'Vintage Tales and Tips' by Shelley Jukes

'Vintage Tales and Tips' by Shelley Jukes

My lovely friend Shelley is the founder of Atelier Archive Vintage, and she shares her tips for buying vintage.

"I’ve always worn vintage clothing since I was about 14 – my great auntie Floss gave me a suitcase of old clothes and I loved them all. I began to wear second hand clothes, as we called them then, from charity shops - more to replicate the looks in vogue that I couldn’t afford than for any other reason. I also loved that no one else had or could buy what I was wearing.

Over the years I’ve continued to wear vintage clothes (officially, over 25 years old) and preloved or second hand but my goal has never been to replicate a person from the 30s, 60s or 70s (my favourite eras) but to add the pieces into my wardrobe to create looks that are original and unique – because I also love a fashion trend too.

During my rave days I wore Nike air max, leggings and a 70s wrangler denim jacket or we all loved a sheepskin lined jacket usually found in the local chazza. Vintage Levi's were always around and then in the late 90s I turned mine into a maxi skirt, and then it became a mini skirt – 3 looks from one! In the 2000s I wore a lot of 30s and 40s tea dresses with brogues or little 30s boleros over slip dresses – sometimes the items weren’t in perfect condition, but I never bothered too much about everything being pristine.

Charity shopping has changed now and it’s almost impossible to find good vintage so I mostly shop from other vintage sellers on Instagram and Ebay, where you can still find a great bargain. I sell on Etsy and also at vintage fairs – which are brilliant for finding inspirational, stylish people to drool over, as well as for buying amazing vintage that has been hand-picked and curated by incredible sellers. It is worth getting to know your vintage dealers as many are from fashion backgrounds so you can trust their taste and they can be very skilled at selecting pieces just for you. If you’re looking for something specific it is always worth asking too as many sellers have stock stored away that might not be online or available at a fair.

The benefits of vintage are many – you can find fantastic quality labels from the past at much cheaper prices, find unique pieces and do your bit towards sustainability by reusing clothes already in circulation rather than buying cheap, low quality, mass produced, rubbish.

My top tips would be to look for natural fabrics – cottons, silks and wool. These fabrics are worth investing in as they can restored and cleaned to a high standard and won’t retain odours and stains from the past – which synthetic fabrics tend to do.  Garments made in natural fabrics tend to be of a decent quality to match the expense of the fabric.

Always check armpits for odour and everywhere for small moth holes and stains – it can be very easy to miss something but definitely worth taking the time to have a good look over. If you suspect moths, pop the garment into a carrier bag and into the freezer for a few days and that will kill any of the little blighters.

Mix your outfits for a modern look -pulling old pieces from your wardrobe to wear with a vintage or preloved piece can transform a look and breathe new life into your old clothes - happy shopping!"

Thank you so much Shelley! If you want to check out Shelley's site it is Atelier Archive Vintage and she has lots of beautiful pieces and impeccable taste!