June 1, 2017
Last Updated on September 28, 2022 by Dominique de Merteuil
Vintage Caf- Vintage shop of the week AKA 1920s-1930s fashion heaven.
Vintage Caf – Vintage shop of the week aka the 1920s-1930s fashion heaven.
Whenever I re-watch a drama set in the 1920s or 30s, inevitably, I daydream and lust after an evening gown from that glorious period of time. For those of a similar inclination but who are not in the vintage loop, you’re perhaps unaware, that there truly do exist magical places, which actually sell true vintage clothes from the time of the Great Gatsby!
But… I should point out, that you really need to know where to look. And I sincerely hope, that my recommendations will get you closer to finding that perfect vintage outfit; one that perhaps will make you feel like Daisy Buchanan or in my case Sylvia McCordle from my beloved Gosford Park.
To help you in your quest, I’d like to share with you one particular shop on Etsy that is my ‘go to’ with the 1920s-30s wish list and it’s called Vintage Caf! Where, besides fashions from the jazz era, you will also find beautiful clothes from Edwardian times all the way through to the 1960s, along with accompanying accessories and a truly unique, dare I say breath-taking collection of handmade headpieces, all created by the shop’s talented owner who uses antique lace for all of her headpieces.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Meine Damen und Herren! Madame et Monsieur! Without further ado, I present you the Vintage Caf vintage shop of the week.
Dominique de Merteuil: How did you start your adventure in selling vintage clothes?
Vintage Caf: I only started selling Vintage clothes recently after my husband and I decided my personal vintage collection was just too big to store in our home. Instead of finding alternative storage, I decided to sell the pieces I no longer wear. And so it started from there about 2 years ago.
DdM: What can we find in your vintage shop? For example, do you specialise in a particular era or type of garment, accessory, etc?
Vintage Caf: I sell across all vintage eras but mainly 20s and 30s. Part of my collection included a large selection of antique lace. This I did not wish to part with, so I set about making millinery from the lace. The pieces I make I sell in the shop.
DdM: Is there a process you go through when selecting garments for your shop? Perhaps you have a list of criteria, that you use when deciding which garments will be perfect for your shop and your clients?
Vintage Caf: The most important criteria for me when buying vintage garments is – would I wear this? If the answer is no, then I don’t buy it. The result is that everything in the shop is of my personal taste and something I would wear. Same with the headpieces. When making a headpiece I try it on and if it looks good on me, it will look good on others.
DdM: Where do you find all those beautiful vintage clothes and accessories for your shop? (if it’s not a secret!)
Vintage Caf: Much of what is in the shop is from my personal collection gathered over 30 years. When eBay first started it opened a whole new world of vintage.
I love going to vintage markets and fairs and still occasionally find pieces on eBay, although the golden era of eBay is over. I remember seeing Fortuny gowns for a thousand dollars on eBay years ago. I couldn’t afford them then. Now I still can’t afford them.
DdM: What is your favourite period in time and why?
Vintage Caf: My favourite period would have to be the 20s and 30s. I’m an old romantic at heart and the clothes from that era, the flowing gowns, beading and chiffons, are so romantic. I also love a good structured crepe 40’s outfit. Hard to come by though.
DdM: What message/advice do you have for women who have never bought vintage clothes before? For example: what are the key pieces to start building a vintage look? What to keep in mind when making a purchase?
Vintage Caf: I’m always trying to convince family and friends of the sense of vintage. Modern fashion designers all borrow from fashion history one way or another so you can always look stylish and on-trend by mixing up vintage with modern.
If you want to start a collection I’d go with a couple of blouses first. The ’40s had some magnificent pieces, some with wonderful beading. A vintage blouse under a suit looks very classy. Then move into dresses that you can team with a jacket for work or scarf on a weekend outing.
A vintage bag can also give a modern outfit that stylish touch. Before buying always check for flaws. I try and avoid pieces with holes as they are difficult to repair. If it’s an undone seam or hemline that is easily repaired.
DdM: What are the 3 favourite items that you have ever sold and why have you chosen to name those particular ones?
Vintage Caf: My favourite pieces that I have sold. I didn’t realise how difficult selecting just three favourites would be.
This one is because the customer wore it as her wedding dress.
This one is because I love vintage crochet pieces and this one is from the 1920s
And this one because I won a journalism award when I wore it. It was hard to part with.
I’m a journalist by trade and have been to numerous awards nights and formal events. My vintage gowns were ideal for walking up on stage. Gives that added glamour.
DdM: What are your favourite vintage brands and are they very difficult to find?
Vintage Caf: Vintage brands are wonderful when you come across them but can be terribly expensive. My favourite vintage designer is Dior.
I have one Dior jacket in the shop and Madame Gres. None of her pieces. though.
You can’t go past the homemade vintage dress. So many more women knew how to sew back in the day and their pieces were beautifully made.
I also sew, so when I come across a piece of vintage fabric, I find a vintage pattern and make it myself.
Below is an example of a dress I made using rare 1920s tulle with cornelli work. Again I wore it to an awards night and have since sold it to a lucky customer.
DdM: What’s in your wardrobe? Do you personally wear vintage clothes on a daily basis?
Vintage Caf: I have an eclectic wardrobe. I have many homemade pieces that I have made and I have a few modern designer outfits.
I like to mix and match. I almost always wear something vintage every day, even if it’s a brooch or handbag or blouse. I tend to spend more money on designer shoes and bags as they can lift any outfit and last for years.1920's fashionbest vintage shopbest vintage shops on EtsyGosford Parkvintage cafVintage Caf shopvintage clothing storeVintage fashionvintage shopping