Friday, 20 February 2015

'How Do I Look', Abbey Museum, Kirkstall

Half term boredom struck and happily led Millie and I to the Abbey Museum at Kirkstall Abbey to visit the 'How Do I Look' exhibition. Taking a look back into how people have enhanced their looks over the decades, covering Ancient Egyptian kohl pots to 1960's eyelashes. For anyone interested in vintage fashion it is an interesting way to lose an hour or two. Part of my love for vintage fashion is the history behind the style and the looks that were created, this exhibition shows some great examples of the tools which created those icon styles. The exhibition runs until 31st December 2015.
For further information on opening times and prices go to :  

Look how ridiculously large these 1960's eyelashes look (1965-75) compared to the natural look we work today and yet Twiggy pulled it off beautifully.
What I love about vintage retro styling is it's ability to be as relevant and present today as seen below with Cara Delevinge modelling for Marc Jacobs in 2013.

The hairdryers and tongs from the 1950's to 60's look so cumbersome and difficult to use and yet they managed to create such amazing hairstyles daily. I guess that's what the lashings of hairspray was used for! The exhibition includes an electric 'boutique' hairdryer from 1968, a Bakelite 1935 hairdryer and hair sets from the 1930's.
Some of the curling tongs look more like instruments of torture than beauty essentials!

From 1950's bouffants' to the classic 1960's mod cut celebrities styling continues to revert back to those iconic styles from days gone by as seen below with Erin Connor and Drew Barrymore.

In my opinion no one pulls of the modern day bob better than Emma Willis, I confess to having total girl crush on her style, she always pulls it off.
I love every photo I see of Peggy Moffitt, she always looked amazing.
I am sure Dita Von Teese would approve of this corset, made by W.F Launce , 1880-1890. Waist training at it's best!

Do we think Betty Brosmer, (1950's model, pin-up girl and body builder) may have done a spot of waist training? Look at how tiny her waist looks,with body measurements apparently being 38'' 18'' 36''.
Betty Brosmer 1
 Thanks for stopping by! x

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Vintage shopping in Haworth

There is something very relaxing and calming about walking around Haworth and taking in all the Bronte history. I love wandering down the cobbled street in search of a good vintage find. The perfect afternoon trip for a cold miserable Tuesday afternoon in January.

Sadly it was not our day as the majority of the shops were closed, I suspect due to shop keepers taking the opportunity for a break during the colder months but very disappointing all the same. Luckily two of my favourite shops were open so all was not lost!
The Souk
Don't be deceived by this small fronted shop, it is full to the brim with vintage clothing, shoes, handbags and jewellery. If you love 1940's fashion you will be particularly happy here. I fell in love with some bright red Mary Jane shoes but they were far too small for my size 7 feet!

Next stop Rose & Co Apothecary
Step back in time in this beautiful old style apothecary shop. There is something for everybody here from sweet scented bath products, mens toiletries mixed with vintage glass chemists jars lined up on dark wood shelving .
I treated myself to a new book "Vintage handbags" by Marnie Fogg which has some beautiful photographs and will come in handy for research whilst working on
There is a small clothes shop at the back of the store with a good selection of 1940's and 1950's retro styled dresses, lingerie, jewellery and handbags.  The shop carries some reputable labels including Stop Staring, Bettie Page, Tara Starlet and Vivien of Holloway, all of which are good quality but on the pricey side, perfect for those special occasions. Sadly this was closed too! 
One of my favourite books is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte which is probably why I love spending time in Haworth, you get a sense of the Bronte sisters lives whilst walking through the graveyard and taking in the Bronte museum exhibits. My eldest daughter also loves books and has started collecting vinyl records. Haworth has some good vintage/second hand shops but these were also closed, much to her disappointment and my purses relief. There is a theme to this post!
At the bottom of the cobbled street you stumble across Oh La La Vintage shop. We had to settle with peering through the pretty vintage window as this is only open Wednesday-Sunday. I love this shop, set on two floors it carries a wide range of eras, from 1980's disco to pretty 1950's party dresses. The kind of shop you could happily lose a few hours .
After talking about the lack of vintage around Bradford city, it is reassuring to see the smaller towns on the outskirts embracing vintage. Haworth holds an annual 1940's weekend and every year I say I'm going to go but end up missing it. This year it's already in our diary, 15th -17th May and I'm really looking forward to it. Live jive music, swing dance classes,  vintage cars and fashion, what's not to love. From the photos I've seen it looks a colourful vintage affair!
Top tip. Don't visit Haworth on a cold Tuesday in January but it's well worth a vintage shop and at least I have a good excuse to re-visit soon.

Monday, 2 February 2015

What ever happened to 'Brown Muffs' of Bradford?

One of the things that attracts me to vintage clothes is the history behind the people that may have worn the clothes or the shops they bought them from. A friend kindly passed on a 1970's brown skirt and jacket suit for my vintage shop with the label 'Brown Muffs' of Bradford.

 I have never heard of this label before so started to do a bit of research. It turns out this was a very well known prestigious department store, known as the 'Harrods of the North' , started in 1814 and continued trading until House of Fraser took it over in 1978. What I particular love about this store is that it was started up by a woman, Elizabeth Brown who had a good business sense and quickly established the store as one of the best in the area.

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A timely reminder of how Bradford used to be a financially thriving, popular place to shop. Sadly in recent times we have seen the economic decline of the city, a real shame when you reflect on it's influential history. I have been looking for vintage clothes shops in Bradford city and haven't found any, If anyone knows of any I would love to hear from you? It surprises me as with university students and plenty of creativity in the city you would think it would be a viable business opportunity with demand. You don't have to go far out of the city to visit Saltaire and Howarth where there are plenty of good vintage shops. Both which deserve their own blog posts.


It was these thoughts that led me to read more about the progression of the city and came across the exciting plans for the development of the subterranean tunnels in the city. Work has begun on developing these forgotten tunnels into a creative space for young entrepreneurs and artists, to include bars, restaurants, Victorian style shops and market stalls.

The development is reported to be aimed at encouraging 18-30 year olds to start up their small business here, with lower rents and easier contract terms.

These tunnels were thriving music venues in the 1960's with many famous artists playing small gigs, including The Pretty Things (1964), Jimmy Hendrix, The Beatles, Rod Stewart. Shirley Crabtree (Big Daddy) owned 'The Little Fat Black Pussy Cat' club which was unlicensed but well known for northern soul nights and attracting a wide range of class acts in the 1970's.

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 I think this is a really positive step in re-establishing the innovative culture that Bradford clearly once had. You can read more information about this project at and I for one am looking forward to watching how this develops and hope it is a big success.

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This is the kind of place that I would love to set up my first All About Eve Vintage shop, (sadly I don't think I can pass for 30 and under any more!)