Saturday, 10 June 2017

What's in a label?

Out on Friday for our usual day trip, we stopped off at a couple of charity shops and I took the opportunity to do a bit of sourcing. 

I was really surprised to see this label on an item of clothing, a real blast from the past for me as I remember the shop when I was little, was thrilled to buy a tracksuit from there in the mid 70's with my saved up pocket money, and absolutely bereft when the chain disappeared not long afterwards.

No matter the cost, I had to buy the item of clothing, a semi sheer tie front overblouse with a funky abstract print. 

It is a size 14 but probably classed as a 10 these days, and it is staying with me for the time being!

I can't find out much about Van Allan I'm afraid. I do remember a branch in Birmingham but at that time was possibly too young to go shopping by myself. I was allowed to venture inside boutiques on family holidays to Scarborough, and I'm pretty sure that's where I made my tracksuit purchase (lilac with black piping and a V neck, if you're interested!). It seems that Van Allan was either taken over by Richard Shops, as it was called in those days, or closed down and Richard Shops took over the shops. It looks like Van Allan ceased to exist in or around 1981.   

OH bought these shorts for himself, he didn't recognise the label, but I did and couldn't believe it. Saville Row tailor Hardy Amies, dressmaker to the Queen.

Close up of the label

I've bought the shorts off him to sell as they don't fit too well and as they are quite short in the leg they make him look like an overgrown and hairy boy scout!

 I was interested to discover that Hardy Amies the brand was owned by Debenhams from 1973 to 1981, and in 2001 Hardy Amies himself retired at the age of 91, and sold the business to Luxury Brands Group.  He died in 2003 and the brand went bankrupt in 2008 but has been revived by Fung Capital.

In other second hand clothing news, I've recently acquired a vintage skirt, a Charlotte Halton 80's maxi in lime with a large floral pattern

The skirt was for the shop but close inspection revealed a small hole at the base of the zip, it's not enough to bother me but not good enough to sell.  I don't know why but I'm associating this brand with an early Top Shop, if you know anything about Charlotte Halton then let me know. 

A pair of lilac Vans, again bought to sell but in the shop lighting the slightly faded condition of the uppers didn't show.  Oddly, the soles are almost new so they must have been kept in the sun. They are my size and the same style as a pair I bought a few years ago in sparkly denim!  

I have also acquired a pair of Converse, I bought these for myself as they were particularly filthy and priced accordingly at a pound.  I think the dirt which was on them was actually mould as it was black staining down one side of each shoe.  It took a lot of biological liquid and scrubbing with an old toothbrush to remove most of the marks, there is still a faint grey tinge where the worst of the mould was. 

Interestingly, although the shoes are exactly the same size, one is marked as a 4 and the other as a 4 and a half, one shoe has 5 lace holes and the other has six!  Took me a while to realise what was going on as I laced them up, I can tell you!

As we are also fighting a perpetual egg mountain here in the cottage, as the new girls continue to eat ferociously and lay like highly oiled machines, I'm back to baking every week.  Last week's fare was pineapple upside down cake I made after discovering some huge slices of pineapple for 10p each in the reduced bin at ASDA. I also made a plain sponge covered in jam and coconut, a kind of traybake English madeleine.

Pineapple upside down cake, nice with a dollop of whipped cream on

English madeleine traybake

Both cakes were just plain sponge mix, and as the eggs we have are small I just weigh and match their weight in sugar, baking margarine and SR flour, whack it in the oven at around 180 for 25 mins or until it starts to ease away from the sides of the pan, and there you go!  

We've had a pretty dismal week here, temperatures are around average for the time of year but after the end of May heatwave it feels quite cold, and the rain and drizzle that we are suffering makes it feel like April, roll on Summer!

I'm off to find longer laces for those rogue Converse and to catch up with some blog reading, but in the meantime let me know in the comments if there are any clothing labels that stir childhood memories for you.


  1. Brilliant clothing and shoes finds! Isn't it nice finding labels that are rather expensive?

    Yum! Those cakes look delicious! Do you also freeze, excess eggs?

    Happy thrifting ;)

  2. I don't remember Van Allen but I do remember Charlotte Halton it was a River Island label, I had quite a few items back in the day so the skirt would be early 90's rather than 80's.

  3. Love the Van Allen blouse. I'm also on the hunt for some Converse, saw some I wanted recently size 7 for £7 but were too tight, they were in great condition as well :-(

  4. I'd never hear of Van Allen, but I can quite imagine your excitement. I sometimes come across clothing from a label which was popular here in Belgium when I was in my teens. Takes you right back, doesn't it? I love the rogue All Star's, and the cakes both look utterly divine! xxx

  5. Van Allen was a mid-priced clothing chain rather like Topshop, for the young and trendy. I used to spend my pocket money in their accessories department "Baggage & General". Walsall had two branches. Richard Shops was a completely different shop and also geared towards the same market (but became sadly frumpy and middle aged when it changed its name to Richards in the 1980s). Your blouse is pretty, I'd say it's late 1970s - the earlier labels were woven on a white background and a swirlier font.
    Gisela's right, Charlotte Halton was early 1990s River Island. The Hardy Amies shorts are recent - Jon's a 1950s/1960s Hardy Amies geek! xxx

  6. Great finds and the cakes look delicious. Chelsea Girl was about the only trendy shop in my town when I was a teenager. I still remember the first school jumper I bought in there...I was so pleased to be able to cast off my nan's carries! X

  7. Great finds and the cakes look delicious. Chelsea Girl was about the only trendy shop in my town when I was a teenager. I still remember the first school jumper I bought in there...I was so pleased to be able to cast off my nan's carries! X


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