Thursday, 5 September 2013




Thursday, 29 August 2013

Memoirs of a Jacket

We where swooning over this mysterious jacket when it arrived at our Clerk St shop last week. With its stunning Oriental silk and luxurious red velvet detailed with fringing and bold engraved buttons it's an absolute treat! There's also an extra helping of orange Paisley print lining just in case you weren't spoilt enough already.

However, like all great love affairs the garment had history...and we didn't know it!
Labelled 'McAnaraks Anaraks' a quick google brought us to Buttons by McAnaraks where we noticed the similarities in the buttons. It was soon confirmed by Fran Harkes that she made this Jacket in the early 90's from Vintage material sourced from Charity Shops finished with her distinctive fimo Button's...right in the Highlands of Scotland!

This is a fantastic collaboration of two adored trends, combining Oriental and Festival perfectly.
And best yet, you can get your hands on it here on our Ebay shop!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

In The Spotlight ... 80s Jumpsuits

Along with legwarmers, jewel coloured cycling shorts and pop skirts, 80s jumpsuits are now firmly back in fashion.  From the bright colours worn by Devo to the more earthy billowing  numbers worn by Kate Bush, the jumpsuit has been readopted and refashioned by designers such as Stella McCartney and is now back for a revival. 

Originally used by pilots and skydivers the early jumpsuit was a practical piece designed to insulate the body from cold at high altitude and provide enough freedom of movement.  The jumpsuits simple all-in-one design quickly made it a favourite garment for labourers, mechanics and engineers. The jumpsuit also found its place as an institutional uniform with its potential as a unisex garment able to accommodate a wide range of body shapes. Students in Sweden and Finland often wear colour coded jumpsuits according to their field of study at student parties and in Norway high school students wear jumpsuits for three weeks of May as part of the graduation ritual Russefeiring. 

Since the1960s the jumpsuit has resurfaced in fashion and was made famous by icons like Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger to become an 80s classic, later influencing the catsuits worn by Goldfrapp and Britney Spears. Visually stunning they have remained popular items worn on stage and contain futuristic connotations because of their appearance in science fiction. 

Coming in various colours, patterns and fabrics, Armstrongs has a range of 80s and 80s inspired classic jumpsuits. From the fun and playful to the power dressing and glamorous, the jumpsuit has been attractive to designers due to the unbroken line running from the neck to the feet and is flattering on many body shapes.  From designers like Joseph Ribkoff, a Canadian designer who’s been designing ladies fashion since 1957 to quirky modern high street interpretations there is a jumpsuit for all kinds of occasions so take a 80s vintage trip and check out our shops to find the perfect one for you!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Breath In... Vintage Corsetry Has a Moment

No one can quite beer the agony of squeezing themselves in them now days.  Since the girdle was cast aside fairly recently for its rather unsavoury gut-squishing effects these beautiful garments have more often than not become objet d’art in their own right, to be examined from a distance rather than at close quarters, allowing us women folk to happily relax our muffin tops on our waistbands.

The strict boning was discarded when war hit Britain (after all, how was a girl to join the war effort trussed up like a chicken).  However the hip-slimming necessity of the girdle was still seen as a must until the 1970’s when a more smock-like wardrobe came into fashion (many thanks Ossie Clerk et al).

Never fear for the corset's longevity, as long as we keep buying them, caring for them and displaying them their history will be preserved, so put one on a mannequin, hang one on a wall and don’t feel bad for not wearing it, times have changed since the 1830’s.  Us ladies no longer need the medical support of the structured corset to hold up our delicate frames, we have moved on....

Friday, 12 July 2013

Armstrongs is Recruiting!!!

Hi there!

A vacancy has come available for a full time staff member to work in our online shop.  The lucky candidate must be available to work in Edinburgh, Monday to Friday, 9-5.30 as of September 2013.

Before you start... do you have:

·        - Knowledge of the product; a comprehensive understanding of fashions and textiles from 1920s  through to the present day.
·         -Excellent computer skills and ideally previous experience with internet sales (preferably Ebay) on a commercial scale.
·         -Experience working with social media as a method of promotion and advertising particularly with regards to blogging, facebook and twitter.
·         -Photographic experience, mannequin dressing and display.
·         -Customer service experience both online and by phone.
·         -Understanding of Dispatch Manager or an equivalent online postal facility (optional).

We are looking for someone with a real passion for the product and a desire to learn more.  The candidate must have the ability to perform well under pressure and to work within strict deadlines in a bid to deliver consistent sales results.

If you’re interested please email a CV and cover letter with information about why you believe that you would be suitable for this role.  Please include a short paragraph for the blog (no more than 50 words) with two or three images on a vintage clothes related subject of your choice.  Make it funny, informal and most importantly tell us something we don’t already know!

Email address:

Good luck!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Let’s Bring the Pinafore Out of Retirement

In days of austerity such as these we tend to make our fashion purchases sparingly on traditional items that will last a life-time (or at least see the year out).  A classic cashmere or fitted tweed will never look dated if pared with the correct accessories.  It may pull momentarily on the purse strings but can be justified as ‘built to last’ if given the proper care and attention.

With that in mind I want to build a case for the apron in an age where a ferocious microwave and a tub of soup can really run amok with your staples.  We expect our clothes to last a life-time while eating at the computer, phone in one hand, spoon in the other.   

The apron came about through necessity preserving a ladies’ limited supply of clothes pre a throw away Primark culture (and never has it been more necessary to resurrect it).  The humble apron gained fashion credentials in 1950s when decorative housewives sported them, cinched at the waist, trimmed with ruffles and lace.  See some of our retro examples for ideas!

So, when the pennies get low here is my advice, buy that classic that will last a life-time and throw in a £7.99 retro pinafore to ensure that it does!