The Beauty of Vintage

Vintage, Retro, Antique? Whatever you want to call it, turning to the decades gone by to get the sought after look of today, is becoming ever more popular with fashionistas around the globe.

Vintage clothing (to which it is most favourably known) is fast becoming the ‘trendiest’ way to shop, and with today’s most prominent fashion power-houses continuing to look to the past to create future collections, it seems vintage clothing is the way forward.

It’s no secret that vintage clothing has been sought after by avid vintage collectors seeking iconic pieces for the last 30 years now, but these days it seems everybody’s doing it.

Whether you love to dress in ‘50s clobber and nothing but, or you just want to add an original quirk to your high street ensemble, vintage clothing is available to all.

And so it seems vintage is the new black!

Of course, many fashion enthusiasts have long been scouring the racks of charity shops and trawling through endless piles of old clothes to find that one shining diamond in the rough, but these days – since the birth of the internet – obtaining that one off  piece of fashion history is easier than ever!

With the ever present eBay and numerous cool vintage boutiques popping up on the web, vintage clothing has well and truly arrived in ‘The Fashion Hall of Cool’.

So what is all the fuss about? Why the hype? I hear you ask.

Let’s face it, anyone who’s really into fashion wants to follow the trend, yet doesn’t want to look like everyone else at the same time. In a weird fashion paradox, we are all striving to ‘be different’ at the same time as relentlessly following fashion magazines to find out ‘what we should be wearing this season’!!! It’s funny but true.

This is where vintage clothing comes in.

80s 'Trailer Trash' chic - love it!
80s ‘Trailer Trash’ chic – love it!

Fashion is rarely, truly original these days, it seams every few years we are looking to a different decade to choose the look of moment.

Eighties is the current ‘darling’.

Who’d of thought 5 years ago that we’d all be crooning after high waisted, cut-off 501’s again! And worse still, putting it with a leotard and a checkerd lumberjack shirt? Yuck you’d have shouted! Yet, we’re all loving it, me included, and somehow it manages to look modern and fresh!

I have no problem with fashion skipping backwards. In fact, I love it!

There have always been those key iconic pieces that never tire of looking good –  the Chanel cardigan, the Chanel blue & white striped sailor top (lovingly reworked again and again by Jean Paul Gaultier) the Chanel chain bag (one of the most popular accessories of all time) and of course, the little black dress. In fact, come to think of it, Chanel has been single-handedly providing us with fashion classics for the last 80 years. Quite appropriate then that a new movie – Coco before Chanel – has been made coveting the life of this remarkable woman. About time too!

Audrey Tatou in the archetypical Chanel sailor top in 'Coco before Chanel'
Audrey Tatou in the archetypical Chanel sailor top in ‘Coco before Chanel’

And so it seems, when the Hollywood elite stroll up the red carpet at the Oscars, it’s always the coolest young starlets, noted for their beautiful vintage attire, that gain the most kudos – well in my opinion anyway!

But let’s not forget the military jacket, the mini skirt, and of course, the denim jean – invented by Levi Strauss in 1853 and, arguably the most successful fashion ‘invention’ of all time. Revamped again and again, these items are always present in the fashionable undercurrent. These fashion staples have firmly placed themselves in our hearts and it seems we don’t ever want them to go.

Original Levis from 1898 recently found in a Californian goldmine reached $36,099 on Ebay
Original Levis from 1898 recently found in a Californian goldmine reached $36,099 on Ebay

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why so many of us have fallen in love with the idea of owning the original.

Yes they’ve been worn before and yes there is a stigma attached to that (and maybe a slight musty scent!) but to own an authentic fashion relic that has inspired so many fashion super heroes, and has a story and a past life is far more interesting!

I’m not just talking about vintage Dior or original Ossie Clarks, because, let’s face it, whilst we’d all love to own something of that calibre, it’s not exactly within our budgets and highly impractical in this day and age! Plus you’d never dare wear it for fear of wrecking it after a good night out! And I believe fashion is all about fun and enjoyment.

Love the clothes you wear and love the fact that they’ve been loved before!

Even high street giant Topshop jumped on the vintage band wagon (rightly so) 15 years ago, stocking vintage in their flagship store on Oxford Circus. I can still remember my delight as a thrifty, retro-loving 15 year old, dashing down the escalators to check out the newly opened vintage section all those years ago! Vintage clothing found a whole new generation to cast its dusty spell over.

And so, vintage hit the main stream.

Kate Moss, Topshop does Woodstock, summer 09
Kate Moss, Topshop does Woodstock, summer 09

10 years later it was stronger than ever, cue Kate Moss to create vintage inspired collections and, vintage, along with Topshop, reaches a whole new level of cool.

Topshop have now taken the vintage trend even further by consulting legendary fashion designer of the ‘60s Barbara Hulanicki of BIBA (an emporium of swinging ‘60s cool) and Celia Birtwell, genius textile designer and integral other half of the Ossie Clark label.

Vintage-inspired is not, however, to be confused with vintage. The difference is simple – one is old, and one is made to look old. It is only really a substitute for the real thing. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this (why not bring back those iconic designers of the past to keep the ‘60s fashion fires burning?), it does detract from the best reason of all about buying vintage – it’s recycling at its very, very best!

In this over zealous consumerist society in which we live, fashion, and indeed everything, is produced and devoured at such a rapid rate.  And in a ‘today’s news is tomorrow’s chip paper’ kind of way, fashion and technology move on so quick that we are all struggling to keep up. Designers, it seems, are scrabbling to keep up with today’s hungry demands and with so many people around Britain in debt to the max with store ‘credit cards’ or ‘loyalty cards’, as it’s so eloquently put, it’s easy to ask the question, at what consequence?

Mass produced tends to equal a compromise on quality and individuality.  But with rock chic belts being tightened across the world it’s not hard to understand why we opt for the cheap n cheerful option.

That’s the beauty of vintage.

It doesn’t have to cost a well groomed arm and a leg to look good in vintage. There are plenty of top notch vintage boutiques online and off selling quality vintage at affordable prices. Or better still, get yourself down to your local charity shop to find yourself a gem and do your bit for a good cause in the process! What could give you more satisfaction?

70s mock croc chain bag, £38 - The Stellar Boutique
The Stellar Boutique, 70s mock croc chain bag – £38
80s vintage tiger top
The Stellar Boutique, 80s sequined tiger top – £28

Vintage clothing comes from an era where things were made with more time and care. Vintage is ethical.

We all know that children are being exploited at the expense of our thirst for the latest look, pumping out new clothes in a fashion frenzy and as cheaply as possible in the sweat shops of poorer countries. What’s more, our planet is being slowly killed by us humans relentlessly polluting it with chemicals and waste. So perhaps it’s time we replaced fashion frivolity with fashion responsibility and look to past clothing to enable us to look to a brightly coloured future.

But, with everyone getting in on the act, will it bring the demise of ‘vintage cool’? I say, not at all! It seems the more we integrate vintage into our current wardrobes, the more interesting and unique our outfits turn out. Ironically, the more we refashion the clothing from the past, the more creative we become.

So the message is simple then…

Buy vintage – look good – and save the world!!!!!


Shop for Vintage Clothing at The Stellar Boutique.

Vintage Clothing Collection………Sept 09

The Stellar Boutique – Vintage clothing collection

With a slick and stylish Vintage clothing collection spanning the decades, The Stellar Boutique is fast becoming the talk of the online shopping world. Perusal at your leisure through the vintage archives where you will find chic 70’s dresses and stylish mock croc clutch bags, alongside 80’s sequined tiger tops and peep toe shoes plus 80’s rock chick belts and 60’s boho peasant tops all at affordable prices.

This hand-picked range has been selected with today’s trends in mind bringing you unique yet sought after pieces for the capsule wardrobe of today’s modern woman.

Vintage clothing is the fashion world’s way of helping out our poor suffering planet! In our excessive consumerist society, vintage clothing provides an ethical and environmentally friendly alternative.

The Stellar Boutique is your one stop for online shopping. Home to an eclectic mix of online fashion, jewellery, vintage clothing, vintage bags, vintage shoes, boho, home wares and Moroccan design.

View the range:

Contact: Stella McClure,

The Stellar Boutique Launch ..7th July 2009

We would like to invite you into the wonderful world of The Stellar Boutique.

The Stellar Boutique was created out of a love for all things original and unique. This online boutique is bursting full of one-off gems exclusive to the Stellar Boutique.

Created by Stella McClure as an outlet to showcase designers and artists from around

Take a trip through this charming new online fashion, vintage clothing and home wares store and browse through an alluring collection of beautiful things.

the world, she understands the need for originality in our lives and wants to provide her customers with an enjoyable shopping experience where they are not dictated to or told ‘how to dress like a celebrity’ as they are at many other online fashion stores!

The Stellar Boutique offers shoppers the opportunity to follow their own individual sense of style and create a look for their home and wardrobe that is unique to them.

Stella used to sell her hand-picked vintage clothing finds to the glitterati and fash pack of Portobello, and counted Stella McCartney and Kate Moss as regulars who would seek her stall out to get the newest looks styled from one-off vintage pieces. Her discerning eye has now been put to further use with the launch of The Stellar Boutique, and no doubt her old regulars will be waiting with baited breath to be able to get their hands on her hand-picked styles once again, since the closing of her stall a few years ago.

Stella packed up London in 2004 and headed off around Europe and North Africa in her beloved campervan. She settled in Barcelona and briefly flirted with the idea of opening a shop to share her inimitable style with the beautiful people of Barça, but a move to a sprawling farm just outside the city got her thinking along cyber lines. Her friends had spread across the world just as she had – there were cool people looking for stylish things living all over the world and not all in city centres, just like Stella and her hippy-luxe country house. So why not sell her range to the widest number of fans via the internet? What’s more, the bougainvillea-covered house and garden complete with goats, chickens and olive groves would make a stunning backdrop for her fashion-pack friends to come and help her model the range! And so the Stellar Boutique was born.

The range includes ready-to-wear boutique clothing, bags, shoes, boho chic, sunglasses and accessories, as well as a hand-picked vintage clothing range that spans the decades.

Stella makes regular trips to one of her favourite places, Morocco, following the hippy trail to the fabulously exotic city of Marrakech where she works closely with the artisans there to bring you top quality, hand-crafted boho bags, boho belts and boho jewellery, as well as pouffes, rugs, cushions, textiles and other home wares perfect for modern stylish interiors.

View the range at


Never Love You More: Online fashion & vintage clothing boutique…Sept.09

neverloveyoumore pic

neverlovemore text

The Sunday Times: Stella McClure (newspaper article 2004)

The Times Newspaper article

In a world of apparent political and economic instability, a Jennifer Lopez-style image — $10,000 Versace dresses, fake tan and real diamonds — seems not aspirational but irrelevant. So on shoestring budgets, and often with no training, young women are creating their own ad hoc, random subcultures. Don’t like the music that’s on the radio? Start your own band. Don’t like the images being pushed by magazines? Create your own ’zine. Bored with the clothes on the catwalks? Buy second-hand pieces and customise them yourself.

It’s DIY culture writ large, it’s tinged with feminism and it’s fast becoming one of the big cultural forces in Britain.

Also reflecting this aesthetic is Stella McClure, a 26-year-old stallholder at Portobello market in west London. She used to work for Levi’s but found the experience unsatisfying. She now sells customised second-hand clothes and her own handmade range of bags under the slogan “Granny made me do it”.

“When I was at college I did aspire to the whole Prada thing, but now I get much more pleasure from going to a jumble sale and picking something random up for 20p,” she says.

“If you have all the money in the world, of course you can go into Dolce & Gabbana and come out looking great, but that doesn’t take any skill or imagination.”

Her next line of clothes will be a range of T-shirts with political slogans. It includes a picture of the Queen’s face above the slogans “squatter” and ”Head of the British mafia” designs that subconsciously references the Sex Pistols’ infamous “God save the Queen” image.

By Kira Cochrane,  The Times.


See the full article here