Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Full Circle

I have two particular events that I'm prepping outfits for at the moment; one is a forties event next weekend, which I'll post about after  I get back from it with pictures, and the other is a rock and roll themed event set in 1971.

Going back to the seventies look is coming full circle for me. My first steps into playing with vintage fashion was in the mid nineties as a teenager. Inspired by the 'ironic' retro look of bands like Pulp, I spent many hours searching through charity and second hand shops and mixing seventies clothes into my wardrobe. Most notable was the too big sheepskin coat that I wore constantly when I was 17/18, even in the height of summer (I get cold easily), which my friends gently mocked, attributed a personality and named it 'The Sheep'.

Now I wish that I had kept hold of it, as it would have been perfect for what I have planned. But as most of us do, I moved on from my teenage tastes and long since discarded the old seventies clothes or relegated them to storage. As I got older, I became far more interested in the more glamourous eras of fashion, particularly the 1920's and 1950's.

Now this event has puled me back to the seventies again, and I'm rediscovering how fun and expressive that era was. My starting point was to have a trawl through my old storage boxes to see what I have left from my distant past, which provided a starting point, then hit my favourite thrift stores and then Camden Market. Here are some of the results;

I love this little orange cropped suede jacket, which I've had for many years - thank goodness it (just) still fits me! The shirt underneath was found in Past Caring on Essex Road in Islington. The hotpants are modern, a charity shop find. This was also my first attempt at seventies style hair and make-up, which is quite a drastic change from my usual vintage style make-up, to say the least! Out with the heavy black eyeliner and in with the bronzer and lip gloss!

I love these shots taken at a seventies themed Christmas party recently (convenient when I was buying seventies clothes anyway). The dress is a patchwork patterned velvet early seventies dress bought in Camden. It has high neck and long slim arms, and feels fabulous to wear. The coat is also from Camden - not quite a replacement for my Sheep, but pretty darned fabulous. The hat was bought on a beach in Sri Lanka some years ago. But what I think really makes the outfit is the huge shades and the hair and make-up. I find my hair very difficult to work with, but it seems happy with the Farrah Fawcett look!

So that's two outfits for a weekend sorted out. My next stop was my mothers wardrobe, of which more later...

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Starting point

Hi, my name is Sally and I have a passion for all things vintage, so I've decided to write about it here. As well as loving to wear the clothes, I love the stories and the journey behind vintage fashion items, which is what I expect I will mainly be talking about here, so it's likely to be quite personal and subjective in nature.

What do I mean by the stories and journey? A number of things. Most obviously the story behind the individual item, when that's available. What prompted me to start this blog was when I recently went through my mothers old clothes with her to find she had an amazing array of 1970's maxi dresses. Each one had a personal story and meaning to her which I find deeply engaging. Often we don't know a piece of clothing's history, but when I put on a vintage dress, I love to imagine what that history might have been - what sort of party was this evening dress bought for, how did the person feel about wearing it, how long must they have saved up to buy it?

Secondly there's it's journey with me - how I found it, why I like it, the research into it's age and history, and where and how I like to wear it.

Thirdly, following on from the last, is the clothings social story - what it's style, fabric etc mean in our social history. My father was a history teacher and passed his love of history onto me, but my fascination has always been with how people lived, whether rich or poor, and how it felt to be that person, in that time. For this reason, although I'll be focussing on twentieth century fashion here, I may occassionally talk about other era's too.

Finally, and maybe most obsucurely, the process of creating character and story through clothes. My love of past fashions needs an outlet, and as well as wearing the clothes for their own sake, for me my main outlet is through attending events set in past eras, whther they be living history, murder mystery parties, dance evenings or whatever opportunity presents itself! I've also been very interested in theatrical costuming, and so I love the process of identifying an era or specific year, working out the character I want to play, then researching and creatively developing what I think they would wear, then building their wardrobe and look. I enjoy making my 'costumes' as period accurate as possible (and affordable) including using original items and making my own reproductions, so I will probably talk about that process from time to time.

I think that just about sums me up, and my plans for this blog, now I shall just have to see where it takes me...