Thursday, 29 April 2010

Back to Blustons

Do you know Blustons?

I can't believe: a) it still exists, b) I had any need to go there, and c) they are able to fill it exclusively with those 100% polyester classics/disasters of yesteryear. I ask you - who makes that stuff nowadays?

I took my grandmother, aged 91, to Blustons for the first time a little over a month ago. It's in the 'not very salubrious' Kentish Town (as my grandmother put it as we found a parking spot) and it's an absolute gem; especially to a nonagenarian.

There has been a fair bit written about Blustons over the years, ranging from the surprise it has remained open for over eight decades, to the denial that it's for anyone under the age of 70. But most people feel, as I do, that it's a fabulous piece of social history. For my grandmother, it is a haven; a familiar scenario epitomising the experience of bygone days when buying a frock meant 1:1 attention, when all shapes and sizes of woman were catered for in one style of dress, when just a slight change in skirt or sleeve length, or pattern and fabric was enough to induce excitement and spending.

My grandmother has long been telling me she can't find a decent frock to cover her neck, arms and legs (even her most recent purchase, a Kath Kidston tea-dress costing a pretty-penny, needs a little cardigan over it to cover her upper arms). So when I discovered the existence of Blustons whilst visiting friends in Kentish Town, I knew it was my duty to take her there.

And now we have been back. Under the pretence of a previously purchased jumper being too big for her, we returned to Blustons yesterday. Not only did she return the too-big-jumper with no problem at all, but she bought two summer blouses at £7.75 each and another dress at £15.00. Old-time frocks for old-time prices. She was delighted. And did the dresses suit her and fit her? Absolutely, yes. Of course she looks a bit old-fashioned in them but is that such a bad thing? I don't think so.

So, for those people who don't understand for whom Blustons Fashions exists: it's for people like my grandmother who are living to a ripe old age and who, if fortunate enough to be able to get there, have a whale of a time finding a frock that fits, looks good on them and doesn't cost boutique prices even though they experience a boutique customer service in a wonderful, time-frozen museum of a shop. I love it.

If I could only persuade them to get a website ....

Long live old ladies. And long live Blustons.

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