I buy?

This; it's creased because I put it on as soon as I got home, straight out of the bag. A fiver? How could I leave it behind? 

1970s handmade evening dress - vintage market
Sandals - retail (sale)
1970s necklace - belonged to a friend's mum
Bangles - charity shopped 

You're never less than visible in vintage black satin with metallic thread detail, so I'd better get myself over to Patti's for Visible Monday.
I bought another dress and a skirt from the same seller's £5 rail, which I'll show you in future posts. 

This poor creature looked decidedly sad, unlike the perky painted foxes which have started appearing in my local area of late.

They make me smile.

So onward with another week - hope you're all doing OK, I'll be visiting soon, I promise!


Thursday 24 September 2015

Stirling Cooper meets Monsoon

Working in a charity shop hasn't dimmed my enthusiasm for chazzing; in fact, I'm always interested in checking out how other shops do things. 
And picking up a bargain too, of course. 

Like this 1980s textured jacket, mine for a fiver.

The sheer pleated skirt is by Stirling Cooper, a British boutique label which began in the late 1960s and initially featured Anthony Price and Sheilagh Brown as designers.
Here they are in the Stirling Cooper* shop, which you entered through a dragon's jaws. 
Oh, the divine decadence of Swinging London. And how much do I love that dress? 

(*Not to be confused with Sterling Cooper, the fictional advertising agency in Mad Men.)

I had always assumed the skirt was from the 1980s, but thinking about some of those sheer designs I saw at the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition last month, I wonder if it's older than that? 
A selection of Stirling Cooper clothing from the 1960-70s.
I'd love to wear this skirt with the tight-fitting ruffled polka dot blouse and platform shoes (top row, centre). 
The jacket is easier to date, it's from Monsoon's 1980s Twilight collection.
The nipped-in waist and shoulder pads are a nod to a 1940s silhouette, and I love the flattering shape. 

Monsoon has been around for over 40 years now and still has a presence on the high street, along with sister company Accessorize.

I'm a bit of a vintage label nerd, I love researching them. 

Since clothing manufacture in the UK largely ceased after the 1980s, you can pretty much assume that most items with a Made in England/Great Britain/UK label are vintage. That, or a high end heritage brand, but even then, companies like Burberry, Jaeger and Mulberry only make a proportion of their goods in this country. 

 1970s Stirling Cooper sheer skirt and ankle boots - Ebay
1980s Monsoon jacket and 1950s diamante brooch - charity shopped
Speaking of vintage nerdery, I am hoping it will stand me in good stead; I have just applied for a new job. St Luke's are opening a charity shop specialising in vintage, and will soon be recruiting a manager and deputy. 
If ever a job had my name written all over it, it's this one. I have so many ideas fizzing around in my brain, I might explode.  I'm waiting to hear whether I have got an interview or not. 
I'll keep you posted!


Monday 21 September 2015

1976 and all that

I don't have much experience of posh work dos. In the past, a night out with work colleagues meant meeting at the pub for a few pints, and any stragglers still standing at the end might go for a late-night curry.  

So it was a surprise to have the opportunity to attend a ball on Saturday night, organised by St Luke's for its employees and patrons. 

1970s maxi dress and sequin clutch bag - gifts from Helga
Ostrich feather bolero - gift from Tania 
Sandals, vintage necklace and bangles - charity shopped

The dress code was either black tie or pirate fancy dress (no, I'm not entirely sure why either...) and as you can see, I decided to forgo the dubious delights of an eye patch and parrot as accessories. 1970s-does-30s glamour all the way for me!

The retail team were celebrating the fact the St Luke's shops have won an Outstanding Achievement in Profit award from the Charity Retail Association.

Sorry, no photos from the event itself, but I can tell you that Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films is clearly the inspiration for pirate fancy dress these days. (And it doesn't look quite as alluring on most men as it does on him...) 

I spotted this 1970s block-printed Indian cotton dress in a charity shop for a pittance, and although it was originally intended for sale on Ebay, I am considering keeping it. 

The colours and the hand-painted gold details are so pretty. 

And speaking of the Seventies, I also found this;

a dressmaking guide based on a 1976 BBC TV series.

I love the illustrations, even if the proportions are ridiculously elongated.


If only my legs were that long, I'd look far better in trousers. 

1970s Indian cotton dress, 1970s leather bag and belt - charity shopped
1980s Finnish-made boots - Second to None, Walsall 
Charlie and a pumpkin - free

What were you up to that year?

I was 12, I was in my final year of middle school, and the UK experienced a famously hot and dry summer. I remember Harold Wilson resigning as Prime Minister, I watched Nadia Comeneci score perfect 10s at the Olympics in Montreal, and the music in the charts was a curious blend of the sublime and the ridiculous. 

 Abba, Queen, Rod Stewart, Barry White, ELO and Tina Charles.
The early days of both disco and punk.
Dreadful novelty records.
The inexplicable success of the Bay City Rollers, Slik, Demis Roussos and Showaddywaddy.

And some real classics - Jolene, Young hearts run free, Play that funky music, Misty Blue, Let's stick together, and The boys are back in town. 

My 12 year old self would probably have picked Don't go breaking my heart or Dancing Queen. 

The 51 year old version is going with the heart-breaking majesty of No Regrets by the Walker Brothers.

Linking to Patti's Visible Monday. I never have any regrets about that!


Tuesday 15 September 2015

I know it's out of fashion and a trifle uncool

I've been both working and playing pretty hard of late. 
I like having plenty to keep me occupied, but I must confess I reach a point where all I want to do is curl up under a blanket on the sofa with a mug of tea, and catch up on the X Factor auditions.
I'm so rock'n'roll. 

Most of this outfit is newly acquired. 

I had an abortive attempt at buying some Lotta from Stockholm clogs earlier this year (they are cheaper than Swedish Hasbeens, and you can buy slight seconds at an even more reduced price). However, when I tried them out by wearing them around the house, they hurt my feet so much, I was glad to take them off. The foot bed was clearly all wrong for the shape of my foot, and although I got a refund without any trouble, I was sad at not being able to wear them.
So hurrah for finding these suede Gudrun Sjoden clogs in a charity shop for less than a fiver! I love the colour, and they are comfortable enough to wear for a day at work when I am on my feet for 8 hours. 

Excuse my rain-tipped toes.

Ooh, a leather skirt! Modern, but it's got a cool Seventies A-line vibe which I like.  

1980s jacket (part of a culotte suit), leather skirt, tights, clogs, and vintage Austrian crystal necklace - all charity shopped 

It seems appropriate to give a nod to the early Eighties, since I was reminiscing about my time at university again last Saturday. 

I attended a reunion event with these lovely ladies; we were all at university together, 1982-5.

L-R; Me, Sally, Rebecca, Claire J and Claire H.
We laughed and gossiped, caught up on what's going on now as well as reminding each other of what happened 30 years ago. (What's wrong with me, I seem to have forgotten so much!) Rebecca lives in New Zealand now, so it's a rare treat to see her, and Claire H is in London; the rest of us are still here in Sheffield. 

We danced to all sorts of music, but yes, there were some Eighties classics in the mix. Of course there were!
For once, I had to be sensible and was the first to leave as I was working on Sunday. 

There is a quarterly Farmers' Market in Nether Edge, the suburb where my shop is located, so we open on those Sundays to capture the passing trade. It coincided with the final day of our end of season sale, and all clothes, shoes and bags were £1. It was very busy; I loved it, and we made lots of money. 

It's been good to have a day off today, pottering in a damp garden with my cats.

Charlie is always the one causing bother; Minnie does not want to engage with him, especially when he's showing his arse. And who can blame her?

The girls co-exist in reasonable harmony.

I'll be joining the always harmonious get-together over at Patti's for the welcome return of Visible Monday. 
 Looking forward to catching up with you all!


Thursday 10 September 2015

Scandinavian style and Derbyshire stories

It won't be long before the leaves change colour, but for now, both they and I are green.

I found this Katja of Sweden dress for just £10 at a vintage fair earlier in the year. It's made from a substantial cotton knit fabric, perfect for our current chilly temperatures. 
 Katja Geiger was a leading Swedish designer who began her career in the 1950s. Perhaps her most characteristic clothes are from the 1960-70s, when she produced designs like this dress - easy-to-wear knit dresses with bold prints and colours.

Simple sophistication, psychedelia meets folk art - these dresses are right up my street. They have a similar aesthetic to Marimekko, the influential Finnish fashion and textiles design company.

1970s Katya of Sweden dress - vintage fair
1950s tapestry bag - gift from Emma
1980s Finnish-made boots - Second to None
Denim jacket and bangles - charity shopped
I was out and about amid the green of the countryside at the weekend, celebrating a friend's birthday in the Derbyshire village of Hathersage.

How's that for a view over your garden wall?

Hathersage churchyard contains a grave which according to local tradition is that of Little John.
Charlotte Bronte stayed at the Vicarage* in 1845, while she was writing Jane Eyre
The Eyres were well-known local landowners, and inspired her choice of name for the titular heroine. Thornfield, the home of Mr Rochester, was based on North Lees Hall, a manor house just outside Hathersage. 

Apparently, tourists come to the churchyard in search of Jane's grave, and occasionally seem put out that it doesn't exist. I suppose if one of Robin Hood's merry men has a grave, then any legendary and/or fictional character could have one.

Oh look, is that the shadow of Jane and her pupil Adele?

(Or perhaps poor mad Mrs Rochester?)

I haven't re-read Jane Eyre for years, and I do love it, so I think that might be next on my reading list.
(*If you're looking for a new home and have over £1m at your disposal, the Old Vicarage at Hathersage is currently on the market.)

I'm working all through this weekend; there is a local farmer's market on Sunday so we're opening the shop, and then working late to change our stock over from summer to winter. I'm going to be very busy and very tired, I'm sure, so I'll apologise in advance if I don't get round to visiting you for a few days. 

I'll see you as soon as humanly possible!