This month’s Lust List doesn’t have an alliterative theme – partly because I couldn’t think of one, and partly because I didn’t want to end up having to do that every month – so instead I’ve chosen an independent retailer to make my selections from. I was introduced to Revival Retro and its owner, Rowena Howie, by a mutual friend a few years ago when the boutique was based in Kingly Court (near London’s famous Carnaby Street). The shop and website sells lots of wonderful vintage inspired clothing, shoes and accessories so I pretty much love everything they stock.
Revival started because I became frustrated after several unsuccessful attempts to order swing shoes over the internet. It’s so important to find shoes that fit and are comfortable. So, I took matters into my own hands! Aris Allen swing dance shoes became available in London to try before you buy.
Another qualm was how to find a stunning retro outfit that looks great, has a definite 30s/40s style, but won’t fall apart when you wear it or try to clean it? Why is all gorgeous vintage clothing too small for me? How do you avoid yet another unsuccessful foray into moth-balled cupboards at the back of smelly second-hand shops, sifting through endless eighties sequined jumpsuits labelled as ‘vintage’?
If you share any of these frustrations then get ready, because Revival just became your new best friend!
As someone who is too big for many genuine vintage frocks, and is now fed up of rummaging through 80s tat to see if I can find something older than me, discovering Revival was absolute bliss. Rowena now has an even bigger and better boutique on Windmill Street in Bloomsbury and, last November, Revival very deservedly won Best Shop (Bloomsbury & Fitzrovia) at the Time Out Love London Awards. I popped along shortly afterwards because I won a voucher in their celebratory giveaway, and I can confirm that it’s bloody marvellous. What better place to look around and create a fantasy shopping list?
1) 40s style ‘Margate’ shirt dress
Revival are well known for their frocks – especially ones for a special occasion as they’re a UK stockist of Stop Staring! – and so the first item on my list had to be a dress. However, as we’re getting into spring, my eye was drawn to this lovely casual 40s style shirt dress with an eye catching green and white print. Bonus pockets too, because Rowena understands how important they are.
2) Re-mix ‘Balboa’ shoes
I’m always on a hunt for comfortable summer shoes with a closed toe, and I think I may have hit the jackpot with these cute low heels from Re-mix. The low heel and strap makes them comfortable and practical to wear all day, and the closed toe means I can stick with hosiery all summer (vital when you’re a pasty ‘sit in the shade’ kinda girl). They come in lots of fab colour combinations, but I think I’d go for the red and ivory or silver if they come back in stock.
3) Diagonal striped 40s style top
This striking top is a recreation of a style from a 1940s catalogue and it’s a fantastic alternative to the omnipresent Breton stripe. I can’t tell if it has the shoulder pads of the original, but it looks pretty damn awesome and would go with so much stuff in my wardrobe.
4) ‘Kelly-inspired’ retro handbag
I love a stylish yet roomy retro handbag, with a handle you can wear over your arm or carry in your hand. I tend to carry the same black leather bag with me all the time, but having something a bit smaller and shinier is always good for special occasions… or just for a change. I love this elegant patent handbag and all eight colours that it comes in. Decisions, decisions.
5) Freddie’s of Pinewood classic jeans
I don’t wear jeans very often but, when I do, they have to be retro and Freddie’s of Pinewood are one of only two brands I trust to fit me. When you have a difference between your waist and hip measurements of over 10 inches and love jeans that sit on your natural waist, the high street is always off limits! I love the huge pockets and the side zip on these classic jeans. So good to have a place in London where I can try before I buy!