We're very pleased to invite Anmarie Bowler, an Ealing based style blogger who showcases her unique second-hand and vintage fashion finds on her blog Huntress London. We asked Anmarie to give us the inside scoop on the best places to find a vintage treasure in Ealing. Over to Anmarie…
Written by guest blogger Anmarie Bowler
Ealing, the Queen of the Suburbs, is King when it comes to vintage and high quality second-hand style. It’s easy-peasy to “Never Buy New” (my motto) with so much pre-owned fashion flare in our own backyard.
In the heart of the retail district is a clutch of nicely stocked charity shops. Oxfam, Fara, Mary’s Living & Giving, RSPCS and Octavia are situated along the Uxbridge Road, down Bond Street and then back up the High Street. Charity shops often separate their ‘true’ vintage from other clothing, but look through it all. Become a label reader in search of little clues. For example Made in England, Paris or the USA often indicates age and superior craftsmanship.
This newcomer to the vintage scene is a corker. Boasting 8 to 10 stalls, you’ll find a nice variety of jewellery, dresses, handbags, hats and shoes (along with brica-braca, books, furniture and the rest). There’s even a smattering of 2nd-hand style; not all that old, these fashions are gently used but highly desirable. I recently picked up a pair of straight, ankle skimming wool trousers made in Scotland for £18 – on trend and high quality, not to mention 2 delightful pocket squares for a fiver. The stallholders are a friendly and welcoming bunch, happy to have a natter. With the Drayton Court standing watch over the proceedings, a little tipple after you’ve shopped seems just the ticket. The West Ealing Antiques Market pops up on the last Saturday of the month.
This little establishment offers a selection of dresses BASED on vintage patterns, call it vintage style. Not old, in fact brand new, for many women this is the easiest way to carry off a 40s or 50s look. I recommend accessorizing your Clarence and Alabama frock with a cropped cardie, a true vintage handbag and a bit of bling from your nan’s jewellery box. Or for a striking vintage/modern mish mash wear heels that colour clash with the dress and chunky contemporary accessories. Clarence and Alabama is situated along a charming parade of shops in Hanwell but will only be there until 8 November. After that it, pops-off. Not to worry, on the same street you’ll also find the Community Shop, a lovely charity retailer new to the area. Have a look, it’s got bags of a 2nd-hand style.
Editors note: This pop-up shop won't be around for long! It closes on Saturday November 8th, when Amy will take her vintage treasures on the road to a series of vintage fairs and festivals, but dresses will still be available online and Amy will even deliver locally!
4. The Pitshanger Double Act, Pitshanger Lane.
This is quite possibly my all-time favourite 2nd-hand destination in Ealing. A charming high street, it’s complete with butcher, baker, fishmonger, green grocer, several cafes and not one but two delightful charity shops, The Children’s Society shop and Cats Protection shop. As much 2nd-hand as true vintage, my walk up the hill to Pitshanger Lane nearly always results in a style find. I’m a dedicated charity shop hunter, inspired by the cacophony of competing colours, fabrics and eras that the shops offer. But I’ll admit, for some it can result in retail overload. I promise the peaceful, friendly, confines of Pitshanger Lane make vintage hunting an almost meditative endeavour.
5. Craft Market at The Fox Pub in Hanwell, Green Lane.
In the forecourt of this award-winning pub, you’ll find The Craft Barn, a little shed with a lovely selection of homemade bits and bobs from local artisans, sewers and hobbyists. On the last Saturday of the month the Craft Barn overflows out into the courtyard with stalls offering even more from this talented collective of creators. Its vintage vibe is why it must be included here – it’s like an old-fashioned sewing bee, with beer nearby. I picked up a hand-painted box recently, making it the new home for my vintage delicates. Along with the boxes, you’ll find the fat ends of wonderful fabric, knitted toys, hand-embroidered silk purses, jewellery and much more. Finishing touches and great gifts abound here.
Who is Anmarie?
Anmarie Bowler is the 2nd-hand style seeker behind Huntress London, Ealing’s own fashion blog. She also blogs for Oxfam Fashion. Chronicling what she finds in area charity shop has made her realise just how important 2nd-hand clothes are to her identity. While she has lived in London since 2006, Anmarie was born in a small town in Ohio. She studied journalism in her 20s, worked in politics in her 30s and theatre in her 40s, earning an advanced degree in playwriting from the University of Birmingham in 2010. She lives in Ealing now and works part-time at The National Theatre.
Visit Anmarie's blog: Huntress London
Tweet Anmarie: @annielistening
Thank you to Anmarie for guest blogging for us. We got to know Anmarie via #EalingHour, the weekly Twitter event that we host on behalf of our community.
Join the 200 other local people who take part in #EalingHour every Tuesday from 8 to 9pm. Read this to find out more about how #EalingHour works and how you can take part. Or tweet us @northfieldslive to find out more.