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All Aboard The Vintage Fashion Bus With Amanda Blair

PHOTO: Naomi Giatas

Amanda Blair’s vintage obsession grew so big, she needed a bus to put it in.

“It’s an illness. I’ve got it bad.”

Amanda Blair leads the way through her eclectic Wayville home. She’s referring to vintage clothing. Frocks, furs, jewellery, jumpsuits… you name it, she’s got it. Her wardrobe is a whole room with ceiling-high racks, drawers and hangers. It’s a colour explosion of fabric. It’s enough to turn Carrie Bradshaw a Kermit shade of green.

“The best thing about vintage clothes is you know you can go to an event and no one else will be wearing the same thing.”

Amanda is particularly fond of polyester dresses. Each one has a story. Some were gifts, others treasures plucked from op-shop racks in country towns. Her collection of vibrant quilted dressing gowns is particularly fetching (if you dress like Dame Edna). She pops one on. “Too much? Never. I’ll probably never wear most of this stuff. Most days I dress quite boring.”

“It’s an illness. I’ve got it bad.”

Friends call when they have a dress-up party.

“Do I have a 70s dress they can borrow? Take your pick.”

The love affair started when Amanda was 18 (“I was in Melbourne and a bit of a mod”) and began hitting op-shops for unique fashion. The obsession escalated when her Nan’s treasured frocks were donated to charity and regret set in.

“I’ve been looking for them ever since. Maybe one day I’ll find them.”

Family road trips usually entail multiple stops at secondhand stores.

“You should see how long it takes us to drive to Melbourne. My poor husband and kids have to wait while I pop into every op-shop on the way.”

They’ll thank her when they’re older. “Hopefully.”

Amanda recently set up a mobile op-shop in a restored bus called it Dulcie (Named after Hutt St Centre’s volunteer op-shop coordinator of 30+ years Dulcie Boag) and hits events such as Adelaide Fringe to sell her excess threads. Money raised goes to Hutt St Centre and Centacare, which provide services and support to people facing homelessness in Adelaide.

As for her favourite vintage hunting ground in SA? A serious op-shop junkie never tells.

Where’s your favourite place to grab a vintage piece in Adelaide? Let us know in the comments below.

Smiley Fritz

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