Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Going vintage

Oxford is not the most happening of places fashion-wise. Backcombing and body-con tend to be the style buzzwords, both of which are fine in moderation but the rah-girl uniform can wear thin after a while. Happily there is occasional respite in the form of vintage fairs landing in town every couple of months, and on Saturday I was lucky enough to be invited to Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair at the Old Bookbinders in the Cowley area of town. There's something about the Oxford mindset which means that little out-of-the-way venues like this remain completely unknown, even to people like me who have enjoyed exploring over the three years I've been here - I was really glad to discover this quirky little space which used to house a bookbinders (hence the name, obviously...) and is playing host to a number of events and a community cafe until it's sadly turned into flats at the end of March. It was the perfect location for the Vintage Fair which last year was held in the debating chamber at the Oxford Union, a somewhat less appropriate place to hold what is essentially the best travelling vintage fair in the UK today.

Bringing dozens of stalls and traders together means that one thing Judy's is definitely not lacking is variety. Shopping for vintage can be so dull: row after row of moth-eaten 'slouchy' (read: ill-fitting) jumpers, battered shoes you'd never dare wear in the rain, vile shapeless dresses in electric-shock-inducing nylon... you know exactly what I'm saying. The joy of Judy's is that there is no room for junk - traders bring the best of their stock and nothing else. There was a wonderful array of pieces, from classic 50s dresses with tiny waists and huge skirts to bang-on-trend leather shorts for a fraction of the high street price and already beautifully soft and worn in!

Accessory lovers were really well looked after, too - handbags and scarves were in abundance, and the jewellery stalls were extensive and so tempting for a magpie like me who can't resist anything shiny. I managed to resist most of the things I spotted as my bank balance is none too healthy at the moment, but I couldn't help but buy this gorgeous necklace and bracelet set:

I think my favourite part of the whole fair was the trinkets ranging from old photographs to vinyls, American motel keys to amazing party masks, French fashion magazines to film posters. I could have stayed all day rifling through the odds and ends, and its great that Judy's embraces the whole vintage feel rather than just the clothing side.

Judy is a busy girl and gets all over the UK so it shouldn't be too hard to track down your local fair and see it in all its splendour for yourself - there are seven events during March alone. If you end up going, please let me know what you buy - I am so poor at the moment that I need to live vicariously through the purchases of others...

Happy vintage shopping!

♥ jess


  1. I love the big vintage fairs and mooching around all the stalls. Did you buy any thing? Would love to see if you did! x

  2. It was such a fun way to spend a Saturday :) sadly I have so much uni work at the moment that I couldn't stay for as long as I'd have liked.

    I bought the necklace and bracelet set that I've photographed, and had my eye on a beautiful sheer purple dress and some leather shorts but I am struggling for money at the moment so thankfully resisted!

    Jess xxxx

  3. I went to that same Vintage Fair when I was in Oxford last year! I loved the trinkets section as well.

    Have you been to Reign on Cowley Road? x

  4. Having been to Uni in Oxford I can confirm that the rah girl uniform definitely does wear thin! Backcombed hair and body con skirts are in abundance as are are orange palms and glass-free frames.
    Glad you found judy's vintage fair, Cowley has many interesting shops and people!
    Lovely blog post, glad to hear that you enjoyed Oxford :) p.s. Oxford is not fashionable because it's full of tourists and homeless people!

  5. P.p.s. Don't go to reign on Cowley road, it is the most over priced vintage shop I've ever been in.


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