Where to find the bag that got away

Where to find the bag that got away

If you’re anything like me, there’ll be clothes in your past with which you have unfinished business. I’m talking about the ones that got away — the fairy-print Prada skirt with 50 per cent off in New York; the Chanel chain boots that I just couldn’t afford; the Topshop navy pinafore that I could, but the queue was a bit long and I was in a rush.

These things remain unbought for reasons of thrift, guilt, fluster and downright penury, but I know I would have got my money’s worth, because I still think about them.

I once returned to a vintage shop in Antwerp a year after I’d first dithered there — just in case — only to find the leather skirt I wanted was still on the rail. Obviously, I snapped it up. But most stories don’t have such a happy ending.

Until now. The designer fashion re-sale site Vestiaire Collective (vestiairecollective.com, also known as every fashion editor’s best-kept secret) has launched a service to match unrequited buyers and sellers around the world. Post what it was that got away and its 3.5 million members may answer your prayer. One woman’s must-have is another woman’s fashion clutter, after all.

I’ve been trying to get my hands on the Mansur Gavriel bucket bag (which sells out every time shops re-stock it) for months, and I’m hoping some kind soul on VC has come to the end of their relationship with theirs. (Just imagine how much more effective Tinder would be if it worked like this — women handing over their no-longer-wanted boyfriends to other women who’d get more use out of them.)

So far, the site has matched 475 pieces. The most popular nearly-boughts? Balenciaga’s buckle boots from spring 2011, and Acne’s shearling biker jackets. Eminently sensible, classic pieces both, and proof perhaps that sometimes it’s best to go with your gut in the first place.

Return of the mac

This unseasonal and frankly creepy weather has had me unbuttoning and de-coating, sweating, shivering and carrying both an umbrella and a bottle of water wherever I go for the past week. It’s too mild for a full winter coat but too, well, November not to wrap up properly.

What’s to be done? I tried a wool blazer (still too hot) and then a sleeveless coat (chilly wrists), but I think I’ve found the solution in Mackintosh’s smart rubberised outerwear (From £590, 19 Conduit Street, mackintosh.com). The lightweight wool and flannel is perfect for this funny in-between climate, and is treated with a waterproof layer that successfully repels all drizzle.

Not only that, but the style I have my eye on has a hood (totally acceptable on a coat as chic and streamlined as this) and comes with a detachable fleecy lining for when winter finally starts behaving as it should. (There are also great, heavy-duty parkas and duffels for really cold climates.)

Every coat is pieced together by hand at the brand’s Cumbernauld factory outside Glasgow, and the label has just opened a gleaming new flagship store on Conduit Street. Whether you’re a fan of precise tailoring, techy fabrics or simply staying dry, I think you’ll find something of interest.