Fashion guru and journalist Lynne McCrossan has just released her first book A Girl’s Guide To Vintage – and we LOVE it!
Could you think of anything more pleasurable than trekking round the country on the hunt for the best vintage clothing shops in the UK? No, we can’t either, apart from having a chauffeur and masseuse on hand to accompany you.
But that’s exactly what fashion expert Lynne McCrossan’s done (sans chauffeur/masseuse) for her fabulous new vintage clothing bible. Encompassing 15 major cities in the UK, Lynne has uncovered some real gems in each city for the vintage aficionados in all of us.
From 80s chic to 30s gems, Lynne’s lively guide features a ‘day and night’ look for each city and sumptuous pictures from award-winning photographer Brian Sweeney. Plus she gives a neat little profile of which celeb defines style for each city. A hip, must-have manual for any die-hard lovers of timeless fashion. That’ll be us Belles then!
Here, she gives an exclusive interview to Belle about her obsession with vintage clothing – and her secret J.Lo find in New York…
How did you first get into vintage clothes?
Second-hand and vintage has been around me since I was tiny. My mother loves a bargain so I was introduced to that very early on. Spending my weekends as a child down The Barras in Glasgow was an amazing apprenticeship into the world of vintage. But my first exciting experience of vintage was when I was 17 and discovered Herman Brown in Edinburgh. I have been shopping there ever since and it never fails to delight me each time I walk inside.
What’s your best vintage find?
While doing my research for A Girl’s Guide To Vintage, I was in Manchester snooping around Afflecks with my stylist Zoe Hill and I found a fully boned black and white cocktail dress by Frank Usher for £5. It was photographed for the Newcastle day and night section of the book because it was so in keeping with the beautiful gowns that I found in Attica. I love the dress so much and can’t quite believe it was only a fiver!
The most famous item from a vintage shop is probably Kylie Minogue’s gold hotpants, but did you hear any other legendary stories from shop owners during your research?
I was in New York a couple of years back dragging my poor boyfriend around every vintage outlet in Manhattan. One morning we were rummaging at the 6th Ave market when I came across a full-length mohair dress covered in silver sequins that looked like Jessica Rabbit had once owned it. I wasn’t far off on the previous owner stakes as the stall holder informed me that Jennifer Lopez had been photographed in it for her latest album shots! The silver beauty sits pride of place in my wardrobe.
Who are your style icons?
Edie Sedgwick. She really used clothing as a way of expressing herself – like an extension of her art. Also Rita Hayworth in The Lady From Shanghai. Every time I watch the film I get lost in the outfits she has on. And Annie Lennox – she has the ability to make a bin bag look like a couture gown.
Do you have a favourite era for fashion?
I have to admit I’m a fan of every era and wear clothing from all decades. I love that with vintage you can dip in and out of time and create a look that is completely unique. But I have to admit that it’s the clothing from the ’30s that fit me the best, which makes it my favourite. As a stand alone decade it’s by far the most important, in my opinion, for fashion. It was a very daring decade and completely ahead of its time design wise. The ’30s really set a bench mark for pushing the boundaries of fashion. It was also when clothing being cut on the bias became popular – which again compliments my body shape better than any other decade.
My mother works in a charity shop in Glasgow. She bagged me a Burberry mac in egg shell blue for £5. It was from the ’50s and designed to go over evening dresses with full skirts so the mac wasn’t a typical trench shape. It had no tie at the waist and the bottom shot out to give space for full frocks to go underneath. When she dropped it off with me I didn’t fall in love with it instantly so thought it would be better to sell on to an owner who would adore it. I sold it for just under £100, but it’s my biggest vintage regret and one I will not be making again. There’s a picture of it in the book.
A Girl’s Guide to Vintage is available now for £5.49 from Amazon.
By Justine Harkness