A few weeks ago I spent my day off sampling the delights of Aberystwyth's charity shops, for three reasons.
1. It seems like the new thing to do with the credit crunch and all that stuff.
2. There is a little of bit of me that would love to master this whole customising clothes.
3. A friend of mine was getting married and she is so good at getting fantastic bargins in charity shops that I thought I should pay homage to her skills and dress 'vintage' for her wedding.
After trawling through several I finally came across Beacon of Hope, a relatively new location for the shop, but it has been a big hit with the students because it has promoted it's clothes as 'vintage'. Whilst sifting through the rails I of course was asked what I was looking for and did I need any help. I'm sure a little glint entered the eye of assistant at the mention of the word vintage. Before I could whisper Versace 1950's I was locked in the shop and ushered down stairs to the cellar. What lay before me I can only describe as a vintage dream, dresses your gran would have worn, hats someone probably died in and shoes that had survived the war. But something about it all seemed to sparkle in the dull light and the musky charity shop smell suddenly smelt like a spring garden. Ok maybe that is all a little bit of an over exaggeration, but it was exciting. As I stumbled my way through the rails and suitcases the assistant excitedly talked about a fashion show that she was organising and did I want to be part of it. No was my swift response.
We ascended the stairs and I made for the changing rooms, sampling my options and discussing them at length with the assistant. Her comments seemed to be interspursed with "Are you sure you don't want to be part of the fashion show?", "You really suit vintage" ( I hope she wasn't implying that I looked old). Basically I ended up leaving with a dress that looked a totally different colour in the light of day (and I didn't wear it to the wedding), a rather cool air hostess like hat (pictured below with the actual wedding outfit) and a new job, for one night only, as a model.
What I had originally imagined as being a small fundraiser, with a couple of old grannies in a scabby hall somewhere seemed to become a 14 model promotion of Edinburgh woollen Mill, Polly's, some flower arranging man, The Body Shop at Home and Beacon of Hope charity shop. All hosted in Llety Parc lodge one of the nicest hotels in Aberystwyth, complete with raised catwalk, practices and hair do's (which of course had to be trialled) by a local hairdresser - Headlines. So, ok maybe I went into it a little delusional!
What a comedy evening, but all in the name of charity. There were some questionable moments, some embarrassing moments, times when I just wanted to go home but actually by the time I got to the end of the evening I was thoroughly enjoying myself. The vintage stuff was definitely my favourite part simply because you could just have fun with it and there was this element of half serious, half fun.
Would I do it again? Yes! But for now I think I will continue to trail the charity shops for vintage items or perhaps I'll enter the world of customising...