My Vintage London: Rebecca McWattie - retro clothing retailer
The Vintage Guide to London: Who are you, and what do you do?
Rebecca McWattie: I’m Rebecca McWattie, founder of Stop Traffic Clothing, a fashion website specialising in retro and pin up clothing for women. Stop Traffic was born out of my love of Forties and Fifties movie stars like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. I source everything myself, searching for clothing that captures that era but still manages to be affordable. I’m also a contributor for The Vintage Guide to London and write my own blog covering everything from vintage styling tips to events.
The Vintage Guide to London: Why do you like vintage – or in other words, what does vintage mean to you?
Rebecca McWattie: Vintage means having a unique style. My favourite eras will always be the Forties and Fifties because women just radiated confidence. They knew they looked good! I think it’s fascinating to observe historical changes through fashion – from corsets representing woman’s repression to Sixties mini dresses representing liberation and sexual freedom – everything we wear says something about us and the time we live in. Now anything goes! Which is why it’s so interesting to see how many people want to re-live past clothing styles by wearing vintage.
The Vintage Guide to London: Any favourite London vintage shops?
Rebecca McWattie: I only buy Forties and Fifties reproduction clothing (mostly the clothing I sell) which I dress up with vintage accessories. I love Gray’s Antique Market, they have excellent vintage handbags and costume jewellery from the Fifties, and you can always find good quality items at Frock Me! vintage fashion fair.
The Vintage Guide to London: Do you ever go to vintage events? If so, which ones would you recommend?
Rebecca McWattie: I love dressing up so I’m always on the look out for the next vintage event! Blitz parties are fantastic, you really feel transported into wartime London – boys in uniform drinking Spitfire and couples dancing to Glen Miller. White Blackbird country house parties are a must-do and can’t wait for Vintage at Goodwood to come to London!
The Vintage Guide to London: What are your favourite vintage places in London?
Rebecca McWattie: To me vintage London is more than re-enacting it by attending vintage style parties, it’s fun doing things as though you were actually living in the Thirties – browsing for books at Hatchards or wandering around Fortnum and Mason’s food hall. Like most girls, afternoon tea is my favourite pastime, either in the sublime Art Deco Foyer of Claridge’s or the relaxing Palm Court at the Park Lane Hotel, before going to the theatre to see something frivolous like Noel Coward. In London, good things seem to last!
The Vintage Guide to London: What’s the one vintage thing one has to do in London?
Rebecca McWattie: In the summer attend the Chap Olympiad! I went last year with friends and had so much fun. The non-Olympic games include cucumber sandwich throwing and the three-trousered limbo. You can take a picnic, drink Hendricks gin cocktails and bask in the sunshine (hopefully). In the winter attend Bedtime Stories at 40 Winks, where else do you get to dress for bed, sip cocktails out of teacups and be entertained by storytellers in a dimly lit room?