The Vintage Doll – By Holly Lowe
Drawing by Rosie Blunt
A combination of low funds and a drive to be individual has led many students down the avenue of vintage dressing. Arguably one of the most rewarding ways to kit out your wardrobe, vintage is big business.
Vintage Doll is the second of the uni niches I want to deconstruct. These kids get more than a kick out finding a dusty bargain, for them vintage is a lifestyle and everyday is fancy dress. The uniform is varied but often consists of a fabulous fur coat (faux or otherwise), tea dresses are popular as are high waisted pencil skirts and blouses, band t-shirts and 80's sportswear never fail; shoes vary, anything from military boots and high top trainers to designer peep toes. Hair is always styled, often 1950's inspired with bows scarves or ribbons. Make up is kept pale with rosy cheeks; red lipstick is an essential.
Feel inspired to unleash your inner Dita Von Tease? Luckily this is one of those occasions where you can either do a little or go the whole hog, depending on your styling preferences (and budget). You can spend anything from a couple of quid on a broach to thousands of pounds on a designer dress. Interpreted in the right way vintage can work for everyone. Luckily for me Leeds is big on vintage with some of the best vintage shops and fairs the UK has to offer.
Here are my top tips for going vintage
· If you find vintage a little intimidating, start with accessories. Stage jewellery can be a really cheap but beautiful touch to an outfit. It's always nice to have something individual as far as accessories go, it can make a real statement outfit out of something as simple as jeans and a t-shirt. Huge necklaces, strings of faux pearls, silk scarves and ostentatious broaches can be picked up anywhere from antique fairs to car-boot sales if you're willing to rummage.
· Get to know the vintage dealers in your area, they'll be more likely to point you towards a bargain, be more willing to barter and may even give you first dibs on new stock.
· Find shops that you know will always have good stock, vintage can be really hit and miss. My personal favourite is Blue Rinse in Leeds www.bluerinseleeds.co.uk
· Vintage has its own trends, this summer the big sellers are 1980's and 90's Addidas short shorts and band vests and t-shirts, the bigger and baggier the better.
· Don't limit your shopping venues. Many vintage stores have concessions in larger, chain shops such as Urban Outfitters. Hit the vintage fairs, getting in early often costs you a pound or two more but is definitely worthwhile. If you can't face an early start, the very end of the day is the next best thing, sellers are often more keen to get rid of stock for a lower price than cart it home. As far as I'm concerned car boot sales are an untapped treasure. I'm a bit of an anorak, getting up at 5.30am on a Sunday and heading off thermos in hand in search of a bargain. The early bird catches the worm, last weekend this early bird caught a bargainous Mulberry worm (and you can always go home and go back to bed afterwards) Charity shops can harbour some great treasures; some even have a designer section. Oxfam in particular has a tapped into the niche. Check out the website for details. www.oxfam.org.uk/shop. Be wary of buying off the internet, with vintage you really need to get a feel for what you're buying, rummaging is part of the fun.
Vintage is a winner in my eyes, if you're savvy it can be an inexpensive and exciting way to express yourself in something totally unique to you. Plus it's environmentally friendly so technically it's guilt free spending! No excuses, take inspiration from Vintage Doll, hit the streets, the fairs, the car boot sales and create yourself something totally individual.
. The staff are super helpful and really know their stuff. They also have a massive customer base so it's great for people watching to boot. As well as having shops in Leeds and Manchester the Blue Rinse team hit a lot of the European festivals over the summer so keep your eyes peeled!