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Wartime fashion in focus as towns gear up for annual 1940s weekend

PUBLISHED: 16:42 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:06 10 September 2019

Vintage and charity shops in Holt and Sheringham have been doing a roaring trade in wartime fashions in the run-up to the North Norfolk Railway 1940s weekend.
Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Vintage and charity shops in Holt and Sheringham have been doing a roaring trade in wartime fashions in the run-up to the North Norfolk Railway 1940s weekend. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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With Holt and Sheringham gearing up for the North Norfolk Railway's 1940s weekend, which runs on Saturday and Sunday, charity shops and vintage stores have been doing a roaring trade in outfits from the era, with customers lining up to kit themselves out in everything from fox fur stoles, to fancy headgear.

Jeannie Read, of Colour Me Vintage gives forties fan Leonie Prins some wartime style advice.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLJeannie Read, of Colour Me Vintage gives forties fan Leonie Prins some wartime style advice. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Jeannie Read, who launched retro clothing business Colour Me Vintage with her husband Terry six years ago, runs a pop-up shop at Oddfellows Hall, Sheringham, over two fortnights during the run-up to the forties weekend every year, selling men's and women's clothing and accessories, as well as memorabilia ranging from books, to badges.

A self-confessed vintage fanatic with a particular passion for hats, Mrs Read says her customer base is getting younger every year.

Sue Ryder charity shop supervisor Bethany Miller modelling a donated 1940s hat and coat.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLSue Ryder charity shop supervisor Bethany Miller modelling a donated 1940s hat and coat. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

"I think what people like about 1940s fashion is that it was so elegant, and more and more young people are getting interested and wanting to be involved," she said. "The weekend is a chance to escape in some respects, but I think that people just love dressing up and they enjoy the atmosphere of the whole event."

With 1940s events popping up all over the country, vintage clothing has become highly sought after, and, with original dresses fetching up to £80 and military uniforms selling for more than £150, many people opt for cheaper reproductions.

Jeannie Read, of Colour Me Vintage, with a miltary uniform she has on sale at her pop-up shop in Oddfellows Hall, Sheringham.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLJeannie Read, of Colour Me Vintage, with a miltary uniform she has on sale at her pop-up shop in Oddfellows Hall, Sheringham. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

"It is really important to look authentic, right down to wearing your hat at the right angle," Mrs Read said. "But, overall, I think people are very fussy about what they wear and it often becomes a serious hobby for them."

Bethany Miller, who is a supervisor at the Sue Ryder charity shop in High Street, Sheringham, said her customers began shopping for outfits earlier every year.

Sue Ryder charity shop supervisor Bethany Miller and volunteer Jacob Welsh modelling donated 1940s fashions.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLSue Ryder charity shop supervisor Bethany Miller and volunteer Jacob Welsh modelling donated 1940s fashions. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

"We have had people coming in asking for 1940s stuff for weeks and because all the other Sue Ryder shops know we've got the event coming up, they save all the 1940s clothes they have had donated and pass them on to us."

Former Sheringham High School student Ms Miller, 23, has been taking part in the 1940s weekend since her early teens.

Forties-style hats on sale at the Colour Me Vintage pop-up shop at Oddfellows Hall, Sheringham.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLForties-style hats on sale at the Colour Me Vintage pop-up shop at Oddfellows Hall, Sheringham. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

"I just love it, it's amazing" she said. "What's so nice is that so many people get involved, there's a fantastic atmosphere and everybody does their absolute best to make the town look fabulous."

Forties fan Leonie Prins tries a hat and fur cape for size.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLForties fan Leonie Prins tries a hat and fur cape for size. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

More: Don't miss our comprehensive guide to what's on over the weekend

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