Wednesday, 5 April 2017

National Trust - I'm Your Fan

A few weeks ago I attended the National Trust vintage clothing sale at Como House in Melbourne. Como is an historic mansion dating back to 1847 and is a popular venue for weddings, functions and exhibitions. Once a year it hosts a vintage clothing sale. Many people donate vintage clothing to the National Trust but it can only keep the best and most significant pieces in its collection. Much of the clothing and accessories are sold off in their annual sale, with the proceeds going to the upkeep of Como.

This was my first time to the sale, and I'll certainly be going back again next year. After walking through  rooms filled with hats, accessories and even patterns and magazines, I entered the ballroom, which was cram packed with racks of clothing. Volunteers were there to help, and they had also soaked, washed and ironed a lot of the clothing as necessary and where possible.

Just one little corner of the ballroom.

It was Sunday afternoon, and everything was half price. So what did I find?

 This was only the beginning. Luckily, I had brought a trolley and a very big bag with me.
Amongst the highlights for me were  the lingerie items. There were beautiful little bras from the 1930s and 40s, many were unworn and still displaying shop tags.

Berlei longline bra, very early 1930s

Never boil your bra. Our grandmas had to slave over the copper, boiling their underwear and linen.

The other little bras also look new, or have seen very little wear.

This little gem is silk. For a very small but busty lady.
And this bra seems impossibly tiny.

Not only bras, ladies, but knickers. I snapped up a few pair of the ever popular French Knickers, or tap pants as our American friends call them. My mother insists that in Australia, in the 1950s, they were called scanties. I was interested to hear the volunteer lady who served me also called them scanties. Mum must be right, as usual.

Unusual and lovely floral print, and silk.
Look at the beautiful insertion work on this pink pair.

And a teddy.

Another find that was exciting for me is this 1930s silk wedding dress.

This gown came complete with a copy of the wedding in which it starred in 1934, and the names of the bride and groom. How lovely to know a bit of the story behind the dress. This dress has gold lame trim at the shoulders and on the delightful Art Deco belt.

I was also delighted to find quite a few men's items. I couldn't help thinking Downton Abbey - tail coat, stiff white waistcoat front and stiff collars. 

And of course, some lovely dresses.

And for some more modern vintage, two Kenzo smocks from about 1980.

My friend Hannah has already bought this one. It looks fabulous on her.

I was so busy sorting out these gems that I didn't even have time to check out the hats, bags, shoes etc.
Items were reasonably priced to sell ASAP. Gems cost a little more, but of course. Some fixer uppers were also found, so we'll see how we go.

Thank you to the National Trust, and also to the wonderful volunteers who helped before, during and after the day. See you there next year. Make sure you say hello.

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