Vintage Fair – Williamstown

Yesterday morning, Lynn (Melbourne’ s best dressed woman) and I were on the doorstep early for the latest vintage fashion fair – this one focusing on the Swinging ‘Sixties.

What we wore:
Always the most stylishly dressed, Lynn was resplendent in 1930s black suede shoes, black stockings, grey pencil skirt, grey and cream self-knitted button up cardi (with yellowy apple juice bakelite buttons), spotty scarf and black 1940s swing coat. Black leather gloves and matching handbag completed the look.

As for me, I wore my latest favourite: the black and olive wool 1940s frock purchased in King Street’s Exclusive Vintage, during my latest Sydney sojourn, black stockings, lace up Victorian-style boots, pale olive 1940s gabardine swing coat and atop my curls, a black beret completed my ensemble.

We didn’t have much time (Circa was opening at noon to give us a brief squizz at the goodies) so we quickly moved around the twenty stalls perusing the displayed items… Clothing from the Victorian to the modern era (1990s) was well represented – mostly ladieswear, but I spotted a few men’s jackets on Vonica Vintage‘s busy stall. Coats were plentiful although sadly, I was unable to find any that pre-dated the 1950s (You may have noticed that I’m particularly fond of the 1940s styles at the moment). It must be said that coats of this type are increasingly hard to find in good condition and quite sought after.

It was lovely to see traders that I had met at the last fair, in Malvern last December – especially Shelly of “OK. Wow!” who had made the journey from Canberra. Shelley had a great collection of items spanning the twentieth century, especially from the ’60s. One young lady I saw scored with a lovely red and grey wooly shift that looked as modern as today and would look smashing with a pair of knee high boots.

I was thrilled with my purchases: an early ‘forties black crepe dinner dress, a nice buy from Barbara of Namarook Antiques. An easy repairer, it will be lovely once I’ve fixed it up and I expect you’ll see me wearing it in the shop before too long. From Needlewitch I snaffled a large silver Art Nouveau belt bucket – identical to the one my mother found in an op shop in the 1950s.

Thumbs up

– Easy, free and plentiful parking.
– Nice venue, lots of space in most of the stalls and around the hall.
– Seeing and meeting other vintage lovers and traders.
– A good range of beautiful beaded handbags: my favs were a gorgeous 1930s black and gold beaded evening bag at Seams Old and Needlewitch’s rarely seen green beaded 1960s bag.
– Cute Prue Acton set of blouse and hot pants: quickly snapped up I’m sure, and nicely priced at $110.

Thumbs down.

– Some traders misidentified the eras of garments. I’m sorry, but I expect a professional vintage seller to be able to tell the difference between a shift dress circa 1995 and an “original 1960s mini dress” with a mega price tag. If you’re not sure of the era, just leave it blank and let the buyer decide – misrepresenting vintage is at best misleading and at worst untruthful.

I always give the seller the benefit of the doubt but if you don’t know, you should not be selling it until you do. It’s easy to tell the difference between something ten years and forty years old. One example I found was so outrageous I couldn’t hold back from letting the seller know of her mistake – needless to say, she didn’t appreciate my input but I was especially saddened by her “I don’t care” tone – someone who’s selling antiques online should be more professional than that. Buyers trust us to know what we’re on about and it’s one thing to sell something incorrectly identified on ebay (where you could be an amateur cleaning out your attic) but very different to do it at a vintage fair where you’re representing yourself as a businessperson trading in what you know best.

Meanwhile, the Fair continues today. For the discerning buyer, there are some great buys – I have confidence that the vintage buying public understands the worth of an item – in some cases, a bit better than the vintage seller.

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