You need to be living under a rock not to know that a certain sporting event is taking place in Northern Ireland this weekend, but if you fancy doing something that doesn’t involve swinging a golf club and wearing a diamond print jumper, then a quaint event taking place in Belfast might be right up your street.
The first ever Belfast Flea is taking place this Sunday 31 May in the Sunflower Bar from 11am-5pm. Taking its name from well-known flea markets, this event will be auctioning off previously loved vintage antiques and collectables. There will be quality items across the 15 stalls from bric-a-brac, household furniture, clothing, shoes, bags and books – all from various eras in history.
The auctions will be taking place at different times of the day and everything from Singer sewing machines, colour prints, a vintage Raleigh bike, 1970s Bontempi organ and retro picnic hamper are up for grabs.
If you are a novice at collecting vintage, here are a few tips to get you started
If you have your heart set on finding a wardrobe to replicate Mad Men’s Betty Draper then make sure you come prepared. Wear something that you can get in and out of easily, don’t wear too much make-up as vintage clothing often has to go on over your head and you don’t want to ruin it before you even buy it. You may be a fan of the 50s pin-up red lippy, it’s best to keep it for when you have bought the item and you are hitting the town looking fabulous in it.
Look for Quality
If you’re a fan of day time antique programmes then you will know that quality always sells. Don’t fall into the trap that just because it’s old means that it is good quality. Avoid furniture made with inferior materials or shoddy workmanship. Every era will have poorly made items and vintage is no different. Spend time opening and closing draws to make sure they slide out easily and have good sturdy frames and don’t be put off with scratches or torn upholstery as this can be changed at a later date – but make sure it is ‘gently’ worn and not trashed. When it comes to shoes, always check the bottom and look out for missing heel tips or worn leather around the buckle and strap.
Check the fit
This applies to clothes and furniture. You want to be able to show your furniture off not hide it away, so bring your room measurements and a tape measure. Just because it looks small in the shop does not mean it will be small in your house-so check the measurements carefully. When it comes to clothing check all the details. Make sure none of the buttons are missing and the zips are working properly. Key areas to look out for are fastenings around the neck line where small buttons may be hidden under a collar, and also around the cuffs and due to the fabric (and the fact that they were worn before deodorant came into fashion) the armpits on vintage items are often where the imperfections can be. Also don’t be too stuck on the size on the label – vintage sizes vary from modern sizes so it’s always best to try it on.
Buy what you like
Don’t just by for the sake of buying; rather buy something that appeals to you directly. If something appeals to your sense of style or your idea of beauty, you will develop a passion for it. Whether you are buying antiques as an investment or for a collection or to sell them on; always buy what you like and buy what you are interested in. There is no point having something in your house that doesn’t hold our interest as you will never want to find out more or start collecting similar pieces. It will just be a dust collector and something you probably end up flogging on eBay for pennies.
By Grainne McGarvey. Spotting local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at www.pulseprni.com