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A passion for vintage fashion

on the Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The National Trust’s hugely popular Vintage Clothing Sale attracts thousands of people to its two-day sale in March. Behind the scenes are four dedicated volunteers that includes Nance Houen and Betty Spangaro, who live at Villa Maria Catholic Homes’ Athelstan Retirement Apartments, in Camberwell.

It all started as a garage sale about eight years ago. Now it is a major event at Como House, in South Yarra, thousands of pieces of vintage clothing are donated and thousands of people come to the sale.

Nance was one of the founding members of the organising team and Betty joined them three years ago. Nance says they struck a friendship at Athelstan and when she learnt about Betty’s 50-plus years’ experience working in fashion she invited her to join the vintage clothing sale volunteers.

“There are four of us who work together now. Two of us started it. We all have a very good friendship through the trust and the vintage clothing sale has grown enormously. We made $55,000 last year on that weekend. The last two years we have put the money towards restoring Como House,” Nance said.

While it is a big venture that involves 12 months of planning, Betty and Nance agree that it is a labour of love.

“We get to see some gorgeous clothes and things that you just don’t see in the shops anymore. The way things were made, the beautiful fabrics. The way women dressed in the ‘50s: gloves, hats, jewellry, everything looking immaculate. We rarely see that today,” Betty said.

“This year’s collection is looking fantastic. It’s just rolling in at the moment. We have a big wow factor every Wednesday when new clothes come in,” Nance adds.

This year’s Vintage Clothing Sale will be at Como House, in South Yarra, on March 17 and 18.

Items donated for sale include garments and accessories, menswear, children’s clothing, millinery, fabric, lace, linen and haberdashery. Entry costs $2. For more information go to:

Find out more about Villa Maria Catholic Homes.

Pictured: Friends, Betty Spangaro (left) and Nance Houen, both live at Athelstan Retirement Apartments, in Camberwell. They volunteer together at the National Trust for its hugely successful annual Vintage Clothing Sale.