Top Five ‘Vintage’ Outfits

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A little while ago I put a tweet asking for thoughts on future blog posts and one response was to do a top 5 or 10 ‘vintage outfit’ post.

Everyone who knows me knows I have lots and lots – maybe too many – clothes, including pure vintage, reproduction and modern styles. I felt a top 5 would be more of a challenge for me, having to raid my wardrobe and realise my favourite items!

Because of the variety of styles, hopefully this post will help to show a vintage look can be devised using modern high street items or accessories – for example a modern outfit can easily be retro by adding a colourful scarf, or maybe a beautiful fashion brooch!

I’ve carefully chosen a range of different items, charity bought, handmade and affordable shop items. I have steered away from using my original items – mainly because these are more evening wear (which I will do a post on eventually) however there is at least one accessory which I consider to be very vintage.

I’ve also tried to get different eras – well tried anyway!

5.

This look is more retro than anything, using standard items and adding little gems of vintage. I wear a lot of black and basically live in cigarette trousers (well I do when I can fit in them) because they go with any top, blouse, shirt or jumper! Additionally, cigarette are classic vintage – worn by icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

Here I’ve teamed my trusty black cigarette trousers with a basic white chiffon blouse – top. The beauty of black trousers allow any style and colour top to be a winner! To spruce up the outfit, the retro element lies in the shoes – the lilac ballet dancer lace ups. I bought these a few seasons ago from ASOS, falling in love with the delicate, summery shade.

I’ve added a scarf to compliment the shoes – I always love a cool green shade teamed with light purple. This silk scarf is what I call real vintage, being a Mary Quant scarf. I picked this up for £3.00 from a charity shop.

White Top: Lindy Bop

Cigarette Trousers: Topshop

Shoes: ASOS

Scarf: Dove House, No.87 (Hull) – Vintage Charity Shop

4.

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I just love this quirky, girly, yet boat-like look? (I think the latter is the colours, red, navy and cream horizontal stripes)

The skirt is such a perfect length, great for a summer garden party. I personally love the length because it’s long enough to cover the majority of my legs, yet shows enough leg to not have to wear tights. (Self-conscious of my legs)

A midi skirt is key to achieve a summer retro look – it can never go out of style! Most vintage skirt and dress patterns carry the same length whether it is a circle skirt, A-Line or the signature figure hugging pencil skirts. There are so many adorable patterned midi skirts available both on the highstreet and in charity shops, florals, stripes or statement block colours.

The cream underlying of the skirt allows any colour top to match. I always lean towards black or white tops because you can never go wrong. However the strong red in the skirt always steers me towards this cropped little lace blouse. For some reason, the lace and pleats really work – something I would have never thought of. Teamed with pointed toe black flats and a pair of sunglasses – I feel like a modern yet retro girl on a Roman Holiday!

Blouse: Topshop (sale item)

Skirt: Dove House, No. 87 (Hull) – Vintage Charity Shop

Shoes: New Look

3.

 

 

My attempt at 60s and 70s. The dress is great for either! Although I am not one to step into the 70s style, teaming this dress with a wide brim hat gives an instant 70s vibe. As for the 60s; bring on the beehive hair, knee high boots and the most obvious – eyeliner wings!

I just love the wide arms of this dress, giving an elegant silhouette and representing an influx of freedom (woo, girl power.) The length of the dress is fab too, having the ability to be worn with trousers (wide legged jeans maybe, another way to claim a 70s look?)

Dress: F&F (Tesco)

Boots: Dorothy Perkins

Hat: Was given to me

 

2.

I like this outfit because it is my go to ‘smart casual’ look. I wear this outfit quite often in the university library to fool myself into work mode! I found the blouse in a local charity shop falling in love with both the colour and the collar design. It was clearly meant to be as the blouse fits perfectly – something I struggle with on a day to day basis (small waist, bigger chest = unfitted shirt).

Blouses are making a comeback, with a majority of high street shops selling a variety – retro styles and practical. I got this blouse for £4 – so I recommend going to different charity shops and having a rummage around – you’ll always find a bargain or a hidden treasure!

Another area I struggle with is highwaisted trousers, I find there is never any comfort! However Primark pulled through and I found these amazing high waisted cigarette pants – I practically live in these! At £8 a pair I’m going to get a variety of colours!

Blouse: Dove House, No. 87 (Hull) – Vintage Charity Shop

High waisted cigarette trousers: Primark

Shoes: Clark

Cardigan: Marks and Spencer

1.

My favourite look is this profoundly 50’s style. Think Grease.

I am so impressed with this outfit overall – just because the shoes and the skirt is a perfect colour match!

The main reason that it’s my number one outfit because it is the most obvious vintage look – and the cheapest. I have an array of circle skirts – an item which suits absolutely everyone and can be adjusted to different lengths.

I personally like the way it tucks into the waist to show off my curves and give an illusion of added height! I’ve teamed it with a plain white shirt and a little red crop top for an accent colour.

It is the cheapest look because the skirt is handmade – with the excess fabric allowing a matching neck tie.

Vintage fashion does not always mean ‘old’ items – you can create a vintage and retro look through crafts of your own. I always think making your own clothes is proper vintage (or at least will be one day) because people of the past were more likely to make their own clothes and accessories. It makes it that little bit more sentimental, as well as getting an outfit that fits perfectly – something that is very difficult in buying vintage.

 

White Shirt: Gap

Red Crop Top: New Look

Circle Skirt & necktie: Homemade, materials from Boyes

Shoes: Primark

Earrings: Primark

 

What are your top five ‘vintage’ outfits? Any particular ways you style them?

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Victorian Highstreet…

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I blogged about the beauty of this era – I thought I may as well mention the fashion!
I am lucky enough to volunteer at a local museum – as a shop assistant in a range of replica Victorian shops. In this role I get to wear a range of different Victorian outfits – representing different class and workplace.
Like today, the Victorian society had numerous styles of fashion, however all fashions were adapted and based on a generic style. This is the idea of long sleeved blouses or shirts and hats and for women, ankle length skirts.
Different patterns were developed and exchanged by some members of society. For example the writer ‘Mrs Beeton’ put together a book named ‘Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management’ which gives an overview of many aspects of Victorian life, including fashion and a series of patterns for one to make clothes.
There is a common assumption that Victorians had dark clothing, monochrome and grey shades. This is certainly true in the later days of Queen Victoria who after the death of her husband in 1861 spent the rest of her days in mourning wear. However unlike the photographs of the era which reflect all light and figures as black and white the Victorian fashions were actually a colourful array of patterns and ‘brave’ clashing ensembles. This excluded schoolchildren and those in house service (servants) who were expected to wear black accompanied by a white pinafore or apron.
Prior to the mid-1800s shopping was not a leisure activity we know today. Shopping for clothes involved going to a dress makers, also known as a Draper’s Shop. (A draper is an individual who trades in cloth and later other materials)
One would be measured for a bespoke suit or dress by the Draper, if a man, or a draper’s assistant if a woman. Lower classes would either purchase fabric or gain hand downs from other relatives or employers (if a good employer of course) and make their own clothes in their own time.
Browsing for fabrics or accessories was limited, and most products were actually hidden under the counter with the Draper choosing possible patterns or material for the customer.
1849 was the year where department stores began to surface, starting with a Newcastle company named Bainbridge’s. This was a shock to me, as I had always had in mind the department store originated from either the States or Paris (I watched too much Mr Selfridge).  Bainbridge had the evolutionary thought to give each product its own department alongside visible price tags. This began the leisure activity of shopping we know today. (Bainbridge’s still exists, under the name John Lewis)
‘Quick’ facts about Victorian fashion
  • The 1851 Great Exhibition in London inspired department stores to flourish and develop in France. (By develop, one Frenchmen made department store shopping more applicable to everyone, but creating separate reading and leisure rooms for men and children)
  • Hat etiquette gets very All Victorian men would wear hats outdoors. Those who did not would be the centre of contrasting gossip. When it came to indoor spaces, it depended on the place. Public places recommended keeping the hat on, with the exception of restaurants wuwpfgeok7oxtzzzpmtti.pnghere part of one’s routine would be to remove the hat before sitting at the table. Public speakers also took off hats, and this was to divert the attention from the hat to the words and expressions of
    that one speaking.
  • Contrasting, women wore hats as nothing more than keeping their hair out of their face and complimenting an outfit. Their hats were normally not removed due to the carefully placed hat
    pins.
  • Some employers were good, others were not. If the latter young girls and apprenti
    ces may not receive any wage whatsoever for their work –
    especially in the clothes
    industry. Good employers would support other issues (however this may be to advertise and promote their business) – for example some Draper’s would set change their window displays to the outfits of Suffragettes – promoting their cause while stocking the relevant coloured fabrics (Purple and Green)
  • Corsets automatically bring to mind their purpose in gaining that perfect silhouette shape in the waist. As ‘beauty’ developed into a war of personal vanity this became the main reason for a corset. However the original purpose of a corset was to take the weight of the top of the heavy and durable skirts. Victorian skirts were usually made of a wool or felt type material, which, along with the lining made the item extremely heavy. Corsets would take part of this weight and forcing the woman to having a strong straight back to keep upright.

 

 

The top two images represent the fashions of the middle class. In an attempt to look the part and present oneself as a having a high social standard working class women who had jobs such as Drapers Assistants would wear similar styles. On one hand it was used as advertisement of that working establishment, on the other women had more confident and given more respect dressing in this way.
The bottom images are a reflection of the working class or casual wear in society. White blouses were a must for all workplaces along with small straw hats which for women were worn at all times.

 

Recreating the 80s…

I got bored….and ended up pretending to be Molly Ringwald. It all started when I pulled out a pink ‘burn out’ style top, originally from Topshop. I’d watched the Breakfast Club a couple of days before with my brother and instantly thought ‘this is similar to Claire’s outfit.’ I thought I’d team it with a brown skirt – the only one I have is a pleated midi length style I had bought from a vintage fair.

It’s quite far away from the 80’s suade wrap skirt, seen in the picture above but I felt it echoed it enough – it wasn’t a serious outfit anyway it was for a bit of fun, however it worked out okay!

Similarly my brown leather boots would definitely not go with this skirt, so I hoped for shorter brown lace up boots. For one, the colours of the shoes and skirt match, as my leather knee lengths are of a lighter shade and would be an absolute fashion disaster. Similarly the pleated style would not suit any shoe higher than than the middle calf.

 

With the hairstyle – my natural hair is quite long and unable to mimic Molly’s short thick waves. The best I could do to reflect the style was to use my ‘vintage roll’ – a hair technique I normally use to create a 1920s hair do!

I got my vintage roll from Claire’s Accessories for about £6! I gave my hair a more modern style instead of the slick back over vintage vibe; untucking my fringe to give it the side sweep similar to Molly’s beautiful short style.

I quite enjoyed this mini segment on a vintage fashion icon. I may make this a regular thing on this blog!