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: organisers tell us what’s going to sell at this year’s car boot sales

The organisers of Covent Garden, Holloway, Stoke Newington, Brixton Market, Southfield and Capital car boot sales tell us what they think will sell well in 2012 as our predictions series continues.

Toys will sell well this year (image via Capital car boot)

“The goods that will make you a profit in 2012 are definitely good quality toys (especially wooden ones) and bikes.  There’s so much junk out there for kids that we find parents are looking for simple but well made toys that have more meaning to them.  Recently at Brixton, a lady sold a wooden doll house for £70.”

Lisa Watson, Brixton Market

Vintage clothing is selling well (image via Capital car boot)

“The vintage scene is very big at the moment in London; clothes and furniture. There are vintage shops and fairs springing up everywhere. A massive vintage scene has been created by the people at Stoke Newington car boot. People have always headed to the car boot for antiques, but now it’s vintage as well.”

Steve Beastall, The London Car Boot Company (Stoke Newington and Kilburn)

You'll get great deals on household items (image via Capital car boot)

“People are finding it hard to afford to live and so are selling stuff that’s not getting used anymore. It’s a good time to pick up household goods. We’ve had crockery, televisions, computers, toasters and kettles being sold cheaply. Last weekend, someone sold a whole gymnasium that he’d had in his garage, including a rowing machine. A buyer walked away with it for £25 within half an hour of it being put out.”

Cyril Waterman, Sherman & Waterman car boot organisers (Covent Garden flagship)

Second hand books are always popular (image via Capital car boot)

“Everyone wants second hand goods because of the economy; clothes, shoes and books. In general car boots will be much busier in 2012.”

Janet, Booters Best (Holloway flagship)

“Food: during the warmer months, we often get a stall selling home baked cakes which always sell well.  One of our regular helpers sells samosas and refreshments and people come specifically to get a bag of samosa’s from Angela & Joe’s stall.  Best profit margins are from good quality household items and vintage clothing and accessories. There is always a foot spa and an old skybox somewhere in the mix which I have never seen actually sell!”

Angela McHale, Southfield Car Boot

People are on the look out for second hand clothes (image via Capital car boot)

Second hand clothing is good to sell at the moment. People want to have new looks but can’t necessarily afford to go to the high street, so are turning more and more to the car boot sale for their fashion fix’. We are also noticing a much younger crowd of shoppers who are looking to set up their first homes.”

Faye Marriott, Capital Car Boot (Pimlico)

Kate Lloyd

All photos of carbooted favourite; Capital Car Boot