Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Further reductions and Christmas post

Further reductions 
Another £5 off Rago shapewear and Bettie Page Clothing dresses, and £20 off the luxurious Viv dress by Swagger Joint

Christmas posting
If you want anything for Christmas, please note your order will need to be in by 7pm on Thursday 19th (for 1st class Signed For). Or 1pm on Monday 23rd if you're going for Special Delivery.

Festive greetings!

Erm... that's it.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Goodbye, Pin-Up Parade

The big news
It’s very difficult to write this, but the time has come… Pin-Up Parade is closing.

I started this shop back in September 2007, so I’ve had 6 years of frocks, accessories, shapewear, books, CDs, even teatowels. I’ve sold things from several different brands and when I started, I was the only person in the UK to sell vintage repro sizes larger than XL (as far as I could tell - it was my main reason for starting the shop!). I was also the first person in the whole of Europe to stock Bettie Page Clothing.

But, alas, the market has changed, so I’m calling it a day. Yes, I wanted to do my own clothing line, Swagger Joint, but (boring bit) in order to really get it going properly, I’m looking at borrowing between £10,000 to £15,000 – it’s just not a financial risk I’m willing to take, especially in this very uncertain financial climate. Besides which, the website design is creaky and ancient, and I lack both the will and the skill to faff about and make a new one from scratch. And if I get one more email from a web SEO company telling my website is awful and I don’t know how to use social media to engage with my customers, I will commit an act of violence. Anyway... ahem...

The reductions
Everything in the shop is reduced and once it’s gone, it’s gone. To quote the Manic Street Preachers, who are possibly not vintage in the least, but hey, who cares, I love them anyway: “Everything Must Go” (fun fact - I have seen people wear the Bettie Page Clothing "Captain" dress at their gigs, so it's relevant. Honest).

Rago - £5 off all shapewear items (in stock items only)

Swagger Joint - £20 off the Olivia dresses. The satin version (now £50) would make a great dress for Christmas, and why not invest now in the cotton version, which is just £45, for next summer? (Or for those of you in Australia and New Zealand looking for a summer dress – now’s your chance!). To convince you that you definitely need an Olivia dress in your wardrobe, check out Fleur de Guerre in fan print cotton:

Gemma from Retro Chick in the cotton:

And Katie from What Katie Did in the satin (from Mydaily.co.uk):

(While I'm at it, big thanks to the three ladies here who've been so great and supportive over the years.)

The Viv dress is reduced from £130 to £100, which isn’t bad at all for such a high quality dress, and that bronze lurex fabric is perfect for the festive season. The Viv and the (no longer available) Avril were made by dressmakers in Kendal, up in the Lake District, and the belts are made by the last belt factory in the UK (apparently), who also makes belts for Vivienne Westwood. So when I say the Viv dress is high-quality, I'm really not lying.

(And another thank you - Stephanie Jay and Millie Dollar for modelling Swagger Joint. And my dear friend Olivia (who is now an artist), who enthusiastically modelled stuff and ended up having a dress named after her).

Bettie Page Clothing – children’s dresses are now just £15 each, and adult’s dresses are now between £30 and £40. See also the Sale. I mean, the entire site is a Sale now, but bear with me, please.

Accessories and Books – everything reduced here too! Lauren Rennall’s hair and make-up books, music, jewellery… yup, it’s all got to go and it’s all reduced.

And before I go…

Thank you to all of you for your custom over the years. It’s been fun, but it’s time this train left the station (picture a steam train, an art deco station, David Suchet whimsically staring off up the misty platform, fade to black, roll credits...). Or insert whatever other metaphor here that you like. I’ll have time now for my random hobbies – rummaging about in archives to research Victorian poison panics, writing bodice-rippers, annoying my neighbours with my guitar… oh, the fun I shall have!

PS: Once the shop is closed, I will be deleting the website. This means that all the pin-up galleries will go as well. Thanks to everyone involved with pin-up back then - I'm sure I'll forget someone, but all the models in the galleries who sent in their photos, and the photographers themselves - Nicole from The HourglassTony Nylons, etc etc etc. It's a shame, but the galleries haven't been properly updated for a long time. And it'll live on at archive.org if you're desperate...!

PPS: (Look, I will stop in a minute, ok...) Honourable mentions to The Chap and Nina the Headdresser. And to everyone else who should be on this list and isn't because I'm on the verge of being overcome with emotion and we can't have that, can we?

PPPS: A Chinese company emailed me not long ago to tell me that they have signed some sort of permission which means they can use my business’ name in China without me being able to stop them. Please bear in mind that once I shut my shop and delete the website off the intertubes, anyone or anything else calling itself Pin-Up Parade isn’t me. The dastards! If I was Georgian gentleman, I would fling my peruke onto a nearby chiffonier and challenge them to a duel. Alas, I am but a librarian with a dress shop, so I’ll threaten to ink them on the forehead with a date-stamp. There, that’ll show ‘em.

Best wishes to you all,


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Rago shapewear at Pin-Up Parade - competition!

As you know, I now sell Rago shapewear at Pin-Up Parade.

There is a competition on Gemma's Retro Chick blog where you can win a £20 voucher to spend on any Rago item of your choice from my shop!

It's very easy to enter - all the info you need to do so is on Gemma's blog.

Extra firm corselette, available in sizes 34-48, B, C, D. £55.
The Rago corselette
The corselette is fitted by bra size, but you can go up a band size if you need to change the cup. For example, if you are a 36DD bra, you should be ok with the 38D corselette. Similarly, if you find the hip size on the corselette in your bra size is too tight, you can go up a band size and down a cupsize to accommodate.

The corselette is very pretty in floral powermesh, and it does its job, holding everything in and smoothing to give a fabulous silhouette under vintage clothing. It has shaping bands round the waist and hips to hold those areas in, and a firm panel at the front to control your tummy. And, importantly, it's comfortable to wear!

Photo credits:
Model: Stephanie Jay
Photographer: Nick Halling

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Happy customer competition

You may be aware of the Happy Customers pages - testimonials and photographs. I've decided it's time to update the Happy Customers page (it was last updated 3 years ago!).

If you'd like to appear on the Happy Customers photo page, all you need to do is email me a photo of yourself wearing something you bought from Pin-Up Parade to helen@pinup-parade.com. Please let me know if you're ok with the photo appearing on Facebook as well in a Happy Customers folder as well as on the website.

"But Helen!" I hear you cry, "How the heck is that a competition?" Ahh... because you have until the 31st July to send a photo, and I'll draw one Happy (and also lucky...) Customer out of a hatbox and send them a voucher for £25 to spend at Pin-Up Parade.

So get snapping!

(Please note that Pin-Up Parade reserves the right not to use all photos received).

Monday, 8 April 2013

Postage price increases - sorry!

Dear all,

I don't usually write this blog but I feel I need to in order to explain the price increase I've had to initiate for my postage.

UK postage price structure changes
I used to charge £5 for the first item sent by Recorded delivery - I have increased it to £6. Royal Mail have changed their pricing structure and have removed the parcel post option that I used to use. It means that if a parcel is more than 3" thick, it suddenly becomes more expensive to post - £6.90 for first class, and about 70p less for second class. I haven't increased it up to £6.90, because I feel that an increase of nearly £2 would be unfair to my customers (a pity Royal Mail doesn't feel the same, quite frankly!). However, the additional price per item of £1 hasn't changed. It might mean, however, that if you choose Recorded Delivery and the item you have ordered is particularly bulky, it may be sent 2nd class, rather than by 1st.

I have increased Special Delivery to £8.50 (from £8). This service isn't affected by the strange size demands of Royal Mail, so you may want to spend a couple of pounds more to have a more secure, guaranteed delivery.

International postage prices
I have also had to increase international post prices a little too. Please see the Shop page for more information.

If you want me to send your order by a different method - Parcelforce, DHL or MyHermes, please let me know in the "Any special requests?" box and I will see what I can do for you.

MyHermes is a lot cheaper than Royal Mail and might be worth considering, but please do check their website as they charge more to insure anything over £25, which might not make it worth your while. It's a service where a courier comes to your shipping address in their car and will make three attemps to deliver it.

Collection: if you would like to collect your order in person (and save on postage prices entirely!), please email me helen@pinup-parade.com to arrange. I am based in the Birmingham area, and quite soon you should be able to pay by card in person (but not over the phone).

I'm really sorry that I'm having to increase my prices - however, it's unavoidable as my mark-up is already as low as I can make it, which means I'm unable to absorb the increase. With VAT running at 20%, it already cuts into the mark-up by making imports from the USA more expensive.

I am trying my best to keep going despite VAT and postage prices doing their best to hobble the most dedicated of small businesses. As you know, I try to get your orders out to you as soon as I can, and answer your queries in an hour or two of you making them - and these are things that these pesky costs can't get in the way of!

Anyway, I hope you won't be deterred from shopping with me!

Best wishes,

Friday, 16 November 2012

New dress, new direction, new pomade!

I've got out of the habit of using this blog, as I've been using Facebook far more. As you can see... I haven't posted anything on here for over a year.

But I've decided to revive this blog to show you the new Swagger Joint dress - the Olivia, to announce a slightly new direction for Pin-Up Parade and also to run a competition. YES A COMPETITION!

So first of all, the Olivia. As you may know, Swagger Joint is Pin-Up Parade's very own dress label. You can't get these dresses online from anywhere else! They are designed by yours truly. I've named it after my friend Olivia, who in turn is named after Olivia de Havilland. The Olivia is a 1950's-style dress with full skirt, "kimono" sleeves, a high neckline and - very handy - two conceealed pockets at the front. It's a proper 1950s length, coming to about mid-calf on someone of average height, but can easily be adjusted if needs be. The skirt is lined with polycotton to help give shape.

It's made in three different fabrics - two cotton prints and one satin. Here's the lovely Stephanie Jay modelling them for your viewing pleasure:

Olivia dress in fan print cotton

Olivia dress in rose print cotton

Olivia dress in rose print cotton

Olivia dress in Chinese satin brocade

You can find all the Swagger Joint dresses exclusively at Pin-Up Parade (a selection of Olivia dresses are available at Forgotten Vintage in Birmingham's Great Western Arcade).

Outerwear? Underwear!
I've sold all manner of outerwear since opening Pin-Up Parade in 2007 - dresses, skirts, capri pants, trousers, T-shirts, bowling shirts, you name it. But I've not sold underwear until now. I'll be carrying a range of Rago shapewear: the light-weight girdle, the extra-firm girdle and the corselette. Here's Stephanie Jay in the lovely pink & black version of the extra-firm girdle.

If the size you need isn't in stock, please email me and I'll see what I can do.

By now, some of you are probably hoping that this competition involves the Olivia dress or a Rago girdle. Those will have to wait another time! Up for grabs is a tub of Steve Hooker's "Goldmine" hair pomade. Steve is a gnarly ol' rocker who has played guitar with all sorts of people - from Boz Boorer to Johnny Thunders, from Chuck Berry to Wilko Johnson. His wife, Elaine, runs Slick 50 barber shop in Southend, Essex, and they've developed a range of hair products. They're animal-friendly - only tested on hepcats!

With Christmas coming up, you may be scratching your head trying to think of gifts to get people - the Goldmine hair pomade makes a fab present for anyone who likes to put a bit of grease in their barnet. They usually sell for £6 from Steve Hooker's shop, but I've got two tubs of Goldmine pomade to give away. All you have to do is email me your answers to the following three questions:

1. What does "DA" mean when we talk about a "DA hairstyle"?
2. What's the name of the barber who claimed to have invented the DA?
3. If you go to the Yoyogi Park in Harajuku, Tokyo, you'll see a notorious group of leather-clad dancers with DA hairstyles. What do their call their club?

Please email your answers to helen@pinup-parade.com Closing date is Friday 7th December at 5pm, and the two winners will be announced on Sunday 9th December.

And to round things off... here's Stephanie Jay again, in the light-weight Rago girdle, wearing one of Steve Hooker's rock'n'roll T-shirts.

Model: Stephanie Jay www.stephaniejay.com
Photographer: Nick Halling www.nickhalling.co.uk

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Viv & Avril - new Swagger Joint dresses!

As promised, the new Swagger Joint dresses, Viv and Avril, named after women from the covers of singles by top 80s indie band The Smiths. I've always loved the vintage photography used in The Smiths' cover art, so this is my tribute to them.

Named after Viv Nicholson, celebrity pools winner, who appeared on the cover of The Smiths' single "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" - there's nothing miserable about this fabulously spangly pencil dress made from bronze lurex with velvet collar and velvet covered buttons. The bodice of the dress is lined and it fastens with the three buttons at the front and the side zip. It features a belt made from the same fabric as the dress.

Named after Tiller Girl, actress and comedian Avril Angers, who appeared on the cover of The Smiths' single "I Started Something I Couldn't Finish", this is a fabulously luxurious circle dress made from 100% wool crepe. It has a wonderful sheen, a little stretch and drapes beautifully. The neckline has lovely 'tie' detail. The bodice of the dress is lined and it fastens with the side zip. It features a belt made from the same fabric as the dress.

They will be available for reservations soon! I just wanted to show you what I've been up to.... ;)

Prices: Viv £120, Avril £150.

(Model: Olivia Sparrow, Photographer: Eightball)