I have to come clean: I don’t like vintage shops. The only good item I’ve ever got in a second hand shop (as they used to be called) was a beautiful Victorian christening gown for Son. And that was nearly twenty-six years ago. (Time flies). I still have it, for the next generation, and I truly treasure it.
Oh, come to think of it, I did once get a very lovely burgundy ball gown in a vintage shop, called Bertie Golightly’s in Bradford-on-Avon. I remember that they had to take the waist in, I was that thin. (Those were the days!) That was before Son was born, so best not think how many years ago that was… I still have that purchase too, so I may have to eat my words on not liking vintage.
But, the idea of wearing someone else’s clothes fills me with dread. Besides, I think the whole vintage fashion phenomena is over. There are now far too many shops calling themselves vintage, when in truth they’re just full of second hand wares, or last season’s sale items at normal prices.
Of course there are exceptions, and one such shop is Scarlet Rage Vintage in Crouch End, North London. I’ve been meaning to visit this shop for ages, because it has such an attractive window display, but have never quite managed it. And now they are already celebrating their first Birthday!
As soon as you walk into the shop you notice this is a professional outfit: all the clothes are beautifully displayed and they’re clean, ironed and not stuffed into overfull rails (and there’s no ‘old clothes’ smell). The lady in the shop, Rosie, was friendly, not overly pushy, just lovely.
My eye soon caught a treasure; 1920’s waitress’ (or servant’s?) uniform. The lace at the cuffs and the thin white linen pinny convinced me it was truly original. Perfect for a fancy dress; although it looked on the small size (this time it would have to be altered in the other direction). Rosie told me it was probably a size eight, so erhm, perhaps not for me.
Rosie told me the stock comes mostly from the US and Europe, and that they make sure the items are from their chosen era of 1920’s to 50’s. They also stock a large collection of handbags, vintage jewellery, and a few homes wares such as cushions and chairs.
If you’re into your American 20th century vintage, this is definitely a place to visit. And if you’re in Crouch End this week, why not pop in on Thursday to celebrate Scarlet Rage Vintage’s first birthday?