Does your LBD need some CPR this NYE? There’s no better way to breathe new life into an old dress than by pairing it with some beautiful jewellery.
That’s where Magpie Vintage comes in. This shiny little home and fashion boutique (3633 Main Street), which opened its doors six months ago, is a veritable treasure trove of previously loved accessories—both fine and costume. But the best thing about Magpie is there’s no junk to sift through. Owner Darren Marshall only carries pieces that are in mint condition. Are they as cheap as the ultra-trendy, mass-produced, disposable designs you’ll find at chain stores? No. But they’re a lot more affordable than what you’ll find at label-conscious luxury stores, and considering the quality of Magpie’s stock, the prices are very reasonable. And as Marshall points out, shopping vintage minimizes your fashion footprint.
“There’s enough good stuff out there,” says the avid vintage and antique collector, who recently gave the Georgia Straight a dazzling tutorial on how to rock retro accessories this New Year’s Eve. “I don’t think we need to be buying all of this new plastic crap from China that gets shipped over. I think you can get better stuff that’s cheaper and more unusual, if you source it through stores like these.”
So what are his top picks this season?
“The hottest look for jewellery in general right now is metal—silver- and gold-toned metals,” Marshall says. “So maybe less of the rhinestones.”
For example, he’s got a gold-toned 1920s flapper necklace with six-inch dangles that pool seductively in the cleavage area, and not in a hoochie way. Pair this edgy stunner with a low-cut little black dress, and you’re good to go.
“Yes, one good piece,” Marshall concurs. “You just need that one showstopper.”
When you’re wearing standouts like these, he says, the rest of your jewels should be kept to a minimum—think tiny hoop earrings or classic pearl studs.
At the opposite end of this classy continuum is the decade of decadence.
“I’ve got a lot of ’80s jewellery right now, which is just around the corner,” he warns. “Shoulder pads are coming back. Big earrings are coming back. They’re on the runways now. There’ll be resistance to it, and then they’ll be everywhere again.”
Ergo, if you feel like busting out a more fashion-forward look this holiday season, Magpie’s got the earrings for you. A pair of oversized clip-on earrings in a gold tone with pearls and crystal ($65) look like they came straight out of the Dynasty wardrobe department. If you’ve got the balls to sport these glam bombs, why stop there? Marshall suggests doubling down with something bold like a vintage gold-plated, graduated ginkgo leaf choker by Kenneth Jay Lane ($125).
“It is very Joan Collins,” Marshall admits, “but like I said, ‘very Joan Collins’ is coming back, and I’m not the only one to say so.”
Whether you go with bling-free metals or full-on ’80s glitter, no NYE look is complete without a standout evening bag, of which the modest-sized Magpie has many.
Currently, Marshall has several little gold-toned mesh numbers to choose from, including a 1960s Whiting & Davis handbag ($125). Another option is to take that plain black clutch you have at home and spice it up with one of Magpie’s many vintage crystal brooches.
In terms of accessory don’ts this year, the only thing Marshall cautions against is wearing full jewellery sets…unless, of course, you’re attending a royal ball.
“I think the only time you can match is for ultra-formal events,” he says, “otherwise you look too matchy-matchy.”