My friend M and I both have a love for vintage style clothes. While her taste veers more towards the gothic, and mine towards the more cutesy housewife style, we share an appreciation for the styles of the past.
I personally feel that people just used to dress far more nicely years ago. You would never have seen our grandmothers trotting out to the local Tesco for some hangover pizza with their hair in a messy bun and bodies in a tatty tracksuit. Clothes were also made better. I have a pair of white gloves that my grandma had when she was about my age, and they’re still in perfect condition. Buy the same pair now from Primark and I’m not sure they’d have quite the same shelf life.
For me, vintage style clothes aren’t about how old they are, although I do like the idea of recycling and hanging onto clothes. For me, it’s more about the style. I love the big flowy skirts of the 50s (what girl doesn’t feel like a Disney princess twirling around in one?), I love the perfectly coiffed hair and matte red lipstick of the 40s, I love the bright, fun colours of the 60s.
Decades ago, people took better care of their clothes. Nowadays, we are so used to fast fashion, that the idea of buying one or two really nice pieces for a higher price just sounds like too much… but yet we’ll probably end up spending more in the long run, replacing items as they wear out. For some people, this is fine, they might be perfectly happy to keep changing their wardrobe as trends change. For me, I prefer to pick out items that suit me and that I like, regardless of whether they’re in fashion right now or not.
I recently discussed this with M, and she told me that she has some special items. Items that cost more and are worth more than high street fast fashion, and she saves them to wear doing things she enjoys. This doesn’t have to be a special, fancy occasion. She told me she wore one of her favourite dresses to the cinema recently, because she loves going to see films. I love this idea, I think it’s such a nice way to get the use out of your favourite clothes.
Another thing I love about vintage style is how much care people used to take in dressing themselves. I don’t mean that we should all spend hours layering on the makeup and teasing our hair to perfection, but whether it’s shallow or not, I know I feel better on the days that I’ve made more effort. There’s something really satisfying about getting up on time to pick out a nice outfit and jewellery to match, spend some time doing something other than a ponytail with my hair and doing my makeup properly.
Sadly, it can be quite difficult to find vintage clothes that are right for you… unless you’re dedicated enough to spend your Saturdays trawling through charity shops and dusty vintage stores that somehow get away with selling god-awful sweatshirts from the 90s for £50 and calling it vintage.
Luckily, there are an awful lot of vintage reproduction companies out there that sell beautiful clothes in the styles I love. Hell Bunny, Collectif and Lindy Bop are some of the stores I really enjoy, but a quick trawl through eBay or Amazon will give you a treasure trove of options too. One of my favourite recent purchases is a cute seahorse print dress from Hell Bunny.
What are your favourite things to wear? I’d love to hear about it.