I love a vintage fair but it is a place of nightmares if you are not in the right mood for it. And while Helen dove into the Vintage Weigh and Pay, I just wasn't feeling it. Let me set the scene...
It had been a stressful week for me *violins play*. We were squeezing in a number of bloggy things in Dundee the weekend that the Vintage Weigh and Pay came to town. I arrived by train early doors (but not as early as Helen!), dragging a suitcase and tote bags for the weekend. I wasn't quite sure what items I'd be styling for our other upcoming shoots- or what I'd pick up at the fair- so I'd brought my Styling Capsule Case. I'll write more on that soon but trust me when I say styling in the dark makes for a heavy load. It was a hot day. I got lost in Dundee, as always, even though I practically lived there as a teenager and visit every month. Helen thinks I'm being a princess when I ask her to meet me in advance but really I'm an imbecile. I had PMT. I was grumpy.
The Weigh and Pay was SO busy, even though we arrived early, and there was nowhere to store my luggage. Gutted- it's a place where you need sharp elbows and determination to bag that bargain! I was kind of poking around; slowly, half-arsed, and not feeling my usual shopping gusto, and I ran out of enthusiasm pretty early on so I left with barely anything. I ignored our easy kilo sale tips!
I'm making it sound like such a faff but if you have the right mindset it's really a cinch. Here is how you should do it:
1.) Flick through everything on the rail.
I mean everything. Give each piece a quick wee eye up, as every one is unique. There are so many colours and patterns to
2.) Grab anything that grabs you.
Really, because if you put it down for a second it'll be gone forever. Normally (i.e. when I have a free hand or two) I just pile it all up to try on and properly decide later. Sometimes I feel like these sales are akin to shopping in Primarni- the fit is nothing like you imagine and grabbing up handfuls of potential is the only way to find those few gold nuggets.
3.) Try on everything.
One of the annoying parts of this Weigh & Pay was no area to change in. Even a cordoned off corner would've been useful with so many people trying to squeeze into the toilets. I would also consider what you're wearing, and how easily you can try things on top. Layering with black tights/ leggings and a vest top means you can whip off your clothes anywhere. Bonus!
4.) Scrutinize everything.
Not being rude, but these things are in the bargain-lovers fair because they're often imperfect. Stains, tears, missing buttons- it can all be going on! BUT it doesn't mean you should dump it. The second dress I tried on (not pictured) had a huge rectangle cut out the back where someone's repurposed the fabric, but luckily I wanted to take it up anyway. I was also advised by Pat from Nicely Eclectic Vintage that you can mistakenly pick up a "pair" of items that don't actually match! Check the colour in daylight before you pay.
5.) Bring a friend.
As well as making it more fun, they can act as your mirror or take a photo to save you trying to glimpse a look in a head- height mirror in the loos (see point 3). They can also advise you about any rips or stains you haven't noticed (like that embarrassing mark on the arse- thanks Helen!). And they may even offer to look after your luggage while you have a grumpy second look around.
Technically, I failed miserably at this challenge but I was in budget and picked up two beautiful items at the Vintage Weigh and Pay, so I don't mind!
My entire candy pink outfit- shoes included- cost a mere £14.50 but I didn't pick them all up at the Weigh and Pay. I did purchase the amazing pink dress (and another yellow gingham one) for the princely sum of £7.50 TOTAL. That's right, this was under £4. However, a cute dress does not an outfit make. As well as being able to pick up belts, hats, scarves, bags, shoes and jackets in the weigh in, there were also stalls selling items of jewellery and sunglasses individually. For £1 or £2. It was job lot stuff but cute cheap extras. I did see a couple of things I could pair with this, including sunglasses that made Helen say "don't you have those in 2 colours already?" (Yes, yes I do) but as I was doing my second round I decided I didn't need any more random stuff just for the sake of buying it. So I stuck to my guns and.. well, I guess I failed. But I won a small victory against my shopping problem so yay me!
All the other bits I'm wearing were bought dirt cheap in various high street shop sales. I got the earrings during my Pat Butcher phase in the summer (for £2) but haven't worn them yet. The donut bag was one I lusted after and then snapped up for £2 in the sale (I resisted also getting the burger and milkshake.. so much regret). I get a surprising amount of wear out of it, so it's a good purchase. I borrowed the rings from Helen's growing collection of silver smithing.
Dress | Vintage Weigh & Pay
Shoes | BHS
Bag | New Look
Earrings | Topshop
Glasses | c/o IOLLA
Rings | Made by Helen
I kept a sixties vibe for this vintage look but I can see this dress getting a lot of wear with its simple shape. And really that's what it's all about.
If you are thinking about shopping at a vintage weigh and pay fair, I recommend you do! Just follow my tips and arrive prepared. And no grumping or you'll never find anything good. I should know.