SANNA BALSARI-PALSULE gives you her rundown of the best shops for vintage.
You’ve nearly survived an entire term at Cambridge, and that in itself is an achievement worth rewarding. Those city centre shops lure us with piles of glorious knitwear, racks of aviator shearling jackets and rows of snazzy shoe boots, of which we have no need but convince ourselves that we do. Frivolity at this point in the term? Forget it. Or maybe not. There’s always vintage.
Adieu and Auf Wiedersehen Notting Hill and Brick Lane – Cambridge has its own vintage paradise. Meander past Costa at Bridge Street, ignore the wafting coffee scents and designer window displays and walk resolutely round the corner to King Street and into heaven. Or Mook Vintage, to be precise.
You enter, and the friendly owner Trevor Nicholls greets you with a smile that encourages you to browse. He helpfully adds that you could stumble upon designer steals, for instance, Aquascutum and Frank Usher, all at reasonable prices. He tells me a Christian Dior coat flew off the shelves the other day. I salivate. I’m ready for the hunt. A Burberry trench catches my eye, making me hungrily snatch it off the rail. It’s a men’s – and a perfect fit for a Rugby player. Oh well, I can always bring out my inner Russian and snap up one of those glamorous fur coats instead, teaming it with the vintage weathered cowboy boots or Miu Miu courts on show.
Best Buy: The best-selling items at Mook this season have been ‘sixties clothing, so race to this shop if you want to look fresh off the catwalk with the latest nipped-waist-frock trend.
Next, head to Market Square and down St. Mary’s Passage for your second vintage pit stop. Stuck with a drab college room? Ark will solve your woes. Expect “shabby chic” vintage furniture, retro kitchenware, elaborate mirrors and traditional-style lighting. Their current range of leather bags is a joy to behold, and their Christmas decorations can’t fail to bring a bit of sparkle to your tired-looking bedroom. Visit their second branch on Norfolk Street for two floors catering to “everyday vintage” needs and an array of artisan jewellery.
Best Buy: Pick up a Cambridge student must-have – a bespoke satchel from the Cambridge Satchel Company.
If the desire to shop for a bargain simply won’t go away, cross over to the Grafton Centre’s Jemporium Vintage. Don’t be tempted by Primark across the street – Jemporium Vintage will reward you with an array of vintage staples, from Levis 501 jeans, dungarees (a la Fresh Prince), lumberjack shirts, Harris Tweed jackets to tea dresses – there really is something for everyone. Accessorise with vintage brooches, clip on earrings, rings, Biba scarves, leather belts and braces. Couldn’t afford to splash out on those coveted Raybans in the summer? Buy a pair of wayfarers now in a range of colours for five pounds.
Best Buy: If all that temptation is making you think guiltily about your student loan, then head for the rummage boxes. You might still get a bargain.
There’s something about browsing in a vintage shop that feels like exploring a treasure trove, but if you’ve got an essay crisis on your hands (or a grumbling boyfriend trailing behind you in the wind) why not visit Jemporium Vintage online, and treat yourself from the comfort of your (newly decorated) room?
Have you nabbed any vintage gems recently? Leave your comments below so we can all share our successes!
ILLUSTRATIONS BY AMY MUNRO-FAURE