A day trip to Bath

Today I took a delightful trip to Bath which I have to say is one of my fave cities for going for a “relaxing” trip to.

Outfit for the day. One of my all time favourite Jonathan Logan dresses- I bought this from America about four years ago and it has been a summer staple worn since. I’m wearing with crazy pink 80s flower earrings and a topshop denim jacket.
I FINALLY, after saying I would go for around two years, went to the fashion museum, which I have to say I was incredibly impressed by. A lot of people mentioned to me that it was small, but I didn’t think it was at all and found the displays interesting and informative in a different way. I liked that in the 19th century part of the museum the exhibition text looked to contemporary literature to help explain the dresses.

I was also interested by the trends for 2012 section which showed items from the costume museum collection styled to represent 2012 trends. I actually think this is a really forward thinking way for a museum to represent their dress collections (and actually makes me think of Diana Vreelands interpretation of historical dress).  Whilst I love to see historical dress as it is meant to be styled with period appropriate accessories etc. I think this method if display helps to open up museum displays to more audiences.
Now onto the vintage in Bath!
The charity shops in Bath I have to say (like quite frankly charity shops everywhere) left a lot to be desired. Prices were overall eye wateringly expensive and actually around the same price as the vintage shops. That said I did pick up a nice pair of shorts for £5 – although if I’m honest this is more than I would normally splash out on a pair of shorts. The most shocking charity shop price I saw had to be a pair of topshop brogues with a price tag of £25 on them. (I’m 90% sure these were the ones that cost £30 new last season).
Charity shop shorts. United colours of Bennetton- made of wool. Kind of look like little boys school shorts when they are on!
I also enjoyed the Bartlett road antiques. I’ve never ventured here before but I enjoyed a short while wandering round. If you head downstairs there are two dealers stock that I would recommend, one with a lovely selection of vintage textiles and jewellery (all at v reasonable prices) and another who had some of the most sensational 30s deco hadbags (high prices, but worth it I have to say)
The vintage shops were a hit and miss mixed bag. I was shocked by how high the prices were in Vintage to Vogue. They did have some stunning pieces including a few sensational 30s and 40s dresses but the prices were eye wateringly high. (£195 for an embroidered bolero was a particular shocker).
I have saved the best till last though. My FAVOURITE vintage shop in Bath has to be Scarlet Vintage. The shop currently has an amazing selection of pieces in stock mostly from the 30s to the 70s. I spied a truly sensational 40s evening dress for £95 which quite frankly I thought was a steal and if it had been my size I would have snapped it up. There were also lots of beautiful shoes and bags, I particular had my eye on a nice art deco reptile skin bag.
I did make a purchases though I will admit. I probably shouldn’t have, but it really is an investment piece.

This gorgeous red 1930s Laura Phillips dress. (I really must do some research into this company at some point soon- This is the earliest Laura Phillips dress I’ve seen. I know Laura Phillips existed right through until the 1970s…so if you have any further info, do tell!)
Isn’t it just one of the most glamorous and gorgeous dresses you have seen?

A mini rant on charity shop pricing

So over in a little place I like to call “vintage land” on facebook we have been discussing our anger at the overpriced nature of charity shops. Now, don’t get me wrong I am no kind of charity scrooge who hates giving money to charity, No, no. Infact I really LIKE buying from charity shops because It makes me feel a little less guilty about the insane amount of money I spend on clothes ( I’m one of these crazy people who will often go without buying food to buy more clothes and live off a diet consisting of only food my parents have bought me when they feel sorry for me or biscuits cos I love a good biscuit).
My problem all stems from the fact that a charity shop by the nature of what it is should be about providing reasonably priced clothing for those who need it.
Madeline Ginsburg wrote a wonderful article for costume in 1980 when charity shops were still in their infancy which succinctly explains this. (The article is a very interesting piece about the second hand trade as a whole, but I’ve just picked out this section for your reading pleasure)
“The popularity and upgrading of the jumble sale has led to another new development the Nearly New or Charity Shop, now an important source of income for almost every welfare organization, though the form in which the accounts are published makes it impossible to isolate the profits of the clothing part of their stock. Usually housed in rent-free centrally placed but temporarily unlet properties, they have a pleasant atmosphere, encouraging to the needy and no deterrent to the merely curious. The stock is given, the staff voluntary and the overheads low. Choice is easy and the prices midway between jumble and the trade.”
I’ve picked out two key statements:
They have a pleasant atmosphere, encouraging to the needy
ENCOURAGING TO THE NEEDY. This is what charity shops should be about. It is not about creating another high street boutique, it is not about isolating people. It should be about availability. Allowing people the opportunities for good quality clothing at low prices!
Prices midway between jumble and the trade.
Can’t we go back to this???
Many charity shops are so much more expensive than trade prices it is ridiculous. £89 for an Aquascutum coat in Winchester. £55 for a Per una jacket in Cheam. £40 for a Next jacket in York. It really is getting out of hand.
One of the joys of going into charity shops used to be the opportunity to find a bargain. Now going into a charity shop often leaves me feeling distinctly sad. I feel like charity shops have changed so much in their meaning. The fuddy duddy nature of the charity shop was one of the things that made them great, and Mary Portas trying to make every charity shop hip and trendy has actually destroyed a lot of what made going to charity hops an altogether fun experience.
So that is my two cents worth on it all!

My info comes from Madeleine Ginsburg, “Rags to Riches: The Second-Hand Clothes Trade 1700-1978,” Costume 14 (1980