Having spent the last thirty years trawling charity shops and jumble sales I have a few little gems that I have kept onto. I realise that being in my mid-forties means I can no longer fit into the size 8s and 10s I could as a teenager but I have been unable to part with some of my more wonderful finds. Thankfully I have three daughters and one niece so I am holding onto these items so that they may be able to wear them in the future.
At present I have two boxes of ‘vintage’ clothing which are stored away.
They contain a range of clothing, including a few items I bought in the 1990s. There is this early 90s ‘grunge’ dress that I bought while living in the US in 1992/3.
I also have a red two piece suit from Karen Millen that I wore to my wedding reception in 1999.
Then there are the finds from my student and school days which I have kept onto because they are unique:
My white Victorian style blouse picked up from Birmingham Rag Market in 1990/1. I wore this for my university graduation in 1994.
I was fortunate enough to begin my second-hand shopping in the mid eighties when charity shops and jumble sales were frowned upon yet, conversely, held the most amazing items that would sell for more than 50p now!
These two summer dresses have been with me for decades. I can’t remember where I picked them up from (possibly jumble sales in the late 1980s). I believe they are 1950s, or early 1960s. They have the telltale signs of metal zips and the brilliantly designed bra holders (small straps sewn in that clip your bra into place – genius invention). I was able to wear them until a few years ago and am deliberating over whether to get them altered so that I can wear them again.
Blanes of London was a clothing company from the 1950s and 1960s, according to Vintage Fashion Guild. This website also says that if the label had a diagonal background then it dates from the 1950s. A quick search on the web revealed similar day dresses from Blanes on sale for $130-$180, although I have no intention of selling this one! (NB vintage sizing is higher numbers than today. I comfortably wore this size ’14’ when I was a size 10; being size 12 now means I can no longer squeeze into it)
One of the most precious collections in my box are my baby dresses from the early 1970s:
With label names like ‘Rob Roy’ and ‘Little Imp’ and their heavy use of nylon they seem to come from another era. They are also incredibly short. While I have kept onto them for years there weren’t many of these dresses that I could put my own girls into as the styles have changed so much.
This is the one dress that my girls did wear, with leggings or trousers:
My collection also includes a couple of designer named items that I picked up in charity shops in Bath. I am always on the lookout for tips on how to store them better (especially as I now realise how much the jumble sale Blanes dress is worth!). I don’t feel sad that I can no longer fit into the clothing. As I have mentioned before with good quality items we are only the temporary custodians. I hope that the 1950s dresses go on to tell many more tales when my daughters wear them…