Walter Alice Store Blog

  • My Little Restoration Workshop is Humming (Literally)

    Walter Alice Store Update...
    I am in full swing restoration mode and I now have a buying ban, I am not allowed to go near any op shops, garage sales, buy and sell pages or Trademe!  Just yesterday I went to pick up my new Tretchikoft vintage mirror (Ai Know!!) That I bought off Trademe and the gorgeous woman in her beautiful home (my dream house in Petone) said to me - oh you are the furniture lady, and just gave me a little antique stool!  Of course I had to take it!
    Full House!
    My little studio workshop at the end of the garden is FULL of furniture to restore!   I actually have to pull everything out onto the lawn before I can start work each day!  
    The work is humming along quite nicely when I am not at Mitre10 Mega, but the workshop also literally "hums"... I thought that some type of animal has decided to crawl underneath and take its forever nap, which is not pleasant on the nose...  I will be happily working away when all of a sudden I get a whiff of something naaaaasty!   HOWEVER the smell is actually coming from Penguins living under my studio! 
    Thankfully the weather here in Wellington has been so amazing (touch wood - haha - I have plenty of it!) so thank goodness I am able to work outside.
    What is this?  I thought you sold clothes!
    If you aren't up to date with what I have been up to, here is the link to my last blog post about why I am no longer selling Vintage Clothing.
    Constantly SOLD OUT!
    I have been so blown away by every single furniture item I have restored selling, some within minutes of posting on social media!  I can't work fast enough as items sometimes take weeks to complete with having to wait for stripper/putty/glue/paint drying times, so items for sale are few and far between! 
    Take a peek here at what I have been up to in my Before and After Gallery

    Restored vintage white cane chair
    Media Mentions!
    I was so chuffed to see my little "scavenging" Instagram post was featured in Stuff's Interior Inspiration Of The Week!  That was such a buzz for me!
    Even my amazing retro vacuum was gifted to me when I went to pick up a table!
    The Axminster carpet was definitely a dream score! 

    Axminster garden bloom carpet

    Right, better get back to it, lots to do!  I have little to no computer time anymore and was waiting for the next rainy day to do this update but it looks like that's not going to happen anytime soon - woohoo summer!!

  • Where's All the Vintage??

    Where's all the Vintage you may be asking?  If you are new to Walter Alice you might wonder what I am talking about. 
    For the last 2 years Walter Alice Store has gone from selling preloved clothing on Consignment to Importing Vintage and now to Restoring furniture.
    Why the big change?
    When I first started thinking about starting my own business, the first idea was to restore furniture, I knew how to do it, I absolutely love doing it... but the fear and anxiety of not being good enough got in the way... what if my work wasn't good enough?  What if people didn't like my style?... at least with preloved and Vintage clothing it wasn't about my sense of style it was about yours!
    However I have decided to get over myself and take the plunge... while selling vintage was so fun it was getting harder and harder to source the really good stuff as bigger than me companies started buying up large and vintage just got younger and cooler.
    A little look back...
    Since I started Walter Alice back in June 2015 so much has happened!  I read a book that changed my way of thinking and went to London which inspired me to no end...I've cleaned, steamed, photographed and uploaded thousands of items to the website, attended so many markets as a stall holder (never again), ran competitions,  moved house/studio - twice!  And took a million photos!...
    (All the best ones are here on the Walter Alice Instagram)
    I love looking back at how things have changed. 
    There have been a billion and 5 other things all in my personal life and in business... Its incredible what you can fit into two point five years!
    My poor husband Pat and boys have seen me stay up way past midnight finishing things, watch me fluster one minute and brim with excitement the next, they have been such amazing support throughout my journey, especially when I was (and still am) too busy to go to the supermarket or cook dinner - eeek, bad mum alert...  Will I get worse - probably!!
    I want to thank Georgia for being the beautiful face of Walter Alice!!,   Thank you Georgia!  xx
    We have had some great laughs and some great photo shoots!  Remember the gorgeous dresses from my neighbour Rosemarys Closet?
     Click through to view the galleries
    The decision to stop selling preloved on consignment and to start importing Vintage from the UK was the best thing!
    I was so so excited when I got my first delivery from the UK - it was better than I ever hoped for and you all went nuts over it!
    (And listened to me go on and on!)
    I gave Lenaire - Personal Stylist some very challenging vintage knitwear from one delivery,  I didn't know what to do with it!   She totally nailed it with the styling and came back and did it again with the next delivery!  - Thank you Lenaire! xx
    What the future holds
    I am excited to give this restoration a go for a living instead of for love... I have always loved doing up bits and pieces I find and I am excited in this change in direction to furniture instead of fashion...
    This will be me, covered in dust everyday....
    I am so grateful to the amazing Tamsyn at @clashnmatch for giving me such a versatile logo which means no change is needed!  Thanks Tamsyn!!
    However!  these were my final two... I love my round one, but maybe possibly I could change to the second one for furniture?  What do you think? 
    Not right now - maybe later!  
    I'm going to be a lot quieter...
    Updates to the website will be only when I finish a piece of furniture, there will be so much less computer time!, emails will be less frequent as I spend more time hands on restoring.
    But please do keep following me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!
    Theres still so much to do behind the scenes, there are lots of places Walter Alice is listed as clothing - so next rainy day is a big sort out of all that stuff!
    Final MASSIVE Thanks!
    I want to thank all my amazing loyal returnee customers - you know who you are!  these gorgeous woman kept coming back and have been my main supporters for the last two years... I know you will carry on being extremely styley without buying clothes from Walter Alice and I want to thank you ALL for your amazing support!!
    (not my actual customers but the coolest girl squad I could find)
    Shontelle Xx
  • When Does Vintage Become Vintage?

    Who can truly say what the future of Vintage will look like? I know the term ‘future Vintage’ sounds like a bit of a contradiction. But it really is an interesting thought. When we are old and grey, (I mean really old and grey, not just a couple of rogue greys we are currently hiding with strategic trips to the hairdresser), what will be considered Vintage then?
    What will our grandkids pull out of our cupboards and add to their own wardrobes?  To be honest there is not much in my wardrobe that will be worth keeping, but did our grandparents realise they were sitting on gold?
    It’s fascinating to think about it really.
    Photo Cred: @tarachandra_
    The Question Of Vintage
    Fashion of the 70s was not vintage in the 70s, it wasn't even considered Vintage in the 80s. But was it considered Vintage in the 90s?
    There is no denying that 90s fashion is back in a big way. But is it back as Vintage clothing, or as something else? That is a point that is up for debate in the Vintage Fashion community.
    The Vintage Equation
    When does Vintage clothing actually become Vintage? This is a question with no real answer, but a few people in the know have tried to pinpoint it.
    There are a lot of words floating around in the clothing space that relate to clothes worn in days gone past. Antique, Vintage, Retro… do they all mean the same thing? The answer is, they kind of mean the same thing but with some distinct differences.
    • Antique - This is the only term with a cut and dry definition. Antique means old, like really old. It is widely accepted that something can only be called an antique if it is more than 100 years old. If it can’t be officially dated as more than 100 years old, then it doesn’t make the cut as an Antique.
    • Vintage - Because Vintage is a term that was coined to describe wine, it is very much linked to years. So it makes sense that to be considered Vintage, clothing must be distinctly categorised as belonging to a certain time period. So you can have ‘Vintage 70s’ clothing, or ‘Vintage 20s’ clothing.
      No one truly knows what can be considered Vintage and what can’t be. But it has been suggested that anything more than 20 years old can be considered Vintage. So the majority of the 90s sneaks in there! Which is like totally cool (see what I did there).
    • Retro - Retro is the term for any item of clothing that looks out of place in today's fashion, but is not old enough to be considered Vintage or Antique. So it could be something from three years ago, or it could be something from 15 years ago.
    It appears that there might be some overlap between the Vintage and Retro categories as the definitions are not absolute. So I think personal opinion comes into play when defining if something is actually Vintage, or if it is Retro.

    I don't know about you, but when I think of Retro, I think late 60's-70’s and nothing else!


    Maybe someone needs to come up with completely new names in the future for fashion that comes from the 80s, 90s and 00s. Are they Vintage, are they Retro, or are they something else entirely… or may be it just goes - Vintage, Retro, 80’s, 90’s and Double 0's, think about it, they are all very distinct eras… What’s next though? ‘Vintro’?’.

    We can pinpoint iconic looks through all the decades, but what is the fashion now? In 2017, we have embraced a lot of fashion from past decades, so what will be the lasting impression. Will this decade have its own style, or will it be homage to previous decades? I guess only time will tell!
    Are we currently in the # era of "Anything Goes"

    (always wanted an excuse to put Jared Leto wearing #Gucci into my blog)
    The Future of Vintage Shopping
    Twenty years ago, Vintage shopping was nowhere near as popular as what it is now. If you knew where to look, you could find amazing things, even designer pieces.
    But... the rise of vintage popularity has seen an inevitable decrease in availability. Often you will see the clothing racks at the secondhand shops filled with cheaply produced items from the last five years. Collectors hoard the amazing pieces, big companies with buying power dominate the space, and great finds often cost more than a brand new item.
    So what does the future hold for Vintage shopping? The great fashion pieces are still out there, but you are now more likely to find them online, and they are probably not available at your local Op Shop.
    As a buyer I am seeing this more and more, and the op shop ladies now know what the good shit is worth, so bargains are less and less likely to be had!  
    What Will Be Our Future Vintage?
    Here's a scary thought.  Before we know it 2017 will be Vintage!   What does that mean?  What will make the cut as vintage 25 years from now?
    Will everything be thrown into a recycling fabric/matter-obliterating machine that spits out a Star Trekish outfit that fits you perfectly, meaning there is no waste in the world and things don't get hoarded??
    Also, the way that clothing is produced has drastically changed. With fast fashion dominating the fashion industry with cheaper manufacturing methods, some items of clothing will probably not stand the test of time anyway.
    A brain teaser ending… The fashion from the 90s is back in now. So will that mean that vintage in 25 years will be 90s fashion from the 90s, or from 2017?
    Tommy Hilfiger
    Vintage or New Tommy Hilfiger- its all in...#alwaysnailingit (Photo Cred: TH)
     Written with some much needed help from Gemma Knight Writes

    Vintage Clothing Store, Online Only,
    Wellington NZ

  • A Sale And Some Bright New Arrivals

    There have been some beautiful garments added to the website recently... not many but there will be more coming soon.  I have two huge boxes of beautiful summer stock just waiting for some warmer weather.  
    In the meantime take a look at these new arrivals...
    (Click through to see the latest lookbook)
    And... there has also been a whole heap added to the SALE section at 50% off!!
    Vintage Ball
    We donated these absolutely beautiful vintage ball dresses gowns to the School Ball Pop-Up that was organised by the wonderful Wellington Womans Magazine.  This was a special event for girls who were struggling to cover the costs of the ball.  We also donated dresses on behalf of the wonderful Eastbourne community - Thankyou to those that donated to this amazing event... I really hope some lucky girls got to take these amazing dresses out for the biggest night of their teenage lives!
    Whats happening in the coolest little Capital in the world?
    Its certainly no secret that I adore living in Wellington.  At the moment the New Zealand International Film Festival is in full swing.  Every year I tell myself I am going to be more organised and go to as many as I can... this year I can only manage three movies, the first one I went to was The Final Portrait, a highly amusing movie, based on a true story where Artist Alberto Giacometti (Geoffery Rush) invites young American James Lord (Armie Hammer) to sit for him for a portrait in Paris in 1964;  The artist was a grumpy old man but easily likeable and the subject of his portrait has to be the most patient human being of all time... Oh and I just love hearing people yell at each other in French (the movie isn't in French - just some parts), I loved every second!  
    Visa Wellington On A Plate is coming up!  17 days of yum all over the city, yes, it is an expensive time here in Wellington... But so fun, Movies and Food!  And then its Spring!

    Vintage Clothing Store, Online Only,
    Wellington NZ

  • Toast Clothing Studio - With Rhiannon Larsen

    I have been following Rhiannon Larsen's gorgeous and entertaining Instagram accounts for a while now and what caught my eye at the beginning was the simple but clever photos taken in the same place in her home;  each day wearing a different dress!  These dresses (she has over 100!) she had made herself or thrifted... Oh!  and when she added a photo with a child wearing the same patterns, or all the children and her husband it was just warm fuzz overload!


    Inspired by her massive collection of vintage fabrics collected over the past decades Rhiannon says she is "all about the pockets and the little details - mismatched facings and bias bound edges".
    Rhiannon has a passion for upcycling vintage fabrics into beautiful wearable pieces. 

    I just love it when I come across people like Rhiannon that are also working to saving the planet one wardrobe at a time.
    And anyone that also loves to Op Shop as much as I do I find so interesting!  So it was only natural that I share her story with you.  Read on to see the full e-interview with a million questions!  (well not quite - but thanks for answering them all Rhiannon!)

    Toast Clothing?  There must be a story to this name?, do tell!
    "It's funny, I get this question a lot, and I feel like I should have a really good, meaningful answer. But, really, it comes from a fifth form English project I did, we had to design an advertising campaign and mine was a fashion line and I couldn't think of a name so I named it after my favourite food at the time!" 

    Have you always lived in Whakatane? 
    "I grew up in Whakatane. I went on a school exchange to The Netherlands as a teenager and have lived in both Hamilton and Wellington briefly. We lived in Nelson for a few years, and loved it, but came home once we had kids."

    What is the best thing about your town?
    "It used to drive me crazy, but I love the closeness, how everyone knows everyone. It's also crazy beautiful, especially the beach."

    You had a children's clothing business before you decided to move onto women's clothing, was it a natural progression to change to womenswear, and what is your dream for your brand?
    "I had Croutons for about 6 years, but Toast actually started as a women's wear brand in 2003. I switched to kids stuff when I had littlies at home and needed quicker projects to squeeze into naptimes. Now that my children are older, I felt the pull back to adult sized pretties. I've always had a soft spot for dresses. My dream is not too different to what I'm doing now- just on a slightly broader scale. I'd love to add more selection to my range.  And, eventually, also offer men's tees and shirts."

    What, or who has been your biggest inspiration?
    "I think the vintage fabric I use is my biggest inspiration. It's practically begging to be made into something beautiful. I love all things old, and love the combo of vintage fabric and shaped with a slightly more modern/practical styling." 


    Tell us about a favourite piece you have created?  
    "I have a real fondness for novelty prints and I think my favourite dresses are ones made from vintage Starwars sheets or perhaps my 1970's Richard Scarry duvet!"

    Can you remember the very first item you sold?
    Back in 2003 I was making wrist cuffs, and I remember, just after building my website, and American lady purchased one. Paypal was only just starting out and wasn't widely used so she actually sent me a money order! It was for $8. I didn't cash it, I kept it to look back on. One day I'll find it and frame it! 

    What/who was the most exciting thing you have made an item for?
    I recently had the privilege of making a dress for someone to get married in- using very pricey vintage Sanderson linen! It was very nerve wracking and a total honour. 

    What do you know now that you wish you had have known at the beginning of Toast Clothing?
    I think I have learned that I can't cater to everyone. I can do an amazing job and produce beautiful things, but I shouldn't say yes to every request and there will always be someone who wants more than I can offer. And that that is okay. 

    What is one of your favourite Instagram accounts you follow?
    Oh gosh, I have so many!! I absolutely adore the account of my friend Hayley Angell (@hayleyangell) who rocks some fabulous frocks, has a wonderful sense of humour and a smile that is incredibly contagious. It always brightens my day. 

    Do you have an item of clothing you just can't live without?
    Cardigans! I have so many and I'm almost never without one. Can I cheat and have two? Cause I would be lost without my clogs. 

    I remember following you wearing a different dress a day on Instagram, this was so cool!  So many different outfits!  Was this a challenge?  Tell us about this!
    I've done this a few times over the years! It always starts as a way to organise my closet and to make sure I wear all of my dresses each year. But I end up adding to them often... I might have around 100 dresses in my rotation 😬


    What finds make you squeal with delight in an op shop?
    Always vintage barkcloth of any kind, amazing retro dresses in my (larger) size, old catholic iconry.. I think the day I found not one but TWO old Bernina sewing machines at the dump shop was one of my biggest squeal moments!


    What is a key/stand out feature of your designs, I know you are a big fan of pockets! 
    Pockets are essential! I love a good, basic design where the fabric speaks for itself. I also have contrasting/mismatching fabric in the pockets and facings on all dresses. I love little details like that.

    You reuse and upcycle gorgeous vintage fabrics into amazing clothing, do you also use new fabrics?
    I do, very occasionally, use new fabrics. More often than not these are bought through destash pages or from Trademe, though I'm looking at buying some new novelty prints for spring/summer for a new premium range! 

    What is the hardest thing about being a small business owner and having a family?
    Time!! Both physical time and mental time. Both children and business require a lot of attention and finding that balance has been a constant juggle so far! 

    What is the biggest benefit of being a small business owner with a young family? 
    Working for myself gives me more freedom when it comes to being available for my kids when they're sick, or have school commitments etc. I can shuffle things around to fit our life a bit better and can be flexible. 

    How do we get a dress custom made by you?
    At the moment my custom lists are actually closed! I've been blown away by the support for my work. I recommend following me on IG for announcements on when custom spots will open again, in a few months.

    Where can we find you?  Tell us about your new studio, and other places we can purchase your beautiful items!
    You can find me in little ole Whakatane. I'm upstairs at 52 Boon street, in a sunny corner space. It's so warm and peaceful, and I'd love to make you a cuppa. I stock accessories by lots of clever kiwi crafters, too - I search for really unique but affordable handmade pieces, that go beautifully with my work. 

    I'm in the process of getting my website stocked up again and you can find that at and you can also order readymades I've showcased on my IG by messaging me there. 

    "Creativity is contagious, Pass it on -Albert Einstein

    Vintage Clothing Store, Online Only,
    Wellington NZ

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