Packing their vintage suitcases, Oh So Vintage have left Carisbrooke for the sunny climes of Ventnor’s Pier Street. Their new shop opened in May with a party to celebrate involving pink fizz and Elvis’s favourite cup cakes – chocolate chip and banana with peanut butter flavoured buttercream icing.
It was in April 2009 that a new shop opened on Carisbrooke High Street that fast became the mecca for all lovers of vintage style on the Isle of Wight. Oh So….Vintage was the idea of Wendy Levett who had always liked vintage styles and fabrics and who was looking for something to do as her daughters Laura and Kelly were off to university. Now Wendy has moved the shop to Ventnor because she wants to be part of a town environment and Ventnor is fast becoming the vintage capital of the Isle of Wight.
The shop is now full to bursting with vintage goodies with ladies fashions in the front and a few choice items for gentlemen to the rear and hosts of multicoloured petticoats hang from the ceiling.
“Originally we started sourcing our stock online but now ninety to ninety five per cent is brought in from people on the Island. I didn’t have to go looking for it. You’d be surprised what’s lurking in people’s cupboards. It may be bought in by the lady or it might have been her mother’s,” said Wendy.
“I say whatever dress was worn and loved by that person will be loved again by a new person. It’s the ultimate in recycling. I like the 40s and 50s but originals can be pricey. We only buy 60s or earlier now as we haven’t got much room for any more. Original 50s dresses fly out of the door.
“It’s just the fun of it and people who come in just love the vintage thing whether it’s the style or the fabric. We have a real age range from youngsters to an elderly couple of ladies who came in and bought two 70s maxi dresses to go cruising. Sometimes we get old stock from warehouses still in its packaging,” said Wendy pointing out a pile of Fred Perry style shirts. “Men can be more challenging with their likes – things have to be exactly right.”
The shop counter is a wonderful old haberdashery counter from Bailey’s in Shanklin. “I’d been looking for one for ages – we couldn’t really have a modern counter,” said Wendy as she reached in to find the last of a few ‘doghouse’ peek-a-boo ties with pin up ladies in the linings that were considered so risqué in their day.
“We were recently involved in a big wedding shoot at the Royal Hotel and used a 1939 wedding dress that we have here, Charlotte from Very Vintage Hair at Scott’s did all the hair, we used Karen Robb’s bespoke veils and the Royal promoted their new cake range.”
And how did they come up with the name for the shop?
“It was kind of hard to find a name that didn’t leave any doubt as to what it was. One of my girls pulled out a dress and said “It’s oh so vintage!” and that’s what stuck.”