Friday, 2 September 2011


That's it. I'm closing it down...the So What It's Vintage blog that is. I currently have an obscene amount of blogs and not very much blogging time so I decided to amalgamate them all into one super blog: 
Here you will find the same super updates on So What It's Vintage stock combined with info on my social action project (organising a week of events highlighting world wide gender inequality issues in the week surrounding International Women's Week), my experiences of travelling around parts of Eastern and Western Europe and all the other stuff I do from meeting prominent politicians to taking part in youth debates and all that other awesome nerdy stuff. I hope you like it :)


Saturday, 23 July 2011

Business Wear Part 4: Belt Up

So, you've ventured down to your local charity shop/vintage shop/car boot sale/second hand market stall and you've found a jacket you really really like...but it's just too big. No point buying it right? Well not necessarily. My favourite jacket is a white, 1980's lightly shoulderpadded, gold buttoned summer jacket from the Antoinette range at Harrods. It's a size 12 so, rather than wearing it loose and unflattering, I wrap it round and chuck a belt on it. The silhouette it creates with it's nipped in waist and structured shoulders is flattering and the awesome Harrods quality is obvious (I'll put up a photo when I get a mo!). Adding a waist belt works great with a lot of jacket styles, but my personal favourite is adding it to 80's jackets (which were often originally worn over-sized and a little loose) to create a sharp, updated, smart look. And let's be honest, if belting a jacket is good enough for Coco, it's good enough for me!


Monday, 18 July 2011

Super Summer Sale

I'm back from holiday and partially I'm launching a 20% off summer sale! Yes that's right, using the discount code SWIVSUPERSUMMERSALE you can get even more money off my already highly reasonably priced items. What will you buy? A sweet summer dress for just £12.80 down from £16?

A quirky-awesome summer skirt for just £7.20?

Or a pair of simply stunning Bally bow front heels for a mere £10.40?

We've got a little something to suit every style and, with prices like these, every pocket too. So update your wardrobe without maxing out your overdraft, buy something unique safe in the knowledge that your getting a bargain and do a good little deed too, by helping to save me from the wrath of my boyfriend by helping me pay him back for the EuroStar tickets he was lovely enough to buy (sorry!)


Friday, 8 July 2011

Holiday Break!!

I'm off on holiday!! So the etsy shop will be down for a bit but be ready for more bargain hunting hints and tips, the conclusion of this month's feature on working vintage into office wear and some brand new stock when I return :D
See y'all in a week!


Business Wear Part 3: Dress It Up

So far we've discovered that suits don't have to be boring...but what if you don't want to wear a suit at all? There is, of course, another easy option the smart dress. A great quality office worthy vintage dress will see through everything from an average day at work to job interviews, networking events and presentations in a way that will ensure you appear both smart and sophisticated.  Avoiding dresses that are skin tight, noticeably short or cleavagey is always recommended of course, but aside from that go with what you fancy, there's quite literally, something for everyone in the wonderful world of vintage and second hand fashion. However my personal favourite options (examples of which I also happen to be selling in my etsy shop :p )  involve distinctive though not excessively vocal prints and a silhouette that involves elements of both tight fit and loose flowing fabric.

Make: JaegerMeasurements: Bust: 15.5", Waist: 12", Hips: 17", Length: 40"

UK 6

All measurements taken whilst flat

Condition: Fantastic vintage condition, no signs of wear and tear


I absolutely adore this dress: I love the vintage 70's details with the neck-tie and long buttoned sleeves, I love the nipped in waist with loosely falling neckline and the skirt detail and I love the stylized snakeskin pattern. In fact were it not for the fact that that particular midi length is less than flattering on petite frames (at 5'1" midi lengths in general are not exactly complimentary) I doubt I'd be selling it. But for any of you lucky average hight or above size 6 ladies this dress is an absolute dream. Jaeger have always been renowned for top quality clothing (even though their designs saw them fall out of favour in the 90's before their a 21st century rebrand)  and in this dress it is immediately apparent. 

Make: David Emmanuel Collectables


Measurements: Bust: 19", Waist: 17", Hips: 22", Length: 37.5", Shoulders:14.5"
All measurements taken whilst flat


David Emmanuel didn't always design for low cost, older demographic targeting Bon Marche. In fact in his time he was a highly well regarded, he was even part of the team  that designed Princess Diana's wedding dress along with his wife Elizabeth. This 80's example retains the good quality tailoring prominent in his earlier work and is the perfect dress for looking chic and respectable around the office. I also love the quirky take on polka dots! 

Again, if you're not a fan of either of the items I personally have to be selling there are plenty of good quality vintage dresses out there. As they tend to be a bit more popular then other items of clothing they also tend to be more expensive than the equivalent jackets or shirts etc on sites such as ebay and etsy. They also don't seem to show up quite so often in charity shops and car boots (again, presumably due to the popularity of the vintage dress) but there are still a fair few bargains to be had out there for the canny shopper.


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Business Wear Part 2: Beyond the Black, Navy or Charcoal Suit

One of the most common complaints I've encountered at networking events is that shopping for office appropriate clothing is boring. The more interesting stuff either looks (and is) cheap and faintly unprofessional or is way out of the budget of the average shopper. Well that's where buying vintage comes in. 

If you're the kind of lady who likes to stand out from the crowd then there are a whole host of stunning options out on the web, in charity shops, down markets and at carboot sales that will turn heads for all the right reasons. After all, both vintage and adding a pop of colour to outfits are very very fashionable this season (Cheryl Cole's love it or hate it orange and purple American X-Factor combo anyone?).


Make: Kasper for A.S.L
Size: UK 8-10
Label states USA size 6
Condition: Fantastic condition, no signs of wear and tear
Measurements: Bust: 16", Waist: 15", Hips: 18", Length: 25.5", Shoulders: 15.5"
All measurements taken whilst flat
Care Instructions: Dry Clean Only

Make: Bianco
Size: 8-10
Great Condition, No Signs of Ware and Tear
Bust: 17", Waist: 15.5", Length: 23", Shoulders:14"
All measurements taken while flat
Care instructions: 30oC gentle wash, use non-bio, do not tumble dry

Personally I love the look of a brightly coloured, good quality vintage jacket but for plenty of women, and in plenty of working environments, this just doesn't quite feel right. Fortunately there are plenty of other ways of brightening up a dull office outfit, a statement shirt, for example:
Make: The Edinburgh Collection
Size 14-16
Measurements: Bust:20”, Waist: 20”, Length: 25”, Shoulders:17”
Please Note all Measurements Taken Whilst Flat
Good Condition, shows some slight signs of expected wear and tear but generally very good vintage condition
Care Instructions: 40oC synthetics wash, do not tumble dry

Meduim-Large size, all tags have been removed probably due to the fact they would have shown through the slightly see through fabric.
Measurements: Bust: 20", Waist: 20", Length: 26.5"
All Measurements Taken Whilst Flat

White, late 80's blouse with floral embroidery running down the front
Make: St. Michael for M&S
Size 12
Measurements: Bust: 19”, Waist: 19”, Length: 25”, Shoulders:15”
Please note all measurements taken when flat
Condition: Great quality, no obvious signs of wear and tare
Care Instructions: 50oC Synthetics wash, to not tumble dry


So as you can see, a nice suit and blouse combo doesn't have to be boring, or expensive.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

This month's feature: Business Wear, Part 1: The Black Blazer

It's amazing the difference a good quality suit makes. We've all noticed it. Even if a particular person's style is not to our taste a top quality, well fitting outfit gives off the immediate impression of success, competence and business know-how. This kind of stereotyping should, in a dream world, be considered a little inappropriate but rather than fight it us canny bargain hunters can use it to our advantage by avoiding the horrendous costs of expensive first hand business wear and buying second hand and vintage. 

Take a look at these jackets:

All three are standard, run of the mill, black blazers and show quite clearly that you wont even find a quite good quality one for under £65, or under a couple of £100 for the very best. Fortunately for us, the good quality blazer is a wardrobe staple for a whole lot of ladies and thus regularly finds it's way into local charity shops and onto ebay. Just today I purchased a perfectly fitting, practically unworn French Connection Blazer for a mere £4 from my local Marie Curie charity shop (see below).

[Jacket, French Connection, £4, charity shop, Broach £2, charity shop, Blouse, TopShop about 6 years ago, approx £30, Necklace £4 on sale, Eclectic Eccentricity, Belt £18 TopShop, Lace Covered Vintage Skirt, £3, charity shop, Shoes, vintage heeled brogues, £3.50, charity shop. Total cost of outfit: £64.50, the price of one new blazer.]

Some retailers (such as Topshop ) have even started selling the style of late 80's/early 90's double breasted suit jackets that have been somewhat out of favour with younger shoppers for the last decade or so. Whilst I'm not necessarily saying that this is a trend that is going to catch on, if you like it you'll certainly be able to find a fair few vintage examples down your local charity shops for a fraction of the £65 price tag.


Monday, 4 July 2011

A Rather Fabulous Vintage Birthday

When did life get so busy?! This last month has been ridiculous. In between moving house, finishing exams, finishing a leadership programme (yeah leadership programme! Being an entrepreneurial nerd is more fun than it sounds ;) ), running a social action project, starting a new job, attending mentoring meetings and networking events, being a council member on a university society, writing articles for a new online magazine on South East Asia, attempting to have a social life and unexpectedly meeting a rather fabulous new man, frustratingly, I haven't been able to give So What It's Vintage the attention it deserves. 

So in between a family holiday to Greece next week, the excessively elaborate garden party I'm planning for my 21st and spending much of August inter-railing round Eastern Europe I'm going to attempt solve this issue. Starting with blogging about my Rather Fabulous Garden Party.
Now, considering that So What It's Vintage is supposed to be about looking classy and vintagey on a budget you might be thinking 'posh garden party? Inter-railing round Europe? Doesn't sound cheap to me!' well you'd be surprised. About that garden party that is...Europe will probably consume the vast majority of my savings (meh, you only live once).
How to throw an expensive looking party without horrifying your bank:
Step 1) Insist on a classy dress code. Take a second to think about every really posh event you've ever been to. If they are anything like the ones I've attended it's not so much the food, the music or even the venue that creates that classic ambience; it's the clothes. Encountering ladies in gowns and demure dresses and gentlemen in sharp tailored suits and crisp shirts ups the respectability factor no end, without any additional cost to you. The theme I've gone with for for my garden party is 'Posh From the Past' and I shall be wearing a floor length, off the shoulder, figure hugging 50s black velvet dress at a cost of just £24 (£9 from a charity shop plus £15 for alterations). This party is also set to be the best attended of my birthday parties in years, partly due to the fact that a surprising amount of people will, quite literally, go the extra mile(s) for an excuse to dress up nice ;)
Step 2) Send real invites. Everyone loves getting post and nothing makes someone feel more excited about an event than receiving a little personalised invite in the post requesting a formal RSVP. Again, this doesn't have to be expensive, I just made mine myself, printed them on card then spent an evening sticking on little vintagey pictures tailored to the individual guest...though if you don't have the time or inclination to do that bulk printed invites are still lovely!
3) Cater yourself and plan in advance! There are going to be around 30 guests attending my garden party so, as I'm sure you can imagine, providing them with a variety of classy nibbles, snacks, treats and drinks seems quite an intimidating feat in terms of both cost and the amount of work involved. However, I've found a way to spread the cost and time and effort involved: preparing in advance. Yes, even though my party isn't for another month, I've started already. Some things such as the cup cakes (like the maple pecan cupcakes shown above) will need to be prepared in the hectic 24 hours previous to the event, but a surprisingly large amount of stuff can be prepared well in advance and frozen. This evening for instance I made some rather large batches of mini standard and savoury cheese and onion scones and tomorrow evening I'm going to prepare and freeze some home-made pizzas. Although on the day I will probably cheat a little and use some of ASDA's finest ready made snacks and starters mixed in with the home-made goods. Another sneaky little cheat I can recommend is serving 'champagne' cocktails. There are some great recipes you can use to posh-up cheap fizzy wine including adding a small amount of strained strawberry or lychee juice and a piece of fruit. 
4) And Finally, don't forget the little details. Small things like decorating the garden with home-made bunting (easy enough to make from fabric scraps and string), pretty napkins, place settings and candles (most of mine are coming from pound land, but don't tell the guests!) as well as old fashioned music from whichever era of your choice (in my case a variety of charity shop CD's) really do make a huge difference. Don't fancy doing it all yourself? Recruit some friends! It's actually quite fun making bunting over a cup of tea and of course, if it does pour with rain (ever a danger in the British summer), it's all easy enough to set up inside too...even if it does end up a little cramped.
And that's my advice! Having said all this doubtless I'll find myself under prepared, over budget and highly rushed at the last minute but, in theory, I should be on for a cheapish but classy day of vintage inspired garden party fun. Fabulous.


Sunday, 26 June 2011

New Stock, More Stuff!

After revelling in the sunshine all day I've finally got round to listing a couple of brand new items on the etsy shop:

Elegant vintage 1980's faux snakeskin court heels with a square heel. Classic, smart, sophisticated and under stated.

Make: Essentials

Size: UK 6

Heel: 2"

Condition: good vintage condition, some small signs of wear around heels

Red and black 80s Jacket. Great designer quality, perfect for creating a stand-out look. Small shoulder pads built in under the lining.

Make: Kasper for A.S.L

Size: UK 8-10
Label states USA size 6

Condition: Fantastic condition, no signs of wear and tear

Measurements: Bust: 16", Waist: 15", Hips: 18", Length: 25.5", Shoulders: 15.5"

All measurements taken whilst flat

Care Instructions: Dry Clean Only

Lovely, quirky, slightly see through vintage 1980's horse print blouse. Meduim-Large size, all tags have been removed probably due to the fact they would have shown through the slightly see through fabric.

Measurements: Bust: 20", Waist: 20", Length: 26.5"

All Measurements Taken Whilst Flat

I've got some more rather fabulous items coming up soon so if you're on the look out for a size 6-8 vintage 70's Jaeger animal print wrap dress, gorgeous size 10 electric blue structured midi suit skirt, a beautiful 70's leather strap ladies watch or a whole host of other quirky good quality vintage items, follow @sowhatvintage on twitter for up to date listings and discount codes ;) 


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Introducing: Secret Carousel The UK's Alternative Clothing Directory

Well here's some exciting news:
This is Secret Carousel, a brand new online directory designed as an easy way for those who love alternative clothing to find the kind of shops they want to buy from. It's aimed at promoting reasonably priced goods and smaller, more interesting shops rather than just the big ones and describes itself as:
'a comprehensive guide to the best the UK has to offer online in terms of cool and unique clothes & accessories. From gothic to kitsch, punk to steampunk, and vintage to fresh-out-of-fashion-college, you'll find it here'
And the best part is my etsy shop has been selected to be listed on it (thanks secret carousel!)

Friday, 10 June 2011

New Vintage Business Wear Line, Coming Soon!

I've been working on a line of vintage business wear for a while and I've decided that now, off the back of the rather fabulous Network of Aspiring Women Birmingham Launch event, is the time to share it with you bargain lovers. We all know how expensive (and dull) shopping for good quality work wear can be so I've decided to launch my own vintage line featuring jackets, skirts, trousers shirts and handbags to make you stand out of the crowd (for the right reasons!) at work. And I will of course be sticking to the So What It's Vintage ethos of fair pricing based on cost and quality. 

I'm hoping to launch it in the etsy shop over the next couple of weeks but to be kept up to date on what's happening in the shop, special offers, competitions and discount codes follow on twitter ;)!/sowhatvintage

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Vintage Hints and Tips 1: Markets

Right bargain hunters here's tip number 1 for you: markets. Most vintage shoppers are already pretty canny about finding a gem in car boot sales, vintage shops and online but one place they often neglect is markets. Most cities and larger towns will have indoor markets and most larger markets will have second hand clothes and shoes stalls which sell items at second hand rather than vintage prices. As with all vintage shopping you will have to sort through a lot of nonsense but, with a bit of patience, you've got a good chance of finding something a little bit special. Take, for instance, this lace covered beige dress: I wanted something beautiful but a bit different to wear to my uni hall's summer ball and I found it for a mere £3 on a market stall. Brilliant.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

And the Etsy shop is Launched!

Hello and welcome to So What It's Vintage. All of the items listed below (with one or two exceptions that have very excitingly been reserved already!) are available to purchase on my etsy shop (follow on twitter and I'll send you a 10% launch discount code ;)!/sowhatvintage )

Also I'd like to apologise for the not so brilliant photo quality, my camera died just as we were about to start shooting (magic timing) but I'll be borrowing a decent one in the next couple of days and getting some better resolution photos up.

Over the next months I'll be updating the blog with info on new stock, bargain hunting hints and tips and vaguely vintagey stuff I like (just cause I can) and that's about it! Thanks for checking out the blog! For more info on what So What It's Vintage is about, check out the 'So...What's it All About' section

Jackets of the Week

This week's jackets are vibrant, eye catching and a little bit quirky.

**BUY ME**

80’s Cropped Black Jacket with Gold Embroidery Detailing and Shoulder Pads

Reflections, Original Designs

Size: 10-12

Great Condition, No Signs of Ware and Tare

Bust:38, Length:16, Shoulders:15

Goes great over a dress for going out or jeans and a shirt to smarten up a day time look.
**BUY ME**

80’s Electric Blue Jacket with Bright Graphic Print Edging and big gold and black buttons.


Size: 8-10

Great Condition, No Signs of Ware and Tare

Bust: 34, Waist: 31, Length: 23, Shoulders:14

Great, striking 80’s jacket fantastic for creating a quirky smart-casual look.


Leather box bags: simple, classy, elegant, and go with everything.

 **BUY ME**

80’s Beige Leather Box Bag

Simple and Elegant…and that’s all there is too it.

Condition: Excellent, no signs of wear and tear

Size: 7.5”x8”, Depth: 2.5”, Strap-Length: 24”

Originally designed to match a pair of Van Dal shoes.

 **BUY ME**

80’s White Leather Box Bag with gold buckle and details on the strap

Condition: Excellent, no signs of wear and tear

John Lewis Partnership

Size: 7.5”x8”, Depth: 2.5”, Strap Length:24”

Cute, good quality, wearable and surprisingly spacious

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Dresses of the Week

Some lovely dresses this week: fit and flare, floral print, tea dress:


Early 90’s Ditsy daisy floral print fit and flare dress

Cut out back detail


Size: 10

Bust:32, Waist: 29, Hips:33, Length:34

Good Condition, beginning to show signs of wear around seams

So BHS doesn’t have the most exciting reputation, this dress is pretty, flattering and embodies this (as last and probably next) summer’s trends of floral print, fit and flare and open back.

**BUY ME**

Early 90’s Roses floral print fit and flare dress

St. Michel for M&S

Size: 10-12

Bust:32, Waist:28, Hips:36, Length:34

Good Vintage Condition, appears to be wearing a little thin in two small patches on skirt but nothing noticeable

*Fun Fact*

St. Michel for M&S used to be a well trusted staple of good quality women’s ware…unfortunately in the late 90’s M&S adopted a policy of pushing up prices and to boost profit margins as a result of which they lost a heck load of customers and in 2001 they were forced to rebrand, dropping the St. Michel label that had been in production since the original Mr Marks introduced it in 1926.

**BUY ME**

80’s Short sleeve fit and flare tailored tea dress with white circle pattern

Small Shoulder Pads

David Emmanuel Collectables


Bust: 38, Waist: 34, Hips: 44, Length: 37.5, Shoulders:14.5

Very Good Vintage Condition, Some Signs of Wear around seams

Belt not included.

*Fun Fact* In his prime David Emmanuel was a very successful designer, even co-designing Princess Diana’s wedding dress (yes…THAT dress) unfortunately he has some what fallen from grace of late and now designs for Bon Marche. This dress, however, is from his heyday when his designs were still good quality and his customers a little bit wealthy.

Summer Skirt

80’s Tropical Floral Print High-Waisted Midi Skirt


Size: 10-12

Waist: 26-30”, Length: 25”

Good Vintage Condition but there are what appear to be bleach stains in places where there are small specks of lighter blue but, given the pattern and the way the skirt hangs they are not very noticeable.

The high-waisted midi skirt is the skirt shape of the season, and with the delightful tropical floral print, buttoned front and matching waist belt this elasticated waist skirt ticks all the boxes.

*Fun Fact* Scottish brand Laird-Portch are best known for their high quality kilts and innovative use of tartan fabrics. Founder Geoffrey Laird-Portch is credited with creating the tartan mini skirt in the mid 1960’s (which reached the height of fashion in the 70’s) and pioneering tartan as a fashionable fabric.

This Weeks Shirts and Blouses

Vintage shirts, they come in all shapes and sizes and I’ve got a healthy variety right here: from the summer staple of the white shirt to vibrant florals, colour blocking and nautical themed. Whether you wear your shirts baggy over jeans or tailored a vintage shirt is a great way to get an up to date look for a fraction of high street prices.

**Buy Me**

80’s Navy blue shirt with white edging and gold and white buttons. Small Shoulder Pads


Size: 10

Bust: 34”, Waist: 34”, Length: 22”, Shoulders:15.5”

Great Condition

**Buy Me**

90’s Vibrant Floral Print Shirt


Size: 12-14

Bust: 38”, Waist: 38”, Length: 24”

Great Vintage condition, no obvious signs of wear and tare

Great shirt for the summer, adds a hit of colour to any outfit.
Emerald Green 70’s Shirt

The Edinburgh Collection

Size 14-16

Bust:40”, Waist:40”, Length: 25”, Shoulders:17”

Good Condition, shows some slight signs of expected wear and tear (slight fraying inside shirt around label) but generally excellent vintage quality

This shirt has everything: flattering colour? Check. Slimming lines? Check. Scalloped edged collar and floral embroidery details? Check and Check. It hits the colour blocking trend and it’s from the decade of the season, the 70’s, too. Lovely.

Late 80’s 70’s inspired White Blouse with Floral Embroidery Detail

Size 12

Bust: 38”, Waist: 38”, Length: 25”, Shoulders:15”

Great quality, no signs of wear and tare

White shirts are everywhere at the moment. There’s no escaping them. They are a really easy way to work the ‘white’ trend that’s hitting the red carpet (and the highstreet) at the moment.

Whether chucked over a pair of skinny jeans, worn with cut off denim shorts or tucked into a high-waisted skirt a good white shirt will see you through anything from job interviews to festivals.