Apr 18

Vintage Fashion And Style (Plus Music) In Harrogate

Entry: £1.50 on the door or in advance via the website
Place: Wesley Chapel, Harrogate
Rating: 10 out of 10!

Vintage fair today!

Harrogate Vintage Fair, run  by Yorkshire Vintage Fairs, is a new one for me. I’ve not experienced vintage fashion and style at a fair in a long while, due to there being so many kilo sales around instead.

So, yeah, I fancied a day out in Harrogate so I could see some great clothes without having to rummage for hours!

Getting there

I got the train there (just over 30 minutes from Leeds, costing £8.10). As I walked through a wet town centre and towards the chapel, I could hear swing music playing. I tried to resist the charity shops, but I did pop into a few on the way…just to get out of the April showers, of course!

The fair started at 10.00, and I got there at 12.45. There was a queue of about half a dozen people, but it moved fairly quickly.

What was it like?

After walking through the cafe area, there were lots of stalls packed in. There was a steady number of people coming in and out while I was there. It was a good atmosphere, and I suspect people were grateful to be out of the North Yorkshire rain!

Inside, there were live performances by Dani G (The Vintage Diva) throughout the day. Her songs covered hits such as Walk On By, Say A Little Prayer (more Dionne than Aretha) and Son Of A Preacher Man. It was a great innovation for the fair, and the Vintage Diva is a real talent!

Apart from the live sets, there was music playing from the 1950s and 1960s.

A selection of clothes at the Harrogate Vintage Fair

All eras of clothing were represented, from an elaborate black Victorian cape to blouses from the 1980s. A lot of it was womenswear, but there was a significant amount of tweedy menswear too. There was even a stall with vintage kids’ clothing.

Vinyl, handbags and designer shoes were also available. A couple of stallholders had some very tempting vintage patterns from the 40s to the 60s. Even though I have quite a few already, I couldn’t resist having a little look!

Up the stairs (or up via lift) was where the balcony was. This floor contained mostly crockery and jewellery, though there were some cool clothes and a couple of film posters as well. There was plenty of seating in the stalls, where people were able to people-watch from above and rest their feet for a while.

I noticed a lot of dogs in attendance, particularly a brown sausage puppy – aww!!! A few babies turned up too, but it was uncertain how interested they were in the clothes.

Something else I noticed was the number of guys in vintage clobber – mostly from the 30s and 40s, including a sailor! It was great to see.

As I was leaving, the rain had stopped and the swing dancing was in full…swing!

Model wearing Welsh wool waistcoat

Did you buy anything?

No patterns to add to my collection, but…I did pick up this AMAZING Welsh wool waistcoat for the bargainous price of £10! The label said it was a size 20, and it looked WAY too big for me. But I tried it on anyway and it fit like a glove!

Will I come again?

Oh yeah! It was great to be at my first vintage fair for a while, and I ended up staying for about 2 ½ hours!

The next one scheduled will be at Hebden Bridge Town Hall on 12th and 13th May – check out more details here.

Apr 18

Fashion Styles From The 1960s – Inside The Boutique

(Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

My Rating: 10 out of 10

About the book

Boutiques: A ‘60s Cultural Icon by Marnie Fogg tells the story of the wonderful world of fashion boutiques in their heyday.

The front of the soft-cover book features the famous mural on the front of Granny Takes A Trip, which was at 488 Kings Road in London’s Chelsea.

The author introduces the book with the etymology of the word ‘boutique’, as well as a look at the experience of clothes shopping in the 1950s. The formality and etiquette of visiting a department store with intimidating shop assistants seems like something from another age!

The first chapter starts on page 19 with Mary Quant and the ‘Chelsea Set’. Quotes from her autobiography illustrate how much of an impact she made on fashion for young women. Fogg highlights the growing role given to the fashion designer in the 1960s, where their creativity was valued more highly than in previous years.

The following chapter gives potted histories of other British designers such as Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin, and John Bates. Bates himself was interviewed for the book, amongst many others on the boutique scene who provide anecdotes.

My favourite is one from James Wedge, milliner and co-owner of Top Gear, where he meets Vidal Sassoon. Get the book if you want to find out what happened!

Another chapter is devoted to Biba, particularly in the context of how boutiques democratised fashion. With the clothes sold by Biba being so affordable, a wider variety of people could afford to wear whatever was in. This also meant that fashion became classless – nobody could tell whether the wearer was an office girl or a member of the aristocracy!

Related to this is a chapter on what was happening in boutiques outside of London. Particular focus is on Nottingham, where their fabric and lacemaking heritage led there to be more boutiques than in cities such as Manchester and Birmingham.

There were some girls who couldn’t afford to buy a new outfit from aPlastic head pins, safety pins, and turquoise thread boutique every week, or who didn’t live near one at all. The answer came from making clothes themselves. Fogg highlights this as another way that fashion in the 1960s opened up to allow everyone an equal chance of wearing the latest designs.

The final chapter discusses the counterculture of the late 1960s and how that related to fashion. There is a critique of the ‘narcissistic display of identification with the different, the marginal, the dramatic’ (p. 176) when the hippie movement in particular appropriated items of clothing from developing nations. This was without appreciation of the context in which they were worn in the culture the styles originated from.

Other chapters include menswear, fashion magazines (charting the change in their target group from a future wife and mother to a consumer of fashion – ironic given that women still got married at a much younger age than today!) and the boutique movement in the United States.

This particular chapter brings together the wave of British designers such as Mary Quant and Gerald McCann who brought Swinging Sixties styles to a conservative and age-divided American fashion scene.

About the author

Drawing on her experience in fashion and textiles, both in the industry and academically, Marnie Fogg has written multiple books on the history of fashion. These include 1960s Fashion Print (click here for my review).

Who the book is for

This book would be wonderful for fashion students, especially with illustrations and sketchbook drawings from Celia Birtwell and others to provide sources of imspiration.

Fashion and social historians and sixties fashion fans will enjoy the book too. People who were around at the time will find this a bright and breezy trip down memory lane.

How will it help you?

There’s lots of fashion inspiration in the pages, which will be great if you want to recreate an accurate outfit from the 1960s. Whether it’s for a vintage event or for everyday wear, this book is a handy reference.

Why do I recommend it?

The book is a whole lot of fun to read, and is skilled in taking the reader back to a time that seemed genuinely enjoyable and a breath of fresh air. It’s a record of a truly one-of-a-kind period of history.


-Lots of images, which typically take up ¾ of a double page!
-Easy to read



===>Click here to buy the book from Amazon.co.uk<===

Mar 18

Fashion Designers From The 60s Who Then Retired


Last week, I talked about some fashion designers who started out in theFashion designers who retired in the 1960s sixties but found their fame later.

This post will talk about those fashion designers in the 60s who hit their peak in previous decades. These are some who finished their careers as new young designers came to the forefront.

Victor Stiebel 

Victor Stiebel, who was born in South Africa, enjoyed his greatest fashion success during and after the Second World War. As a founding member of the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers, he contributed designs that were used for utility clothing when fabric was rationed.

In 1958, Stiebel re-opened his fashion house which he closed eighteen years before due to the war. Two years later, his biggest success in this period came when he was asked to design the going-away outfit for Princess Margaret after her marriage to the photographer Lord Snowdon. The outfit included a knee-length trapeze coat with three-quarter-length sleeves and a stand-up collar.

In 1963, Victor Stiebel closed his fashion house and stopped designing due to falling ill with multiple sclerosis. He died thirteen years later.

Jacques Griffe

Known for deceptively simple-looking creations that draped around the body, Jacques Griffe was one of the most talented designers around. He worked as a cutter for Vionnet before the Second World War before opening his own fashion house in 1942.

Griffe’s ability to sketch his designs as well as construct them allowed Beige and white polka dothim to be especially creative. This was a bonus when contributing styles to Vogue Patterns between 1950 and 1968.

The use of sober colours such as grey, brown and beige emphasised the asymetric cuts and pleating. Polka dots were a favourite print.

Clothing from the 1960s such as an ivory strapless column dress fitted in perfectly with the clean minimalism of the time. Evening items had a younger feel as well – sequinned strappy dresses that could easily be worn to one of the emerging discotheques for dancing all night!

Griffe retired from fashion in 1968, leaving behind a selection of clothing that understood how the fabric related to the wearer’s body.

Cristóbal Balenciaga

By 1960, Balenciaga had been in business for a staggering forty-one years. The Spanish couturier was adored by fashionistas in the inter-war years, and his designs after the Second World War were a contrast to Dior’s New Look. Styles such as the sack dress and high-waisted baby doll dress sought to de-emphasise and reposition the waistline.

Heavyweight fabrics and lots of embroidery were trademarks of Balenciaga during the 1960s, as well as three-quarter-length sleeves that exposed the wrists so bracelets could be seen. Jackie Kennedy was one of many famous and aristocratic fans.

André Courrèges and Hubert de Givenchy were just two designers who worked for Balenciaga before becoming well-known in their own right.

In 1968, four years before his death, Cristóbal Balenciaga closed his fashion house.

The Balenciaga brand can still be found today, and enjoys that same exclusive and luxury status as it did in the past.


It is noticeable what designers and couturiers who ended their involvement in fashion during the 1960s have in common – that level of workmanship and skill synonymous with haute couture creations was something that was less and less in demand.

Times changed with the influx of young designers making affordable trendy clothes for their peers. Only royalty and aristocracy had the continued enthusiasm for the type of designs that those such as Balenciaga, Stiebel and Griffe offered.

Please share this post or comment below if you’ve found it informative!

Mar 18

Famous 1970s Fashion Designers Who Started In The 1960s


The expansion of the fashion scene in the 1960s caused so many newDesigners who started out in the 1960s designers to come into prominence. Some of these people didn’t reach their full notoriety until after the decade ended.

So here are just a few names that you may associate more with the 1970s, but who started out in their fashion careers the decade before.

Bill Gibb

Born in Aberdeenshire in 1943, Bill Gibb came to London in 1962 to study at Saint Martin’s College of Art. He then left his degree course at the Royal College of Art to start up in fashion and set up the Alice Paul boutique with three of his friends. This was in the high-end Kensington area of London.

After a short research tour of New York with his then-boyfriend Kaffe Fassett (who is best known as a knitwear designer and textile artist), Gibb returned to the UK in 1967 to continue designing for the boutique.

He then created clothes for Baccarat (another boutique), including a pleated tartan skirt and blue and white blouse voted Dress of the Year in 1970. This outfit was combined with a knitted waistcoat by Kaffe Fassett, who became a lifelong friend and associate.

Stepping out under his own name in 1972, Bill Gibb developed the hippie-influenced styles in brown suedette and mix-and-match patterns into fashions that used natural colours and luxurious fabrics such as satin. Knitwear, in collaboration with Fassett, featured massively.Orange knit

Zandra Rhodes

A contemporary of Bill Gibb, Zandra Rhodes (now a Dame!) was born in Chatham, Kent, in 1940. She is instantly recognisable with her pink hair and modelling her own designs using vibrant prints.

After graduating from the Royal College of Art, she sold some of her first fabric designs to Foale and Tuffin (some of which are pictured in this book). However, Rhodes struggled to find manufacturers bold enough to accommodate her prints.

While teaching at an art college, Rhodes set up shop with Sylvia Ayton in 1968 – the Fulham Road Clothes Shop in London. These early designs are not the easiest to find, though I did spot a shirt sold online printed with teddies and what look like jewelled lozenges. Despite rips under the arms and several buttons missing, the asking price was £175!

The year after, the partnership with Ayton ended and she set up her own boutique on Fulham Road in 1969.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Zandra Rhodes was well known for eyecatching bold prints which sprung from many influences – in particular, nature and travel. Chiffon was the fabric used – this added a romantic and floaty vibe. Silk and crepes also popped up, but designs always paid great attention to detail. Colours ranged from muted greys to rich reds.

Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley is a designer who is associated with the 1970s, particularly her pinafores and dresses in natural fabrics. Her clothes evoked the countryside and nature.

However, Ashley and her husband Bernard started in business in the 1950s. Printed scarves influenced by Victorian patterns was the starting point in 1953, and these were hugely popular.

The first Laura Ashley shop opened in 1961, but far away from what what was happening in London. After all, she was already in her mid-30s and a mum of four! The shop in the market town of Machynlleth in Mid-Wales sold smocks as well as walking sticks and local honey. Fashion offerings then expanded to maxiskirts and dresses.

By the 1970s, Laura Ashley’s fabric prints and designs fitted in perfectly with the fashion of the time. Delicate flowery prints, puffed sleeves and ankle-length dresses reflected the Victorian era as well as a return to an idealised pastoral life. This provided an escape from a decade which included periods of great difficulty and disorientating change.

The Laura Ashley brand can still be found on many high streets fifty years after the first retail shop opened in Kensington, and over thirty years since the designer’s death in 1985.


I hope you’ve found this post interesting and informative. There are some facts about Bill Gibb, Zandra Rhodes and Laura Ashley that were new to me in the course of my research.

Please share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest!

Mar 18

Living The Vintage Life – Magazine Review

(Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

My Rating: 6 out of 10

About the magazine

Her Vintage Life, published by Dragoon Publishing, is a monthly magazine for women who are into the styles and fashions of the 1920s to 1970s.

As well as clothes, it covers hair and beauty, home, lifestyle, food and culture, for those who want advice on living the vintage life 24/7.

The magazine is available on Kindle, but I bought the handbag-sized paper edition of the latest issue to review.

What’s in it

My first impression when unwrapping the magazine was how lightweight and thin it was, given the cover price of £4.50.  

As I read the paper edition (measuring 16.7 x 24 x 0.3 cm, or 6.6 x 9.4 xHer Vintage Life magazine unboxed 0.15 in), I noticed the articles are short ones – one or two pages, which is possibly equivalent to about 600-700 words. These would be suitable for people who don’t have much time to sit down with a cuppa and read a more detailed article in one go.

Interesting ones included five tips for checking vintage clothing (which I picked up some extra tips on), and vintage wigs (which is something I hadn’t really thought about before).

I particularly enjoyed the street style section. I liked the images which showed how people mix and match their decades, as well as incorporate reproduction items into their outfits.

However, some didn’t quite hit the mark for me – the article on slippers on page 20 is one that could have been omitted in my opinion. As for the feature on a Harry Potter-themed afternoon tea…uh, no.

As a sixties buff, I’m unsure if I’m really the target audience for the magazine. Despite Her Vintage Life proclaiming to cover the 1920s to the 1970s, a lot of the features were around the styles of the 1940s and 1950s. Personally, these are not my favourite decades for fashion.

Something I did notice was the use of a model of colour. It’s refreshing to not see the stereotypical white woman with ‘old school’ tattoos to add modernity to their look (and for a black model to wear vintage styles outside of the ‘70s!).

However, the images were teamed with an article on the femme fataleA person reading a popular magazine from the 1960s (yet another one more attuned towards those interested in the ‘40s and ‘50s!). I wasn’t quite sure what to think, given the associations of ‘dangerous’ and ‘dark’ that a femme fatale has – in particular, the contrast with the ‘whiter than white’ female characters in film noirs. A subject for another post, perhaps?

The air of traditional gender roles suggested by the inclusion of recipes (on page 70) and a cleaning column is balanced by the modern attitudes of The Tootsies. Their interview on pages 84 and 85 shows that adopting clothing from the 1950s doesn’t mean being a housewife and subservient to men!

Who the magazine is for

The magazine is really for women who are into the 1940s and 1950s, rather than the fashions of other decades.

How will it help you?

I suppose it will help you to find out where to go and what to see and do to build and maintain a ‘vintage lifestyle’, albeit one of the 1940s and 1950s. The events listings on the back page is particularly helpful for this.

Why do I recommend it?

If you prefer the styles of the early 1960s (which, let’s face it, were a hangover from the 1950s), then this will be a great magazine to subscribe to.


-A diverse set of articles to dip in and out of
-Lots of inspirational images


-Expected a bit more content for the cover price
-Aiming at too wide a niche
-Too much focus on ‘40s and ‘50s fashion at the expense of other decades

Click here to get individual copies or annual subscriptions on Kindle ←

Please leave your personal reviews in the comments box below, and share this post on social media!

Mar 18

Movies About Fashion Designers Of The Past


Fashion designers from the 1960s obviously did their thing of designingFashion Designers On Film (which has been talked about in posts like this). This week, I will discuss the times when they’ve been featured on the silver screen.

Movies about fashion designers can be based on their true story, documentaries, or straight-up dramatisations.

Inspired by the award ceremony season that’s just gone, here are some films about fashion designers and their creations.

Valentino: The Last Emperor

Released in 2008, this feature-length documentary looks back on a career that started when Valentino Garavani opened his eponymous fashion house in 1959.

The filming focuses on Valentino’s last two years as a designer before his retirement. This includes preparations for his final ready-to-wear catwalk show in 2007. The film provides the first-ever look at the luxury and glamour of the label.

This intimate documentary also looks at Valentino behind the scenes and his relationship with Giancarlo Giammetti, his partner in business and life for the past 58 years.

L’Amour Fou

This documentary is not to be confused with the 1969 French film of the same name! Even though there was the 2014 biopic focussing on the first ten years of Yves Saint Laurent’s career, L’Amour Fou is a documentary which was released in 2010.

L’Amour Fou (translated as ‘Uncontrollable Passion’ or ‘Mad Love’) looks at Saint Laurent’s long personal and business relationship with the late Pierre Berge (who is the narrator).

As well as seeing his creations (dating back to when he opened his atelier in 1962), you can see the huge collection of artworks that Saint Laurent and Berge accumulated over the years.

Cardin In Australia

A more obscure find, this 1968 film chronicles Pierre Cardin’s trip Down Under at the invitation of the Australian Wool Board.

The Board noted that wool was one of the fabrics that Cardin made use of in his designs. The purpose of the trip was for him to showcase hisBall of orange wool latest collection (in wool, of course!) and demonstrate that wool could be used in high fashion.

You won’t be surprised to see a lot of wool (and sheep) during this award-winning documentary from the Australian Broadcasting Commission, which you can check out here.


This has been another interesting post to research, even though a lot of the films about fashion designers I found were about the modern scene. Having that behind-the-scenes insight into the work and lives of creators such as Valentino, YSL and Cardin really brings their designs to life!

Have you seen any of these films and documentaries? Are there others that you’d recommend? Please leave your comments and suggestions below!


Mar 18

1960s Fashion Photographers In The Picture


We’ve talked so much about models in the 1960s already – faces of the decade1960s fashion photographers such as Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton and Donyale Luna. But what about the people behind the camera? Who took those iconic images?

This post will tell you about the 1960s fashion photographers who were just as famous back in the day as the models and fashion designers themselves. Some of their work can be seen here, but here’s some more about the three British snappers that were nicknamed ‘The Black Trinity’.

David Bailey

Born in East London on 2nd January 1938, David Bailey started work with Jaeger when the brand had Jean Muir as their designer.

In 1960, Bailey became employed by British Vogue as a photographer. Later that year, his big break came when he carried out a photoshoot in New York with the then-unknown Jean Shrimpton. He was also shooting front covers for the magazine by this time.

By 1966, David Bailey had become such a prestigious photographer that a film character was based upon him. The film Blow Up featured a London photographer who discovers pictures of a man’s dead body. Of course, there’s no suggestion that this was based on any real-life events!

As well as fashion photography, Bailey also directed adverts and documentaries for TV in the 1960s and 1970s. He has continued working throughout, most recently photographing Kate Moss as part of Oxfam’s 75th anniversary celebrations.

Terence Donovan

Another Eastender, Terence Donovan opened his photographic studio in Concrete background 1959. His images appeared in magazines such as Harpers Bazaar, Vogue and Elle.

Donovan was most well-known in the 1960s for picturing models amidst less glamorous environments. The backdrop of grey post-war concrete and uncompromising industrial backgrounds contrasted with the high fashion shown. Having the pictures in black and white imaging added to the starkness.

There is even a bronze statue of Donovan in action – he’s immortalised, along with Twiggy and an unnamed passer-by, at Bourdon Place in the Mayfair area of London. However, his studio didn’t move to that location until the 1970s!

In the 1980s, Terence Donovan directed commercials and several music videos. His most famous one was for the song Addicted To Love by Robert Palmer in 1986. The backing band looked as if they had stepped straight from a catwalk with their red lipstick, slicked-back hair and black shift dresses.

Brian Duffy

The London-born Brian Duffy attended Saint Martin’s School of Art in 1950, and was involved in fashion before taking up photography. Whilst working as an assistant to the Chelsea-based photographer Adrian Flowers, he received his first commission from Ernestine Carter.

Between 1957 and 1963, Duffy was employed by British Vogue. WorkingQuote from Brian Duffy with the top models of the day, he became one of the new breed of celebrity photographers.

Advertising images were also created by Brian Duffy, as well as the pictures for the 1965 Pirelli calendar. With the author Len Deighton, he set up a film production company where he produced film adaptations of Deighton’s books.

In the 1970s, Duffy went on to collaborate with David Bowie during a particularly chamelion-like period of the performer’s career. The much-mimicked image on the cover of Aladdin Sane (in 1973) is one he took.


It has been interesting to take a look at the people behind the camera. The ‘Black Trinity’ of David Bailey, Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy were truly stars of the sixties, and part of the fabric of Swinging London.

Please share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest if you think it’s been informative!

Feb 18

Shop Vintage Clothing Online At Etsy!


Site: Etsy.com/uk
Rating: 4 out of 5Etsy home page


Etsy is the most well-known site where you can shop vintage clothing online. For people who want something different to other online retailers, Etsy is a one-stop shop for those special, unique and individual items. Jewellery, furniture and crafty stuff are just some of what the multitude of independent retailers have to offer.

My focus here, of course, is on the sellers who have all the 1960s vintage clothing! I will tell you about some of my favourite items I found after giving an overview of what Etsy is like as a site to shop on.

What’s available?

A LOT of items! Simply going onto Vintage from the top of the home page, then Clothing, then Women’s Clothing, brings you to (at time of writing) 904,861 items. Narrow down the search by putting in ‘1960s women’s clothing’, and you have the brilliant option of searching within that section.

When I tried this, it still led to over 1200 results! These included reproduction and vintage-inspired items as well as original sixties stuff. Alternatively, just put ‘1960s women’s clothing’ in the search box at the top of the page, and you will get a ton more results (74,199, to be precise!) under all categories.

Note that ads come up within the search results too – most do advertiseSearch results for '1960s women's clothing' relevant items to your search. All of the results can be sorted in order of price (highest first or lowest first), relevancy, and most recently-added.

On the left-hand side of the page, you can refine your results even further – want free shipping? A seller located in the UK? Something in pink? Within a specific price range? You got it!

Each item featured has an image, the name of the seller, and their rating out of five (as well as the number of reviews they have had). Underneath all that need-to-know info is…the price! Hover your cursor underneath all that and you have the extra option of finding similar items.

Once you’ve spotted something you like the look of, simply click on the image for more details.

What next?

You’ve now reached the page dedicated to your soon-to-be purchased garment! On the top of the page is a link to the shop it’s from, along with an option to add it to your list of favourites. The item itself can be favourited too.

Individual sellers will vary in the number of pictures of the item they will show, but there will normally be several good-quality images of it at various angles.

To the right is the brief description, the price (with a link to the cost of shipping), and a white ‘Ask a question’ button if there’s anything you need to ask. The big orange ‘Add to cart’ button is the one to go for if you just want to buy it!

Scroll down, and you’ll find a more detailed description of the item. Again, the level of detail varies, but you can get a better idea of the condition and how likely it is to fit.

As I mentioned in a previous post, checking the measurements is very important. This is because not all Etsy sellers accept returns, exchanges, or cancelled orders.

Further down the page is listed the reviews the seller has had (including ratings out of five). Seeing the number of reviews is super-helpful in making the decision to buy. A seller with, say, 500 five-star reviews obviously comes across as more established (and therefore credible) than one with only 5 reviews.

Alongside the reviews are images of more items the seller has on offer.

Right at the bottom, you’ll find out what payment methods the seller accepts, as well as related search terms.

Another cool thing I noticed

Underneath your search results is a list of all the items you’ve recently viewed. This is great in case you do eventually decide to go for that dagger-collar dress you saw before…

Hover over the image, and the magic ‘Add to cart’ button comes up. Click on it, and it’s done!


Etsy is a site with a whole load of sixties gear, both original and inspired by the time. I had such a fun time browsing, and am excited about making some purchases!

Leave your own reviews in the comment box below, and share this post on social media if you’ve enjoyed reading it!

Feb 18

Tales Of (Not) Finding Fashion From The Sixties


It feels like I have been to SO many vintage fairs and events over theSixties shopping horror stories years (longer than I care to remember, in fact!) I truly love going to them, and I generally have a lot of fun checking out the fantastic fashion from the sixties and soaking up the atmosphere.

However, not all vintage events have been so enjoyable! Some have been a letdown, like fairs with fewer traders than advertised.

A handful, however, have been downright shocking. Here are a couple of the most notable horror stories associated with my retro roaming.

(Names and certain details withheld to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent…)

The scam?

I was on Facebook recently when I saw details of a vintage kilo sale in Leeds city centre. It was at a rather upmarket location which normally housed posh dinners and designer clothes. Of course, it was one I’d walked past a lot of times but never visited. The page gave a link to where you could buy kilos in advance, as well as pay for entry.

At this point, alarm bells didn’t ring – it did seem a little strange that the organisers were asking people to pay the entry fee in advance, with no option to pay at the door. With all the fairs I’ve been to, people can have the choice of either-or. I brushed away my misgivings, assuming that it was just because of the size of the venue. I clicked on the link, and paid my £1.50 by debit card.

Luckily (bearing in mind what transpired) I decided not to pay £12 for a Image of money being handed over with a red cross in the cornerkilo upfront. As it was an organiser I’d never come across before, I thought what they meant by ‘vintage’ might be different to my definition. Would there be a chance of finding any 1960s treasure, or would it be all lumberjack shirts and Levis?

The day came, and I arrived at the venue in good time. No sign on the door saying there was a kilo sale today, but I opened the door anyway.

It was locked. Shut. And there was no doorbell.

So I walked around the back of the building to see if there was another way in. None whatsoever.

I went back onto the Facebook event page to check whether it had been cancelled or moved, but the page appeared to have been deleted!

Running out of ideas, I even tried checking out the Events page on the venue’s website – nothing. As a last resort, I rang the venue to see if anyone was around – bear in mind that this was a Sunday! All I got an automated message saying their answering machine was full.

I got the message too, and came home.

Trying to get to the bottom of it, I searched Google and found that there was meant to have been a kilo sale organised by them the day before in another city – this was down as ‘cancelled’. Future events all over the country (though noticeably not the one in Leeds) had also been cancelled.

Finally, I messaged the organisers through the page selling the tickets (which hadn’t been taken down) to find out what had happened. To date, I have not received a reply.

And to this day, I have no idea what happened. Was it a scam to get What happened?!people to hand over money upfront for nowt? Did the venue even know there was going to be an event that day? It truly was a mystery…

You call this ‘vintage’?!

Last year, I was back in London for the weekend. On my itinerary, there was a new-to-me vintage shop I’d heard about online. With promises of regular ‘£1 sales’ and items ranging from the 1960s to the 1990s, I was looking forward to checking it out.

The shop was not easy to get to. I got lost several times around East London, walking in the wrong direction and having to constantly check Google Maps for help. At one point, the map led me through a park!

Finally, I got to the shop. Tucked away within a small semi-industrial unit, the yellow sign was full of promise. I stepped forward full of anticipation.

As soon as I turned the corner, I was speechless. My first encounter was with rails of jumpers and denim jackets outside – they looked like items that had been rejected from a charity shop. Stained, torn, dirty – they looked like utter tat.

Things didn’t get any better when I walked into the unit. Some of the ‘vintage’ stuff advertised had labels that looked all too familiar to those on today’s High Street. Quite a few items didn’t even look as if they’d been inspired by vintage fashions.

When I finally found something that looked decent quality – a black and Pile of old tatty clothing white gingham shirt – I was full of relief.

The relief seeped away when I got to the light. Closer inspection of the shirt found it had little rust marks at the yoke.

In short, there was nothing at the shop that could be salvaged or recrafted using my level of sewing skill. I left empty-handed and disappointed. And I got lost getting back to the tube station…


Not all vintage events are the same – some can be hugely disappointing, as well as costing time and money. Unfortunately, the popularity of vintage has attracted some less-than-scrupulous people who only want to make a few quid out of it before moving onto the next big thing.

On a happier note, have a look of these reviews of some of my favourite events:

Festival of Vintage (back again on 20th and 21st April 2018)
Haworth 1960s Weekender (returning on 30th June and 1st July 2018)
Saltaire Vintage Fair (next one on 24th March 2018)

Have you had any nightmares at a vintage event? Share your experiences in the comments box below!

Feb 18

1960s Fashion Magazines – Sweet Style From Honey


In a previous post, I talked about 1960s fashion magazines. THE mostGet the Honey look! popular fashion magazine of the time was Honey. It was a prominent publication throughout the 1960s and beyond.

This post will be about Honey itself, including it being the first magazine to extend its’ reach beyond the pages. It also promoted a lifestyle and a look – ‘the Honey look’ – for its’ readers.

Early days

The first issue of Honey came out in April 1960. Unlike most magazines at the time, this was a glossy monthly publication rather than coming out weekly.

Launched by Fleetway Publications, Honey was founded by Audrey Slaughter. Jean McKinley was identified as the editor by the fifth issue. The tagline from October 1960 was ‘For the teens and twenties’ – their target audience.

The teenage and twenty-something female audience was a new one at the start of the decade. Before then, there was very little fashion or magazines specifically focussed on them. The expectation was that they’d move straight from leaving school at fifteen to planning (and dressing for) their future lives as wives and mothers.

By 1962, the tagline on the front cover had changed to ‘Young, gay and get-ahead’ . A reflection of the changes to come…but confirmation of the type of reader they wanted. Honey was aimed at aspirational and affluent young women – the ‘dolly bird’ that was at the centre of the fashion scene.

The articles included horoscopes, careers and relationship advice, and of course the latest beauty and fashion trends!

Sixties heyday

At its’ height, Honey sold about 250,000 copies a month. The price was 2 shillings (about £1.64 today). Other magazines, such as Petticoat and 19, were launched in 1966 and 1968 respectively to compete with it.

In 1965, Honey Boutiques opened to take advantage of the magazine’s success. This was really the first time that a young female look was commercialised in this way.

The first boutique was within Schofields department store in Leeds, and another 26 had opened in the UK by the end of the year. There ended up being over 100 branches in cities including Birmingham, Manchester and London.

Within the boutiques, customers could get the clothes featured in Honey’s pages. Shop assistants – known as ‘Honey girls’ – gave advice on make-up and hair too. This was a forerunner to the personal shoppers in some shops and department stores now. Famous faces were spotted too at the boutiques, including Cathy McGowan.

As the sixties went on, Honey reflected changes in the world as well as fashion. Campaigning articles dealing with more serious issues such as the Vietnam War and racism were included.

The Seventies and the end

Honey was still well read into the 1970s. The content and the readershipA person reading a popular magazine from the 1960s moved away from the teenage market.

By 1980, however, sales began to fall. September 1986 was the very last edition of Honey. It was then merged into 19, which itself stopped being printed in 2004.

A return?

Confusingly, there is now another magazine called Honey. However, this is an American one and more focussed on celebrities and music, particularly hip-hop and modern R&B.


Honey was truly a magazine of its’ time. The life advice combined with the fashion and beauty guided the reader into the desired ‘Honey look’ as well as a ‘Honey attitude’.

I’m still on the lookout for original copies of the magazine, and will update this post with any new insights once I get my hands on one!

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