I enjoy playing around with my own personal style. Sometimes it goes right and I strut out of my front door feeling fabulous but sometimes I pass a mirror and think, ah maybe this wasn’t a good choice. I’m sure we all have items hanging in our wardrobes that remind us of our questionable choices. As a former student still stuck between student life and on the cusp of adult life, I’m almost always broke but the problem with this is I also love to shop, in particular for clothing. Alternatively I have discovered a way to feed my addiction of sorts without putting too much of a dent in my bank balance.

I’m not really sure whether it’s because the quality of the clothing, the retro styles or the price tags that makes vintage fashion popular among us as customers but there is no denying that vintage is in fashion.  Luckily I am currently living in Edinburgh which has no shortage of Vintage boutiques. I have visited many of them over time but my favourite place to shop for vintage styles are the vintage fairs that occasion Edinburgh every few months. I thought I would start off with Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair which I have ventured to on two occasions, once when its venue was in the Corn exchange and second when it was in the assembly rooms on George Street.

 

I researched into Judy’s affordable vintage fair a bit before writing this post. I wanted to give you some background information about the fair and also because I wanted to look into it a bit more myself. According to their website (http://www.judysvintagefair.co.uk/about/), the fair has being bringing their beautiful treasures to cities around the UK for 7 years now. They not only sell clothing but accessories and furnishing. Ok now they have my attention! I absolutely love old things!  If I had the cash I would fill my flat with antiques like the secret granny I am.  I think my favourite aspect of older furnishings and accessories are the history behind them, you can smell the history trapped inside the fabric. You don’t know whose hands they previously belonged to or where they have been. It’s a mystery!

Any-who to continue on with the point of this blogpost, I wanted to fill you in with what I thought of the fair.The journey begins in the foyer where two wonderfully dressed Lady’s in 50’s styled attire welcome you to the fare and receive a modest entry fee from your eager hands. You then sweep back your sleeve and prepare for a stamp which allows to enter and exit the fair as you please.

Quick note: the stamp is very cute image of a style caricature with the name Judy’s just like the image above left.  We then enter the past. 50’s swing music flows across the room covering the many different vintage stalls. Welcome one and all! So many different styles of fashion, vintage home wares, vintage jewellery so many beautiful things to appreciate and of course to buy, all at a price that doesn’t make you cringe after turning over the price tag. Ok yes some of the items for sale were above my price range but window shopping can be just as fun as spending.

However I did manage to find myself some bargains like the denim Levis jacket in the photo below. The jacket wasn’t the only item I have purchased from the fair. I bought quite a few items leaving my new purse feeling a lot lighter.

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Two lovely ladies accompanied me to Judy’s affordable vintage fair. My shopping accomplices booked in to have their hair and makeup done by the stylish hair and makeup team that attend every fair to make all us ladies look FAB! And they do a very good job of it. The style of makeup created was 50’s to match their outfits. The girls were looking goooooooood. The stalls didn’t just have 50’s vintage but all era’s, so many different styles to choose from and at an affordable price. The fair visits Edinburgh every few months with it next returning on the 22nd of December.

After my first visit I decided to visit the fair again but its venue had changed from the Picture House to the Corn Exchange and now the Assembly rooms. My first impression of the venue was architecturally grand and very beautiful but sadly for me to small. When entering the room that held the many cramped stalls I felt claustrophobic. The atmosphere spewed from the other customers who were a bit on edge and frustrated by the cramped space they were sharing with so many others bodies trying to cram their necks over the many heads to view all the beautiful items just out of reach.  I persevered and weaved through the crowd and purchased myself a new jacket an “old man cardie” and a chain with a silver tape pendent.

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I talked to a few people who I knew went to visit the fair about what they thought. Some like me entered the crowd but others had reached the doorway and decided they were not keen on navigating through the stream of vintage shoppers. On a slight negative note something I thought seemed a second thought was the changing room and mirror availability. Inside the room allocated for trying on clothes there was only one full length mirror, just… one. Shoppers had to either battle for a corner or wait until it was free to use. The only other mirror I found was propped against a stall and unless you were child size the only section on your body visible was your legs. They definitely should consider having a greater number of mirrors standing in the changing room. Overall Judy’s Affordable Vintage fair is an innovative way of bringing vintage fashion to UK cities , kinda  like a traveling circus, Come one, come all to the greatest show on earth !, minus the animals and scary clowns.

What I’m writing about isn’t really complete until I compare it with other vintage fair types.  Recently I dragged myself out of bed and walked the 0.2 miles to my first Kilo sale. An extremely short journey yes, but it was bucketing down with rain. These kinds of events are not the kind you want to turn up at looking a drowned rat. So I had two choices, I could stay in my warm cosy bed with a cup of tea or… I could brave the weather and discover what hidden gems I may find just down the street.  Well obviously I chose the rain or I couldn’t write this post and you lovely readers would be left wanting.  Even though it was my first experience of a kilo sale I’ve known about them for a while but I never had the chance to go. They don’t just happen over here but circulate in Ireland to and of course other countries around the world who love vintage just like we do. This kilo sale happens to be connected to Judy’s Affordable Vintage fair so it seems Judy is the only vintage clothing dominant fair that comes to Edinburgh.

 

The venue is different to the latter. The kilo sale took place in the Out of the Blue and Drill Hall Art Café on Dalmeny Street just off Leith. The venue itself I have been to before, for a photography exhibition so the surroundings where not new to me.  I really like this gallery, it has a cute little café inside and handmade jewelry are displayed is glass cabinets in the foyer.  Exactly like the fair, before entering the kilo sale a table is set up with two ladies dressed in vintage fashion, seated behind it ready to receive your moderate entry fee.  The price decreases throughout the day, this is due to the fact that the later it gets the fewer clothes there are to buy. So don’t be a lazy bones and get your ass up early to get the good stuff! My first impressions were favorable.

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The room was spacious and the clothes were organised on rails around the room. There were a lot of people in the room but it didn’t feel too crowded like the fair. I took a stroll around the room to get a feel for the atmosphere and where everything was. Unlike the fair which displayed not only clothing but accessories, home-wares, and music, the kilo sale only sold clothing. Not everything was displayed on rails. Big plastic containers where dotted around the room full of mixed articles of clothing. The containers are where I found the best items hidden under piles and piles of heavy material and let me tell you it wasn’t easy diving in to find them. At one point I felt like I was tumbling down the rabbit hole with Alice, lost with all of the wonderful colours that no one would ever feast on, as they descend into darkness with me.

If you are petite like me it is a good idea to bring along a male friend who can stretch his long arm into the black hole and drag all of the goodies to the surface.This friend was a work colleague who attended with me and whose long arms I am very grateful for.  Something to note if you ever go, check out the changing room, there are some gems to be found on discarded piles left behind by those who longer desired them. Apparently no one returns the clothes to the rails they found them on. Luckily there was a team of people working at the kilo sale to return the items to their previous hangings. As I’m on the subject of changing rooms, the kilo sales was unisex and in a large open room with a mirrored wall which was perfectly adequate. Giant mirror covering an entire wall, this is how you should do it Judy’s Affordable Vintage fair, take note.

The music was sadly not the best.There were a few tunes that set the mood a little but in general the music was bland and didn’t set a tone compared to Judy’s fair.

Ok so I have shopped around viewed all of the items on offer and now it’s time to pay up and continue on with my day. This is where the kilo sales name derives from. You don’t pay for singular item but per kilo, amazing! And what’s even better is the price per kilo decreases like the entry fee. Again it’s because the early birds have gotten to all the good stuff first but hey who is going to complain about a price decrease? Not me anyways.  I left the Kilo sale with two heavy bags grasped in either hand and again my purse was lighter in my pocket.

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After visiting both, personally I preferred the Affordable Vintage Fair. Even though there where elements of the fair I disliked, it was the better of the two. Why?  My whole reason for going was for the vintage styles and the quality of the clothes at the fair where far superior.

 

Have you been to any of the vintage fairs or stores in Edinburgh or the UK? What’s your favorite?

 

Jess x

November 10, 2014

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