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>Creating your Own Vintage Wardrobe

13 Jan

>I’m sure I’m not the only one who admired the wardrobe of Downton Abbey. I’ve always had a thing for historical clothing – they’re classy, sophisticated and unique. Back in the day, the rich had tailors and fashion was still an art. Ladies put in the effort to be stylish and sleek. Sometimes, their style became a part of their reputation and attracted men. That has become a rarity.

In today’s world, we all dress alike. Not many still design their own clothes or peruse vintage stores for that one jewel. Sadly, classy isn’t en vogue anymore. Quite the contrary. Tacky is. Ironically, Dita von Teese is an exception. Although I don’t condone her lifestyle or profession, I greatly admire her fashion sense. Vintage can be beautiful and it makes us stand out.

                                                          Edwardian fashion in Downton Abbey

Nowadays, pencil skirts and fishnet tights have become the norm. Sure, the secretary look can be sexy, even pretty. But not nearly everyone has the figure to pull it off. Many women suffer from chunky ankles and flabby thighs. Modern clothing does us few favours. So, how can we get our hands on vintage designs with their long, flowing gowns and puff sleeves? Every now and then, Victorian influences creep into today’s fashion. But most of the blouses are transparent. What do you wear with that? Other tops have an unusual cut that doesn’t flatter us. I’ve given up on high street stores (well, with some exceptions as listed below). So I’ve turned my attention to other resources instead.

Class, accessories and style are united in this striped number

As I like to say: Google is your friend. Many websites are dedicated to vintage reproductions to fulfill our every need. If it is an antique’re looking for, Ebay might be the answer. I spent a large portion of this morning searching for Victorian and Edwardian items and stumbled upon over a dozen original outfits – some dating back as far as the 1880’s. And of good quality, too! So, I put in a bid or two and fingers crossed, I will soon be the owner of an antique Victorian jacket. Naturally, they cost rather more than a reproduction but they’re certainly worth it.

Another alternative is Etsy – more suitable for those who, like most of us, live on a budget. You’d be surprised at the amount of vintage inspired clothes and accessories people have made and put up for sale. It is relatively cheap, innovative and you’ll be hard-pressed to run into someone wearing the same outfit.

                                                          Ruffles galore in Anne of Green Gables


Fashion tip:
Notice how in Anne of Green Gables a simple blouse and waistcoat combination instantly gives you a classy, vintage look. I’m sure everyone has a white blouse somewhere hidden in the corners of their wardrobe. Waistcoats are easy to come by in regular stores. Try different styles for different results. Experimentation is key so start mixing and matching! Couple it with a long skirt in neutral tones and you could end up with a Victorian/Steampunk looking fashion hit on your hands. Notice how in the picture below Anne has a small watch on her waistcoat; you can also try a small brooch or pin. Adding that little accessory will liven up your wardrobe and keep things fresh.

                                                          The classical blouse/waistcoat/straw hat combination

Accessories:

Try adding a choker to your dress for a little extra sparkle. See how Mary spruced up her dress by accessorizing. Otherwise, a subtle string of pearls might do the trick. Pay close attention to period drama to see just how effective a well-placed necklace or headdress can be. Gloves are also a real eye-catcher. Nothing says elegance like the evening gown – elbow-length gloves combination. For outside strolls and picnics, you should give a straw hat a try. They come in many different styles, with all sorts of ribbon, feathers and even fruit. 

                                           Mary’s choker might be recycled but it’s a stunner.

                                               The very definition of puff sleeves.

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