A Rough Guide To Vintage Shopping

March 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

This morning I caught up with Lily Allen’s quest for anonymity under a pile of (rather expensive) clothes.  She and her party animal sister, Sarah Owen, are setting up shop together with the help of my favourite fashion consultant, Mary Portas.  The unique concept is that while couture pieces from the likes of YSL, Ossie Clark and Dior are for sale at sky-high prices, shoppers with more flash than cash will be able to hire items at a subsidised rate.

I love vintage clothing for it’s one of a kind appeal and the feeling of being transported back to the decade you’re wearing.  My personal favourite vintage is 20’s, I love the glamour surrounding each piece and imagine myself in a smoky jazz club dancing the Charleston.  But back to 2011,  it’s not always easy if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  I have decided to compile a very quick guide to vintage shopping, by each decade, in the hope that you might find something beautiful.

If you are looking for a glamorous 1920’s ensemble, look for beaded dresses, feathers and fur.  This look is best kept for evening when you can go all out and have fun accessorising with layers and layers of pearls, pretty headbands, beaded clutch bags and a decadent fur stole.  Wear with round toe Mary Jane’s and shimmy the night away like Mr Bojangles.  30’s pieces are glamorous again but longer in length and made with sumptuous fabrics.  Look for cute hats and tailored riding jackets to wear with jeans for daytime. If you enjoy ladylike trends seek out 1940’s tea dresses and wear with pearls.  1950’s vintage dressing is all about creating womanly curves with figure hugging items such as pencil skirts and ¾ length fitted cropped jackets.  Accessorie with pretty neck-scarves and clutch bags.  Vintage prints are absolutely beautiful especially 60’s retro prints which are bold, bright and colourful.  Offset these prints with mini shapes (skirts and dresses) or pretty blouses.  Accessorise with plain, narrow, patent belts, classic knee-high boots or a statement chunky bracelet.   70’s hippie styles have unstructured and draped silhouettes, while the colours are often soft and muted which makes them great for your summer wardrobe.  This decade has been a major source of inspiration for designers this season and the high street has gone mad for hippie chic, so as well as hunting down original pieces why not seek a peep of what Phillip Green’s team have to offer.  Again, with 70’s dressing KEEP IT SIMPLE; think middle eastern touches with tan bag/shoe combos.  80’s dressing can be difficult, if you lived through the 80’s as a teenager it is more than likely that this is a decade you’d wish to completely forget about, fashion wise.  If you love the style look for shoulder pads and glitzy fabrics adorned with sequins and shimmer.  And that’s as far as vintage goes, I don’t think the 90’s qualify just yet!  So you’ll just have to wait a few years before scousers, Adidas poppers and lycra become vintage…

1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s

When shopping for vintage goods there are a few things to keep in mind.  More often than not a size 10 back in the day is more like a size 6 these days.  The average woman in Britain is more like a curvy size 14 now.  So when you’re looking at the finest vintage piece, YOU MUST TRY ON.  Vintage shops don’t have favourable returns policies so you may find yourself stuck with something you won’t ever wear.  When considering how much a garment costs think about the quality and condition.  LOOK AT THE LABEL, You may be surprised to find most vintage clothes are made closer to home or are even home-made.  Think of the time and care which may have gone into making one of those garments and remember anything made from wool, silk or cashmere is definitely worthy of a higher price tag.      Most importantly HAVE FUN!  Make a day of it with a friend or even better your mum, who will act as a walking encyclopaedia for vintage dressing in the 80’s, 70’s, 60’s and maybe even as far back as the 50’s!  Plan a vintage shopping route map before you leave and schedule time for afternoon tea of course.  Happy shopping!

If you haven’t seen it already, catch up with Lily and Sarah here.

Look Good, Feel Great, Be Inspired

March 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Whether you’re a rebellious teen trying to find your’ niche’, a busy mum struggling to find the time, a career woman intent only on success or a home-maker whose social outings include popping round the shops and down to the bottom of the garden to hang out the washing… (phew.., breathe.., that sentence was probably too long) IT’S IMPORTANT TO LOOK GOOD IN ORDER TO FEEL SPECIAL.  In my opinion at least.

I walk to work in the morning, on arrival I change into my uniform, after work put my own clothes back on and I walk home again.  Still, I would never feel happy walking out of the door in the morning, in anything less than ordinary clothing.  I would never leave in a tracksuit, fleece or trainers (but thumbs up to the office workers who choose comfort as opposed to heels in the morning – that’s OK!).  I enjoy clothing, it’s my art – as corny as that sounds – and I wouldn’t start the day as I mean to go on if I weren’t feeling creative or inspired.

There may be many reasons why you can’t be bothered to up your style in the morning:

LACK OF TIME:  This is probably a factor for the majority of people, preparation is key.  I hate rushing to get ready in the morning, any amount of free time I have is best spent drinking coffee, watching the news and eating a hearty breakfast – I couldn’t function with any less than two out of the three.  It makes a huge difference if you prepare an outfit for the next day, the night before.  You don’t have to try things on if you can’t be bothered, just pick one piece of clothing (or one accessory) and work around it.  For example, if I pick a beaded turquoise necklace to wear the next day, I would consider which colours might work well with it – orange or dusky pink perhaps – and turn to my wardrobe for complimentary items in those colours.  Add a scarf encompassing all of the colours in your ensemble and voilà, you have an outfit prepared.  If you’re feeling especially creative at that moment in time why not put a few outfits together and hang them in your wardrobe ready for another day.  The most vital piece of advice is dont stray from your original outfit – you will only waste time and end up going back to your first idea!!

LACK OF ENERGY:  Again, another factor which probably affects most of us.  I can’t pretend to understand the life and times of a busy mum, I have a HUGE amount of respect for them but if you don’t have to think too much about getting dressed then you’ll find more time to clean up the baby poop!  I think it’s brilliant when mums invest a little bit of time into preening themselves.  Use statement accessories (belts, scarves and jewellery) with a classic jeans and tee combo, easy, and I also think Harem trousers would be a great investment as they are so easy to wear and hide the post baby weight!

WHAT’S THE POINT:  If you’re not going out for the day then what’s the point?  Imagine yourself as a student.  If you lounge around the house all day in slippers and jogging bottoms instead of getting dressed and heading down to library, do you think you would get nearly as much work done?  No, it just makes you feel lazy and sloppy.  You never know what will come up during the day or who you meet so if you put on a lovely outfit you’ll feel much better about yourself and if you decide to go somewhere, you can just walk out the door.  Of course I love duvet days, lounging around watching films or reading a book, but those days are planned.  If you wake up and spend the day lazing around in your pyjamas when you could be ticking off a chore list, trailing around the the charity shops or visiting an art gallery that day is wasted, and you won’t feel great about yourself.  So, get up, get showered and put on something nice!

Unfortunately or not, we live in a society that defines people by their appearance.    It is impossible to look your best at every hour of the day, perfection isn’t the goal here.  Living a life that involves being dolled-up to the nines day and night is a recipe for stress!  What’s important is to live life to the full, learn to love your body as it is now and ENJOY dressing up.  Your outward image also encompasses everything from posture and self-image to body language.  More often than not, if you look good you feel great a positive self-image follows on naturally from that.  Brilliant.  It becomes unhealthy when individuals begin to compare themselves against unrealistic and unattainable icons, but I’m talking about knowing who you are and having the confidence to portray that on the outside.  In reality, each and every figure flaw you may have; the spot on your nose, a bootylicious bum, dreaded cellulite or a few extra pounds that week are NEVER really noticed by anyone other than yourself.  Really!

John Galliano – The Show Must Go On

March 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Everybody’s talking about it so,  I googled ‘Galliano’ and stumbled upon the video in question.  The Sun had what I was after – shock – and I swiftly hit play

Well, well, well – what a naughty boy huh?  My feelings on the matter are as follows:

The slurring of his – almost inaudible – speech and his defensive stance as he uttered the words “I love Hitler…” (eek), indicate intoxication that much is certain!  He is as flamboyant in his mannerisms as he is in clothing design and dress sense.  The words are shocking and there is never an excuse for anti-Semitic behaviour.  However, in this instance I am not supportive of the couple being targeted.  Controversial or what.  Well, they do say a lil’ controversy ups the visit count to a blogger’s site!  That isn’t my motivation however…

In this situation, I can’t help but feel sorry for Galliano himself.  The couple involved are quite clearly taking great pleasure in capturing what is being said on their home video camera, most likely with the intention of selling the material for a hefty sum.  And that they did!  The pair giggle at points and utter blasphemous slurs.  Yes, they’re suffering a wave of abuse but if you use the Lord’s name as just another expletive, you are breaking the 3rd commandment right!!  I’m trying to demonstrate the point that these arguments aren’t always black and white.  The words coming out of Galliano’s mouth are quite frankly ridiculous, absurd even.  I don’t believe for a second it’s his religious stance.  I personally think this was an aggregated attack, which has led to the downfall of an extremely talented individual.  The incident obviously left Dior with no choice but to part ways with Galliano.  Since the 50 year old’s sacking last week, it was not clear whether his Spring/Summer 2012 collection would be shown to the press at all.  However, after negotiations, Galliano’s people settled on holding a low-key presentation instead of a big-budget runway show.  This is not the first time that a celebrities bad behaviour has been ousted, and i’m not sticking up for them!  I especially don’t rate celebrities as trend-setters as you well know!!  But this incident does demonstrates the extreme pressure celebrities are under to keep their guard up at all times, whilst remembering that someone out there with a camera might just be filming their atrocities.  Fame?  No thank you.

John Galliano is rumoured to be in a rehabilitation centre in Arizona on the advice of his close friends in the fashion business.  I wish I could just jet off to rehab each time life got a little tough, wouldn’t that be nice!  I’m sure after a couple of months, all will be forgotten and John Galliano will be snapped up by another fashion label.

What’s your opinion?  I’d love to know…

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