There’s nothing I love more than heading to a vintage fair. I’ve been going to them for quite a few years now and have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. I put these into good practice at the wonderful Norwich Does Vintage (link) at Open on Saturday. I have to say it’s been one of my favourite vintage fairs so far.
Open was the perfect venue for Norwich Does Vintage as it is so spacious. One of my pet peeves with these kinds of events is the space. I hate being crammed into a small space where you can’t move or search for treasures properly. There was plenty of space to walk between the stalls and there was even a huge seating area where you could rest. The bar was serving teas, coffees and cake to replenish shoppers whilst Sarah Probert serenaded them with some fabulous songs from yester years.
The sheer variety of items being sold made Norwich Does Vintage stand out from the crowd. There was a good mix of homeware, women’s clothes, mens clothes, games, toys and books. All of which were presented beautifully, it made shopping pleasurable. It was lovely to see that all of the items were genuinely vintage too. I’ve been to a couple of fairs before where there have been items from high street from a couple of season ago. There was certainly none of that here!
I wandered around the fair for an hour or so and picked up the Phaidon Fashion Book from Ali Marron at Go Vintage (who had the best stall!) I also enjoyed a coffee and one of Sugar Buttons delicious gluten-free banoffee loaf cakes before heading off. I’d highly recommend heading the Norwich Does Vintage if you get a chance, its definitely one of the best out there. If you are planning on heading to the September fair here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of it!
Get there early. I arrived at Norwich Does Vintage at 11am on the dot, it was quiet when I arrived and you could spot a few other serious vintage shoppers there. There earlier you arrive the more items there are.
Have a budget in mind. This goes for any shopping trip really. It’s easy to get carried away at vintage fairs and spend more than you wanted to. Luckily most stalls only accept cash, so withdraw the amount you want to spend and be strict with yourself. If something is a little too much for your budget you can always ask if there is a leeway with the price. But obviously be sensible – these are small independent retailers!
Always keep both hands free. It’s always easier to have a proper look if you have both of you hands free. I tend to forget this and end up shopping with a coffee in my hand. It’s not ideal and really annoying!
Ignore sizes. Clothes sizes have changed a lot over the years so judge the size of the item by how big it looks rather than the size on the label. If you’re a pro vintage shopper you’ll probably carry a measuring tape to size up clothes. I often hold the items against myself to judge the fit or see if I can try it on. Don’t expect changing rooms though and if there is a changing place – it won’t normally be fancy!
Think before you buy. I always ask myself if I’m actually going to wear an item and whether it goes with the clothes in my wardrobe. Use your imagination and see if you could make the item look any different. (e.g. cinch it with a belt.) I then look at the item, check for any damage, check the seams and hardware before I make my decision.
The next Norwich Does Vintage event is on Saturday 30th September, 11am – 4:30pm at Open. With the entry at £2 you may as well pop in for a nosey and slice of cake! If you’re not in Norwich, Britain Does Vintage tours so click here to check out the upcoming dates.
What are your vintage fair shopping tips?