10 December 2011

Haslemere Wardrobe: Heaven on Earth

Last Friday was the start of Haslemere Wardrobe's mahoosive sale of costumes and vintage items. Being the die hard vintage fan that I am, I pre-registed and dragged my mum down to it. When we opened the door it was like going into Father Christmas's grotto,I was like a kid in a couture candy shop. There were rails and rails of clothing, from flower seller costumes to 20s dresses it had everything and I mean everything. I didn't know where to start, I had officially found my Mecca. Haslemere Wardrobe have been running for years and provides costumes for shows, hire them out for parties and sells vintage clothes from a wide range of era's. In the room there were 10,000 items, along with sewing patterns, hats and a huge box of gloves. If I could I would buy every single item in there, but I don't think even a low cut top and a short skirt would convince a bank manager at the moment.

It is run by the lovely John and Kate who know more about vintage clothes then Father Christmas knows about candy canes. The big sale they had lasted all weekend, but don't worry everyone there will be more. John told me that they have had all this stuff in their garage for years and he insisted that they had a big sale, well I'm so glad they did. I have been to many vintage shops and this place was the best I've ever been to. The main shop is just across the road and is also filled with more treasures then the Seven Seas. 
In the sale there was every vintage thing you could even think of, I was instantly drawn to a RAF Captain's Jacket from World War Two complete with medals which I fell in love with. Sadly it was £100 so after standing looking at it on me in the mirror for half an hour, I very reluctantly put it back on the hanger. I made up for it though with finding another World War Two gem. They had a rack full of the jackets that soldiers wore as part of their battledress, yes the ones with the horrible dull green itchy material, but what does that matter. As soon as I tried it on I felt like I was part of Captain Mainwaring's Home Guard and I was waiting for him to tell Pike that he was a stupid boy. The jacket I picked was actually a Royal Artillery jacket, with two pips on each shoulder, meaning I am officially Lieutenant Second Hand Rose. I just hope I don't chip a nail doing all those gun salutes. 
Please excuse the
The jacket also has badges on with a gold crown. I thought about adding my Brownie's Hostess 'You can make a cup of tea' badge, but I think that may ruin the ambience a little.
What I love about all the clothes is that they have a story behind them, some poor shoulder wore that jacket fighting for his country. He didn't know that 70 years later an over excited girl with boobs would try and squeeze into it. I don't know how they used to fit into them, any guy with moobs would be screwed. They could have a least made room for boobs couldn't they, honestly Churchill tut tut tut.

I also got a Victorian blue and gold jacket that boys used to wear. At first I thought this was made recently as part of a, but John promised me that it was real. I've never seen real clothes from Victorian times so this certainly was a treat. Sadly they didn't have one for those 1850's dresses with the huge humps at the back, now that would be cool to wear out shopping. 

At the back they had a huge rail of tails, you know as part of a penguin suit, not an actual tail. I don't really wanna look like something out of Wind in the Willows. Without even looking at them closely I made my mind up that I had to have a pair. I managed to find some my size that a)Didn't squash everything in and b) Wasn't too big and gave me shoulders to rival a jacket from the 80's. I found a gorgeous pair with satin lapels, but due to my mm having to go out in the afternoon I couldn't spend the 40 minutes that I wanted to take looking through them, so I had to quickly find some that fit the criteria. It had just normal black buttons on which I am going to take off and put satin covered buttons on instead. When I went to pay for them I kept everything crossed that it wouldn't come to a three figure sum. I got each jacket for 20 quid each, yes two zero. The vintage shops I have been to before have never had things as good and the things they did have were priced at the cost of a small country. 

I rummaged through the huge box of vintage patterns, what can I say I'm like a magpie drawn to them. I found one that was a gorgeous dress pattern from the 80's and a fitted round neck top/ dress pattern from the 50's, I got the patterns for £2 instead of £3. Due to me buying quite a bit and being a cheeky monkey I managed to bargain a big skirt pattern from the 50s for free too, which looks like I'm going to need a roll of material for. In the gorgeous box of gloves I found a lovely pair of yellow lace full length ones. The gloves had a whole in, so I got them for £6 instead of £12. This all came to £70 which I bargained down to £65.50 with John, Alan Sugar just hire me now.

I loved going to the Haslemere Wardrobe and adored seeing all the beautiful flowing dresses that women used to squeeze into. You can find more information about it here:Haslemere Wardrobe Website. You can also follow them on Twitter for exciting updates here: THWcostumes.
This is the place to go if you want a good piece of clothing history. They had a jacket there that was exactly 100 years old to the day, someone get the party poppers out. The jacket was made by Hoare & Sons, a High Class Tailor in the Victorian times. It was a black typical victorian jacket done up with one button and had curved sides with a curved back. I will definitely be going back to the Haslemere Wardrobe and I'm sure they will make be bankrupt some day. I will officially be the woman who lived in her shoes and a world war two jacket. That doesn't sound too bad actually.

Second Hand Rose 

P.s. They did not pay me for all the nice things I said about them, although that RAF Captain's Jacket would be rather nice ;-)


  1. Second Hand Rose
    Thank you for posting the account of your visit to
    The Haslemere Wardrobe
    Vaults are open sale. I can confirm you were not paid a penny for writing your story which is a great read by the way. If Alan doesn't hire you for your negotiation skills keep posting and someone will.

  2. You got some amazing pieces, I love the genuine Royal Artillery jacket. I'd love to go to a place like this but I never know where to look for one! xo



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