I used to be really into vintage clothes- actually, I still am, but back when I was in sixth form I dressed in 1940s style every day. I tried to get as close as I could to looking as though I’d just stepped out of 1940’s England. I look back on that period of my style with a lot of fondness. I only stopped dressing that way because I took up a very practical performing course. My style at the moment is ‘vintage inspired’ and I still love clothes from bygone eras.
These are some of the things that I learnt from my years as a 1940s time-traveller:
- People looking at you is a compliment: I was an incredibly shy child, I was terrified and awkward up until I was about sixteen. I went from not wanting anyone to look at me to enjoying their attention.
- Dress sizes don’t matter: I’m very small and a rough hourglass, I have a small waist and modern fashion tends to just drown me and make me look much heavier than I am. One of the things that I love about vintage is that you have to get rid of the idea of dress sizes. We place so much emphasis on dress sizes when they mean very little. In some shops I’m an 8, in others I’m a 12. It depends entirely on where I shop. When you go shopping for vintage clothes you need to throw away your ideas of dress sizes and instead find out your measurements.
- Sewing is an important life-skill: anyone who reads this blog will know that I proudly fly the feminist flag, and because of this I’ve sometimes fallen into the trap of feeling bad about my love of sewing. Sewing is a useful skill, and it’s helped me save so much money! I can confidently pick up clothes on the cheap that need a couple of stitches, or have some horrible embellishment that can easily be picked out.
- Long skirts are sexy: I remember when my school banned short skirts; there was a lot of uproar from the girls who felt ‘frumpy’ because they were made to wear longer skirts (I think the rule was ‘no shorter than three inches above the knee’, so not actually that long…) but my skin-tight, just-below-the-knee-length pencil skirt was completely within the rules.
- People who make fun of your appearance are worthless: I was bullied for a long time when I was younger. About a year ago I was in the bathroom of a club, washing my hands. A couple of girls from my old school were there, they were looking at me, pointing and laughing. I looked over at them and for the first time I felt nothing… I didn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed, I just felt a little bit sad for them.
- ‘You’re so brave!’: I had a lot of people say this, or variations of this to me. I think the hardest part of dressing vintage, or dressing in any alternative style, is the mental part. You have to take a deep breath and walk out of the house dressed how you want to. The best way to do this is to start small and work up. Don’t change it all at once, do it step by step- and if you’re really scared then start low-key. I know that I starter with light pink lipstick and gradually moved my way to deep red. You can do anything you want, just take it bit by bit. Being brave with my appearance helped to make me brave in other areas of my life.
’til next time,