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Vintage Stories: A Filigree Find

Savitri Coleman, Founder of Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair shares the story of the beautiful vintage dress she is wearing along with her her top ten tips on shopping for the ultimate vintage style.

The story starts with the enlarged Portuguese Filigree earrings Savitri is wearing, a gift from her partner who is Portuguese. Filigree jewellery is derived from the Latin ‘Filum’ meaning ‘thread’, the craft dates back to Egyptian times and the style imitates a lace or thread pattern. At the Clernkwell Vintage Fashion Fair earlier this year, Savitri spotted this ivory and scarlet maxi dress. She couldn’t believe that the print was identical to her treasured Filigree earrings and had to buy it. ‘It is easy to dress up or dress down for a festival with a pair of cowboy boots’ Savitri tells me. It is certainly striking, suits her perfectly and goes to prove one of Savitri’s own vintage shopping top tips below….

Savitri’s top ten vintage shopping tips

  1. If you’re shopping for vintage for you it’s really useful to know what era suits you and your body shape. This will save a lot of time at fairs when browsing so you know which periods are just not you and even if the print or fabric is fabulous it just won’t do you any justice.
  2. Keep an open mind when shopping for vintage at fairs or markets as you are unlikely to find exactly what you are looking for but you will find other interesting things.
  3. Try on garments and photograph yourself in them so you can see how you really look rather than how you think you look in a mirror.
  4. If an item fits then it’s meant to be. If you love it – buy it. You won’t find it again
  5. Google vintage fairs and markets to find out what fairs are on and when.
  6. Instagram is a good resource to search for vintage traders and vintage apparel
  7. Check the width of hems to know whether it is a 50’s dress instead of 80’s. Some 1980’s copies are great and sometimes they have used 50’s fabric but the hems are usually really thin and overlocked.
  8. If you are unsure of the price or worth of a vintage garment you can always get a second opinion by speaking to other traders or contacting auction houses to see what similar pieces have sold for.
  9. Earlier pieces like 20’s and 30’s can be expensive as they are harder to come by in good condition especially beaded or with embellishment (Check under the arms on chiffon dresses for tares, check the seams are in tact or you won’t have much wear out of it and lastly for moth holes)
  10. Lastly always get a receipt so if you have any queries you can always contact the trader

The next Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair takes place this Saturday, 17th September 2017 as part of London Fashion Week.

Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair celebrated it’s eighth birthday earlier this year, read more about it here.