From the minute the door of the musky shop rings to welcome me in, all of my senses become engaged: the beautiful whiff of mothballs up my nostrils, the first glimpse of the treasures calling out to be discovered, the sound of the shopkeeper’s hands rubbing together in glee at the sight of muggins enthusiastically entering the store … and so the journey begins.
I can feel the blood that runs through my veins begin to rush as I spot the corner of what is sure to be a must-have gem. On realising the full garment is just as beautiful as the peeking fabric teased, my eye develops a twitch and I start to giggle manically with anticipation. The absolute and overwhelming joy however comes when I’ve taken the dress behind the flowery curtain, am mid try-on and as the rusty zip rises all of my hopes are realised … IT FITS!
You see with Vintage there is no ‘up a size’; with vintage there is no ‘other colour’. When a vintage dress fits you like a glove you know without doubt you will not leave the store without it. It had been waiting for you to find it and now is just the start of your beautiful, unique friendship.
Once I’ve made the purchase and leave the shop my mind begins to wonder as to who originally owned the piece and what they did when they wore it. I have gowns that bring me to bygone eras of visiting soldiers and cabaret clubs. I imagine the blouse on my back was worn to a first ever day at work in a male dominated, smoky office. I decide the pair of old gloves were part of an outfit that visited race days in London and in which hands were guided out of beautiful cars by perfect gentlemen.
Yes for me vintage buying is the most romantic of experiences. And as I’m happily immersed in my fanciful thoughts my best friend happens across the latest item. As she warily approaches it her nose begins to turn up and the sides of her mouth turn down. She begins to scratch her body and quizzes me on how much older my ‘new bag’ is than me? She tells me in no uncertain terms that my wearing of these used ‘cast-offs’ frankly makes her question my level of hygiene and then, in case I was in any doubt about her feelings on the matter, suggests to me that the original owner was probably a lady of the night with very little access to soap that now likely lies 6 foot under and will probably haunt my wardrobe.
Way to burst a bubble…