Sunday, 4 December 2011

Shop Shots: Beyond Retro in Dalston

[All photos my own, taken at the Dalston branch of Beyond Retro in London].
The Beyond Retro vintage company is synonymous with revived trends, kitsch and old-school glamour, all under one roof. Step into any of their branches and you'll find items from your childhood, brands you remember vaguely, and some brilliant pieces that you wish you could carry off but don't quite have the lifestyle for - in this visit, I found a tartan stirrup-edged jumpsuit and some very lurid rainbow jumpers that I was tempted by, but couldn't quite see them sitting in my wardrobe. Really the whole experience is about finding something that's authentic and not easily available to everyone, even if your chosen item is currently back in fashion. Holding the real thing and knowing you've discovered it after an intense scouring of the rails can be a serious thrill. I went to this North London store for a nose around and wasn't disappointed.

Some of the newer pieces have been bought in bulk so you will find two or three the same, such as with these hats and braces in the menswear accessories section. Having the choice of different colours is really useful when you're trying to be a bit daring with fashion, because most high street shops will only offer a black trilby or a pair of red braces, and anything else will leave you searching the internet and missing out on the physicality of tracking down the item yourself (part of the reason I love shopping).

There's co-ordination across the store for ease of browsing, but in particular the colour grouping of the lingerie and nightwear made this area seem much less formidable. A lot of people get freaked out by the idea of someone else's nightdress or bra, especially if everything is in a random order like a jumble sale, but there was something more elegant about a row of pale bodices, bralets and waspie corsets, in every shade from ice white to magnolia.

Visual merchandising is reliably brilliant at Beyond Retro, with this Christmassy display proving to be no exception. The dapper gent in his scarlet waistcoat and the red wigged ladies are introducing seasonal colours without seeming too obvious - there was a whole rail of Christmas jumpers, but they were not included in this scene. By the way, the overly affectionate couple on the left were an accidental addition, but I decided to leave them in as they almost blended into the jackets directly in front of them.

I loved this little display of luggage ideas, with the messenger bag, briefcase and modern lemon yellow rucksack. Meanwhile the outfit combination on the right (cream blazer, striped shirt and spotty tie) is so typical of what my dad wears that it literally could have been prised off his back. He is going to be amused and slightly worried to discover that he's such a trendsetter!

Shopability at Beyond Retro: Very easy. Everything's well organised, constantly updated and the aisles are wide enough to not involve a collision as you rifle through the stock.

Prices: Generally good, considering that 'vintage fashion' commands a higher price point than charity shop clothing, despite some of it being the same. As long as you avoid the basics and head to the more unusual pieces then you'll get your money's worth - a simple black and white spotty synthetic shirt isn't going to really justify a high price tag when you can pop into any high street shop and get one brand new. I bought a lurid pink knitted jumper for £14 and a very cool scarf for one of my sister's Christmas stocking fillers which certainly didn't break the bank. The tartan hair bow near the till point at just £5 also caught my eye.

Don't Miss: The attached cafe. Definitely worth a visit for the coffee and the old books lining the walls.


  1. This is really beautiful and interesting.

  2. Thank you, Tereza :)

    Polly x

  3. I look forward to unwrapping this very cool scarf on the 25th. xx


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