Dalston in East London – an unlikely shopping destination

vintage dress
Channelling Jackie O in my new vintage dress. Who said you can’t wear vintage to work?

If you read my previous post, you will know that I really enjoy shopping, but I can be easily put off by the crowds in shopping streets in central London, especially during weekends. When I go shopping I want to enjoy the process not only get the result. My favourite way to shop is to go to small independent boutiques in quieter parts of the city and buy lesser known designers and brands while chatting to friendly shop owners and assistants about style without having to wait for 30 minutes in queues for changing rooms.

Recently, I felt I needed more than just a fun shopping experience, I needed a style inspiration, having realised I have been going for the same safe “weekend look” for many weeks.

There are many ways to get a style inspiration: buy fashion magazines, look at fashion blogs, go window shopping. But sometimes to get a style inspiration one must go to a place where fashion trends are created and where style is not an option, it is a way of life. In London these places are Hackney and Dalston.

What to wear to this trendy part of the city was my main concern. I don’t have a fear of standing out, but I did not want to stand out for wrong reasons (i.e. lacking style imagination) in my smart casual weekend outfit consisting of jeans, blazer and ballerina flats. Plus, pushing style boundaries and trying new looks can be fun and very liberating.

After a quick look in my wardrobe I found something I thought could work. A skirt I would normally wear on a warm day was replaced by bright animal print shorts (previously worn only once and on holiday) and paired with a t-shirt in a “clashing” pattern (but complementing colour – the aim was not to dress up as a clown). I swapped my favourite footwear – elegant ballerina pumps for slightly edgier black sandals, decorated with metal chain. Finishing my look with a bright red lipstick and a big brooch, I felt ready to meet the hipsters. Don’t worry, I was not self-delusional to think this outfit made me a Dalston hipster or a trendsetter, but I felt more comfortable in my “adventurous” outfit.20130819-223057.jpg

The shopping event I went to was called the Stylist’s Rail. It hosted a number of independent sellers and designers, many selling vintage clothes and accessories.


There, not only did I get my style inspiration, but I also found some unique pieces, some of which I can wear to work, at very affordable prices – always a win in my opinion. The quality of merchandise was very good. I found many designer vintage pieces at much lower prices than in more established vintage shops. Of course I could not resist buying a beautiful 1950s style vintage dress from Tuk Vintage, a recently established vintage online shop selling hand-picked pieces from France and the UK .

Wearing vintage dress from Tuk Vintage to work this week. Dressing up for work can be fun!
Finishing the look with vintage-style sun glasses and simple accessories
Finishing the look with vintage-style sun glasses and simple accessories

And, very importantly, my weekend style dilemma has been resolved thanks to a unique piece from Ingo Kraftchenko, an upcycled vintage designer. Her beautiful sheer silk maxi skirt will help me feel at home among trendy East Londoners next time I decide to go there.

Designer Ingo Craftchenko
Designer Ingo Kraftchenko

The Stylists Rail holds monthly sale events in East London. I highly recommend it, if you want to have a relaxed and fun shopping experience and an opportunity to buy good quality vintage pieces. The next sale event is held on 1 September.


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