Fashion columnist and influencer Joanne Hegarty on her favourite places to find vintage gems.
Some people do yoga to relax – I go vintage shopping. For me, spending a few hours by myself wandering around a vintage store or antiques market is bliss.
Ever since I was a child, rifling through the rails at the local fair for books, dresses and coats, I’ve been addicted to the thrill of the secondhand chase.
Today it’s all about finding unique – and, of course, sustainable – treasures for my home or wardrobe. My best-ever bargains include a pair of Louboutin flats, a grey blazer by Saint Laurent and a beautiful marble statuette of a reclining female that had been in the same family for 50 years.
I always try to ask the seller a little about the past lives these objects enjoyed with their previous owners. That’s part of the magic of the experience.
Last summer, with my eight-year-old son, I dipped my toe into the muddy grass of the car-boot sale world. Even though it drizzled all day and we arrived to a wet field with a full boot and no table or covering – making us the least prepared of everyone – we had a fun time. I made a tree boutique by hanging the clothes I was selling from its branches and we sold almost everything.
You don’t have to be an expert to bag a bargain but you do need a clear idea of what you like. With more interest in this market than ever, it’s a pre-loved (secondhand but still current) and vintage (older things with lots of charm) jungle out there.
Here are some places to browse and people to follow.
One of my favourite pre-loved sites for luxury fashion is vestiairecollective.com, where it’s worth setting up alerts because prices vary hugely. Describe your lust piece in plenty of detail and wait for the email to ping. For expert advice from staff, I’m also a fan of xupes.com and French-based collectorsquare.com.
If you’re prepared to hunt, you can find designer pieces at good prices at loop-generation.com, or its store on London’s Brompton Road. Phoenixstyle.co.uk, which has outlets in Wimbledon and Cobham in Surrey, and officiallyworn.co.uk, which also has a physical store in Belgravia, are also good calls. For vintage Levi’s I like gothrift.co.uk.
However, Sunbury Antiques Market (sunburyantiques.com) at Kempton Park racecourse on the second and last Tuesday of every month is one of my favourite ways to start a day. One for the larks – kick off is 6.30am. Also Portobello market on a Friday morning before the crowds descend.
With season three of the Netflix hit Emily in Paris currently filming in the city, fans are searching out where they can get a glimpse of their favourite cast members. But take a moment to sympathise with poor Lily Collins the show’s star. ‘I went to a podiatrist every week last series to fix my feet because I was wearing heels all the time,’ she says, adding, ‘I had to have insoles made for every pair of shoes.’
THE NEW BIG NOISE
The debut collection from new label Nink is created by Nina, the daughter of Eponine founder and designer Jet Shenkman. The pieces are bold and colourful and have some great names, too – think Tweet, Buzz and Chirp. Hoot dress, £420
GREEK IS THE WORD
For wonderful, interesting objects that make special presents – sourced from manufacturers and craftspeople – Greeks Bearing Gifts is my new go-to. Handpainted plate set, £160 for four, greeksbearingifts.com