A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III

A week of second hand style- my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III

When Myton Hospices invited me to undertake a style challenge at their new vintage fashion focused Myton Fargo charity shop (so named because of its location on Far Gosford Street, the new creative quarter in Coventry), I got somewhat carried away in creating outfits from their amazing vintage, retro and second hand stock.

As well as my round up feature the other week, and the insight into my own haul when I returned to the shop recently (okay so I’ve been back several times, but only blogged about one of trip!), I included a week’s worth of second hand style courtesy of their racks on my Instagram.

Aside from putting together a few separates, these outfits required approximately zero styling on my part.

The garments speak for themselves. 

Covering a range of styles and eras, as well as different price points, they highlight the fantastic stock curated by store manager Angela at Myton Fargo.

They also show the huge possibilities that are available if you decide to shop and dress second hand.

To showcase this, I thought I’d bring all these outfits together side by side.

According to my research at the weekend (that’s the kind of dedication I’m willing to undertake for you, dear readers #mayhaveboughtadresswhileIwasthere), a few of these pieces are still available.

But rather than focusing on the specifics, however fab they are, I want to emphasise what you can do with second hand clothes – and some of this is definitely second hand, rather than it’s trendier sibling, vintage.

It may take a bit of effort and commitment to dress this way, but the rewards are huge.  Second hand clothes are cheaper, individual and arguably the best way to build an ethical wardrobe.

If you don’t already shop second hand, pop into your local charity shop when you have half an hour to spare and see what takes your fancy.

And please do share with me what you come away with!  I’d love to see the results.

Here’s the best of what I found at Myton Fargo.

#OOTD Number One

 

#OOTD Number 1 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

I fell in love with this blouse as soon as I saw it tucked on the rack. What I wanted to show with this combo is that wearing vintage doesn’t mean impracticality or looking outre – it’s totally possible to mix gorgeous old clothes into a wearable for work look.

At the same time, the unique older pieces stop officewear looking boring. Win win!

The cost?

£4 for the blouse

£9 for the skirt (complete with original tag saying £25 from Next)

£7 for the shoes

Total = £20.00

#OOTD Number Two

#OOTD Number 2 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

Don’t eye roll at me for mentioning Christmas in October!  As I mention in the original post about my Myton adventure, charity shops can be a great place to pick up some festive fashion without fast fashion.

Love this example of Christmas clothing  – check out the detail on the blouse for what makes it perfect for December!

The cost?

£4.00 for the bauble blouse

£7.00 for the skirt

#OOTD Number Three

#OOTD Number 3 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

I labelled ‘Visit to a country pub outfit’ when I was making notes on my choices – sometimes I really do think in fashionese!

Wherever you’d wear this, the two high end items are absolute gems. The Johnstons cape is made of the softest wool; it’s like wearing a blanket. The trousers are an archetypal example of Ralph Lauren – I can’t believe they showed up in the English midlands!

The cost?

£25.00 for the cape

£25.00 for the trousers

Total = £50.00

#OOTD Number Four

#OOTD Number 4 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

Another day, another insight into the fantasy scenarios I create in my head. I named this ensemble the ‘Someret House ice skating outfit’ (although it’s totally okay to switch that to the Rockerfeller Center ice skating outfit if you prefer!).

The presence of actual ice skating boots makes this slightly less strange, I guess – and they epitomise how diverse the @mytonfargoshop stock really is!

The cost?

£20.00 for the dress (brand new with labels)

£12.00 for the Topshop faux fur gilet

£10.00 for the ice skates

Total = £42.00

#OOTD Number Five

#OOTD Number 5 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

This Studio 54 esque look is perfect for injecting some disco glamour into your wardrobe at any time of the year – glitz *and* shiny patent flat shoes to dance the night away in.

This was one of the first dresses I spotted during my Myton Fargo adventure and I knew immediately it had to feature.  The dress ticks the sequins trend, which will be big this season and for SS18.  And of course they are fab for Christmas!

#OOTD Number 5, label details - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com
I always look out for original Next labels such as this (usually without the fraying). A sign of great quality & design!

This outfit also demonstrates what great buys high street vintage can be.  The dress has the original 1980s/90s Next silk label inside.  Anything with this is in a sign of quality. Their clothes were far pricier then than today and signalled a good investment.

This is something I always look out for.

The cost?

£10.00 for the dress

£12.00 for the shoes, which are Marks and Spencer Limited Collection and look barely worn.

Total = £22.00

#OOTD Number Six

#OOTD Number Six - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

Of all the Myton Fargo outfits I’ve featured, this is one of my faves as each of the three elements is so effing awesome!

1) Vintage midi-dress with a winter floral pattern. The attention to detail is fantastic, and it has a concealed zip under a buttoned top section.

2) Levi jean jacket in a classic style. You’ll never wear this baby out!

3) Gorgeous tan boots. No other description needed.

The cost?

£6.00 for the dress

£25.00 for the wear-forever Levi jacket

£8.00 for the boots

Total = £39.00

#OOTD Number Seven

#OOTD Number Seven - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

I love this combo but that’s true about every single item I’ve included!  The coat was amazing quality as well as just all round fabulous.  It ended up going home with a volunteer after her first shift at the store!

The cost?

£35.00 for the coat

£6.00 for the Marks and Spencer Autograph dress

£6.00 for the shoes

Total = £47.00

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Second hand clothes, first rate fashion: charity shop shopping at Myton Fargo Part II

Second hand clothes, first rate fashion: charity shop shopping at Myton Fargo Part II
Second hand clothes, first rate fashion: charity shop shopping at Myton Fargo Part II

October seems to be a bumper month for awareness campaigns.  As well as yesterday’s World Mental Health Day, we are mid way through Hospice Care Week.

Hospices provide palliative care to those with life limiting illnesses. This means that patients admitted to hospices do not recover or leave the facility, except perhaps to spend their final few hours at home.

The annual Hospice Care Week is a time of celebration and action intended to raise the profile of hospice care in the UK and change people’s perceptions of them.

My paternal grandmother and aunt were both cared for by a local hospice, as was a friend’s mum.  I know that they provide vital emotional support as well as medical supervision during the darkest time that individuals and families face.

Hospices are staffed by doctors, nurses and volunteers, but unlike NHS hospitals, they only receive around one-third of their funding from the government.

As a result, hospices throughout the country rely heavily on charitable giving.

An easy way to support your local hospice during Hospice Care Week and beyond is to frequent their nearest charity shop.  

I was delighted when The Myton Hospices, a charity operating three hospices in my area, invited to me to undertake a style challenge at their newest store, Myton Fargo, on Far Gosford Street in Coventry.

I was so amazed and overwhelmed by the fantastic stock that the original terms of the challenge went out the window and I spent a happy day creating a week’s worth of outfits from their racks and rails.

Shortly afterwards, I returned to Myton Fargo with a view to shopping for myself.  In honour of Hospice Care Week, I thought I’d share two items from that haul with you.  Both chime with current and emerging trends from the catwalk, demonstrating that second hand doesn’t mean out of date.

You can use second hand clothes to create first rate fashion.

AW17 Trend: The Cardigan

I’m not a slavish follower of fashion trends but I do love to watch what’s happening on the catwalks as they can (can, not always!) be a great source of creative inspiration.

However distinctive our own style, we could all do with a new twist or turn sometimes.  One way to do this is to see what top designers are doing and integrate elements of that into our look.

It’s not about replicating an outfit top-to-toe, even if we could afford to; rather it’s seeing an idea with fresh eyes.

Case in point this season: cardigans.

For the last decade, they’ve been safe in the stylish hands of Michelle Obama while we all donned sweatershirts and jumpers.

Now, as always happens, the fashion tide has turned.  It’s all about cardigans again!

Even as an ethical and minimalist dresser, this lured me in like a siren.  Oo yes, I thought.  A cardigan is just the thing! (Easily influenced?  Me?  Perhaps).

Myton Fargo provided just the thing: a gorgeous red wine coloured number.  It’s chunky knit incorporates interesting detailing, including what I think is moss stitch on the sleeves (I may be wrong on that!).

It’s an easy wardrobe update that’s also warm and comfortable.

Just look at those buttons!

SS17 Trend: Princess Diana

Princess Diana was a huge style icon during her lifetime and twenty years after her death, her influence is having a renaissance.

Echoes of her famous outfits were evident across the recent Paris Fashion Week, notably in Virgil Abloh’s collection for Off-White, which included Naomi Campbell taking to the runaway in white cycling shorts.

A tad more wearable than cycling shorts is this amazing paste choker.  Myton Fargo shared it on their Instagram feed and I actually drove there the following morning especially to buy it.

An over-reaction?  Maybe.  But it all counts as research, especially having written recently about Princess Diana and costume jewellery!

Nothing has stronger associations with Lady Di than large blue sapphires so it’s a simple style reference – a way of nodding to the trend without going full-blown homage.

Unless, of course, you want to wear cycling shorts.  In which case, go right ahead.

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Charity shop shopping with Myton Hospices: My vintage fashion charity shop adventure at Myton Fargo, Coventry

Charity shop shopping with Myton Hospices: My vintage fashion charity shop adventure at Myton Fargo, Coventry || raeritchie.com
Charity shop shopping with Myton Hospices: My vintage fashion charity shop adventure at Myton Fargo, Coventry || raeritchie.com

I love nothing more than a good rummage in a charity shop so was super excited when Myton Hospices invited me to do a style challenge in their latest store, vintage fashion focused Myton Fargo, Coventry.

Myton Hospices is a charity based in and around Coventry, near to where I live in Warwickshire – right in the centre of England.  For the last thirty-five years, their three hospices have provided palliative, end-of-life care to local people.  In the UK, although hospices provide vital support to the NHS (National Health Service), they don’t receive any government money.  They therefore rely on fundraising to cover all their costs.

Along with events, charity shops (also known as thrift stores, op shops and Goodwill elsewhere in the world) are a central to these fundraising efforts.  In 2016, Myton Hospices raised £8.8 million to ensure their essential work could continue (that’s $11.9 million, €9.96 million, ¥1.325 million, AED 43.8 million).

Vintage fashion focus in Myton Fargo

They have twenty-one charity shops around the Coventry and Warwickshire area, and Myton Fargo is the latest, having only opened three weeks ago.  For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may remember my delight and despair on the launch day: delight at the amazing stock, despair at the Carvela loafers that weren’t in my size!

Myton Fargo takes its name from its location on Far Gosford Street.  This is the heart of Coventry’s new creative quarter.  The shop is directly opposite FarGo Village, a collection of independent businesses including vintage stores, a second hand bookshop, a sustainable clothing manufacturer ethical eateries and a micro-brewery (I’ve previously written about tenants Heaven Vintage and Positive Clothing).

The area’s vibe continues in the Myton Fargo store.  The shop is specifically focused on vintage fashion and retro goods, although there some excellent new and nearly new items on the racks and shelves too.  Manager Angela had her own vintage fashion business so has an eye for what to stock and every item is hand selected, much of it from the charity’s central storage facility.

The charity shop shopping adventure

My brief to style one outfit with a budget of £20.00 ($27.00, €23.00, ¥3,000, AED 100.00) went out the window within minutes of arriving at Myton Fargo on Saturday morning.  There was so much treasure in there that I wanted to showcase more than just one ensemble!

Instead I put together eight looks that I’m featuring on Instagram and Twitter every day this week.  Head over and take a look!  I’m asking people to guess how much they think each outfit costs and would love to hear your estimates.

And because these eight outfits *still* weren’t enough to do Myton Fargo justice, below are some other examples of their awesome stock.

I want to highlight the range of clothing available in charity shops / thrift stores / op shops.  You don’t have to be into vintage to love them!   They’re a great place to experiment with new styles, whether vintage or otherwise.  You can also pick up pieces that nail current trends without turning to the high street and fast fashion.  Plus as you’ll see, workwear and special occasions are catered for as well!

At this risk of stating the obvious, it’s worth reiterating the sustainable element to charity shop shopping too.  By buying second hand, you’re keeping textiles out of landfill and recycling perfectly good materials while putting much needed coppers in the pockets of the charity in question.

If you live near to the English Midlands, I’d encourage you to find your nearest Myton Hospices shop and check them out for yourself.  Wherever you live, pay your local charity shop a visit and support a good cause while securing a bit of loveliness for yourself!

Your favourite charity shops

Where are your favourite charity shops, thrift stores and op shops?  I’m always looking for recommendations so comment below or on social media to share your suggestions.  I’d also love to hear about your experiences of charity shopping.  What’s been your best bargain?  What little gem have you snapped up?

What I found in Myton Fargo charity shop…

This season’s trends

What really stood out for me during my five hours in the Myton Fargo charity shop (yes really – five hours!) was the amount of stock that ticked this season’s fashion boxes.  Here are some of my favourite examples!

Two of the big colours at the moment are red and pink, both of which have a reputation as being difficult to wear.  Uncertain as to whether they are for you?  Buy something suitably hued from a charity shop and you have a great cheap way to play.

Colour without commitment!

Patterned midi dress?  Yes please!  Totally on trend, totally a bargain!  Size XXL but vintage clothing usually comes up small, plus this could be belted.  Cost: £15.00!

I’m normally a bit reluctant to feature Primark clothing in my discussions of second hand clothing, partly because I think even buying used supports fast throwaway fashion, partly because the quality isn’t there.  However I couldn’t resist giving this beautiful beaded collar a shout out!  It’s an easy way to get on board with the fashion world’s newly rediscovered love of pearls.

Primark cardigan, size fourteen, cost £3.00 ($4.00, €3.5, ¥450, AED 15.00).

Accessories

The selection of accessories in Myton Fargo was as lust inducing as the clothing, with a whole range of tastes catered for too.  I’m again having not-buying-shoes regret but I was so preoccupied with what I could you show you lovely people that I didn’t have the brain space to consider charity shop shopping for myself!

From the accessories, I put together an edit of items that I think are particularly awesome.  These are pictured in the grid below and I’ll be offering them to my mailing list in the September newsletter.  Of course you can always be in with a chance of getting your hands on them by signing up 😉

Workwear

Even if we don’t work in an office with a dress code, sometimes we all need an outfit that’s a little bit smarter.  Charity shops can help us achieve that without having to spend full price – but still snapping up some reputable brands.  Here are Myton Fargo highlights!

Top to bottom:

Vintage tunic style shirt, size fourteen, £3.00 ($4.00, €3.50, ¥450, AED 15.00).

Whistles dress, size twelve, £5.00 ($4.00, €6.00, ¥750, AED 25.00).

The Kooples ombre shirt, size small, £7.00 ($9.50, €8.00, ¥1050, AED 35.00).

Marks and Spencer Autograph retro style dress, size fourteen, £8.00 ($11.00, €9.00, ¥1200, AED 40.00).

Christmas

Yes, the C-word in September! But there’s less than one hundred days to go now and I believe that it’s never too early to begin planning for it – especially if it helps avoid a last-minute panic that results in over-spending on something itchy and ill-fitting that you only wear once.

Myton Fargo stocked plenty that would be perfect for a Christmas party or a more formal event.  There will be more about this on Instagram and Twitter this week, but for now here’s just one example: never has the Mrs Santa look been so retro fabulous (nor demure!).

Cost for this size small, unlabelled vintage dress: £15.00 ($20.00, €17.00, ¥2.260, AED75.00)

 

Best of the rest vintage

 

Top left to bottom right:

1980s denim overall style dress, size medium, £12.00 ($16.00, €13.50, ¥1800, AED 60.00).

1990s velvet waistcoat, forgot to note the details – oops!

1980s Mary Quant velvet dress (yes! Mary Quant!), size twelve, £25.00 ($34.00, €28.00, ¥3775, AED 125.00).

Windsmoor houndstooth check jacket, size eight, £12.00 ($16.00, €13.50, ¥1800, AED 60.00).

Classic vintage pattern cotton skirt, size medium, £6.00 ($8.00, €6.75, ¥900, AED 30.00).

1940s style orange lightweight knit cardigan, size medium, £5.00 ($4.00, €6.00, ¥750, AED 25.00).

Sailor style black and white dress, size sixteen, £7.00 ($9.50, €8.00, ¥1050, AED 35.00).

1960s dress coat with matching shift dress*, sold as a set, size medium, £10.00 ($13.50, €11.00, ¥1500, AED 50.00).

Blue and white silky dress, size extra large, £6.00 ($8.00, €6.75, ¥900, AED 30.00).

* Lightly stained but no doubt dry cleaning would sort this.

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Heaven Vintage’s Fab Fill A Bag vintage fashion sales: a new way to buy vintage clothes

Heaven Vintage's Fab Fill A Bag vintage fashion sales: a new way to buy vintage clothes || raeritchie.com

Please note that this post has been sponsored by Heaven Vintage – but all views & enthusiasm are my own! 

Browsing a vintage fashion sale always sounds like a good way to spend a Saturday morning to me, but especially so when I heard that Coventry’s FarGo Village favourites Heaven Vintage had created a new way to shop with their ‘Fab Fill A Bag’ events!  Fuelled by a lovely filter coffee from The Big Comfy Bookshop, I headed into FarGo’s central atrium to find out more.

We’re all familiar with the usual ways to pay for vintage clothes.  Mostly items are individually priced, but there are also sales where customers pay according to weight – typically £15 upwards for a kilo of clothing and accessories, sometimes with an admission fee on top.

However Heaven’s ‘Fab Fill A Bag’ events are different.  With their unique concept, you shop the racks and rails full of vintage fashion then take what you want for bagging up.  Whatever fits in one bag, you get for £10.  Want more vintage clothes and accessoires?  Fill another bag for £10.

It’s that simple: a tenner for a bag full of whatever vintage fashion you choose.

Not only is it simple, it’s great value!  If your friend chooses all lightweight blouses but you want a beaded dress and a leather jacket, you’re not penalised as you would be at a pay-per-kilo sale where the heaviest items cost the most.

Two customers rummage through the vintage fashion at Heaven Vintage's Fab Fill A Bag sale
What might we find?

 

Whatever vintage clothes you fill your bag with, you will be getting a good deal. 

Well folded and rolled, you can squeeze a deceptive amount into the clear plastic bags that they provide (sized 39 x 45 in the summer and 56 x 45cm in the winter).  You can leave with at least a couple of outfits for the price of one or two cheap items off the high street as well as knowing that that you’re doing your bit for the environment by doing some super cool clothes recycling.

The weight of the bag I filled?  1.75 kg.  That would have cost *at least* £26 at a kilo sale.

Instead it cost £10, and I could have got even more goodies in it if I’d wanted to.  (You can also win the edit that I selected; check out my Instagram for more info on how!).

Literally a treasure chest filled with vintage silk scarves
Literally a treasure chest!

There are other reasons for loving the ‘Fab Fill A Bag’ events too.  There’s the thrill of uncovering a hidden gem that comes with their deliberately jumble sale vibe.  Heaven Vintage owner Angela grew up rummaging around in church halls for treasure and that’s the feeling that she wanted her customers here to experience.

Angela’s presence at the end of the tables is another plus point.  She knows her Adidas from her Zandra Rhodes so go chat to her about what you’re looking for – there’s none of the too-cool-for-school vibe that pervades some vintage emporiums.  On the contrary, ‘Fab Fill A Bag’ has a refreshingly friendly atmosphere.

I chatted to first time visitors (including a mother and daughter from Minnesota in the States!) as well as Heaven regulars.  Monthly customer Susie told me that she loved coming because it allows you to dress a bit wacky.  She is totally right.

Because of the low prices, you’re not afraid to experiment with items that you perhaps wouldn’t normally try.

This is true for vintage connoisseurs as much as complete newbies to the scene.  Alongside some new branded and high street goods (I saw several unworn ASOS dresses, complete with original tags), there are retro classics including cut-offs, plaid shirts and wax jackets.

 

This vintage fashion sale stocks plenty of vintage clothing classics such as the cut offs on this table
Vintage fashion classics, from cut offs to plaid shirts

The huge range of different styles represented on the hangers covers various decades and offers something for all tastes.

There’s everything from classic British labels to US imports to rarer European brands.

 

Two happy customers with a bag of vintage clothes leaving the Fab Fill A Bag vintage fashion sale
Happy customers!

You’re bound to find at least one piece, no doubt more, that makes your heart go a-flutter.  Several days later, I’m still slightly gutted that I missed out on an amethyst Liz Claiborne edge-to-edge wool coat.  Damn that Susie!  I’ll be sharpening my elbows when I see her at the next one 🙂

Don’t forget you can win my edit from this sale!  Check out my Instagram for all the details.

The next Fab-Fill-A-Bag sale is Saturday 16th September (11am to 4pm) and Sunday 17th September (11am to 3pm) at FarGo Village, Far Gosford Street, Coventry, CV1 5ED.  For more information, check out Heaven Vintage’s Facebook page.

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#CharityTuesday: Today’s Second Hand Style Haul

#CharityTuesday: Today's Second Hand Style Haul || raeritchie.com

I’ve recently started appearing on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio’s Brody Swain show.  Every few weeks, I turn up and talk about the day’s more lighthearted news stories with Brody and a couple of other guests.

This is fun in itself, but it also means that I’ve got a great excuse to regularly pop in to a row of my favourite charity shops on the nearby Trinity Street in Coventry city centre.  Together they represent three great causes, including two with local links: Mary Anne Evans Hospice, Cancer Research UK and The Myton Hospices.

The greatest compliment I’ve ever received was linked to a skirt purchased from one of these, as I’ve talked about before.  I say in that post that it was from Scope but I think it was actually the Mary Anne Evans Hospice Shop – which is the store I didn’t have time to go in earlier.

Here’s today’s haul and how I plan to wear each item.  I’ve love to hear what you’ve picked up recently in charity shops and what you’re doing with it!  Comment below or pop over and tell me on Instagram or Twitter.

And if you enjoy this post, please do share it on social media – it really does make a difference!  There are sharing buttons at the bottom of the post.

#CharityTuesday: Today's Second Hand Style Haul || raeritchie.com

Black pleated skirt, £3 (The Myton Hospices)

Knowing how much I wear my navy one, I was chuffed to spot a similar skirt in black.  I’m already imagining it at Christmas with a winter white jumper (yet to be purchased, but I was eyeing up a Finisterre with RNLI one on Pebble Magazine this morning).

I’m thinking of swapping the self-coloured buttons to houndstooth check ones.  Any thoughts?

#CharityTuesday: Today's Second Hand Style Haul || raeritchie.com

Farah men’s vintage fit t-shirt, £3.75 (The Myton Hospices)

Since going to see ‘North: Identity, Photography, Fashion’ at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery back in the spring (soon to be on show at Somerset House), I’ve been aspiring to channel the casuals’ look – largely by wearing my partner’s slim fit Fred Perry t-shirt with my Adidas Gazelles.  I can now branch out to wearing this t-shirt too.

It’s a beautiful jersey cotton that I’m hoping will also contrast nicely with the silk of wide leg pyjama style bottoms!

#CharityTuesday: Today's Second Hand Style Haul

Khaadi long length shirt, £3.00 (Cancer Research UK)

A quick Internet search revealed that Khaadi is a Pakistani clothing brand, which isn’t surprising given the design of this shirt.  I loved its colour, softness and overall look, which is about as near to boho as I ever get.  As Imran Khan, the former Pakistani cricketer turned politican, is one of my style icons, it feels like this was meant to be mine!

For now I’m planning on wearing it with linen trousers and tucking in the front.  I saw the latter on a street style blog and it caught my eye.  Loving the popularity of shirts at the moment as I live in them and I’m getting lots of inspiration on different ways to wear them (see also below for more!).

20170815_170736

Top Lady blouse, £2.00 (Cancer Research UK)

The sight of this on a rack is what pulled me into the store when I thought I was done with my Myton Hospices purchases!  I’ve yet to find anymore information about the brand.  It isn’t one I’ve encountered before.  If the style alone didn’t scream retro then the ‘Made in the UK’ label indicates it has to be of a certain vintage!

Turns out I first saw the blouse from the back.  It’s actually a button up with a pussy cat bow, which is nice in itself but I’m determined to try wearing it the other way round as I think it looks amazing that way.  Just need to ensure I get dressed and undressed with my partner around!

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Vintage Fayre, Music Festival: the vintage tent at Coventry’s Godiva Festival

Vintage Fayre, Music Festival: the vintage tent at Coventry's Godiva Festival

I’ve recently written about Positive Outlook, a conscious clothing company based with a store in Coventry (and also available online!).  While researching this piece, I became more aware of the flourishing vintage scene in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.  Obviously I’d have been surprised if one of the huge trends of the last decade or so wasn’t evident around here.

Still it’s been fun to discover local sources for gorgeous second-hand goods!

I was able to delve further into this new-to-me world when at Coventry’s brilliant Godiva Festival this weekend.  FarGo Village, the city’s home for independent creative businesses (including Positive Outlook), hosted a vintage marquee and I had a good rummage while chatting to various stallholders.

Before I introduce them, I want to say a huge thanks to my partner Mark for patiently holding my Pepsi during the time I was in the tent.  The bars were refusing to give out lids and it’s hard to browse racks, rails and table tops with an open bottle of pop in one hand!  He’s waited outside a lot of shops and stalls as I’ve conducted important research 🙂

So if you’re committed to conscious clothing, here are some great central England sellers.

 A Little Bit of Vintage

Birmingham based Kathryn’s stall stocked some real gems.  With the label ‘vintage’ too often used to describe clothes that are simply used, it was refreshing to see racks filled with genuine old school items.  I was particularly taken with a colourful patterned housecoat and a red and white dress comprised of a peplum top and pencil skirt, complete with original red patent belt.

Kathryn also had a range of compacts, fans, purses and bags, all at great prices.  She’s on Facebook if you want to find out more.

I wish I’d bought: one of the lovely little bags, but I couldn’t choose between the woven one and beaded one (okay, I could have bought both but this was only supposed to be a research trip!).

Martha’s Bazaar

If you’re looking to create a distinctive look then check out Martha’s Bazaar.  There was so much buzz around the stall’s vintage Asian clothing that I struggled to get a look in but even from a distance you could see the beauty and quality.  The dresses, separates, scarves and shawls come in opulent colours with rich embroidery and embellishment.  Anyone who’s ever harboured a Princess Jasmine fantasy (and who hasn’t?!) needs to check them out.

Martha’s Bazaar sell Asian décor and accessories too.  They’re on Instagram, Depop, Twitter and Facebook.

I wish I’d bought: several sets of the always stylish jewelled bangles to stack up both wrists.

Millerchip’s Vintage

There aren’t many vintage stalls that capture the attention of tween boys but that’s what Cindy managed to do with her display of unusual pocket watches!  Her section of the tent was like an Aladdin’s cave, full of quirky jewellery and clothing from the 1940s to 80s.  I was reminded how the high street hasn’t always been synonymous with throwaway fashion when I stumbled across an old Dorothy Perkins top, complete with a ‘Made in Britain’ label.  Hard to imagine.

Vintage Fayre, Music Festival: the vintage tent at Coventry's Godiva Festival

Cindy offers vintage parties – what a great idea is that?  Find her on Twitter for more info.

I wish I’d bought: the patchwork suede purse – a fashionable twist on the Roy Cropper shopper.

Fab Fill a Bag by Heaven Vintage

The concept is simple and familiar at vintage fayres up and down the land: get a bag, fill it up and pay £10 for all the contents.  If it’s an eighties or nineties aesthetic that you’re after then this is the place to stock up!  There were tons of classic sportswear and casual options.  Jean jackets and cut-offs seemed especially popular with punters, which is always good to see given the environmental impact of producing new denim.

Heaven Vintage offer branded high street and branded goods alongside vintage.  They are on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr and also have a store at FarGo Village.

I wish I’d bought: an old school wax jacket.  It was too hot to even think about trying them on!

Mrs Flower’s Fabulous Card Company

Not vintage clothing, but I had to give a shout out to Alison and her amazing wares!  Alison has a passion for old cards, be they greetings, cigarette or the playing variety, and upcycles these ephemeral items into unique nostalgic artworks.  I ran out of superlatives, not only to describe the beautiful old designs but her skill in giving them a fresh look.  There were people buying gifts for Christmas already!

Vintage Fayre, Music Festival: the vintage tent at Coventry's Godiva Festival

As well as cards, Mrs Flower’s stall housed a selection of small vintage accessories and homeware.  Her website is here.

I wish I’d bought: given Adam West’s recent death, the Batman cards really pulled on my heart strings. Kerpow!

Do you have any ‘I wish I’d bought’ vintage moments?  Or have you splashed out on something that seemed frivolous only to find that you wear it all the time?  I’d love to hear your vintage tales; you can comment here or on social media (links below).

Thank you for reading!

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