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!


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


2012 predictions week: the top five up-and-coming car boot sales in London

Chelsea Walk-in, Brixton Flea Market, Princess May School, Purley Indoor and William Morris: in the first post of our week of predictions for 2012, carbooted brings you the top five up-and-coming car boot sales in London.

Photo via Urban 75

The Brixton Flea Market

Station Road, SW9

Held on the first Saturday of each month, open to shoppers 10am – 4pm

Station Road was once the site of a one of London’s most popular car boot sales, attracting thousands of sellers. Since November it has become home to one of London’s newest flea markets, The Brixton Flea Market.

As well as loads of second hand bargains, there are stalls offering Jamaican, Caribbean & Guyanese street food and an American cake stall (the pumpkin pie comes highly recommended).

Chelsea Walk-in Boot Sale

Chelsea Theatre – Worlds End Place, Kings Road, Chelsea, SW10

Every Sunday, open to shoppers 1pm – 4pm

You’ve heard of drive-in cinemas; now visit the walk-in boot sale at Chelsea Theatre – no car needed. This sale will celebrate its first birthday this year and carbooted predicts it’ll go from strength to strength. Make sure you bring a rain coat if you’re selling though, because as well as no cars, there’s no shelter at all.

Don’t be put off by the up-market surroundings. Posh neighbourhoods mean expensive goods at bargain prices. Keep your eyes peeled for a pair of Spencer from Made in Chelsea’s underpants.

Princess May School Car Boot Sale

Princess May School, Princess May Road, Stoke Newington, N16

Held on the last Sunday of the Month, open to shoppers 9am – 2pm

This Princess May School Car Boot Sale is an old favourite, attracting over a thousand buyers every week. It is now host to the Lovable Vintage Collectors Market, focusing on the retro side of things, as well as collectible vinyl.  The team behind it have more than 15 years’ experience running car boots in St Augustine’s and St Mary’s Schools in Kilburn. Carbooted is confident this sale is going to be a success in 2012.

Purley Indoor Car Boot Sale

St Mark’s Church Hall, Church Road, Purley, CR8

Saturday 28th January 2012, open to shoppers 10.00am – 12pm

Okay, this one’s pretty far out of the city centre, and it’s not regular (after January there’s nothing planned until March). But seasoned car booters will know that the more obscure car boot sales are often untapped mines for bargain hunters.  So keep this one under your hat. As long as it doesn’t become a regular fixture and the London crowd don’t find out about it, it could be a good spot for exciting finds this year.

The  William Morris Car Boot Sale

Oakside Stadium,Station Road, Barkingside IG6

Every Sunday, open to shoppers 6.30am – 1pm

This one’s been a way for a few months, but it’s planned to reopen in February. So make sure you’re there for the first sale of 2012. It’ll be the first sale since Christmas so make the most of people getting rid of the presents they couldn’t give house room.

It’s a hard ground venue, so no need to worry if the winter weather takes a turn for the worst. Also, it gets an extra thumbs-up for donating the majority of the admission fee to the William Morris School for children with special needs.

Tom Allsop