Sunday, August 10, 2014

Vintage without Whimsy

As my regular readers know, I'm all about a vintage silhouette.  I like the clothes of eras past - I think they're more flattering than the clothes made now.  But I don't want to have that vintage look - I don't want anyone stopping me, thinking I'm on my way to a costume gala.  (I run enough against the grain as is,  with the long skirts for everyday thing).  That's fine if that's you - I consider that look "vintage whimsy".

But how do you wear clothing made from 60yo patterns without looking like your clothing is antique?

- Accessories.  This is the biggest thing.  If you wear a pillbox hat or a fascinator, gloves, stockings, red lipstick and kitten heels, you're going to look vintage in blue jeans.  Accessories set the mood of an outfit.  So - pick modern accessories, a modern aesthetic.

- Fabric.  Speaking of aesthetics... if you make a dress from the 40s in a tiny floral print, it's going to look vintage.  If you make it in plaincloth, it will look entirely different.  There are vintage enthusiasts who hunt down vintage fabrics for their vintage makes - and there is a reason that they do this!

- Fit/Hemlines.  I do like the mid-century fit - it suits my body well.  But should I make up a lovely lace blouse from the Edwardian era... I'll skip the pouter-pigeon front that was so en vogue back then.   If I made a dress from the 70s (possible) it would be fit to wear over proper undergarments, not braless with a girdle.  This hits my beloved mid-century dresses straight in the hems - a calf-length silhouette was all the rage back then.  Tea-length gowns are friends to those with long, slim calves.  (Aka not me, not me if my weight was in the two-digit mark).  My latest dress would look oh-so-vintage in tea length but I made mine just past the knee.  I put my hems where they flatter me.

That's the key for vintage inspiration, IMO.  Take what the past has designed, and work it for you.  I'll never wear a 70s caftan, no matter how fond I am of seeing them on other women.  If something is oppressively vintage in style - either pair it with something modern or tone down the aspects of the style that are very vintage.   For instance, the 40s brought out some of the most fabulously detailed and interesting suits - but the collars and shoulder pads scream "times past".  So - tweak the collar ever so slightly and ditch the extreme shape of the shoulder.

And when you see something from times past that makes *you* swoon - snag it.  Snag it, wear it without apology, and own it!

No one will be the wiser........... ;)

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