Fancy dress hunting at the Princess May School car boot – and ideas for you

When browsing the wares on offer at the Princess May school car boot in Stoke Newington this weekend, we met East Londoner Alistair White, 25, who looked really pleased with his purchase.

“I’m off on a stag do next weekend and the theme is English gent, so I was looking for something just like this,” he told us. “I haggled it down to £11 from £15, but then saw a similar jacket at another stall for only a fiver – I was relieved when it turned out to be too small for me because I hadn’t missed out on a better deal!”

Alistair got himself a great bargain, and this got us thinking about car boot sales as a great source of fancy dress items. Here are four ideas for fancy dress for 2012 – do you have unwanted items that fit the criteria? Now’s the time to get a good price!

English gent

Have you got flat caps, pork pie hats, waistcoats, walking canes, pipes, gentlemen’s umbrellas and false moustaches? Get them to the car boot ahead of the annual Chap Olympiad on July 7 and 8 – there’ll be lots of fine men needing your attire!

Superheroes

Avengers Assemble, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises: that’s a potent trio of superhero blockbusters hitting the cinemas this year. All sorts of superhero paraphernalia is good here, from retro children’s toys bearing the superhero brand to capes and masks and appropriate accessories.

The Roaring Twenties

Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby isn’t out till Christmas, but we’re already swooning over pictures from the set of the film, starring Carey Mulligan and Leonardo Di Caprio (above). Pile up the beads and pearls and feathers – everything art deco. Gatsby’s a gift to themed parties and fancy dress.

A very British summer of Olympics and Jubilee celebrations

We’re expecting street parties and bunting for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June, so now’s a great time to shift vintage crockery for those tea parties. Outfit wise, you’ll do well with jewels, hats and handbags for those wanting to pay homage to the monarch – even armed forces merchandise for those wanting to mimic Princes William and Harry.

For the Olympics, it’s time to sell your vintage trainers. For both major events, anything branded with the Union Flag is a surefire hit.

Helen Lawson


Slideshow: Things you should be selling at the car boot this weekend

Looking for some advice on what to sell this weekend? DVDs, cosmetics and records are always popular

Car boot aficionado and experienced e-Bay seller dressing-2-kill has compiled a car booting bible that is frequently updated to include hints and tips for both buyers and sellers.

The post includes a pretty comprehensive list of things that always sell at car boots, things that never sell and ways to spruce up your stall to invite customers in.

We loved this tip in particular on how to attract buyers:

‘It’s worth considering buying in a few sweets, cans of drinks, tissues and wet-wipes – they’re great to offer at the front of the stall to attract mums with small kids.’

We had a root around at home to see if we could find some of the most popular items to sell and look what we found

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sophie Tighe


How to identify London Olympics and Royal Diamond Jubilee memorabilia

With the London Olympics and the Royal Diamond Jubilee around the corner, 2012 is a big year for UK commemorative memorabilia.

Carbooted got in touch with the people who make it for tips on identifying the real deal. Read on if you don’t fancy getting sold a rip off down the car boot.

Look out for the identifying stamps on official Jubilee memorabilia.
(Image courtesy of Royal Collection © 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.)

Royal Jubilee collectibles

An official range of china has been commissioned by the Royal Collection to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. Tea caddys and tea towels are at the cheaper end of the range where as a Diamond Jubilee cake stand will set you back almost £400.

Emma Shaw from the Royal Collection said that all official Diamond Jubilee china is easily identified.

“ All pieces of Diamond Jubilee china have the Royal Collection stamp on their base if they are a limited-edition piece they are numbered too. They also have the Made in England back stamp on their base.”

London Olympics 2012 memorabilia

The range of official Olympics merchandise is as widespread as the range of sports the games include. There are key rings, flags, binoculars and books as well as reworked versions of traditional board games like Monopoly. There are also higher end lines of fine jewellery and silverware available as part of a collaboration with Links.

Lloyd Evans from London 2012 said: “If a product is genuine London 2012 Games merchandise it will feature a numbered holographic version of the official London 2012 logo as part of the packaging or labelling.”

Kate Lloyd


Preview: The Art Car Boot Fair on Brick Lane – May 27 2012

The end of May will see the return of the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair to Brick Lane’s Truman Brewery.

The fair, which costs a bargainous £3 to get in, will see a car boots brimming with arty deals, including works especially commissioned for the event.

Organisers promise works by more than 70 international artists, including Sir Peter Blake, Mat Collishaw, Polly Morgan, Tracey Emin’s Emin International, Keith Tyson, Chantal Joffe, Jessica Albarn and Billy Childish.

There’s also a handbag disco – which sounds absolutely amazing on its own – but you could also come away from the dancefloor with an exclusive designer or celebrity handbag. When the music stops, you grab a cotton bag, and it’s a mystery which bag you’ll find inside! Bags have been donated by celebrities and designers including models Sophie Dahl, Jasmine Guinness, Liberty Ross, Daisy Lowe and designers Lulu Guinness, Balenciaga, Barbara Hulanacki, with many more donors to be announced soon.

Last year, artist Tracey Emin, Blur front man Damon Albarn, and designer Pam Hogg were spotted at the event in what must have been the East End’s glitziest car park.

Best of all, you can indulge your arty side and enjoy a dance while raising money for a good cause. All the proceeds go to the Just for Kids Law charity, which gives legal help to young people in difficulty.

The Art Car Boot Fair

£3, 12-6pm, Sunday May 27 2012

Brick Lane Yard, London, E1

Helen Lawson


Trend alert: DVD box sets

During this never-ending recession, Britons are choosing to stay in and indulge in a new hobby: DVD box sets

William and Kate love it. So do David and Sam. Michelle and Barack are probably at it as we speak. In fact, according to You magazine, we’re all guilty.

DVD box sets are hot property right now. With endless reality shows on our TVs and a recession that looks like it might never end, people are turning to the comfort and security of a box set on a Friday night. Shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, The West Wing may be long gone from our TV guides but are far from forgotten.

Couples up and down the country are eschewing pricey nights out in favour of a bottle of wine, packet of posh crisps and a couple of hours with Baltimore drug dealers, forensic mass murderers and sexed up vampires.

Look through your DVD collection at home, turf out that Buffy box set your mum gave you two Christmases ago and add it to your next car boot sale – one man’s Lost is another man’s Breaking Bad.

Top tip: Shows like Dexter, The Killing and In Treatment are a higher caliber of programme that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Keep an eye out for Family Guy and The Simpsons if you want to go for (near) universal appeal.

Sophie Tighe


Car boot entertainment: swing dancing in Brixton

It was a soggy Saturday afternoon in Brixton when we came across the Swingland dancers on the site of the Brixton flea market and car boot. Instead of wandering off back towards the foody fun of Brixton Village (hello, Franco Manca pizza), we got sucked in by the skills and enthusiasm on show.

Handily, the dancers were doing their thing right next to the cake stalls who’d been partaking in the Brixton Bake Off that day. So, not only did we stand around gawping at the fleet of foot, we also ended up buying cake. Twice.

Now, you’re probably not going to be able to hire a dance troupe for every car boot you park in – though lucky you, if so! But you can easily bake a few cakes to lure in hungry customers, and they’ll hopefully end up admiring your wares as well as your baking skills. Check out carbooted’s guide to what you need to do before you sell food at car boot sales here.

If baking’s not your thing, then there’s another easy way to get the attention of passers-by: music. A battery-powered radio is your friend here, and you’ll be especially popular if you happen to be tuned into live commentary when there’s a big game on. This stylish Roberts model is only £17.30 from John Lewis.

Brixton car boot sales are held every Sunday from 7am.

Helen Lawson


Tips from a car boot addict

Photo by Jerome EdwardsPhoto by Jerome Edwards

Paying your way through university can be tough, even if you’ve got your fees covered. But while Guy Roberts, 25, from London, was studying illustration at the Norwich University College of the Arts, he realised Norwich’s car boot sales were an untapped goldmine of vintage fashion. He set up an eBay account and soon he was earning up to £300 a month.

Guy is now a self-confessed car boot addict and has agreed to tell carbooted the secrets of buying and selling at the car boot.

When did you start going to car boot sales?

I used to go with my parents but I didn’t really get what they were all about. It was only when I started going off my own back that I realised there were people who were willing to practically give away stuff. I’d be mesmerised by these things and they would let me have them for 50p because they thought were rubbish.

What’s been your best buy at a car boot sale?

The first thing I remember being proud of buying was an old Miami Dolphins jacket, which I still love to bits. It cost me £2, but if you bought it in America it would be about £70. I also bought two Helly Hansen jackets for £2 each, and they’re worth around £70 if you buy them new.

What made you decide to start selling clothes online?

I’m into vintage clothing myself, so I could see that a lot of this stuff was worth good money. I thought, if people are selling these things so cheap but I know there’s a market for them, why not start selling them on eBay? So I started going to car boot sales and charity shops, and buying vintage things so I could sell them online. Once, I bought a River Island jumper which wasn’t even vintage but it had that kind of feel – I got it for £3 and sold it for £30. After that I was addicted.

What are the easiest things to sell?

You can normally sell designer brands for double what you pay for them at the car boot. Sportswear from famous brands like Nike or Adidas always goes down well. If anything has a brand name on it but looks like a granddad would wear it, people will be willing to pay for it.

How much do you make out of car boot sales?

While I was at university I was making £200-£300 a month. That covered all the money I needed to have fun, and I was able to go out pretty much every night. It probably wasn’t great for my liver and my brain cells, though.

But now when I sell stuff on eBay, the money stays in my paypal account and I usually end up spending it on more clothes.

Where’s the best place for finding bargains?

London’s not the best for cheap stuff because people here have a bit more money. But at the car boot sales in Norwich, where I studied, you’d find things for 50p which would go for at least four times that in London.

I like the Battersea Car Boot Sale but a lot of people are there to make as much money as they can, so you feel like you’re getting hustled sometimes. I saw this really nice Tommy Hilfiger towel there but they were selling it for £8. In London they know how much they can get for stuff, but outside London, they’re not so bothered about brands so that makes it cheaper.

Chiswick School Car Boot Sale is good because even though you’re in London it’s more like an out of town sale. A lot of people come in from outside the city and you also get well off families who just want to get rid of their stuff as quickly as they can.

Where’s the worst place?

The East End is a lot more trendy – you get people coming in looking for vintage clothes and furniture – there are a lot more posers round there so things are more expensive.

What was your last buy?

This jacket I’m wearing (see picture). I got it for £4.

What was your last sell?

Last weekend I went to Battersea Car Boot Sale to get rid of some old clothes, I had forty huge plastic rings that my friend had bought back from Thailand. I sold them for £4 to this weird old man with a massive empty suitcase – I’ve got no idea what he wanted to do with them.

Tom Allsop