Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guest Blogger: London Shopping from BritGirlBondi

With all the Spring in the air, it is certainly the time when we are all thinking of shopping! And what could be better than traveling and shopping? So I have a guest blogger for you today to bring you the know how of the Brits! Here is some London Shopping pointers straight from the expert BritGirlBondi.

So straight from Notting Hill, Helen of BritGirlBondi...

So, Vintage.

There is a lot of blah around Vintage at the moment. I don’t know what it is like in your town, but London ?! Let’s just say this is a bandwagon everyone (including me, I must say) has jumped on. There is “Vintage” everywhere. Got an old T-shirt?! Vintage. Some 1990’s Topshop?! Vintage. What I’m here to do is it say STOP! Say no to bad vintage.

Because, Mon amis, there is so much GOOD STUFF OUT THERE! And here I am, thanks to the lovely Jessica, to tell you where to find it.

I think, like many people, what I love about vintage clothing is the real history around the items that you wear. I love it when you buy a bag and find a dry cleaning ticket from the 60’s. I love it when you buy a military coat and it has Dieppe the French soldier’s name written into the lining.

I lived in London for the last 8 years; Shoreditch, Oval, Clapham, Dulwich, Hackney….. the list goes on. I now live in Sydney, and trust me, if you are lucky enough to be in London then do go on this fabulous trail because I believe there is no place like it for treasure hunting in the world!

1. Spitalfields Antiques
Address: Brushfield and Commercial Street
Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street/Aldgate East

Thursdays at Spitalfields is home to the wondrous antique market. Now, I hear you cry, this is not vintage. On the contrary, I think this is the very best of vintage. Old military wares, scarves, postcards, furniture….. When I move back to the UK the first thing I will buy is a 1800’s Union Jack Flag to frame to hang next to some vintage suitcases filled with books.

2. Absolute Vintage
Address: 15 Hanbury Street
Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street/Aldgate East

Just around the corner from Spitalfields market is the Topshop of vintage. Seriously, anything you need, you can get here. It was voted one of the 100 best stores in the world, and I would have to agree, it’s pretty awesome! It is slightly overpriced, but if you are need of a vintage hit, like NOW, this place makes it so easy it’s unreal. Weirdly though, the website is rather pants, so no great pics to be shared. Luckily I have this picture of this dress I once got this awesome dress from AV…. for $60. Wow wow wow!

3. Sunday Upmarket
Address: The Old Truman Brewery, Ely’s Yard
Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street/Aldgate East

There are many reasons I love Sunday Upmarket. Firstly is because I used to have a stall here, where I basically just put my wardrobe on sale before I moved to Sydney . What I love about this place is because many of the stalls are casual (especially on the higher levels…), there is a huge buzz and excitement about the place. People bring their dogs in, and have their friends to their stalls like it’s a social gathering (Well, I did anyway, see pics below of me and stall friends!). There is a specific vintage section to the market on the upper levels, but don’t let that distract you from the rest of the market, especially the cheaper stalls at the bottom!
Oh, and get your money out before you get there, then go for a curry on the famous Brick Lane after!

4. Rokit
Address: 42 Shelton Street
Nearest Tube: Covent Garden/Leicester Square
Online at: rokit.co.uk

I’m listing this place, basically, because it was the place that started the whole Vintage thing off in London , and started my obsession when I was only a wee 18 year London student. This place has a great central location, right in the midst of Covent Garden . What I always found Rokit best at was the Denim; rows and rows of skirts, jeans, and jackets all very well size labelled means its great for an organisation freak like me. Also I knew the staff in there at one point, they are so darned friendly. They really live and breathe what they do.

5. Portobello Road
Address: Portobello Road
Nearest Tube: Notting Hill gate

{all photo rights to respective stores, EuropeCloseup and Helen Buchan at BritGirlBondi}

I am quite unfamiliar with Portobello Road , as I must say its rather prim compared to my get down and dirty approach to shopping. Also, I find it a bit cluttered with food stalls, and the usual trappings of a tourist destination. However, the small stores around Portobello are just gorgeous, and, if you are feeling lazy, you can just pop online to pretaportobello.com/shop/vintage.aspx. So you can have the real Portobello experience, minus the tourists, at home with a cup of tea and a biscuit. Mmmmm.

So now you know where to go….. I’ll let you in on some top tips:  

  1. Haggle at stalls, you’ll always get a bit of money off if you are just super nice, or buy a few items.
  2. If you like a stall, compliment it! It means a lot to the stall holder, they’ve been up since 5am making it beautiful, just for you. And you’ll probably get a discount. And if you want to take a photo, ask first.
  3. Remember that most stall holders get their items from EBay. So if you can be patient, or know what you want, take the gamble.
  4. Remember that Vintage is NOT NEW! Instead of worry about what is wrong with the item, think about how nice the history of it is. I promise you it will make you appreciate it much more!
  5. If you can, travel for the Vintage….. the fur and old military ware of the Parisian Markets of Cliagncourt is to die for (excuse the pun on both accounts…) and apparently South America is amazing (all the old school Americana …).

I cannot wait to visit London again now that I have the local's perspec on shopping! I'll just have to really save up...that British Pound really doesn't mess around! 

Be sure to follow Helen's adventures now that she's in the land down under on her blog BritGirlBondi and on Twitter @Helen_Buchan !!


Tara @ Haute Lunch said...

Great post! I just went to a fabulous vintage shopping event this weekend (which I posted about yesterday) and got an awesome blazer and necklace for myself, and a cool military issued lighter for the boyfriend! I totally agree- you should always buy quality vintage items (and in general). Plus the history is so much fun!

Fashion Is Passion by Poison said...

I'm going to faint zzz... I love vintage!!! Love the sequined dress you have!


Kristen said...

That sequin dress is hot hot hot. Great find!!

Amanda's Autopsies said...

Brilliant post, thank you! Trying to find retro places for my blog, this might help me out, xxx

Sarah Eve said...

Thanks for posting this. As a Northerner I get lost easily down south and tend to stick to oxford street as a result! xx

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