When I say “vintage” what springs to mind? Probably 50’s style skirts and shabby chic furniture. But it’s so much more than that. It can be anything from a bustle to a grungey jumper. Vintage make up can evoke a specific memory. Hair too, from Veronica Lake waves to a Louise Brooks bob, they all project a message, an image. They hark back to a time that seemed simpler and less fraught. Today I am channelling Twiggy, with a tan A-line mini skirt, a navy polo neck, cream cable-knit tights and my pretty new boots. I’ve tried to update it, but the look is unmistakably vintage. The advance of the Internet has allowed stores like Rokit to open online. Almost every town has a vintage store. People are putting aside their aversion to pre-owned clothes and using their imaginations, to embrace the retro renaissance.
The best advice I can give anyone who has visions of being a veritable vintage vixen is to be patient. Bear in mind that the great thing about vintage wear is that is unusual, people pay thousands for one off pieces of wearable art, you can get it at a teeny fraction of that. Browse sites like Ebay or Asos Marketplace as well as independent sites such as the aforementioned Rokit and Beyond Retro. But, and this is a big but, also try your local independent traders. Even in Shrewsbury, our nearest town, we have a number of thriving vintage stores, and its easy to while away a happy few hours scouring the rails and trunks for a gorgeous felt hat, or soft leather gloves, a silk scarf or a faux fur stole. After all, they don’t make ’em like that anymore!
I popped into Dogeared Vintage in Shrewsbury indoor market, and looked around around the treasure trove, hoping for some inspiration. I looked at hats, gloves, scarves and faux fur before settling on a truly awesomely cute vanity case (yes the baby blue one) that I am torn between using for my nailpolish or using it as a handbag.
I wanted to take all of it home (and I am saving up for a faux fur) and play dress up for a while. Abiding by the fashions is great and genuinely has its place, but I keep being drawn back to a-line minis, poodle (or wiggle) skirts and flares. There’s something about the shape and the general femininity of the eras styles that just makes me happy. Going through my wardrobe is like time travel. I’ve even ignored my rule and bought a grungey jumper, looking at it I’m reminded of my teens and playing pool in the Station pub, with Pulp blaring out from the jukebox.
That’s the awesomeness of vintage clothing. It takes you back as far as you like and gives you the chance to become your idol, if only for the day. Whether it’s Betty Draper, Audrey Hepburn or Courtney Love, you can swish or slink or skulk to your hearts content.
Another tip for pre-loved ponderers is don’t be afraid to get creative. Get some buttons, some appliques and some trimming and if something isn’t quite right, alter it. Yesterday I bought a lovely blue felt hat which had a god awful ribbon at the back. I am neither the easter bunny or Katy Carr so I removed the ribbon to replace it with a large gold button.
It took about a minute and I now have a hat that I will actually wear. I’ve done the same with lots of clothes. Replaced buttons, changed belts, added or removed netting, added or removed straps… And I assure you, I am the least creative person in the world. If I can do it, anyone can. You just need a bit of vision. And to understand that the past can be improved on too!
Anyway, happy Sunday, Toodles fabulizers!