'A ball gown is your dream, and it must make you a dream... I think it is just as necessary in a woman's wardrobe as a suit. And it is wonderful for morale...' Christian Dior

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Home sweet home

So I arrived home last month for Christmas to the delightful news that the Wirral is on the fashion map. Well, sort of. West Kirby, where I went to school now has a vintage shop. You really need to have visited this small seaside town and the gift shops, fish and chip cafes, pet stores and cobblers it has to offer to appreciate that this is big news. Normally when up north I head to Liverpool or Manchester to stock up on cheap supplies, now, there's one just round the corner from where I grew up, and it's perfect for bagging a bargain.

I bought this 1960s white leather handbag for £20. The owner Julie Atkinson knocked a fiver off which she really didn't need to do because it's in such pristine condition. We talked for quite a while about the shop and I got the impression, sadly, that she hadn't had many customers to chat to. I told her how amazing it would have been to have had a vintage shop there ten years ago when I was in sixth form (give or take a year) to pop into on my lunch break and she admitted that having high schools in the area was part of the lure - but that it had backfired. A lot of the kids these days (at the risk of sounding my age) might want to look 'different' but that doesn't mean they appreciate authentic vintage pieces. Cliques of girls, she said, would come into the shop, feel around the rails with their grubby little mits and say mean things about her stock. I know from having friends in the vintage business that having put her heart and soul into her aladdin's cave, Julie would have taken that very personally. I feel quite sad and frustrated that in the few months since 'A Little Piece of Vintage' opened, it hasn't captured the imagination of the local public.

I think the shop is lovely and will definitely be paying a visit when I'm next back home, I just hope it's still there. As well as being reasonably priced, the place is very decorative, cute and quirky, and she stocks a lot of Victorian/1920s/1930s pieces when so many others focus on 1970s and 1980s. Maybe that's what the cool kids didn't get. But they will one day.

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