‘How to wear vintage for everyday style without looking like you’re at a costume party?’ – this same question that I was asked over and over again has inspired me to write this post to inspire you on ways to frolick in your vintage collection every day of the week.
I simply adore vintage trekking. Whether it’s hunting for vintage Chanel in Paris or rummaging around the internet, vintage shopping to me is simply like stumbling across museums or art galleries where I have no idea what’s in it for me. No doubt it’s a hit and miss sometimes, but when you score the jackpot of the rarest, most exquisite pieces of vintage treasure that got your heart racing, the reward is immense! I love reading the labels on my vintage garment. The story behind each piece from how they were made to where they’ve travelled to simply blow my mind every time. To me, dressing vintage is never reserved for special occasions only. I wore my French lace high collar long sleeves vintage gown for my Parisian elopement, while I also have my other part of closet filled with casual sun dresses, 70s maxis and 80s denim jackets for running everyday errands. Dressing for work days and meetings? My 60s inspired black and white stripes pleated dress and navy blue vintage YSL scarf never fail to impress. I’ve made wearing vintage work for me every day of the week and I’m on a mission to help you do the same. Rejoice my fellow vintage junkies, here I’m sharing 6 tips and tricks I learnt along my vintage hunting journey to help you define your everyday vintage style.
♥ Know your body type & style
When it comes to styling vintage, I don’t believe in any rules on the dos and don’ts of mixing patterns and colours. Trust me, you can make any coordination works for you depending on the vibes you aim to set with your outfit. The only rule I believe that exists is knowing your body type and defining your unique style. This is in fact a basic rule of personal styling. I’m sure we all had a few of those awful photos of us in hideous clothes that made us look three sizes bigger. Now here’s a challenge for you – before you go into the shops again, un-delete those most embarrassing photos from your recycled bins and try to find out what the heck went wrong with those outfit. Yep, be brutal & ruthless! For example, I have relatively broad shoulders and big puffy sleeves simply made me look like an American football player at my friend’s costume party (crisis!). So, these days as I rummage through the isle of my local vintage stores, I keep reminding myself – RIP puffy sleeves, we’re never ever getting back together.
Here’s another exercise to help you pick vintage pieces that suit the style you’re aiming for. Ask a few close (honest) friends of yours to describe your everyday style. Then, jot down five words that best describe your style – they can be either from your friends or a style that you aim to go for. Here’re mine: classy, elegant, romantic expressive and changeable. With this ‘style note’ written down in your phone or journal, ask yourself this important question before your next vintage purchase, ‘How does that fit into the style that I aim to create?’. Trust me, it takes a while to define your style and I don’t even remember how many times I’ve slightly updated the list of words that describe my own style. One thing for sure is to start doing it today and the style that is so uniquely you will start to crystallize.
♥ Know your era
(‘Romance Was Born’ Lookbook – blogged here)
Another way to help find your everyday vintage style is to know the fashion era and their characteristics. This is almost a sure win way to make sure you master coordinating vintage pieces harmoniously. Don’t get me wrong – I think any rules that say you shouldn’t mix and match pieces from different eras are absolute rubbish, but wearing a dress and accessorising with pieces from the same fashion era makes sense for everyday style as it means you have a few staples ready when you don’t have time to plan your look the night before. My few ‘go-to’ staples that guarantee to attract complements every time include a colour block shift dress with platform boots from the 60s, 70s maxi dress, fur cape with boho boots, as well as a drop waist pleated dress from 20s with vintage Chanel pearl chain necklace. Make some ‘formula’ that work for your body type and speak your style, and you’ll never feel overwhelmed again when facing your vintage collection.
♥ Find a muse
(‘Return to Tiffany’ Lookbook – blogged here)
I’m guessing most of us would have been inspired by style icons at some stage whom ignited our passion for vintage fashion. Find your muse and do some homework to look up their everyday style on Pinterest and Instagram. You might already know how much I adore Audrey Hepburn’s timeless classy style.My Audrey obsession started early in life and I went the old school way of clipping her photos from magazines onto a scrapbook (which got lost in between moving houses – sad face). From the classic fitted pants to cropped silhouettes, white gloves and the little black dress, there’re way too many valuable styling inspirations I got from this legend that shaped my style throughout the years.
♥ Make it work for daytime
(‘Because Vintage Never Fades’ Lookbook blogged here)
Be prepared to pick up your pair of scissors, threads and needles for some DIY actions with your new found vintage treasure. Vintage sizes are fairly different from today’s standard, so I don’t pay much attention to the sizes marked on the labels. I tend to use my own judgement to determine if a piece is worth buying with a tiny bit of alternation work. Sometimes just a tad bit of alteration can transform the piece to look much more wearable for every day. Take this piece of beige fur cape and yellow stripes dress I scored on Gumtree online for example (yep – I rummaged on the internet a lot!) – both were way too long and dressy for everyday wear – the fur cape sat just below my hip while the yellow dress was a midi length one. Luckily I’ve got this fabulous tailor lady in my neighbourhood who knows my sizes even better than my mum. It was an unbelieable makeover with both pieces cropped – perfect for daytime play! So start making friends with your local alteration ladies or invest in a reliable sewing machine to inject new lives to pieces that might otherwise only be reserved for special occasions.
♥ When in doubt, wear a dress!
(Images from my interview with TwoPeas PR here)
Little black dress earned its fame and classiness for a good reason. But here I dare to say we need more than just a LBD. To have the perfect ensembles ready to rock in five minutes or less, we need the LBD, LRD (little red dress) and a LND (little navy blue dress). Here meet the most qualified rival of LBD, my fellow vintage goddess – she’s called the little navy blue dress that has recently stolen the spotlight and made famous by the fine lady princess Kate Middleton at her engagement. As much as the drop dead gorgeous sapphire ring has stopped my heartbeat for a split second, I simply couldn’t get that divine navy blue wrap dress out of my head! Match a simple and elegant navy blue dress with a silk head scarf – viola! You’re ready to hit the local patisserie with your BFF.
♥ Wear them with confidence and a big smile
Need I say more? The best accessories to make you shine even brighter in any vintage outfit is simply a radiant smile with ‘Queen Bee’ kind of sassiness in your eyes! It’s your show and your catwalk moment so seize every opportunity to feel babe-ly.
So tell me my Dear Readers, how do you wear vintage for everyday style? What are your best tips to make your vintage collection work for daytime play? Have a few vintage purchase that you’re so proud of? Don’t be shy and show off your vintage goddess wisdom in the comments here, or tag your outfit on Instagram using #Lacenruffles.
Until next time, stay classy forever.
Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Gumtree.com.au while all opinions are genuinely my own.