On Saturday I braved the freezing cold weather to get on a very steamed up bus to Oxford in search of some lovely new vintage gear. Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair was in town and, as I had never been to one in Oxford, I decided it was time I checked it out.
I’ve been to a couple of other Lou Lou fairs, one in Swindon which, let’s say, was not really for me (it was full of 70s, 80s and 90s stuff and not a single piece of anything older) and one in Cheltenham, where I picked up this gorgeous babydoll peignoir. I assumed, as Oxford has a bit of a vintage scene, that this one would lean more towards what I would call proper vintage, i.e. not 80s and 90s, and I wasn’t disappointed.
When we got to Oxford it was still a little bit early. The fair didn’t start until 12pm, which I found strange as most other ones I’ve been to start about 10am, so we went and had a coffee first. When we headed back to the beautiful town hall at 12.10pm there was a long queue of people waiting to go in! I have never stood in a queue before to get into a vintage fair, have you? This was a good sign as it was clearly popular.
However, we stood out in the cold for nearly 15 minutes and there was still a queue going all the way up the stairs, so it was about 12.30pm by the time we got to the desk. There was just one person taking the money, which seemed silly when there were so many people waiting out in the cold. I know they don’t want everyone rushing in at the same time, but once we were in the hall it was really quiet, so it wouldn’t have mattered.
The hall itself was absolutely stunning with a massive barrel vault ceiling decorated with Georgian style plasterwork and a gallery running all the way around. I tried really hard to get up there to take a picture but no one would let me! At the far end was a giant organ with a whole array of pipes dominating the centre of the wall which I can imagine creates one hell of a sound when it’s played with those high ceilings.
As we started to walk around we could hear a beautiful female voice resonating over the stalls and I immediately knew who it was. Yes, it was the wonderfully talented Lianna Haynes who I had first seen at Ruby’s Vintage Fair back in November of last year. And, as usual, she looked stunning in a beautiful floral circle skirted dress, which looks suspiciously like a Lindy Bop dress.
The hall was absolutely packed with stalls and everyone really made use of every little bit of space on offer, like this lovely display up on the stage of gorgeous 1950s summer dresses. Unfortunately, I am trying my hardest to resist buying this sort of thing (it’s so hard!) so I quickly walked away 🙁
I had a few things on my shopping list, mainly sticking to my separates rule, which I had a real good hunt for. These included a cute little white blouse to wear under cardigans, because vest tops just aren’t vintage(!), a pair of vintage cats-eye glasses and a new-to-me skirt (I wasn’t fussy, just something that took my fancy).
However, I really wished I was on the look out for winter warmers as there were plenty on offer, like this whole rail of brightly coloured wool coats. There was a gorgeous 1950s dusky blue mohair swing coat which I really, really wanted and a lovely leopard print faux fur coat that my mum said I should get to continue with my animal print obsession.
There was also boots galore!
And fur coats by the bucket load! I still haven’t made up my mind about buying vintage real fur. It really is so beautiful and there is always such an array of styles on offer at this time of year. I used to have a short black vintage coat of, what I believed to be, rabbit fur but sold it on eBay when I couldn’t quite bring myself to wear it out of the house.
There was a good variety of 1950s to 1980s clothing and accessories, with the odd piece of 40s, and even 30s, on offer and I really had a good rummage through everyone’s stall. I absolutely loved the 1960s dress on the rail at the front of the photo above but it just wouldn’t suit me. Because I’m quite curvy I always need something that is nipped in at the waist, whereas the 60s shift dress suits a much more waif like figure.
If you wanted to get your hair and make-up done there was a vintage beauty parlour on hand, run by Pretty Me Vintage, to transform you into a glamorous vintage goddess and there definitely wasn’t a shortage of those around during the day. I was very jealous of this ladies beehive, something I have tried to achieve over and over but my hair is just too thick. She was getting a make-over done along with two of her friends who all looked just as amazing.
And this super cute lady caught my eye. How gorgeous is she? I adore that dress! The whole look was ultra girly, but quirky too, with a sense of Victorian thrown in for good measure. It reminded me of the Lolita styles you see in Japan but done in a very English way.
As we were leaving we nearly missed this beautiful room tucked off to the side. It had a small number of stalls at one end and then a fantastic vintage tea room at the other. The variety of different cakes on offer was incredible and I stood there for ages trying to decide which one to have!
In the end I opted for this gooey chocolate cake with a Terry’s chocolate orange slice on top. And not only was it chocolate orange but it was the one with the toffee crunch filling. Oh my god, I have to buy a whole one of those!! My mum actually had to help me with the cake itself because it was so huge.
And these are my goodies. I didn’t actually buy much, mainly because I had a fixed idea of what I was looking for, but I did find this lovely 1950s shell top to wear under cardigans which I was really pleased about. It had a little mark on the front, which thankfully came out in the wash, and a button missing, so Marney’s Vintage reduced the price down to £15 for me. It needs taking in slightly and I’m going to replace all of buttons as yet another fell off when I washed it.
The brooch is handmade and is a 1940s inspired crocheted bouquet with tiny pearls in the centre of each flower. It looks lovely on most of my cardigans and gives them a real spring like look so I imagine it’ll make an appearance quite a lot over the next few months.
The photographs cost £5 each and were the only two that featured vintage lingerie, all the others were vintage film posters or portraits of stars of the Silver Screen. It was a shame because I really wanted three in total. I’m going to frame them and hang them in my walk-in wardrobe room, which seemed rather fitting.
All in all, it was a really good day and I will definitely be going back if they have one in Oxford again. It definitely goes to show, that the location of the fair and whether there is a vintage scene there or not, really makes a difference.