From the age of about 14-18 my mum would take me to Camden for my birthday. It became a tradition to us. I would rummage the market for vintage clothes. Back then, ten years ago (bloody hell) I would pretty much dress tip to toe in vintage and all kinds of pieces from the local charity shop. A group of former friends and I would hop on a bus to Bedford, which at the time had the best vintage finds! We would fill carrier bag after carrier bag. I would pick up all sorts; over-sized floral dresses (and then chop them up at home) pair them with frayed band t-shirts and crazy beaten up cowboy boots. I guess I was ‘dressing up’ just like you would from a wooden toy box, it was a tip to toe mishmash of all sorts really. It wasn’t a true identity, although I was trying and I knew regardless I was drawn to vintage from such a young age, it’s the one style I felt like (and still do) I could relate to and feel comfortable in. I was the girl that was inspired by really bold floral/animal/weirdly printed granny tea dresses and hand-me-down trainers, paired with Pat Butcher inspired heart shaped gold hoops that cost me £2 from Etsy. I remember one year I found this incredible faux fur coat on an annual birthday stint to London, it had these awesome refurbished buttons on it, it was beige suede, I was obsessed with it and I wore it all winter. I actually had that coat stolen from me in a club in Stevenage (you’ll know, if you know) stupidly and drunkenly I attempted to ‘hide’ it behind some seats around a booth, casually shoved it there whilst I hit the dance floor and got even more pissed. I cried when I couldn’t find it that night. I made my boyfriend at the time drive back the next day to try and find it, we couldn’t, he took me to McDonald’s in an attempt to try and console me. It was a sad, an overall bad day.
When I started shopping on the high street, vintage took a backseat. I guess more so, my interest in online shopping and it’s accessibility started to drive a lot of my style. Topshop became a real phase of mine. It forced its own, misleading, fake version of ‘vintage’ onto it’s racks; yet double the price. But it was the thing, all the girls shopped in Topshop. I’ve had years of experimenting with my style and my look. They always say that everything worth having comes back full circle.
My wardrobe today is 60% vintage, 30% high street, 10% designer and to be honest, I’m okay with that. Mixing old with new is something that I really bloody love to do. I wouldn’t have one without the other. Feeling comfortable, confident and self-assured with my style purchases and everyday, evening and weekend ‘final looks’ to me, comes naturally with age, as I said, after tonnes of experimenting, it takes a while to get it right. There are so many fads and trends out there that I love but simply would not suit me and I know to steer clear of them. I now know my comfort zone, what colours work and which ones don’t. I do often like to pick bold, unique and somewhat ‘out of the box’. So many times I’ve had the ‘what do you think of this’ moment, a quick snap to the girls of a garment I’m lusting over. Ohhh no, not sure, no. I always ignore anyone that tells me not to buy something. The one thing in life I’m really good at is seeing something and knowing how to style it. So many times I’ve picked out a piece, a marmite piece and converted everyone over to the ‘love it’ side. It’s just a knack that I have. This isn’t me being big-headed, trust me, because I’m not very good at much else, so just let me have this one? Buying vintage isn’t for everyone. The idea that it’s preloved is something to get your head around, understandably. For me, that just isn’t an issue as from a really young age I was always used to cast-offs, big ol’ bin bags of clothes to rummage through from my late Auntie’s neighbours daughter, tonnes of cool clothes she had grown out of, luckily for me! Vintage has a real story, a truth to it, it’s so much more than just ‘clothes’. I also think there is an unfortunate stigma to buying secondhand, or vintage and that being that these ‘old fashioned’ shops are messy, smelly, smoke ridden and moth ridden, a bit like your nans front room. It’s simply not true. There are some incredibly cool vintage shops around London, Herts and even places like Bristol (discovered on a memorable weekend back in the good ol’ days). I’m sure, in fact, they’re everywhere! It’s a much wider topic, a topic for another time, but we could do so much better at opening our minds to an eco friendly way of living. Hold that thought, I’m not done with that one just yet.
Luckily for me, I have a gorgeous little vintage clothes shop in my local village. Jolly Brown Vintage is pure heaven, a space of cool as fuck threads, hippie home-wares, PLUS they play the coolest tunes on vinyl. What more do you want from a sunny Saturday rummage. I could spend hours there, rack after rack, women’s and men’s. Men’s clothes to me, are also incredibly appealing. I get a lot of my style inspiration from men’s fashion. Anyway, I digress. So I tend to pop in, find a piece that I love and just leave the shop wearing it. I’m just that girl. A regular of sliding into their DM’s with a ‘hold that for me’ message. I try and go a couple of times a month and pick up some bits and bobs to add to the open rail in my bedroom. Although, often repeating to myself under my breathe in the store ‘you don’t need anymore silk scarves’ as they have a tonne of gorgeous ones. They had them before it was even a trend. My latest favourite find is this adorable yellow silk shirt. They had a tonne of them in different colours. I stepped out of my comfort zone with this one but I bloomin’ love it! You’ll see me coming from a mile off with this. Occupation: aspiring beam of light! Plus, it was a total bargain at a mere £12 (a couple of Starbucks). Shove that in Topshop’s face, eh! With this incredible heatwave we are having, my weekend outfits need to be minimal, comfortable but of course, still stylish. I’m having a thing for silk shirts at the moment. Shirts in general, actually. Never did I think that yellow would be a colour that would catch my eye but paired against denim, I’m so down. Lightweight, casual and fun! This seems to sum up my summer style at the moment, of course finished off with the cutest picnic basket. Completely impractical, but can these just never go out of style? The dainty dotty scarf peeking out of this one is actually from a second-hand clothes shop in Berlin. See, you can take a vintage lovin’ girl out of England..
Silk Shirt & Levi Denim Shorts: Jolly Brown Vinatge
Picnic Basket: Mango
It's Emma over email but Ems face-to-face. By title, I'm a writer, photographer, creative, social media co-ordinator and more importantly rosé drinker. I'm also a daughter, sister, auntie, girlfriend and friend. I overshare and I swear. I have been dedicating my time to this space for four years. Lifestyle topics are my specialty, with a dose of daily fashion thrown in for good measure.