We were off to the Vintage and Handmade fair in Chipping Sodbury in the run-up to Christmas, so houses editor Katie Hallett and I thought it only proper to dress in the style of the occasion.
In search of our vintage garb, we headed for a new boutique occupying a corner of a retro ten-pin bowling alley a short walk from the H&A HQ.
The historic 1930s former labour exchange is an ideal setting for Gimme Shelter! Vintage Boutique, which Jamie Shaw and John Britton opened last autumn selling clothes, accessories and records to complement the 60s club nights they hold at the venue.
The dinky shop is chock-full of suits and jackets from the 40s onwards, dresses from the 40s to the 80s, shoes, handbags, reconditioned telephones, old radios and Dansette record players, plus stacks of vinyl, CDs and DVDs. Decades-old Marks and Spencer dresses can be found here alongside the odd Christian Dior, Givenchy or Liberty dress. Other collectable labels include Polly Beck, Jean Allen and John Bates - plenty of bell sleeves and twin sets too. Jamie also makes dresses using old patterns and reclaimed fabrics, and you can hire or buy the items.
After a while rummaging through the rails I pulled out an iconic black, 60s Dolly Rocker dress simply cut with a high neck, frills and buttons down the front. Had I been going for the complete look, the shop also stocks coloured tights, a variety of clip-on earrings and false eyelashes. Katie meanwhile found a delightful purple early 70s number.
Jamie’s tip: ‘For a party or glamorous event you can’t go wrong with a 50s dress. For a club night or fun, choose something from 1968 to the early 70s. Keep an open mind. Pick part of an era you like and mix with modern stuff, as you can look fashionable but unique.’
Gimme Shelter! The Lanes, 22 Nelson Street, Bristol
Regular vintage fairs are held at The Lanes, attracting traders from across the country. The next one is on Sunday 14th February.
The next Vintage and Handmade fair is on 1st May at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall.
Rosanna Holmes, editorial assistant