Remember Christmas? It was about a year ago?
Well, when I ran my Christmas Giveaway it included a copy of A Girl’s Guide to Vintage by Lynne McCrossan and I promised to review to for you, so here it is! I got another vintage shopping book for Christmas, which I will also review in due time, but I thought I’d get to this first as it was so nice of Luath Press to give the copies for free!
Essentially A Girl’s Guide to Vintage is a city by city shopping guide. Lynne McCrossnan evidently grew up in Scotland as it covers a greater number of northern cities. There are 15 cities covered, and if you’re Scottish, or based in Northern England you’ll be delighted to find Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle making up a third of those cities. Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield are also covered, whilst the South of England is really confined to London and Brighton. It’s refreshing to find a book that isn’t completely London centric, but unfortunately I’m not really very familiar with any of the cities covered so I can’t say how comprehensive they are.
Each section has a top 3 of vintage stores in the city, then a list of other places to check out. It also contains suggestions for the best areas for Charity Shops and specific ones worth checking out, which is great.
The shop reviews are interestingly written and include honest price guidelines indicating the average price of pieces in store. The attitude towards vintage is unprecious and she obviously has a passion for creating unusual outfits from unlikely and unpromising pieces, which is something I really identify with.
Each section also includes a “Day & Night” photo shoot of Lynne McCrossnan, styled by her friend and stylist Zoe Hill in vintage finds from the city in question. I’ll be honest here and say I don’t think there’s a single one of those oufits I really like. But, then again, that’s the beauty of vintage, that you can create your own individual look, so I don’t think that necessarily reflects on her choice of shop!
The book also includes some little mini spotlights on people and some little fashion reminiscences from Lynne interspersed throughout the sections. They’re not astoundingly in depth, but my feeling is that they’ll give you something mildly diverting to read with a cup of coffee while you’re out shopping!
Overall I don’t think this is a book just to buy for the hell of it or for a good read, but for a handy, pocket sized guide to vintage and charity shops in a city you don’t know it’s good, and very pretty. In my opinion it beats normal directories as it provides more than just a list of shops, they’re prioritised and opinions are given, meaning you can decide in advance whether this is the kind of vintage shop that might interest you or not.
The biggest criticism I have of it is is that maybe it does fancy itself as a “guide to vintage” instead of a “vintage city guide”, if you see what I mean? A little more focus on an area guide, the inclusion of city maps showing locations and maybe a couple of nice places to stop for coffee off the beaten track would have made it a far more useful book, but overall it’s a good buy.
I include the full list of cities covered here. If you’re paying one a visit I recommend picking up a copy of the book!
Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Belfast, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff, London, Brighton
The book is available in my book shop, along with the others I’ve reviewed in the past, or you can click the link below to go to Amazon.