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.

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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…

Needle in a haystack

November 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Welcome to the world of the wardrobe weeder. I am here to help with all your styling needs! Being a great believer in style over fashion ‘fads’, I would rather a classic white shirt than the new all in one adult babygro from funzee – even if Rhianna does own one, even if they do cure a hot toddie hangover and might just get us through the 65mph winds expected in and around Edinburgh and beyond this coming week… ok so funzee is an exception in this case! I’m putting it on my Christmas list right away! I apologise for mentioning Christmas on the 8th of November, it won’t happen again. Although I did have my first mince pie last week and felt all warm and tingly inside… But the point i am trying to make is that ‘fads’ are the fashions we aren’t supposed to wear. They have a limited life expectancy and are swiftly pushed to the back of our wardrobes and the back of our minds in a flash. 1:0 to style. Style will always comfort us in times of need, support us through our toughest wardrobe crisis and be there for us on our first date in the form of a classic LBD (little black dress to those who are still learning!). A fashion ‘fad’ is the enemy, the frenemy, the office bitch who taps her watch as you arrive 2 minutes late for work the week before your appraisal and that long awaited pay-rise you had in mind to buy the latest ‘fad’. Don’t. Invest in a classic. ‘Fads’ creep up on us when we least expect it, mess with our heads then disappear as though they never existed. And they did exist, as much as we’d like to destroy the photographic evidence. Avoid fads at all costs. If you own a crop top, harem pants, bloomers or bumsters and don’t have the fashion credentials or confidence to pull them off … Im talking to YOU! I’m not saying don’t have fun, because while i’m a great believer in style, I appreciate it in ALL forms. From the psychedelic punk to the grim Goth – I take inspiration from all walks of life. Everyone has something to offer. I’m just a needle in a very big haystack, but boy am I determined to sew my way to the top and find those answers you’ve been looking for!

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