The V Word

Confessions of a vintage addict

Hey, my name is Courtney and I'm addicted to vintage. Ok, so it's not like I need rehab or anything, but it has certainly grabbed a massive part of my life. I can very happily spend hours looking for pre-loved clothing, décor, and accessories, without much thought for all the other much more boring things I should be doing. This hunt can take many forms, it could be vintage stores, charity shops, jumble sales, fairs or festivals, I just love it! Some items may grab my attention purely due to the nostalgic feeling they create. Others because they just catch my eye and some because they look so damn cool that I have to have it, regardless of whether I need it or even if it fits. Some things I absolutely need in my life.


Fashion fatigue

  • vintage shop heads with hats

Fashion fatigue

I have never really been a follower of any particular fashion. I find most trends  pretty tiresome, its the same old same old in each well known high street shop. Each visit giving me a sense of deja vu, hence why I keep trips to a minimum. All the 'trends' seem to merge into one. Yawn! Sure, that kinda purchase is of value if you are looking for a staple garment, such as black skinny jeans, and in those cases your purchasing decision will probably be made on budget. For me I prefer to look further afield. I really am reluctant to be on the school run wearing the same outfit as half the drop off crowd.


Jumble beginnings

Jumbles sales are few and far between now, but years ago it was a weekly occurrence for me to go to a bric-a-brac sale. Being in the church choir as a child I helped out at a lot of sales, shame I was too young to realize all of that potential that was right at my finger tips. If I can get to one these days, I get all excited by what I might find. It really is true what they say "one mans trash is another man's treasure" You can get some real finds in these venues for literally pennies. I love to look for job-lots. This a great way of spotting one key item, that alone is worth the purchase price. Big boxes of 'tat' often get overlooked by others because they can't see passed the fodder. That one item can turn my day from nice to bloody marvellous in a split second. Once I have my bulk buy I can either sell on, donate or simply bin the unwanted objects leaving me with my prize and, to be fair, a rather smug feeling about my gain.
A friendly word of warning if you decide to give the Church fete or jumble sale a browse; Don't be fooled by these often church lead events, they are not as friendly as they look. Don't let those little old dears trick you into a false sense of security, they can be mean, and a lot stronger than they look when the mood takes them. You need to have your wits about you, a good pair of strong elbows won't go amiss either. Remember at the end of the day lots of other folk are there for the exact same reason as you and they are not afraid to push, barge or shove you out of the way to get to what's desirable to them.
I would say that car booting has taken the place of the humble table top sale and all the same rules from above apply, including getting there early doors if you want the 'best' stuff or arriving close to the end of the day for the absolute steal deals, this is when the sellers are practically giving the stuff away because otherwise its back in the boot of the car ,being ferried back home and left in a box waiting for the next boot sale.



Charity overload

After I'd had my taste of the hunt at rummage sales I found myself slipping into charity shops, spending many an hour meticulously perusing the rails for unique pieces at a bargain price. Nowadays, sadly charity shops don't carry as much vintage or retro clothing as they used to. In the 90s a surge of consumers had cottoned onto the notion of cheap, retro apparel that was available in these fundraising shops and had soon stripped them bare of all those exclusive assets. So of course business is business and the organisation want as much money for the chosen charity as they can get. Soon enough they had dedicated stores for vintage and retro that started to pop up in larger towns and so did the prices. Sadly then they were not as appealing as they once were. That said, things still slip through the net and find their way to a rail ready prime for picking every now and then. Sometimes pure luck allows me to stumble across something I fall in love with or that I've been angling for, for a while. Those times give me the best buzz, making me want to carry on looking. Feeding my addiction just that little bit more.


Fair alternative

To be fair these places are fun. This is the place you can drag the family too. You can give the kiddie winks some pocket money and let them look at stalls, go on rides or stuff their happy little faces with sweets. You are then free to amble around soaking up the live band whilst scanning the stalls for lots of lovely garments and accessories all in the guise of a family day out. The other half will be propping up the beer tent and after a few, he will be less inclined to ask 'how much?!'
Fairs and festivals are full of rich pickings. I don't mind paying a little extra at these events because after all, it's all right there at my disposal. I'm not scratching around looking for garments from a certain era or style, it's all there ready and waiting. All in neat little rows in size and period order. My only objective is to find what I love, what will fit and what my purse will allow.
In all the above situations I would always advice 'know your stuff' learn the difference between charity and genuine, learn eras and styles. That way, if you know what you want you're more likely to find that bargain.


The V Bug

Once you have the vintage bug, it's in you for life, its part of your soul. Addiction maybe not the right word, Passionate I think is better maybe even infatuation, either way, I have the V bug and I am happy with that. Personally, I've turned my passion into a business and I am blessed to have a career I love. It may have taken over my life and imbedded its self into my DNA but let's face it. It could be worse, much worse.

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