There were days when vintage chic meant the markets of east London. As time has gone on, the prices have shot up and the quality of the clothing has generally reduced. There is a fine line between antiquated and second -hand. One shop which has successfully fallen on the side of vintage is Crouch End's bubbly Painted Black.
Situated a little down Park Road from the other independent boutiques of this well-heeled corner of the world, Painted Black has been causing a stir amongst the area's more trendy clientèle. With a wide and varied range of men's and women's clothes, ranging from the elegant attire of the roaring twenties, to the tweedy blazers of a country gent, there is something for everyone.
Amongst the rows of brogues, dresses and ties there are just enough retro nick-nacks to warrant an extra visit. When I was there, I particularly liked the pink 70s style shirt and the casual, cable knit sweaters that were fantastic quality and in perfect condition. It seems the owners have a keen eye on the current trends, as well as on lasting style as many of the items stocked would not have looked out of place on a catwalk in 2012.
Like all great shops, Painted Black has a definite unique selling point. It has a shop dog. Okay, okay, the clothes are great, stylish and reasonably priced, but the dog steals the show. Often found sat outside, greeting new customers, or, for some reason, always under your feet, the little canine made me smile and want to go back.
If you are in the area and in the market for something a little bit different, something that you will not see on every wannabe hipster this side of Essex, check out this funky little establishment. It is one of the best stocked and stylishly rendered shops in the area.