Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair

It was a grey old day in Norwich the other Sunday. I woke up quite excited to be attending a fair as a punter and not working it. Well sort of. I'd agreed to review it for my blog, and Gemma of Vintage Norwich was judging the best dressed, so after meeting up with her and then realising we needed more Vintage Norwich flyers I ran back in the rain to our HQ (just down the road from the venue but over wet cobble stoned streets and through huge groups of tourists) to get more supplies. I arrived at the venue feeling like I had beaten nature - a quick check on the victory rolls and they were still intact. Hoorah! After assisting Gemma with the goody bags, I said see you later alligator and put my Missy Vintage head back on and started to browse.............

The venue for this fair was St. Andrew’s Hall which is a big big space to fill and having been to several other fairs there, I have to say that my first thought was that there weren't as may stalls as I'd expected. I've never been to a Judy's Affordable Fair before, I've read lots of reviews mostly good, a few not so and unfortunately there can be a snobbish elitism  in the vintage world who have described fairs like this as ''down-market''. So before I tell you what I thought of the fair, I'll tell you where I stand on vintage.........

For me affordable vintage is what it's all about. That's how I've built up the wardrobe I have. I like to dress 40s/50s. That doesn't mean I wear only items from this era. I only own one piece that is *possibly* 40s and as that's home made it can be tricky to date accurately. I wear a lot of 70s and yes 80s items. But I select pieces that in my opinion lend themselves to the eras of fashion that I enjoy. The later decades often nod back to the previous ones, for example 80s dresses can often look very 50s. Guess what I also wear...............polyester........ *gasp*

Yes those dresses that some (not all) vintage lovers screw their noses up at. The 'I heart polyester' declaration is a whole different post but in brief - it's a purse friendly way to get a look, it stretches (any girl who's tried on a non-stretch dress, only to find it fits perfectly at the hips and waist but not at the bust will understand me on this) and it's easy to care for. 

Small but perfectly formed is how I'd describe this fair. Despite there not being as many sellers as I'd expected, the amount of vintage the sellers had was plentiful and the variety a feast for the eyes. There was no shortage of bargains with some rails having items from £5. Yes there was a fair amount of polyester but there were also lots and lots for those that were looking for something else. Some beautiful 40s and 50s dresses were on offer, some needed TLC but in my opinion they'd be priced to reflect that they would need some work. There were also some great home-wares for those who want to add a vintage touch to more than just the contents of their wardrobe.  

The range of eras also included the 90s, now for me 90s isn't yet quite vintage ( Just because Wayne Hemmingway has recently declared it is, doesn't change my mind. Controversial I know - again another post) BUT for many it is, and Norwich is a student city and I think it's that age group that are especially enjoying the fact that the 90s have joined the vintage world. It's not my thing but there's a market for it and it seemed to be popular with the shoppers. People are engaged with it and they are being given want they want, there are folk that believe the 80s isn't vintage. Not my view but there you go. Each to their own and all that jazz. 

The prices were as affordable as promised and there was a good range of items for both sexes and the home. There were also rolls and rolls of vintage fabric for the sewers out there, fabric in this quantity is something I'd never seen at a fair before.  

Note to Hemsby weekenders this seller Major Tom will be there with a huge selection of images for sale.  You can  find him at Seadell, Beach Road.
One of the things that is actually now gracing my bookshelf is this Brownie flash, wish I snapped up for a bargain at £3! I love anything camera related and I knew I had to bring this home with me as soon as I saw it. I also got 3 scarves for £5 (thanks Beat-Niks Clothing!) and a blue and white striped 80's does 50s dress for £12. It might be my Jubilee dress so no picture yet I'm afraid!

A Most Curious Party provided the tea room, which is always worth a visit and the area had plenty of seating too, sometimes tea rooms at fairs don't get the space they need and for me, tea served in beautiful china is all part of the experience and helps the visit feel like more of an outing. The girls were sporting some amazing hair created by local stylist Flamingo Amy and a scrumptious selection of cupcakes provided by Cupcakes by Jess that as always were almost too pretty to eat. Almost......

There was also......... booze, and mighty delicious it was too! Crabbies (alcoholic ginger beer) were on hand if you fancied something other than tea. You could drink it there or take it away and at 3 bottles for a £5 I did just that. After I'd researched some flavours of course. 

It's also worth mentioning how exceptionally friendly some of the sellers were. It always amazes me when I meet sellers who obviously just don't like the public! You've met some like that too I'm sure? There are some tweaks that I think could be made to the event for next time and having never been to a Judy's fair before, may be these things happen at other locations? The music didn't always add as much atmosphere as it could have and a message to Crabbies - your man on the stall was a doll but you really missed a trick not having him dressed in a vintage style! He will either love me or hate me for saying that.............. if you need help with styling for the next Norwich fair just let me know!

I'm now really curious to go to another Judy's fair and I'm interested to see what the Spitalfields one is like, as it's just a stones throw from Liverpool Street station there's every chance I'll be finding out. I'll keep you posted.

You can keep up to date with the fair dates and locations here.

You can see more pictures of the fair over on the Missy Vintage Facebook page.


Have you entered the give away yet? I've five copies of The Handbag: To Have and To Hold written by Carmel Allen.

Just click here and leave me a comment on last weeks post telling me how you follow Missy Vintage. Full details are in the give away post.



  1. I stand in exactly the same place as you when it comes to style and how I dress. I cannot be dealing with snobbery. It bores me.

  2. I am a massive fan of affordable vintage, either down to it being newER (i.e. 70s does deco for example) or needing a bit of TLC. The money I save means I can treat myself to something posher now and then.

  3. Affordable always sounds good to me! I'm sure I remember someone's review of this complaining that there was very little they'd consider affordable, but great if you didn't find this to be the case. Also as I'm a bit lazy and not as lucky with rummaging as some I do like vintage fairs where it's all there for me to find easily.

  4. I can't be doing with vintage snobbery either. Personally, I love a polyester vintage frock for day to day wear, it's inexpensive and I know I can throw it in the washing machine without killing it. There's a place for the higher end stuff too though, it all depends on what you want your vintage for. Each to their own I say. Great review, I've never checked out the Judy vintage fair but I will now. x

  5. Excellent post- I'm yet to get myself to one of the Judy's fairs, but I will be sure to do so!



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