Saturday, January 19, 2008

Today was an unexpectedly mild day, so I decided to enjoy the respite from the cold and explore East London before going off for a work out. And instead of exercising my body, I ended up exercising my wallet.

First stop was One Deko, a shop filled with amazing furniture and household things which I would have loved to have purchased if I owned a property. Fortunately for me, I don't, so I didn't buy anything. Then I popped into Sniff, an independent shoe shop which happened to be playing songs by The Pipettes which resulted in my staying longer than intended. I ended up walking out with a beautiful pair of maroon/pink two-toned shoes (see left), which is great, because I generally don't wear colours to work, having left most of my whimsical wardrobe behind, and I felt I was starting to look rather dull.

Next up was Blondie, the more expensive sister shop of Absolute Vintage. I ended up spending quite a bit in there, but I was happy, as I finally found a vintage dress I had been looking for. It was quite a little longer than what I usually wear (as I'm not that tall and I feel long dresses make me look shorter) but the helpful sales staff figured out how to shorten the dress without my having to get it altered so I can play around with the length as and when I feel like. She also helped me find a pair of white high heels (Charles Jourdan, no less... I haven't heard that brand name since I was a kid!) and a belt to go with the dress, and while it looked absolutely perfect on me on its own, the two just give it that extra "oomph!"

I contemplated heading to Absolute Vintage right after that, but decided to give my wallet a rest and walked into the Old Truman Brewery to see what was going on. I didn't add to my armada in Illustrated People (quirky T-shirts) as I have more than enough quirky T-shirts than I really need (although, here, I must confess to coveting the 'Suck It Trebek' t-shirt on Threadpit, but, alas, I am not in a country where the majority will get the reference). My stalwart resistance continued at Junky (renowned for recycling old clothing into avant-garde designs); while I loved what they had done with the end results, I simply could not afford them, with most articles of clothing starting at GBP140. I really adored the dungaree dress they made out of an old tweed jacket and an old leather jacket, but, alas, could not justify spending over S$500 on one single piece of clothing, no matter how beautiful it was. I may have relocated and am earning more now, but still, old habits die hard. My resolve, however, wavered once confronted with the 50%-off winter sale at Public Beware (Japanese designer ladies' clothing). I tried on five pieces of clothing; I walked out with an asymmetrical zip-up top.

More than a little surprised and ashamed at what had happened to my resolve to work out, I made a tactical decision to go home and drop off my loot before going off to the gym. But seeing as I was so near Absolute Vintage, it would have been a shame and rather inefficient for me to not go in there seeing as I was already in the area, so I went in for a quick look. After all, the Evening Standard did call it one of the top 100 stores one absolutely had to visit before one dies. And the clothing there was incredibly cheap, ranging from GBP 15 to GBP 30. And there were racks of racks of dresses, all sorted by colour. There was also an abundance of shoes.

What differentiates Absolute Vintage from Blondie is that the former is more affordable. However, the lower prices also mean lower quality. And as Blondie is smaller, both in terms of shop size and quantity of clothing, the staff there can and often do help you come up with a whole outfit, all the time with big smiles on their faces. So if you have the money, I would advise you to go to Blondie for a more pleasant shopping experience. Absolute Vintage isn't bad at all, just that while I love vintage shopping, I do get tired of pushing through racks and racks of clothing after a while. That being said, I am planning a return trip to Beyond Retro's Cheshire St store some time soon... and that's at least twice the size of Absolute Vintage!

I finally made it back to my flat at a quarter past five and valiantly made the trip to the gym... only to discover I was starving and definitely wasn't in any shape for a work-out. Oh well, there's always tomorrow! Besides, shopping counts as exercise, doesn't it? All that bag-carrying and walking must burn a fair amount of calories, after all.

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