Our Stall @ Queens Park Day 2015

September 15th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

We had such a wonderful day on sunday, the weather was on our side (for once) and our stall was brimming with vintage enthusiasts. What more could a girl ask for!

It was lovely to see some old faces, meet new customers and sell lots of our fabulous vintage autumn wear.  It was a crazy busy day but we had so much fun and to be honest were already looking forward to next years event!!

If you didn’t manage to stop by this year make sure you put it in the calendar as this is an event you really don’t want to miss.

Here’s our stall all set up at 10am and ready to go….


This customer was so happy with her 1980’s red abstract print dress. She totally rocked it!!!

One of our regular customers was thrilled to find this adorable 1960’s style polka dot top.


This customer caused quite a stir when she tried on our amazing 1970’s emerald dress!



Past Forward Retro x

Five London Vintage Shops You Have To Visit!

August 13th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

It goes without saying that Past Forward Retro is one of the best places to find beautiful vintage clothing but where on earth do you go to buy vintage for the home?

Here is some of our favourite places for buying vintage textiles, homeware and furniture around london.


1). The first Place on our list is Circus Antiques located in Kensal Rise. This place is certainly not bargain basement but they do have a fantastic and unique collection of 18th – 20th Century furniture.

So if your looking for an interesting and quirky piece to go into your home then this is definitely the place to find it.

We spotted this amazing palm metal wall light for £240, it’s not cheap but it is seriously cool.

Circus Antiques

60 Chamberlayne Road
Kensal Rise
NW10 3JH

Tel: +44 (0)20 8968 8244

Mob: +44 (0)7957 184 007

Opening Hours: Wednesday to Saturday: 11:00am – 5:00pm



2). One of our all time favourite places to go and find vintage treasures is Alfies Antique Market. If you haven’t been here before you are in for a real treat!!

Located in a wonderful 1930’s former department store, the building is everything you would hope an antique shop would be.  The shop is full to the brim of amazing stuff and what makes this place so special is that there is a huge range of dealers selling a wide verity of items. “The Market is a treasure trove where you can buy a huge range of antique and retro goods from the 20th century including vintage fashion and accessories, modernist furniture, costume jewellery and 20th century decorative arts”.  This is a place where you can definitely find a bargain or spend some real cash. Either way it’s a place you should absolutely visit.








Alfies Antique Market

13-25 Church Street
London, NW8 8DT

T: 020 7723 6066
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-6pm



3). WE  LOVE Judy’s affordable vintage fair but did you know they also have a retro furniture flea?! Ok so technically this isn’t a shop but Located in York Hall, this amazing fair has everything from retro furniture, atomic print furnishings, kitchenalia, to retro electricals! Everything the vintage gal could ever dream of, all in one place!!

“Doing away with expensive replicas and focusing on quality and affordability, the Flea provides an antidote; a celebration of mid-century living from the 50s and beyond, the event offers up 50 TOP vintage traders, all offering furniture and homewares without costing the earth!”.

So now you can see why we had to add this to our list! This is absolutely an event you shouldn’t miss.  The next furniture flea is on the 3rd September and we highly recommend you there early.


The Vintage Furniture Flea

York Hall
5 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green
E2 9PJ

Opening Hours: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM

3rd September 2015



4). Les couill de chien (meaning the dogs bollocks) is another treasure trove.  This wonderful characterful emporium is located on Golborne Road and is packed full to the brim of vintage collectables and antiques. They sell everything from crystal chandeliers, taxidermiy fish, art deco lampshades, vintage chairs to wooden dolls, but quite frankly if the name alone doesn’t make you want to go to this shop,  we don’t know what will! The owners are friendly and there is always something to be found in this amazing shop. There are a lot of antique shops to visit along the Golborne road but this one by far is the most interesting. You really never know what your going to find here and thats what makes this place a little bit more special than everywhere else.

Les Couilles Du Chien
65 Golborne Rd
London W10 5NP



5). Crystal Palace Antiques and Design Emporium is crammed full of wonderful items! It houses a large collection of furniture and lighting which spans over four large flours and is packed full of vintage and antique objects.  Is it a classic piece of 1960’s danish furniture your after? or perhaps a large victorian mirror? Whatever it is, you’ll be sure to find something you never knew you needed at this establishment.

The items range in price but we can safely say that there is absolutely something here for everybody.

Retro 50s, 60s and 70s - Mid Century Modern chairs

Crystal Palace Antiques

Imperial House, Jasper Road
(just off Westow Hill)
Crystal Palace SE19 1SG

T. 0208 480 7042

Open hours: Monday – Saturday 10am till 6 pm
Sundays 10 am till 5 pm




Past Forward Retro x

How to work out the age of Vintage Clothes

June 14th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

It can be so hard to know what’s vintage and what isn’t.  It can also be equally confusing to figure out what era clothing is, and weather or not it’s actually an original vintage piece!

What does vintage really mean, and how old does something have to be, to be called vintage or antique?  Here is some tips that will hopefully guide you in the right direction when buying your Vintage clothes…..

Firstly, as far as were concerned anything from the 1930’s and back is absolutely in the antique category.  Items from the 1940’s to the 1960’s are vintage and anything from the 1970’s to the 1990’s is retro.

Antique: 1930’s and before

Vintage: 1940’s-1960’s

Retro: 1970’s-1990’s

Vintage Style or Reproduction: Inspired from a particular era and have taken the shape, cut, and design.


It may surprise you to know that many familiar contemporary brands have actually been around for quite a long time.  For example Abercrombie & Fitch was established in 1892, Marks & Spencers (St Michael) was founded in 1884, and Kangol was founded in 1938.  Therefore just because you recognise the label doesn’t mean it’s really a modern item.  Checking out the fashion house or company label – this is the label at the top of the garment – is a great way to judge how old something is.   The style of the label, or for example the colour and font are key indicators of age.   The Vintage Fashion Guild has an online archive so you can look up a label and see how it has evolved and changed throughout the years, and can compare it to your own.  This is extremely helpful in pinpointing when your items may have been made.  Another good way to date your clothing is to look for union labels, which can often be found on the side seams or underneath the company label.  These are really helpful in dating your garment quite accurately and again, the information can be found online in the Vintage Fashion Guild archive.


Anything with a CC41 Logo/Label is called The Utility logo and was introduced in 1941 during World War Two.  The British Board of Trade required that that this label appeared on footwear, utility furniture, textiles, and some clothing for just over ten years from 1941 to 1952. As the label had quite a short life, again this is a great way of narrowing down when your item may have been made.

CC41_markThere is a bit of speculation as to when exactly care labels were introduced and used but we can be sure that it mostly started in the late 1960’s early 1970’s. So if you have an item of clothing that is posing as a 1940’s dress, if the fabric is synthetic, it has care labels, and a plastic zip your most likely looking at a 1970’s copy or modern piece.

Below is a Marks and Spencers dress. If you just saw a picture of the dress without seeing the labels, you could easily think it was from the 1960’s due to the cut and style.  However there are a few things about it that might surprise you:

In the early 1960’s the mods and rockers dominated the runway. The women wore short skirts/dresses, and big brightly coloured boots. This dress is slightly longer in length but still retains a lot of the 1960’s look and cut which suggests that it’s most likely a late 1960’s early 1970’s item.


looking at the labels also gives us a clue as to when it was made. The number located on the bottom right hand side of the first label, CA01295,  is a Canadian industry registration number for ‘Marks and Spencer Canada’. The second label has coloured international cleaning symbols, which were again only used in Canada, so we definitely know this was made for the Canadian market. St Michael launched in Canada in 1973 and French was only introduced around the same date so this suggests that this dress is most likely to be no later than 1973. Although the shape and cut are very much still 1960s, it’s a good bet that this dress was made in 1973!


Unfortunately, you can’t always find out the exact dates of items.  Records get lost, things don’t get written down etc, but it’s very cool to know that with a bit of research you can find out rough dates and interesting information about the brands that made your vintage pieces.

Another thing we touched upon earlier and should mention again as we are on the subject of labels, is where the item was made. If it says made in China, it’s probably not true vintage (unless it’s a traditional Chinese piece, of course!). In 1887 Britain introduced foreign produce to have the “MADE IN…….” Label as foreign manufactures had been falsely marking inferior goods with the marks of renowned British manufacturing companies and importing them into the United Kingdom. The MADE IN ENGLAND label is becoming rather scarce so if you have an item that looks 1960’s and it says Made In England i would be 98% sure your item is a true vintage piece.

Back in the day most clothing did not have labels t0 tell you what the fabric it was made from. It was only in the 1960’s and 70’s that you start to see dry clean only, and 100% wool labels.  This is another way to help you determine the age of your vintage garment.


Rayon:  Popular during the 1920s and was very commonly found during the 1940s. There are two types of rayon – filament, which looks like silk, and spun, which resembles cotton or linen.

Polyester:  Invented in the 1950s under names like Dacron until the 60s. It became labelled as polyester in the 70s.

Acrylic:  Synthetic wool-like/knitted fibre, was brought into popularity in the 1950s.



1930s: Metal poppers were usually used or small covered buttons. Metal zippers aren’t as common, but if they are present they are always in the side-seam. Plastic zippers did not exist at this point

1940s: There were limitations on the number of buttons that could be used due to rationing. Metal zippers are becoming more common, again were found in the side seam.  Still no plastic zippers.

1950s: Zippers are migrating to the centre back of dresses, and mostly metal. Invisible zippers were invented in the 1950s, but didn’t come into use until later. If you think something is from the 1950’s but the zipper is plastic or invisible, it might be a very good copy OR a replacement zipper.

1960s – 1970s: Plastic zippers arrive in the early 60’s, and become more prevalent throughout the 60’s and 70’s.  Metal zippers are still used by some manufacturers who appreciated their durability over the more fashionable and cheaper plastic versions.

Cut Shape & Design

The cut, shape and design of an item can certainly indicate what era your item might be from.  Obviously styles can overlap, but for the most part you can  tell with a true antique or vintage item what era it is, by looking at its stitching, construction, and shape.

The 1930’s  were all about: Feminine butterfly sleeves and the waistline.

Unlike the boyish look of the 1920’s, the silhouette of the 1930’s day dress was very much about the elegant feminine form. It was tall and slender, with broad shoulders, small bust and waistline. The reason for having puffed sleeves and angular shoulders, was to give the illusion of a smaller waistline. Most dresses in this period were at calf length, and were heavily influenced by stars of the silver screen, like Joan Crawford, who was notorious for rocking the large shoulder pad and small waist look.

Below is a great example of the 1930’s nipped waist dress with puffed sleeves.




The 1940’s were all about:  Simple designs & Bold Patterns

Fashion became simpler, and day wear looked more like a military uniform; unlike the floaty feminine look of the 1930’s.  During the war, fabric, like everything else was heavily rationed, as vast supplies of all fabrics, buttons and fastenings were required to make military uniforms and equipment.   Embellishments like pleating, and long hemlines were seen to be an extravagant use of much needed fabric.  As a result the hem line rose to just above the knee, and trousers became narrower.  Overall cuts were straighter simpler and made the most efficient use of the available fabric.

Printed rayon was popular for 1940s dresses.  Bold prints made a dress stand out despite the absence of tailored features that required extra material.

Trousers gained in popularity for women during this period, as many found themselves taking on the roles of the men who had gone to fight.  It might sound mad, but before then it was very rare for a women to wear trousers.  As feminism and women’s rights rose the wide legged trouser became an essential part of ones clothing.

Here is a wonderful example of a 1940’s evening dress.



The 1950’s were all about:  The new world, feminine Curves, variety of luxurious fabrics, excess fabric, showing off intricate gatherings, a multitude of pleats, poofy petticoats, and fabulous collars!

After the War, fashion was desperate to move out of its basic colour pallette and simple cuts of the 1940’s and move into what most fashionistas call the “New Look,” as coined by Christian Dior. The 1950s dresses became rounded, with ballerina length hems and cinched waists for a delicate, feminine hourglass look. The sheath dress was another design that created the desired silhouette of the decade, as the form-fitting material clung to natural curves. Ornate necklines also came into vogue; many dresses were constructed with jeweled or peter pan collars, or jazzed up with low-cut sweet heart necklines for a feminine touch.

As the decade continued, halter style dresses (developed in the 1930s as a part of evening wear) received a more casual approach; halter sundresses with cute, vibrant patterns like gingham and floral became popular. The shirt dress also came to be during this era as a casual-yet-cute option for housewives.

Here is an early 1950’s cocktail evening dress made of silk taffeta and hand painted floral design.



Here is a mid 1950’s cotton day dress with floral pattern.



The 1960’s were all about: A Mish Mash of,  Mods, Rockers, The resurgence of the 1930’s, Space, Bright Colours and Synthetics!!!!

1960’s, clothing started to really shift and change. It morefed into something new fresh and exciting and very much it’s own.

Although still a little conservative in the early part of the era, the fashion houses started to turn there attention to the younger generation, taking inspiration from the Mods and Rockers unique looks, which were well-tailored, with clean lines and slim silhouettes. Completely different to the 1950’s look.  Fashion icon Twiggy, revolutionised the mini skirt and suddenly skirt hem lines become almost non-existent!

The 1930s style came back in fashion, which was sparked by the rising popularity of old movies revived on television. Hubert de Givenchy of Paris however, sparked major influence in the dress of the decade, due to his styling for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The high-bosomed, sleeveless, slim silhouette dress was glamorous, sophisticated and edgy.


At this time Jackie Kennedy was also a fashion icon,  she was seen to be young, fresh and inspirational with her fashion choices taking on a lot of the new styles of clothing of the day.  Her gentle, high bosomed coats and dresses, slender evening dresses, berets, breton hats, her impeccable jewellery and even her sports wear consistently dominated fashion headlines.


The space race,  In 1959 the first unmanned moon landing was made by the Russians and by 1962 the Americans had done the same. Then in 1969 America were the first to land humans on the moon! This caught the imagination of the world and inspired the “space age” look which became all the rage. Lots of metallics, unusual materials and interesting shapes were used.



Here is a mid 1960’s flower power dress with dramatic sleeves.


A Sweet Mod, Crimpoline gogo dress.


A 1960’s raw silk party dress with gold brocade bodice.



The 1970’s were all about: Peace, Love, The jumpsuit and The “Me Decade”

Early 1970s fashion was such a fun era. It culminated the best elements of the 1960s and perfected and exaggerated them. It perfectly blended the mods with the hippies and created a flamboyant fashion revolution. It’s safe to say that it became the most iconic decade ever!


As in every decade, the fashions of the 1970s were influenced by the social and political issues of the era. During the early 70s, fashion reflected the anti-war, pro-peace mentality that had begun toward the end of the 60s, and flourished as the hippie look became more mainstream.

Polyester was the fabric of choice with bright colours and psychedelic prints. Tight flared trousers platform shoes and cropped tops were a popular fashion choice.  Generally the most famous silhouette of the mid 1970s was the tight fitting bodice, loose trousers/skirts, which applied to both men and women. But by the late 1970s the birth of the indifferent, anti-conformist approach to fashion, which consisted of jumpers, t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers were also popular amongst the hippies.

Disco music was also taking the 70’s by storm and this gave birth to the hot pant, jump suit, lyrica trousers and everything sequinned!379af75db9bc84159f55a09ed4386698





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We hope this post has helped with those niggling vintage questions.

If you want to know anything else or if you have an item you’d like to know more about, please email us and we’d be happy to help.


Past Forward Retro xxxx

Nature Meets Fashion!

May 27th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

We love it when nature inspires fashion and it seems that we have always been inspired by mother nature in one way or another. 

After our recent buying trip we realised that we had unknowingly been attracted to lots of items featuring flowers, feathers and leaves!

Unsurprisingly we then read an article about a russian artist Liliya Hudyakova who did a “Fashion and Nature photo series” showing how much we really are connected to our surroundings and how much it influences us”.

“Her Fashion & Nature photo series pairs accomplished fashion designers’ dresses and other pieces with the natural views that she imagines might have inspired them. The resulting juxtapositions draw an undeniable link between the clothing we see on the runway (or even wear) and the world that inspired it. Indeed, some of the oldest known pieces of decorative clothing and jewellery imitate or incorporate nature as well”.

Read the full article on Bored Panda here.

Elie Saab S/S 2014 & Sunset

Marchesa F/W 2012 & Red Leaves

Alexander McQueen S/S 2012 & First Snow Fall In Minnesota, USA

Our find, although sadly not a Alexander McQueen, is this 1970’s watercolour feather print dress in shades of muted blue, white and light purple. The cut and length of the dress is universally flattering and it has a lovely twist with the pleats starting from the waist.

UK Size 12

For sale on ASOS – £30









Next up we have this elegant 1960’s white french shift mini dress with a subtle palm leaf pattern. It looks great with that stripy shirt but quite honestly it looks equally great on it’s own!

UK 10-12








Continuing with the leaves theme, we have this fab blue and purple 1970s summer dress. We love the fact that the dense speckled leaf print only appears at the top and bottom while the white more sparse section in the middle gives the dress a much needed break from the pattern and allows the dress to flow nicely!

UK Size 14






So I guess we’re not so cut off from mother nature as we might have thought.


Past Forward Retro x





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