Vintage Shopping at W. Armstrong and Son

"A Leda walks into a vintage store..."

Sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it? If you know me at all, you probably know that I have an aversion to the "hipster" style that seems to be so popular nowadays. In high school, a lot of my friends would shop at Goodwill or Salvation Army, picking up used clothes for a fraction of the cost of retail. Back at home, we even have a very well-known vintage department store called the Garment District, where you could pay by the pound, that many of my friends would frequent on the weekends.

Now, I'm not against charity shops or used clothing stores, but the one thing that always turns me off from them is how the merchandise is often incredibly disorganized, resulting in the clothes not being in great condition.

Enter W. Armstrong and Son.

A small chain of vintage clothing stores scattered across Edinburgh in three different locations, W. Armstrong and Son, established in 1840, prides itself in selling high-quality vintage pieces for affordable prices.

The store is conveniently located on my 20-minute walk to campus every day, so I couldn't help myself from stopping in one day after months of passing by, wondering what I could find inside.

When I entered the store, the first thing I noticed was how packed together the clothes were. However, despite the amount of clothes, they didn't seem to sacrifice any organization. I loved how most of the items were sorted by color, and how the tag indicated what decade it was from.

While most charity shops that I've been to in Edinburgh sell old t-shirts and button downs that look like they would belong to a very unstylish grandma, W. Armstrong and Son features classic, quality clothes. One wall is filled up with vintage leather jackets, and, if you look hard enough, you may even be able to find a few used Barbour jackets, or a 100% silk dress.

The hardest part about vintage shopping (or really any shopping) for me, is finding clothes that fit my style and come in my size. I was surprised to find a dress from the 80's that really spoke to my style, and looked as if it might fit me.

The dress in question.

This dainty-printed floral dress with spaghetti straps and accordion pleats on the skirt was in pristine condition, and would be the perfect summer frock. And the best part? It was only £8! Unfortunately, when I tried it on, it was just a bit too big in the waist, and a smidge too long in the skirt (real shocker for a 4'11" midget).

With a nip and a tuck it would've been perfect!

If I had the money to hire a seamstress to alter the dress, I may have gone for it. But, sadly, I left empty handed.

Vintage shopping is definitely out of my comfort zone- but I'm glad I strayed away from my usual stores to try something new (and local!). While I didn't find anything that suited me this time, I'll be sure to pop in again sometime soon.


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