Portobello Friday: Interview with Stall Owner Sarah Horrillo

vintage stall portobello

There’s nothing we love more than chatting to the stall owners over at Portobello Market. So for this week’s blog post, we decided to interview vintage seller Sarah Horrillo; the lovely Sarah is a regular trader at Portobello and you can catch her selling one of a kind vintage clothing and accessories every Friday.  After trading at London’s most iconic market location and a number of vintage fashion fairs for more than 2 years, Sarah has now developed a dedicated client base and an expert eye for vintage – and we’ve been dying to pick her brains about it all!

And after speaking to the elegant, eloquent and very talented Sarah, we now know that there really is no formula to vintage. You either have that flair or you don’t, and you either have an eye for it – or again – you don’t. And Sarah confirms our exact thoughts with her ever so confident style attitude. She’s a true vintage ambassador and I think the key word here is “style”, not “fashion”.

vintage stall portobello

(Above: unique pieces from Sarah’s stall)

So if you want to know all the inner secrets of a modern-day vintage style (not fashion) expert, read on and see what vintage stall owner Sarah has to share with us…

1. Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m 55 and live in London with my husband. I’m a mother first and foremost, once a psychotherapist, a mosaic artist, a waitress and a bit of a wild child ! Always had an artistic or creative eye; or so I’ve been told, but was never as truly at home as I am now selling vintage treasures.

2. How did you get into vintage?

I got into vintage by accident really;  after a traumatic loss I couldn’t return to being a psychotherapist. Needing to raise a little money I took a load of stuff from my attic and did a couple of Sunday stalls at Portobello Market by the Westway. A trader asked if I had a shop and when I said no she suggested I try a Friday and thought I’d do well. She said I had a good eye for “stock” (AKA my old clothes!). So I began to buy to sell and moved pitches until I found my place and a regular stall! Two and a half years later, I now realise it’s what I should have always done. And love it .

vintage stall portobello

(Above: Sarah sorting through stock and with one of her regular customers)

3. Do you have a favourite era? 

I suppose if pushed it would be the 40s & 70s (inspired by the 40s) but it’s hard to chose as there’s beauty and incredible style and design in all eras.

4. What do love about Portobello Market?

I love the other traders, the community and eclectic mix and being a part of it! It’s like no other retail environment; there’s a passion and joy and delight in our stock and the treasures we find. And that same delight is apparent in some of our enthusiast buyers and vintage loving clientele. It feels like you are sharing something as well as selling!

The mix of vintage on Fridays is fantastic from £1 flea finds to £1000 treasures, plus for fabulous pieces on the row of stalls known as ‘Bond Street ‘, and everything in-between. There’s nowhere else much like it left in London because most markets have been ‘smartened up’ and have lost their soul and individuality, become generic, selling mass produced rubbish found in markets worldwide.

We get regular buyers from all over, for Film & TV, designers from all over the world & fashion students (shopping for inspiration) as well as vintage lovers, locals and some tourists who have heard of Portobello; people who want and have individual style rather than the same old same old everyone’s wearing .

5. What’s your advice for finding the best vintage clothes and/or accessories? 

Buy what you like not what you think is ‘on trend’ then you’ll look far more stylish, individual, comfortable & confident. Also be brave, if you love it wear it . . buy for yourself, not for your wardrobe. Also there’s no shame in mixing vintage with new. There are no rules, except not to cut up a beautiful vintage piece  (unless altering a little to fit or damaged already to give it a new life ) but that’s just  me!

I used to buy what I thought would sell and that didn’t work so well for me; I now only buy what I like, regardless of era, style or label and I now sell with more confidence and find my stall has its own style and coherence (and I do much better from it).  It’s important to love what you sell and love what you wear.

vintage stall portobello

(Above: Sarah’s stall at Portobello)

6. What are your key vintage trends for accessories this A/W? 

I buy and sell what I love mostly. I am aware of ‘trends’ and seasonal fashions, but I don’t really follow them. I love prints in particular and little details in design and cut, so that’s what I’m attracted to when buying. I do sell seasonal stock but not particularly ‘on trend’ or at least not intentionally!

Vintage Shoes: Why We Love Them & How to Find the Perfect Pair

pleasure pain vintage shoes

We recently visited the Pleasure & Pain exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, which looks at the extremes of footwear through time. As vintage fashion lovers and vintage collectors, we found this extremely interesting and it reignited our passion for buying vintage shoes! 

But we know that shopping for vintage shoes isn’t something that is quite as appealing or accessible as vintage clothing, handbags or jewellery. Mainly because sizing has changed dramatically over the years, wear and tear can be a huge worry for vintage shoppers, and of course it doesn’t always seem as fun sticking your foot into something pre-loved as it is to simply style a vintage brooch on your collar.  If you have a weakness for footwear though, you’ll understand what mean when we say that it’s sort of like an art…


French shoe designer, Laurence Dacade once said in a magazine interview, ” I buy vintage shoes for the style, not the label.” And famous shoe collector, Jonathan Walford admitted, “The last time I counted, I had over 700 pairs of vintage shoes. I collect through every century.” So we know that collecting vintage shoes is something that the experts are very much into. But you don’t have to be an expert to start your own collection. 

vintage shoes guide


There are so many reasons to shop for vintage shoes over high street (although we don’t see it as a substitution because you can never have too many shoes!); vintage shoes are always of the highest quality, they are unique and it will make you feel like a modern day Cinderella when you find that perfect shoe with the perfect fit. It almost feels like fate. Although we know that’s also why shopping for the perfect pair isn’t so easy…


Shopping for vintage shoes can often be like a lottery; you never know what you might find in your size. And you never know which decade of shoe you might stumble across. Look for for the typical suede shoe design from 1910, the painted silk of the 1920s, the iconic black boots of the 1940s or the fabulous square toes of the 1960s. Every decade has its own unique styles and we just love collecting them all.

vintage shoe shopping guide


It’s always a bit of risk buying vintage shoes online; sizing has changed so much over the years. The best way to get the right size if you are ordering over the internet is to ask the seller to take measurements. Ask your seller to run a soft tape flat along the bottom of the insole, from heel to toe and do the same for a pair of your existing shoes to make a comparison. If you are buying shoes in person, always check for wear and tear under the shoe; vintage shoes are usually of great quality (hand made and hand stitched) so the uppers will look fantastic even when the shoe has seen a lot of pavement. So make sure you check everywhere! 

Good luck in vintage shoe shopping and discovering your glass slipper moment!

SBP Team x




Key Transitional SS15 / AW15 Must-Have Vintage Pieces!

It can be a hard pill to swallow when someone tells you that summer’s nearly over. But we’re not so sad *wipes away tears*. It’s impossible to be upset when we have lovely Autumn just around the corner. And as many as there all falling, AW15 is time to turn over a new fashion leaf. And for that, we’re totally excited. In the land of vintage, we embrace all the seasons, so spring, summer, autumn or winter; we’re gonna style the hell out of you. And our absolute favourite part? It’s those transitional inbetweeny few weeks which inspire so much creativity in our wardrobes.

So as the days slowly get nippier in the next few fortnights (ever so slowly we hope), what key transitional pieces should we be thinking about? Here’s a look at some SS/AW must-have vintage items.


drew barrymore 90s denim jacket

Every girl needs one. It doesn’t matter whether you’re uptown, downtown or nowhere near town. Vintage denim is iconic. And like Drew Barrymore back in the 90s, we all know here at Style By Portobello, that the vintage denim jacket is a wardrobe essential. If you agree, get some vintage denim inspiration from our earlier blog post.


how to wear vintage scarf

This has got to be THE most versatile vintage accessory a girl could own. Not only that, but it will keep your neck warm when there’s a cold breeze in the air. But there’s so much more you can do with it than just wear it around your neck; you can tie it into a headscarf (find out how here), you can decorate your handbag with it, or you can even style it as a belt!


vintage sunglasses

Now we all know that huge sunglasses aren’t just for the sun. They’re also for the morning after cocktail night. Or for when you want to travel incognito. ;) Vintage sunglasses are a must-have all year round and even cold days can be bright and sunny. If you missed our previous blog post titled ‘Vintage Sunglasses: The Key to Instant Glam’ (so true!) then make sure you read it here.


grace kelly handbag

There are simply no seasons on a beautiful handbag. They’re perfect all year round, making them the ideal transitional accessory. But shopping for the perfect vintage handbag can be tricky if you’re new to collection vintage. So make sure you read our vintage handbag shopping guide; it will arm you with all the right knowledge so you can do a handbag 3 point check before buying.

How to Wear Vintage: Let’s Get Eclectic!

There’s something extremely confident and assertive about mixing up different eras and patterns when styling vintage clothing. For those who shop vintage regularly, it’s very easy to create a running theme in your wardrobe; we’ve all been there, caught up in obsessing over one single decade (yep, guilty!). Although totally fabulous, there’s very little friction (or challenge) in styling a 50s teadress with a 50s handbag and finishing off your OOTD with a 50s up do. It sure looks great. But it doesn’t hurt to mix it all up once in a while.

We think that vintage fashion is about taking risks and experimenting with different fabrics, prints and textures. So if you love eclectic vintage styling, here are some ways you can really mix it up this season!

EASY: Mix Vintage with High Street

skinny jeans vintage top

For those who like to team old with new, classic with modern, and old skool with freshness, mixing high street and vintage clobber is totally chic. It’s also the easiest way to work vintage pieces into your wardrobe. We just love styling our high street skinny jeans with a cool vintage shirt or jumper; finish off with a vintage hat or headscarf and you’re nailing the eclectic style.

SLIGHTLY HARDER: Clash Prints and Textures 

clashing prints vintage style

Prints are awesome. And we just love them here at Style By Portobello. There really is no “real rule” about how they should be worn and we like to mix ours up all the time. As well as mixing prints, try a fun mish mash of different fabrics and textures too. It will create so much more depth to your ensemble.

YIKES! TOTALLY DIFFICULT: Create a Fusion of Decades

clashing decades vintage outfits

Just because you have a 60s monochrome shirt doesn’t mean that you have to style it with 60s everything. Don’t forget that every decade took inspiration from another so styles can work seamlessly together (if you get it right). There’s a fine line between ‘downright mad’ and ‘eclectic’ so give it a few goes and don’t give up. Try styling a 50s swing coat with some bright 80s heels and finish off with a classic 1960s handbag; it could turn out to be the best outfit you’ve ever created!

SBP Team x

Travel in Style: The Iconic Vintage Suitcase

These days, it’s not just what we wear that makes a statement, it’s what we carry. Accessorising is everything. And we just love a vintage handbag here at Style By Portobello. Our monthly subscription boxes often feature one of a kind handbags sourced from Portobello and hand-curated for every subscriber based on their style preferences.  And recently, two of our favourite bloggers showed us how they love to style their ‘Bello box bags…

vintage bags uk

(Above: Ellie from Rose & Vintage Blog and Emma from Emma’s Looking Glass)

Like Ellie and Emma, we know just how important it is to make a statement with the accessories we carry. But what about when we’re jetting off to exotic lands? Styling our suitcases to go with our outfits is something that can often be overlooked (we’ve all been guilty of dragging an ugly and tatty suitcase around with us at some point in our lives). But if you consider yourself to be a bit of a vintage vixen *raises hand* like we all do here in the Style By Portobello office, then why not finish off your holiday look with a chic and stylish vintage suitcase? You’d be surprised at how such a simple change in accessory can transform your style.

vintage suitcase how to style

Vintage suitcases don’t offer the same level of practicality as an uber modern suitcase with 4 rotating wheels, extending handle and all the bells and whistles. But hey – we’re not here to talk to you about being practical. Although a little backwards in the practicality department, a vintage suitcase offers so much charm. And we believe that’s a fair exchange. And the best thing?

vintage suitcase coffee table

You can turn your vintage suitcase into a coffee table when you’re not jetting off around the globe. Now that’s versatility with a capital V! If this has got you hooked, vintage suitcases can be found from most vintage markets – so get shopping. If you have some time to mooch around in London, why not head down to Portobello Road? Our team are usually there hand-picking vintage jewellery, bags and scarves for our subscribers, and Portobello has a very authentic market atmosphere that we’re sure you’ll love.

If you’re off on a weekend trip or a 3 night city break (not trekking across South East Asia for 4 months) then we say hell to being pragmatic and hello to a fabulous vintage suitcase!  It’s possibly one of the most iconic vintage items a girl could own.

SBP Team x