The Angels Retro Sale: Review

Eek! First off, I am so sorry that I haven’t updated in a few days. It’s been a crazy whirlwind of events, but I have got some fantastic research done for you lovely lovers of vintage.

Yesterday morning sparked the start of the Angels Retro Sale in Wembly. For those who don’t know, Angels are suppliers of costumes for TV shows and films, many of the BBC. Every so often (about twice a year from what I can gather), they have a sale in which they throw open the doors of their London warehouse for us to rummage around those costumes no longer needed.

I toddled along yesterday morning to grab some goodies and thought I would let you all know how it went, and maybe help you with some tips for the next one.

First things first, get there early. I mean EARLY. Think about how early is too early, and get there another two hours earlier than that. I arrived at 8:57, to be exact, (having left the house at 6:15!!), a mere 27 minutes after the doors had opened, and faced an enormous queue on my arrival. It took exactly an hour to get to the doors, which wasn’t too bad by my expectations, but the girls standing behind me were not impressed.

On a related note, if it is a cold day, wrap up warm. Don’t be foolish and go for the cute outfit that might be a little chilly. My toes were numb after 20 minutes of waiting. Also, rummaging around in the bottom of a cardboard box is so much more elegant if you are wearing trousers.

The sale is based on bags, rather than individually priced items. You buy either a £20 medium bag or a £50 large bag and fill it up as much as you can (within reason). Want a really sneaky tip? Don’t let on now, will you? 2 medium bags have a larger volume than 1 large bag AND are £10 cheaper! OR, go for a third medium bag and get much more space for just an extra tenner!

Apeaking of the bags, it’s a lot easier to squeeze things in than you think. If you go for a large item, squash loads of little ones in too. Even if there is nothing small you want, head over to the hats and squeeze in as many side caps as you can. They are very small, very squishy and very sellable! I wish I’d bought more than the two for myself!

Ok, so you all want to know what the stock is like. Here’s the bad news. The website states “All our stock is good quality”. It’s not. By that, I don’t mean there are small holes or some stains. Those are fine and easily repaired. This is worse than that: The shirts are torn to shreds, the shoes are crumbling or terribly water damaged and the hats are crushed. Having said that, there are a few salvageable pieces in there if you look closely.

The womenswear? Appalling. I was only in there 90 minutes after doors opened, not too bad by all accounts, yet there was nothing to speak of except some brown jumpers, stained nightdresses and 80s tat. Unless you get in as soon as the doors open you are unlikely to find anything worth wearing.

The menswear? Incredible! The vast proportionate difference between male and female attendees meant the menswear section was filled to burst with amazing 1960s suits, 1950s jackets and brogue shoes. Ladies, be open minded and take a look at those men’s jackets. I tried a few on, inclusing a gorgeous seersucker striped blazer, yet they were all too small or too large. Sigh.

The accessories? Oh my, the accessories! They make the whole thing worthwhile. We left with 7 hats and 4 pairs of shoes! There are boxes upon boxes of hats. Some are a little squished but can be rumpled into shape. A lot are damaged beyond repair but many are in good condition, especially the military and air hostess hats. As for the shoes, be prepared to root for women’s shoes. Every pair I tried on seemed to be a size 6. Perfect for me, but maybe not if you have small/large feet. They are nearly all damaged beyond repair but there are some beauties so look carefully. Keep an open mind- I grabbed some beautiful purple satin mary janes. With terrible water stains. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with them, but I’m working on it.

Finally, have fun! Some people took it far too seriously but it’s just like being in a massive fancy dress shop. Try on some silly hats, swan about in daft costumes and have a good time. Then go home and sleep because it’s 1pm and you’ve been awake since 4…

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Published in: on 07/02/2010 at 11:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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