Mid-Century Chair Porn

After a hugely successful start to our Furniture flea season in Brixton last weekend (a BIG thanks to everyone who turned out!), we’ve turned our attentions away from our wardrobes and onto another very important piece of furniture – the humble chair.

Not just for parking your bum on, a good mid-century chair can completely reinvent your home space, injecting a splash of colour on a budget. Whether you opt for an immaculate retro sofa, cosy re-upholstered armchair or fancy going a little DIY with an upcycled or painted dining set, it’s important that your chair is both stylish AND functional. To get you in the mood, here are just some of the lovely pieces of mid-century seating headed to our East London Furniture Flea this weekend! Don’t forget to join us here.

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Interview: Ellie Connor Phillips, Rose & Vintage

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Here at Judy HQ, we love nothing more than interacting with our customers at fairs. And what a fab bunch you are! From immaculate 50s frocks to funky 70s style, you never disappoint us with your amazing purchases, creative outfits and unique way of expressing yourselves.

We’re also a big fan of our bloggers, none more so that Ellie Connor Phillips of award-winning site Rose & Vintage. Between studying for her A-Levels, working in a costume jewellery store and blogging about all things retro, she also finds time to write for our official magazine, Judy’s Affordable Vintage Digest.

We caught up with Ellie to ask her a few questions about style, colour clashing and the horrors of wearing crocs…

Hi Ellie! Tell us about your blog and how you started it?

My blog is pretty much an online representation of me – it’s a collection of my clothes, my likes and dislikes, the places I’ve been to…pretty much everything goes on the blog! It’s very much like a diary. I started it because I had been reading blogs for ages, and loved vintage fashion, and setting up a blog seemed like the right thing to do.

What were your earliest memories of vintage fashion?

In all honesty I was a little scared of vintage as a child – the idea of second-hand items was new to me and I was worried they would be dirty or smell. Then my cousin and cousin-in-law introduced me to Spitalfield’s Market and Brick Lane, where I bought my first vintage sweater…it was a spiral from there really. It got me completely hooked!

What is your favourite vintage era and why?

It depends on my mood. My style usually has a little bit of a 60’s/70’s twist to it, but I think that is because I love the music from that era and it’s the era my parents grew up in, so I know more about it, it comes more naturally to me. I adore 40s and 50s shapes and styles though, and so I often end up trying to combine eras in my outfits. 50s is perfect for parties or special occasions!

You’re queen of the colour clash – what advice would you give to people looking to add more colour to their wardrobe?

Thank you haha! I love clashing colours and prints – I think the key is to just forget what you think goes together, and just wear whatyou want to put together…if you like that green skirt and orange coat, wear it! You’ll look great, and anyone that disagrees just doesn’t understand fashion. True style has no rules!

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Is there anything you’d really never be seen dead in?

Oooh. I break a lot of rules, especially those I set myself. I guess right now it would have to be a pair of Crocs. I have nothing against them – they are really comfy and great for kids but I feel the relationship must end once you hit your teens. I’m sorry Crocs.

Who is your style icon?

David Bowie. But then again, he is my icon for everything. I just adore his style, and how he was never afraid to just change and do something completely different. I also admire Vivienne Westwood as she never fails to wear and make the most amazing garments…and of course Iris Apfel, and all of the amazing women on Advanced Style.

What has been your all time best Judy’s fair buy?

That’s a hard one! I think the last one was definitely a pair of wooden frames with cute watercolour drawings inside. They look great on my wall.

Where are your favourite hang out spots in London?

Brick Lane is THE place for vintage, and there is always a kooky and cool market on in Spitalfield’s. I also adore Covent Garden, Berwick Street and Carnaby Street, and Camden Market too!

Does it feel odd to think that so many people are fans of your style? It must put some pressure on you to dress quirkily all the time…

It’s a bit strange, as I feel I can’t repeat outfits as much (such a guilty pleasure of mine). It’s also hard sometimes as I don’t want to drastically change but I want to let my style develop – I’m sure I’ll manage somehow!

Check out Ellie’s post about the Vintage Kilo Sale here 

Retro style on the red carpet – our favourite awards season outfits

bafta grammys vintageWith awards season in full swing, it seems there isn’t a weekend that goes by without the world’s rich and famous donning their best frocks to quaff champagne, practice their modest expressions and celebrate success in the worlds of film, tv and music.

While we love seeing who wins – and who’s speech is the gushiest – our favourite thing about these ceremonies is of course the outfits. Retro style has been out in force on the red carpet, and none more so than at last weekend’s BAFTA and Grammy events. Boasting looks that are easy to recreate with a good rummage at our own vintage fairs or kilos, we’re talking faux fur, bold colour and a homage to all things yesteryear. Here are some of our favourites!

Jane Fonda
Despite being 77 years old, American Actress Jane Fonda looked better than ever in this Grammy’s catsuit, topped off with a dripping gold necklace. From it’s authentic 70s shape to it’s bold emerald colour, it’s a look that can be easily mimicked – if you’re not feeling brave enough for a full suit, why not opt for a short-legged version over tights?

Romola Garai
Having starred in some of our favourite BBC adaptations of old classics, (Emma, The Hour, The Crimson Petal and the White), we should have known that Romala Garai would be stepping out in something special for the BAFTAs. Her colour-blocked outfits is a modern twist on the traditional evening gown, but with a distinct homage to days past in it’s demure 50s full skirt. Simple to dress up or down, try it out for yourself at a kilo sale – where better to pick and mix all the colours of rainbow?

Janelle Monae
For ladies who prefer to ditch the dress, a coloured trouser suit is a great alternative. Singer Janelle Monae looked every inch the superstar at the Grammy’s after party, adding an old-fashioned twist to her tailoring with it’s loud 80’s hue. Broken up with a simple white shirt, you can bag your own luxe look by shopping around at our vintage fairs – a good suit never goes out of style!

Rita Ora
Pairing a sleek 60s crop with a full glitter number that would fit right in at a 1920s Gatsby party, singer Rita Ora got 20th century chic down to an eclectic art at the Grammys. To avoid looking like a glitter ball, opt for straight sleek shapes and play down the accesories – sometimes a simple clutch is all you need.

Aoyama Thelma
Young enough to remember the 90s first time round, Japanese singer Aoyama Thelma looked every inch the kooky creative in her slogan two-piece. Statement items are a staple of 80s and 90s fashion, with sweaters and tees featuring regularly at our kilo sales. Can’t find a two piece? Why not try a little DIY on a kilo dress to make it into separates?

Rachel Riley
Nothing oozes retro glamour quite like faux fur, which is why we adored TV presenter Rachel Riley’s get-up at the BAFTAs. Faux fur can be purchased ethically and affordable at our vintage fairs, paired with a simple party shift or thrown oh-so-casually over a ladylike coat.

Do you have a special event coming up that you need the perfect frock for? Hop on over to our EVENTS page to see when the vintage fair is visiting your city next!

A Vintage History Lesson – Dating Vintage Clothing

il_fullxfull.235234178So you’ve found your soulmate in suede, your dreamboat in denim… But before your relationship goes any further, you want to know the age gap. Perfectly understandable. Ladies and Gentlemen, a lesson in vintage history… no falling asleep at the back!

Style
When dating vintage, the style of the sleeve can often be a telltale sign based on principles of what was fashionable in each decade. They can also reveal ‘recycled vintage’ – 80s-does-50s dresses often have puff shoulders and wide armholes, whereas original 50s designs generally have quite snug-fitting sleeve cuffs. Popular sleeve styles in the 1940’s were puff shoulders and cap sleeves, where sleevless styles are very typical of the 60s. Look also at the length of the skirt – the timeline below briefly illustrates skirt styles and lengths from the 1930s to early 60s.

Zippers & Closures
Metal zippers were first used in garments in the 1930s, but during that era they were rare. Zippers first became available in plastic in 1963, and by 1968 nylon coil zippers were used in practically every mass produced garment. If for example you’re looking at a circle skirt, a metal zip will be a good sign that it’s an original 1950s skirt, while a plastic zip can be an indicator of a later item. Invisible zips were invented in the 1950s but only really became ubiquitous much later, around the late 80s / early 90s. The placement of the zip can also help – 1930s-1940s dressers usually had a zip in the side seam, whereas dresses from the 50s onwards favoured a placement at the centre back.

st-michael-labelLabels
The label can be full of clues as to an item’s age, making it your go-to when dating vintage. American and Canadian-made clothing often has a union label, which can help determine a date range. Clothing with the distinctive CC41 Utility label was produced during the period of fabric rationing, which ran from 1941 to 1951. The style of the label itself can be an indicator: early-mid 20th century labels were usually woven, until around the 1960s printed satin labels started to become more common. The writing on the label is another clue: earlier labels often feature script fonts, while in the 60s and 70s modern, hippie-influenced fonts were frequently used.

If there is a size label this can also help: vintage sizing was smaller than modern, so if it’s marked a size 14 but is clearly tiny, chances are it’s got some age to it. In British sizing, a size 14 in the 1940s was a 32” bust. By the late 1960s it was a 36” bust and remained so into the early 80s; it’s now a 38” bust.

In 1971 the Federal Trade Commission released the “Care Labelling Rule” which required all manufacturers (including importers) of apparel to include garment care instructions on an interior tag. The care label tag is required to include one method of care to keep the garment in quality condition, such as “machine wash cold” or “dry clean only.” If the garment was made by a brand but is missing care instructions, you can confidently conclude the piece was produced before 1971.

In the end…
Having run these quick tests, you can now make an informed decision whether to go ahead and part with your cash. So that 1950s dress turns out to be 80s-does-50s? If you like it, don’t let that stop you from buying it – you’ll still look great!. At the affordable vintage fair, we make this easy for you with bargains galore – who knows what rare and elderly items you might discover?