When her home could no longer accommodate her vast vintage wardrobe, Clemmie Myers used her lifelong passion for vintage, ability to customise any garment and styling savvy to open up a fabulous showroom of vintage designer gems. Jen Barton takes a peek...
For stylist Clemmie Myers, no vintage piece is too dated. If she sees something she likes (anything from Edwardian silhouettes to New Romantics 1980s looks to Wild West Steampunk), she'll customise it to make it look more contemporary, shortening a hemline here or nipping in a shoulder pad there.
When did you first get hooked on vintage?It started unknowingly as a child. I had a dressing-up box of my mother's old pieces. I spent most of my time dressed up in those - insisted upon it, I am told. Aged 11, I got my first piece, a brown sheepskin Seventies coat which was enormous on me but I wore it religiously.
I don't think there are any rules. I think people assume that vintage dressing is different to contemporary – but that's not necessarily true. If you don't think it looks good or fits you, you're probably right and if you think the dress from the Seventies looks better without the large felt belt it came with, that's up to you. Style it with a contemporary belt, or some ribbon or rope, or just leave it as is. Just go with your instinct, trust yourself and don't be afraid to experiment.
I often rework vintage pieces to breathe new life into them and reintroduce them to the world. A shortening here and a reduction of a shoulder pad there can completely change a piece and make it more wearable. I often look at a piece and think there's potential here, perhaps where others wouldn't. It's important to do this as there are so many clothes in the world and as many as possible should be given a second chance.
I don't really think anything doesn't work, it only doesn't work if you walk out the door thinking, 'This doesn't work.' If you do that – that's what people will think.
How can you tell if a vintage piece is worth investing in?
First and foremost, you have to love it. That is the most important thing. The condition of the piece is very important. Also, vintage clothes are like fine wine - they go up in value and there are peak times for selling them.Something that adds huge value to a piece is association. If you can prove through written testament and/or pictures that the actual piece was worn on Madonna's first live television appearance (for example), then you're quids in! And it follows on in tiers so that same piece that didn't belong to Madonna but is from the same collection is of value. There are of course certain designers that consistently reach high value at auction: YSL, Dior and Ossie Clark, for example.
I always collected and let people borrow things and then people wanted to buy things so I sold pieces from home. It just sort of evolved. If it wasn't my job I would be doing it anyway and I feel so fortunate that I've made a career out of something I love so much. I love having the showroom and the recently launched website and selling and styling pieces for a living. It makes people happy, which feels great.
Lime Green Bow is also available online - check out the new website for fabulous designer vintage finds, Clemmie's top styling tips and Handbook for Bow Girls blog updates.
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MORE! See inside the best vintage wardrobes here.