Thursday, 4 December 2014

We Love To Dress Up - OH YES WE DO!!....

We know it is hard to imagine that either of us could make a good Ugly Sister (Oh, Yes It Is!!) but on Friday night we both   managed to well and truly immerse ourselves in our characters.  

The Ugly Sisters
We of course were the Ugly Sisters!!  Dressed in Panto Dame outfits with fantastic wigs (and enough make up for the entire cast of the Dursley DODS Humpty Dumpty) we took part in the Dursley Christmas Festival Evening - and we loved it!!! 

The doors of the Lily & Violet Vintage Boutique were thrown open and the shop was turned into a photo booth for the evening, complete with moustaches, glasses, hats and photo frames.  It was such a success that we are keeping the props in the shop for the whole of Christmas - mainly because we love any and every kind of dressing up!!!

In fact, Lisa was thinking of applying to DODS for a part in their next production. The only problem is that it is going to be a musical* and she is a rubbish singer (Oh, Yes She Is!!) plus she is not a keen musical lover. 

The Singing Sensations
This is quite hard to believe because Lisa does  come from a very musical family. Both her Mum and Dad have competed across Europe in various singing competitions.**  In fact, if Lisa wasn't a vintage vixen she would probably be a Von Trapp, complete with lederhosen (made from a beautiful (vintage) curtain fabric, of course).

Anyway, enough of musicals and back to the panto theme.... The Lily & Violet Vintage window was based on Cinders (hence the Ugly Sisters). We worked really hard putting them together and we think we caused quite a stir!! Did anyone see them???

We were awarded the winners trophy and people were coming in all evening to congratulate us and to have a mooch around the shop. We have had some wonderful characters popping in and some really lovely comments - so, Thank You Dursley!!

It is hard to believe that we have been going for nearly 6 months - and what an incredible 6 months it has been. For us both, it has been life changing and we like to think that we are having a positive impact on our town.  We like being part of the Dursley community and we love it that we can stop traffic - if it isn't our windows that catch your eye, its our outfits!!!!

Please help us to spread the word - we want to continue to stop traffic, turn heads, cause a stir etc. etc.

*We have no idea what the next DODS production is but they are always brilliant!!
*Di & Tony are a renowned karaoke couple particularly in Turkey where they are asked back year after year (or are they??? - they go anyway!)

You can find us at:

#stilllovingit #ugleysisters #lily&violetvintage

Mary & Lisa x 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


Dursley is just the most exciting place in the world for us at the moment!!  Christmas is coming!!! We love this time of year and the fun is in the planning - it is going to give us hours of entertainment!!
Dursley at Christmas

We have just been to our first ever Council type meeting - who would have thought it?? We are turning into pillars of our local community and having an input into town matters!! And they are Christmas related - yay!

Councillor Lisa Higgings has formally tabled our request for a stall in Silver Street for the light switching on ceremony and we have expressed our delight at the proposals for the themes for the window competition. 

We have a choice: A Traditional Christmas or Panto - so what will it be?? You will have to wait and see!!

We are hoping to attract a few more of our fellow Silver Street traders to join us in making our part of town amazing!!     The shop will be open and looking gorgeous as usual and we hope our stalls by the church steps will add to the festive vibe. 

You might have guessed by now that we absolutely love a competition and when that competition involves making a window look spectacular, we can't help but get totally over excited. We have the best windows in Dursley and this Christmas they will rival Selfridges!!  
Nightmare!!! - We can't possible  lose the
window competition - can we??

........But Dursley is full of talented people and we are sure that ours will be only one of many spectacular window displays on offer. We are lucky enough to have big windows that lend themselves to displays - not everyone does; but that will not stop the talented traders of Dursley coming up with some fantastic ideas.

This year the Christmas lights will be switched on by a 'local Celebrity' on Friday 28th November.  And we are involved this year so it is sure to be spectacular....make sure you bring your families along if you can.  

The Lily & Violet Vintage boutique will be open along with many other shops in Dursley and we are planning a little surprise for anyone visiting us.  So, get yourselves down our end of town - it is going to be the place to be!!

Mary & Lisa x 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Going Gatsby

We are going a bit Gatsby crazy at Lily & Violet Vintage.......... we are going to a Gatsby themed Christmas party this year and are getting a little bit distracted by the whole thing - they flapper, the charleston, smoking in public, drinking hard liquor and everything else that goes with the roaring '20s!! We Love It!!

Wouldn't it have been great to live in the 1920s?!? - Well it would if you were in with the bohemian party crowd and not the 'below stairs' drudgery.  We, of course would be on the side of gambling, drinking, smoking and wearing trousers.

We have been known to smoke the odd cigar in our time so we would have fit in all to well - as for the gambling, liquor and trousers....what can we say?? You know us too well!!

Anyway, back to the shop...we really specialise in garments from the 1950s, 60s and 70s although we do have a few earlier pieces. As you know, all of our clothes are really good quality and condition and finding original 1920s dresses is unusual and therefore expensive - (that said, we do have one or two fine examples, if you are interested).

If you have passed by our windows lately, you will have spotted the '20s window is showcasing one if our genuine '20s dresses (amazing!!) and the other has a fantastic 1970s lounge suit that we think would make the perfect Gatsby outfit (it is just too cool!!!).

But if you want the Gatsby look without going to the trouble and expense of a genuine '20s outfit, it is really easy to do...go for beaded or fringed dresses and add acres of beads and pearls and some outrageous headgear.  In fact anything goes!! 

Totally Gorgeous

If there are any Gatsby-ites out there looking for a totally unique, totally gorgeous headpiece, come and check out the  Lily & Violet Vintage range.....we have used genuine 1920s beading and embroidered fabrics to create some very special accessories.

I have decided to go with a bit of an alternative take on the Gatsby theme.....this is my inspiration.....Completely mad but vert cool don't you think??? Very questionable as to whether I can pull it off though...

So far I have got some black satin pyjama bottoms (by What Katie Did, of course) and some fur to stitch around the bottom and I am still working on the rest of it - I will post a pic when I am done (maybe!!)....

Mary & Lisa x 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Downton or Cilla?? Which one are you.....

…..Or maybe it’s Grantchester, Peeky Blinders or Mrs Biggs……

Whichever one, we have got it all going on here at Lily & Violet Vintage!! It doesn't matter which drama you are into, I am sure we can find something to take your fancy!! And British drama is bigger than it's ever been.  We love it!!

Anybody catch the return of Peeky Blinders this week? Dated a bit earlier than some of the fashions we have got in the boutique, but some of that fabulous headgear is here - come and take a look! 

But one of our favourite bits of this show is the music - just awesome - and we have got some of that going on too! 

So Very Lady Mary
And what about Downton? 'Granny' is our favourite (if we are as cutting and witty at her age we will be awesome!!) but if Lady Mary is more your thing then check this out…..we can recreate her look!...and with authentic period dress too! 

1920s dresses are very difficult to find in a Totally Gorgeous state (after all they are nearly 100 years old). But we do have one or two little beauties!  If you happen to be coming along to our evening shopping event on Saturday, maybe we can encourage you to try it on!

My favourite recent drama has to be Cilla!. Whilst being suckers (like everyone else!) for the lovely shapes of '50s fashion, it is the '60s that have the ability to span all generations. This is just our humble opinion, but - there is no one that can't do a classically cut shift or A-line! You just have to have the attitude to match!

'60s Mink -Gorgeous
The fab dresses and coats that Cilla was wearing in the recent series were just amazing. Surly, no one watched that and didn't wish that they were part of the Cavern crowd in the '60s. amazing! 

We have got lots of '60s stuff in the Lily & Violet Vintage boutique, ranging from shift dresses to fur coats. The fabulous Biba boots have gone - but we have plenty more great stuff from the swinging ‘60s!!

If the tea dresses gracing our screens in Grantchester are more your thing, then we have one or two of those as well!! 

But, the party season is nearly here, so ditch the tea dress!!! and get yourself a fabulous shift to dance the night away in, or a beaded or fringed gown for your Gatsby party!!!

Right, time to stop!!! We might be giving the impression that all we do of an evening is curl up on the sofa and watch TV.  Us??? Never!!!, we are out there partying most nights away……If you happen to see us out, please send us home - we need to watch more telly….

Mary & Lisa x 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Autumn is here!!

Have you seen our new window display yet?? 

We have such a lot of fun dreaming up the plan for the windows - when we opened, we created our lovely Lilies and Violets (it was absolutely obvious to us what they should look like and they didn't disappoint!). Simple but spectacular!!! 

Out with the old!
Now that we have taken the flowers out of the windows, they are dotted around the shop adding a splash of colour everywhere....When we start marketing ourselves at vintage fairs, we are hoping to utilise them on our fabulous stall (and fabulous it will be!!!). 

In fact we will be attending our very first vintage fair -  the Blackfriars Vintage Fair in Gloucester -  with one of our caravans!! - watch this space for more details!!

Lots of people have asked if we are selling our props but to be honest they take such a lot of time and effort that we are going to keep them and re use them all!!

We have decided to change our window displays seasonally which means that our Autumn windows have just been done and we will be creating the winter scene to go in at the beginning of December.  We have started putting the plan for them together now. 

We have a pretty gorgeous double fronted shop and that enables us to stick with the idea of simple but spectacular (a bit like the two of us!!)....... Although, we would rather be simply spectacular,( but spectacularly simple could be a better description!)  So our Autumn windows are full of falling leaves and toadstools - and they look AMAZING. Well, we think they do - in fact they are worth a visit just to see them.

Lisa has done a brilliant job of pulling together the toadstools. It wasn't all plain sailing though and 'fungi' is our new favourite swear word.  (Actually, one of us is struggling with this concept, so we are practicing with Fungi and Shitake just to get a bit of variety into the swearing)... 

After a whole day of work, we walked into the stock room the following morning to find unravelled toadstools everywhere!!  (Top tip - fungi masking tape is not the thing for toadstool making!).  And that's without the pain of cutting and painting all the Shitake leaves.....And then stringing them up in the windows, invisible cotton is evil stuff!!

In with the new!
The new Autumn windows were unveiled last week and we have had lots of lovely comments about them.  We are obviously trying to catch the eye of the passer-by, and we think we have been really successful in this! We will continue to change the mannequins on a regular basis - and we get so many people asking about the things in the window that they don't stay in the windows for too long!

As we said, we have a few ideas for our winter windows but any and all contributions to put in the idea stew will be gratefully come on, give us your favourite ideas…. 

Mary & Lisa x

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Lonesome Town

Yay!! The school holidays are over at last and Lily and Violet have both returned to school this week!!  And the reason I am so pleased about this?? No, it is not that I want my daughter out from under my feet (although I have wished for that many times over the past 9 weeks) but rather that I can't bear to be in the shop on my own for days at a time!!

Labourer Lily
Lily has kept me company on a couple of occasions and has helped to open up the shop....although I obviously don't advocate child labour, I can see nothing wrong with instilling a good work ethic at a young age!! Actually, it may look as if she is being really helpful and couldn't possibly get in the way, but believe me, this shot remarkably managed to snap a rare moment in time....

At the start of the holidays me and Lisa decided that we would take it in turns to look after both the girls and be in the boutique on alternate weeks.  At first it was all great but as the holidays went on, I found that I most definitely do not love my own company!!!.... Well, not unless there is sun, cocktails and a good book involved..... And there has not been a lot of sunshine in the past few weeks - and cocktails during the working day are not allowed!!

The biggest drawback of our 'arrangement' is not having a partner in crime to banter with and share ideas and gossip (not that we have any time for that sort of thing!!! ).

Something funny or amusing happens and I find myself looking around for someone to share the moment but there is no one there - sad isn't it??  Don't feel too sorry for me - I am still in the most Totally Gorgeous, Totally Unique shop EVER - but it is so much more fun when there are two of us!!

To keep myself amused during any quiet times, I have taken to singing along very loudly to our fab music - the world is just a great big onion don't you know??

This is especially entertaining when customers come into the shop and they too join in the sing along!! This seems to be a couply thing to do!! - he starts singing along quite quietly and then she
joins in - or if she doesn't join in she throws one of those 'stop it now' looks - and invariably he stops!!

I have now progressed onto choreographing little dance routines to accompany my singing - much to the amusement of the bike shop opposite and slow passing traffic!! My very favourite so far is 110th Street (it is just my key I think!)

My next challenge,( had the holidays not come to an end,) would be to encourage a bit of SSD!!  According to the Urban Dictionary:
spontaneous synchronized dance
An unplanned but obviously pre-choreographed outburst of dancing within a normal, non-party setting by a group of three or more people, usually including singing, as in most films classified as "musicals." Often abbreviated as SSD.
Lisa has now saved me from myself!!  She has a rather special Birthday coming up (don't tell her I told you!) and has decided that the theme will be "I Hate Musicals". 

Now, I personally love a musical and can sing along to just about anything! And I love nothing more than trying out the dance routines in my living room!!
Oh how I wish!.....

Admit it!! - Who hasn't tried being Sandy (or Danny) doing "You're The One That I Want - you are the one I want - oooo oooo oooo Honey!"?!?!?

So anyway, we thought that Lily and Violet would look pretty cool dressed up as the Blues Brothers doing "Shake Your a Tail Feather".  We might not be able to pull this one off though - Lily is practicing songs from Annie all day every day (wearing a red clown wig) and Violet is insistent on being the donkey from Shrek...... Mmmmm not quite what we had in mind!!.. 

If you come up with any good ideas the girls (or us), then please let us know..

Mary & Lisa x 

Monday, 25 August 2014

The Things People Say!!

Can you believe that we have been open for over 2 months now?!?

And in that time we have received some really lovely comments.....but some people just find it impossible to say something nice - in which case we would rather they didn't say anything at all.....(and that could be the start of a whole new blog!......)

So, we thought we would tell you a few of the things that people have said to us (or about us) over the past couple of months.

A guy cycles past on his bike and then a few seconds later cycles by in the opposite direction.  We thought he might be casing the joint, but on his third cycle-by he parks up his bike and wanders into the shop removing his helmet.....
"I just wanted to congratulate you on the awesome windows"
 - well, thank-you kind sir - 
A 1000!!! You have got to be kidding!

"I have just been at a Glastonbury wrap party. I put together some of the stage sets and we have been mulling over the designs for next year. Well, one of them is a sort of UFO theme with flowers and butterflies - I need about a thousand of your flowers!!!"
Such a massive compliment - Thank You!!!!

We have received many compliments on our windows and lots of people comment on the frequency of the change of clothing on our mannequins.  Well, we do like to make an impression and so far the windows are doing their job!!!

The Winning Windows
"And the winner of the Dursley Festival Window Competition is da... da.... da...Lily & Violet Vintage!!"
There was really never any doubt that this was ours for the taking!! Lisa put her crazy brilliant papier mache skills to use and the windows were absolutely incredible!!!! The £50 Stonehouse Court Voucher will be put to very good use...

Over the course of the past couple of months we have been lucky enough to meet lots of great people all looking for an item of clothing to add to their own story....

One of these was a Mother of The bride To Be who came in looking for something truly special for her daughters' big day.  She was looking for something that no one else could possibly have.  And, you've guessed it - she found it in our little boutique!!! She decided to return the next day with her friend in tow for a (not needed) second opinion.  Her friends reaction -
" If we are friends, you will take my advice and buy the dress!"
She did; she looked absolutely fabulous and on her daughters' big day she will be wearing a one off dress that will set her apart from the other guests for sure!! Totally Unique. Totally Gorgeous.

Loving It!!
And how can we forget the young lady who looked amazing in one of our favourite iconic dresses - The Poodle Dress!! If you have visited our boutique then you may remember seeing this dress....

Katie was off to Secret Cinema's screening of Back To The Future showing in the East End and recreating the 1955 fictitious town of Hill Valley from the original movie. So the poodle dress was perfect!! Katie's verdict:
"I love it" 
Katie - that dress was made for you!! You should always dress like its 1955!!

We have had lots of people popping their head around the door and complimenting us on the shop and what a lovely addition it is to the town.  And in some cases, we may even have tempted them to stick around for a while and take their property off the market!!...

We are very proud of our little boutique and it is a pleasure to find out what you, our customers, think of, please - let us know!!
Mary & Lisa x 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Should You Stick Your Vintage Stuff In The Wash??

You've watched Dawn and you have rifled through those vintage rails and eureka!! you found the perfect vintage gem for you.. It could have been worn by Audrey Hepburn herself or maybe you take your inspiration from Olive of On The Buses fame. But whoever it was, you can rest assured that your lovely vintage gem probably hasn't strutted its stuff for quite a few years!!!

So, please, please bear this in mind when it comes to caring for and cleaning your vintage things!! When you buy a piece of clothing that has already lived one life (at least!) then the responsibility for caring for it becomes yours... Remember,  - at Lily & Violet Vintage we hope you will find clothes that you want to wear forever.... This will be a bit difficult if you kill it in the first attempt at a wash!!

Don't panic!!! This is your very simple guide to caring for your vintage wardrobe......

The first rule is surely obvious to everyone - if it isn't a washable fabric, don't stick it in your washing machine. Sounds obvious but maybe (like me) you sometimes risk a short, low temperature delicate wash - Don't!!

Now, you have all seen the advert - two girls in a launderette. One sat on a worktop looking bored. The other with some washing in her hand...
"so its usually when I want to wear my favourite vintage dress that I realise maybe I should do my washing a bit more often"
No, No, No!!!! Don't listen to her!!! She is (probably) a uni student with no full time job, working in the local cafe on a Saturday, living in a shared flat with 4 other like minded students.  They are all just getting to grips with having to fend for themselves.  Her skills in the washing department are limited ...

Even cotton needs careful handling
- especially where there is appliqué
Always go carful putting vintage items in your washing machine - bear their age in mind and handle them with care.  Even a bog standard cotton top should be treated carefully.  Some people advocate trying not to wash your vintage gems too frequently - in fact as infrequently as possible.  Try to air them instead of washing them and leave at least a day or two between wears to allow the fabric to rest.

If you have a mark that needs removing then try spot cleaning just that area or delicately washing by hand to remove the stain. If is absolutely has to go in the machine then always use a dedicate cycle on a low heat and use a liquid specially formulated for delicates.

As a general rule of thumb - make sure you air your clothes well and don't was them too frequently as it will damage the fabric. And always let the fabric breathe!!

Dry cleaning.  Surely its safe isn't it?!? Well not always! Firstly make sure all of the buttons and any appliqué etc is properly fastened.  Some vintage garments may well have discolouration of the fabric from wear over the years. Often, this is a permanent characteristic and cannot by removed by any sort of cleaning.

If you garment has rhinestones or heavy beading, make sure that it is all secured before taking it to the dry cleaners. Any quality items from the '50s will probably have as a general rule of thumb - make sure you air your clothes well and don't was them too frequently as it will damage the fabric. And always let the fabric breathe!!

Magical zip lube!
Keep sticky zips running smoothly with a zip lube. No other lube will do!! It would be such a shame to discard your favourite item just because the zip sticks a bit. Some vintage items may not have been worn for the past 60 year!! Of course the zips might be a bit stiff.. So prolong the life of your garments by keeping them in good working condition.

If you have a bit of cashmere in your closet then beware any harsh, abrasive washing powders. Best to use a bit of fairy liquid and gently hand wash your woollens - actually that is exactly the same for new cashmere...And don't let the moths bite!! Good quality vintage woollens are hard to come by so if you find some handle with care!

So the moral of the story here is wash only if you have to and even then do it with care - your vintage favourites have already lived one life and have come to you only because their previous owners took good care of them, so make sure you do the same.

Mary & Lisa x 

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Lily & Violet Vintage Soiree

OK, so we have had an idea (yes - another one!!) This is one for the girls!!
(apart from the bit at the very end which could see an end to the suffering endured by the male of the species when they need to buy their other half a gorgeous gift...;)

As you have probably gathered now, we are having the time of our lives - as you know, Audrey Hepburn is who we aspire to but even dear old Audrey would envy the fun we are having!!!

Since opening the Lily & Violet Vintage boutique most of our energy has been directed at making sure that what we offer is a fabulous collection of vintage clothing in a sumptuous environment - exactly how we think it should be!! (Really we have opened the shop that we want to shop in and have just crossed our fingers that others think the same as us!!!)

We know from lots of our customers (and from random passers-by who pop their head round the door) that you also think our shop is pretty fab and that you all love looking at our windows and waiting to see what gems we can find for you next!! We can't tell you how pleased we are...

We have also had quite a few people who are coming in feeling a bit braver in their choice of clothes having watched Dawn on This Old Thing on C4 on a Wednesday....

Surely, this is solo wrong??
But, please!! come on!!! We can do way better than some of that rubbish '80s stuff she is coming up with!! Really??!???!!! - turning the sequin butterfly top into that awful jacket!! - Why would you bother!!! And don't get me started on the guys jacket full of moth holes that didn't even fit....And, have you noticed how Dawn herself is always wearing something incredibly cool from the '60s or '70s???? ppffff!! (rant over - we love it really and are avid watchers).

So anyway, we got to thinking......people are ready to wear something a bit more unusual but no one wants to look like they are in fancy dress.. We have lots of customers who are new to the area, new to vintage or who perhaps lack the confidence to just get and try it on, so we thought a pre party season shopping soiree with like minded people would be a good idea. The shopping experience that we offer is, we think, quite special but we want to make it even more fun!!

Came and try something different!
There are lots of you who just need a little tiny push to try on something that you wouldn't normally pick off a rail.  But what if it doesn't quite fit right, is there anything you can do?? (We are no sewing experts but we know someone who is!!!) If you need a little helping hand shrink your waist by an inch then our What Katie Did Glamour Shapewear may be just what you need - we can explain it all to you....And what about hair and make up...are there any things you can do to complete your vintage evening out or adapt your 'look' just slightly?...We know the people who know!!!

So how would you fancy an evening of trying on, with us as your hosts and with a seamstress for ideas and prices on alterations, a hairdresser and make-up artist on hand for advice and demos??? - Oh and maybe just a little glass of bubbly to help the evening along. Come on!! Get your big Bridget Jones' on and stick your heels in a bag and come with us for a girlie trying on session.

We also thought we would take this opportunity to launch our 'wish list' - only for those who want to of course!!  You will be able to note items that, (if anyone asks us ;) you would like as a gift from one of your nearest and dearest. Maybe it could help you to get a very unique gift this year!!!

So, Saturday 11th October. Our evening will start at 6.30pm and will probably end at around 9pm - but who knows?!? we could be having too much fun to care! There will be a hair demo and a make-up demo (and both of these professionals will be able to answer your questions or take a booking for your forthcoming party if you want).  Should you try something on that doesn't quite sit right or needs taking up etc, a seamstress will be on hand to tell you what is possible and how much it will cost.

Oh, and did we mention the fashion show? - there isn't a formal one but all of you trying stuff on will be the fashion show!!

So - what do you say?? We have 40 tickets to our Lily & Violet Vintage Shopping Soiree. They will cost you £5 a ticket and are available from the shop.  If you can't get to the shop then please message or call us.

Mary & Lisa x 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Radio Ga Ga!!

"And everything I had to know
I heard it on my radio

Well ??? Did you hear it ?????
This week I thought I would tell you about my recent venture into radio…It would have been both of us, but any of you that know Lisa will agree, she is the shy and retiring type (and doesn’t think she has the face for radio!! ) So, who is going to tell her?!? Not me!! thats for sure.  I am not that brave….or stupid!! You can though…
It all started with BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s ‘phone with no home’.  I was handed this phone in a tupperware box and told that someone from the station would call between 7am and 9am the next morning and that I would then have 3 minutes or so to tell them whatever I wanted. 
Lisa refused point blank to take charge of the phone, so the next morning off I went on the school run armed with all sorts of sugary bribery in case I was called when Lily was in the car!! Luckily, my call came just after the school drop off, just as I had started my journey home. 
I sat in a lay-by and and had a lovely chat with Mark telling him all about Lily and Violet Vintage and the Caravans.  That very short bit of air-time led to a couple more calls from the station passing on enquiries and related information.  
Then came the random call about the driving test!!! My guess is that they had a long list of potential idiots and hit the jackpot with me!! The call went something like:
Radio person : “We are doing a feature on driving. Mark’s daughter is taking her driving test and we thought it would make a good feature if Mark were to retake his test to see if he would pass. So, we are looking for other people who would be willing to retake their test too - just for a bit of fun”
Me: “Well, um, so let me get this right. You want me to retake my driving test, on air to see it I would pass todays driving test - just for fun?”
Lisa in the background: ‘Go on. Do it!!!”
Me: “ OK then”
My Husband (much later that evening):  “You must be mad!! Who in their right mind would agree to retake their driving test? - And on air!!”
So, off I went to retake my driving test - complete with the lovely Zoe in the back holding a microphone in-between the two front seats!! I actually did alright I thought!! I nervously repeated the ’10 to 2’ mantra to myself throughout the test and in the end failed only because I didn't look over my shoulder when pulling away from the kerb. (I say ‘only’ and I am aware that this is an extremely important thing to remember to do - but compared to what I could have failed on, this was relatively minor!!) 
I was actually quite chuffed with that!! Admittedly, it was a very quiet day on the streets of Gloucester - eerily quiet in fact…..People must have heard that it was Lisa out on the roads that day!…
After the driving test radio feature, Zoe contacted me and we agreed to meet up at the caravans and she would interview me about them.  We met up at the barn and I enthused about our tropical Marj and the lovely Hilda and also showed her Rita and Marigold (who are both in need of a little extra tlc). So that was on Tuesday and the Program was aired Friday lunchtime!! Did you hear it??

I have gone completely radio ga ga!! Lovin’ it!!

Mary & Lisa x 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Trawling Tips for the Vintage Vixen in You!!

If, like us, you sometimes enjoy a bit of a rummage at a car boot sale and a sort through those charity shop rails you should keep your eyes peeled for that all important piece of quality vintage.  
You never know where you might find that little gem - and you are sure to come across something when you least expect it!! But when you do venture upon something you think is fab, it would be good to know what to look for wouldn’t it????
So here are the Lily & Violet Vintage top tips for buying vintage…
Obviously, our very top tip is to shop with us!!!…. where all of the clothes have been hand-picked for their quality style and condition and where you can try things on….  
But…whilst we would love you to shop with us you might just happen upon something that is not in our shop!!! Yes, really!! you just might!! 
There are lots of ways to get yourself some great vintage pieces… and we might be able to give you a few pointers…
Vintage, by its very nature has already been bought at least once before and is therefore either hanging in someones wardrobe or is waiting to be bought again - in a shop, at a car boot, in a charity sale, at an auction or on a sale site.  So, keep your eyes peeled and ask around..
There are plenty of hoarders, vintage lovers, size shufflers, shape shifters, shopaholics and over spenders out there - they could even be your mother or grandmother so ask them!! If they have long forgotten items tucked away in the bottom of their wardrobes then they could be the perfect source of your vintage pieces!!!  
But what exactly do you look for ??? There are a few things worth remembering when buying vintage (but it will vary a bit depending on the decade)…
Home-made clothes in the 1940s, 50s and 60s would be the normal for the majority of people.  These garments were very often high quality. But they won't have labels so look at the fabric and construction instead. Metal zips, hooks and poppers, boning, and great detail are worth looking out for.
Until the 1950’s, Pret-a-Porter (or ready to wear) ranges were very few and far between.  You couldn’t go into a shop and easily buy something of quality and fit, off the rack. More often than not clothes would be made to measure by an Outfitters, seamstress or your mum!
Sizings were not standardised until the 1960s and even then could still be quite random… even then many items were Couture or Tailor-made and as such no ‘size’ was given.

Size 14??? I don't think so!!!
So, never ever go by the vintage size - and it is worth remembering that it is not true to say that a vintage size 16 is a size 12 today - it varies!!
The best piece of advice we can give you is to try it on!!! 
We are all of us differing shapes. Not every size 12 woman has the exact same waist measurement.
So, what are the tell tale signs in deciding if something is vintage??? 
Take a look at the label if there is one.  Some labels just look old!!! If you still aren’t sure then get researching - this world wide web can be a wonderful thing!! 
Mary Quant started Ginger in 1963
If there isn’t a designer label you may still find a shop label or a fabric label.  The further back in time you go the less likely you are to find these labels and you are very unlikely to find a fabric label before the mid 1950’s. 
The composition of the fabrics used will give a clue to the era they were made in.  See ‘Crimpelene’ - think ‘70s!!  And the amount of information given will also give you a clue to the age. More info = more recently made item.
The feel of the cloth might give you a good clue about the age of the garment.  If the fabric has any degree of stretch and is not cut on the bias (diagonal to the grain), it is unlikely (but not impossible) to date before the 1970’s.
Care labels became a requirement in 1971 so this too can be a very good indication of age.  But, it won’t tell the whole story - you have to look at this along with the fabric type, cut, other labels etc. Just because it was not mandatory to have a care label before 1971, didn’t mean that it never happened - of course it did!!!
If the item is American in origin then you may find a ‘Union’ label. During and after WW11 all American made clothing bore the Union label and this helped to ensure that the correct cloths were used and quantities were kept to a minimum. However, the union tags continued to be used through out the 1970s and urged Americans to buy American made goods. 
Having said all of this, the very best way to buy anything (vintage or otherwise!) is to buy what you like. you would be pretty stupid not to  really...  The benefit of being able to date your garment though, is that it will give you an idea of how widely available it is and if it could be an investment piece.  

What is really great about vintage clothing is that you would be pretty unlucky to find someone else in the same outfit.  So, it would be totally disheartening to buy something you think is original ‘60s only to be hear “oh, I have one exactly the same as that! I got it a few years ago from Peacocks?”

Never again go out only to find someone else in the exact same outfit.  put some fun back into your wardrobe and dare to shop vintage!!!

Mary & Lisa x 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

What Sells???

We absolutely love the fact that our customers are Totally Gorgeous and above all Totally Unique - they have to be because they want to shop with us!! Why be a lemming and follow the crowd when you can wear something as individual as you are???

Oooo - goodies arriving!!
We have had great fun putting together the initial stock to open the Lily & Violet Vintage Boutique, but without actually having a shop it was all a bit like shopping in the dark...

I don't know if you have ever tried shopping for someone that you don't know, have never met and have absolutely no clues as to their age, stature, likes etc. etc.  Well, it is quite hard and so most of the time we shopped for ourselves!!  Over the course of a few months we think we got pretty good at it but the real test was throwing our doors open and letting all of you decide...

What is great about being in the Boutique is watching someone walk through the door and immediately judging the type of garment they will go for - only to be proved completely wrong when they walk into the changing room with their choices!!!! And then seeing someone have a complete change of identity when they try things on!!! - we love it!!  It really does go to show that you never can tell.

And then there are the men!!.... The male of the species invariably follows the female quietly around the shop; nodding in all of the right places and looking relatively interested.  But when their female goes into the changing room they suddenly become much more vocal and for the most part are intent on encouraging more adventurous clothes.  Needless to say, very little encouragement is actually needed!!  -  Well done those ladies!! There is definitely a degree of manipulation going on there!!  Of course it was his idea to go for something a bit different......

So, what have we sold ??? Were they the items that we thought would fly off our rails or are they the more unusual and quirky items that we thought could be a bit of an acquired taste??

You have surprised us, amazed us and delighted us by your non-conformist quirky tastes and your eye for quality and detail...

Gorgeous!! - Gone!!
Our favourite cream wool swing jacket with the multi-coloured buttons - gone!!
The very unique hat with the pheasant feathers - gone!!
Gorgeous heeled brogues - gone!!
Stunning pink malia sundress (just lovely) - gone!!
Mint condition lizard bag - gone!!
Orange organza sunhat - gone!!
Very unusual '50s button back top and skirt - gone!!
The fabulous orange palazzo pants - gone!!
The lovely metallic pouch bag - gone!!
All the sunglasses - gone!!
That Boa!! - gone!! (We hope you are putting it to good use Fiona!!)

Obviously the list could go on and on, but the point is that everything that we have sold has been as unique and gorgeous as the person who bought it!!! And we of course can't repeat any of the items that you see - once they are gone, they are gone!!!

We are keeping a list of things that you are interested in and will try to get things that you want to see, on to our rails.  We will keep our Pinterest pages up to date with our latest additions (if we get to photograph them before they are sold).

You do have to be quick though - this week the larger size dresses have sold within about 2 hours of being put out!!! Sometimes it is just luck.....

Mary & Lisa x 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Our Customers - Totally Unique and Totally Gorgeous

Would you believe that we have now been 'shop-keepers' for a whole two weeks?? And in that time we have met some absolutely wonderful, whacky, crazy people!! 

Most have got something to say about our Totally Unique, Totally Gorgeous Vintage Venture.....and we have found that it certainly takes all-sorts!!.....

Through our doors, we have had.....

The Doubters

"Well, I don't really see how you are going to make this work!! Do you know that you are just too far out of Town?? And you have got that lovely charity shop next door"

There always has to be at least one or two that would like to rain on the parade!!!

Bryony - Just too cool!!
The Debutantes

"Wow, I can't believe that Dursley has its very own Vintage Shop.  I wish I hadn't already bought my prom dress :( "

For those of you whose prom is next year, start shopping now.  We have had the pleasure of the lovely Bryony trying on outfits for next years Prom.  Clever girl!!

The Divas

"I love trying everything on" 

And we love seeing all of our clothes on bodies as well as hangers so we are more than happy to accommodate the odd trying on session just for the pleasure of seeing the beautiful clothes!!!

The Potterers

"oooo you have got some lovely things!! - I could spend hours just looking"

Please do come in for a mooch.  We love showing off our lovely boutique and are more than happy for all you browsers out there to come in just to see what we have.

The Reminiscers

"I can remember buying an outfit just like this one as my going away dress - this brings back so many lovely memories!!"

It is lovely to see some of our customers actually take a step back in time and recollect whole events that happened 60 years before!! Priceless.

The If Onlys

"I had one of those... and a hat just like that... etc.  etc.  If only I hadn't.....chucked it all out....taken it to the charity shop....."

Well, if everyone had kept everything, there would be no call for Lily & Violet Vintage!! But, there is.....yay!!

The "Just Passing By' Crowd

"I was just driving by and noticed your lovely windows and thought that I just had to stop!!!. What an amazing shop."

We are very glad to be stopping traffic!!! Have you noticed our changing window dresses??? We like to keep regular passers by with something new to look at, and new passers by with something lovely to look at!!

The Supporters

A true supporter - The lovely Rebecca
"It is about time Dursley got a lovely shop - may this be the first of many!! Very good luck to you in your new venture"

We agree that it is about time Dursley got something to talk about and that is what we are aiming for!!! The support we have received has been amazing - Thank You xxx

and last but not least......

The Del Boys

"Where do you get your stuff??? I have got some of this stuff in my wardrobe, if I bring it in you could take a look and see if you want to buy any of it..."  or
Could this be you - No!!!
"I have got a lovely 1980s wedding dress, do you want to buy it??" 

We can now spot this category a mile off!!!! We have been so overwhelmed with people wanting to sell us things that we are just saying no!!!!

Remember, our doors are open from 9.30am 'til 6.00pm Monday to Saturday, so please feel free to come in and have a mooch, try stuff on, tell us where we are going wrong, say how much you love our windows......Just stop trying to sell us your tat!! (even if it is not tat and is really very nice and probably a genuine 1920s flapper dress in absolutely immaculate condition or a virtually unworn 1950s Dior New Look dress... but its not  - so just stop it!!!!)

Mary & Lisa x 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Wow!!! What A Week!!

This has quite simply been an absolutely amazing week and we cannot thank you all enough for making it so special!!

The Lily & Violet Vintage Boutique has been in business for one whole week and there has hardly been a minute of that time when we have been alone in the shop....there has been a real buzz in the air and we are very chuffed to think that we have helped to create that.

Everyone that has walked through the door has had something nice to say - and it is all so lovely to hear!! It seems that the little 'ol town of Dursley has been just waiting for something to happen....and we think that we are just the start of that (and about time too!)
Totally Fabulous!!
We have had the pleasure of meeting some really lovely people this week and make some new friends along the way we hope!! We also kicked off our advertising campaign - albeit a bit low key for now.  We know that a few of you heard us live on Radio Gloucestershire this week and people came into the shop because they had heard us on air!!!

We have had a great time watching and listening to everyone's reaction to our shop and to the clothes we are selling.  As you know, every piece is totally unique and totally gorgeous and it has been really rewarding to see you emerge from the changing rooms looking totally fabulous.

On occasion we have been a little bit green eyed though, when one of our favourites looks fab and gets snapped up!!! Actually, that has happened quite a lot..... My favourite '60s shift dress - gone!! Those gorgeous red '70s shoes - gone!! The poodle scarf - gone!! The ostrich boa - gone!! This list could go on and on, so I'll stop now!!!!

Lily & Violet Vintage has had the occasional doubter too - but we really could count them on two fingers!! We know that Lily & Violet Vintage is going to be a great success and we will build our reputation to attract visitors from further afield. We know its what you want - and it is amazing to hear people walking out of the shop saying what a great time they have had - fantastic!!

Hana - a vision in pink!!
This week we have started #thronecam on instagram so when you are in town, make sure you are in our shop getting your mugshot on the throne!! For all you instagrammers out there, you can find us @lvvintagemaz and @lvvintagelisa.
This weeks offerings include the lovely Mrs Claire Hooper , queen of the throne, Uleygirl Nicola Davies (with whom we had a blast finding an outfit for a weekend wedding), and the absolutely gorgeous Hana and Rebecca Masters who were kind enough to try some of our special dresses on and looked spectacular in them!!! #if only.......

Breast Cancer Campaign
Our windows and boutique went pink for Breast Cancer Campaign on Saturday and we put our burlesque showgirl corset outside of the door.  It was getting quite a reaction from the bus that had stopped outside.  We would have loved to have been able to hear what was being said - it was funny,whatever it was!!  We love changing the view from the outside so we will be putting different clothes on the mannequins at very regular intervals.  Right now they have two of our very favourite dresses on - but then, they are all our would be impossible for us to get it wrong...
Our doors are open every day from 9.30am 'til 6.00pm.  Come in and browse, have a mooch around.  And, please if you have been following us on Facebook read our blog etc, then introduce yourself - we would love to meet you properly!!

Mary & Lisa x 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

"We declare the Lily & Violet Vintage Boutique OPEN"

OMG!!!!! We are ready to open the doors of the Lily & Violet Vintage Boutique!!!! We are soooo ready for this......are you?????
Getting ready for this day has been a really incredible experience - and we have loved every minute of it!!! - Even though we have been sick with anxiety for the past few days!!!  It is amazing to look around the shop that has now been transformed into Lily & Violet Vintage.  

As you know, we have handpicked all of the garments, accessories, shoes etc, and we have done exactly the same with the shop interior... Everything has been chosen especially for the look we wanted to create - and we think we have done OK!!
We managed to get the last few jobs done that we needed to... we probably missed a couple of price tags but nothing major was left undone - quite an achievement we think!!  

We attracted a crowd!!
The Cats That Got The Cream!
 So, we cut the ribbon at 10am and were so chuffed to see so many people there to wish us luck!! It all got a little bit emotional at that point, but there was no time to dwell on anything as we had a store full of shoppers!! And, shop you did!!

Our window displays were finally revealed as we cut the ribbon and they look pretty spectacular (even if we do say so ourselves!!).  We will be changing the mannequins very regularly and they will both be wearing pink next week as a show of support for Breast Cancer Campaign.  Our window theme is, of course, Lillies and Violets (what else??). Impressive impressionist we think!!!

Our fitting room was in use all day long and at 6pm closing time we still had people trying things on!!! Our first day could not have been any more perfect... Marj our Totally Tropical Caravan was gracing the Farmers' Market and receiving the attention she deserves, and the Boutique itself created quite a stir!!

What was really rewarding for us was to see people emerging from the changing rooms looking fabulous and feeling fantastic in the outfits they were trying on. Although we did have our eye on a couple of those pieces for ourselves.....(oh well, we will have to be quicker next time!!).  A few of our favourites have left the rails and are now gracing your wardrobes - just make sure you wear them!! and make the world a more unique, gorgeous, glamorous place!!

All of the comments we have received have been really positive. We were right .... Dursley is ready to ring in a few changes and we hope that we have contributed in some small way to that.
Bristol house 2014
Bristol House 1926

Everyone has said how pleased they are to see us in Dursley and what a different ambience we have managed to create.  We are offering a wide range of ladies vintage clothing and accessories but already we are being asked about adding to this.  It seems that the menfolk out there want a bit of a change too.......

Our doors will be open Monday to Saturday from 9.30am til 6.00pm.  We will probably review this in a couple of months time but would hope to stick with these hours and we plan to keep the caravans coming to the Farmers' Market once a month.

If you have got any suggestions for us, then please let us know..

Mary & Lisa x