I actually don’t have a lot of vintage pieces in my wardrobe and I don’t usually go for vintage styling, so this week was an interesting challenge for me! That might come as a surprise to some of you, because I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I have a retro / vintage vibe going on. I think this is because I like wearing clothes that having interesting details, good fit, and funky colors, plus lots of femininity. Those are all things that we associate with vintage clothing.
Last weekend, I went to an antique store to get framing supplies for some artwork that I wanted to put up in my house, and the antique store turned out to be full of beautiful vintage clothes as well. Since I automatically make up rules for myself, I made a few rules, because everything was cool and beautiful and I wanted IT ALL.
- If it doesn’t fit, don’t buy it. (Don’t do the “if I lose five pounds, this will look great!” thing. That ruins the fun of buying and having clothes. This is a life rule for me, not just a vintage-clothes-shopping rule. If it doesn’t fit right now, it’s not the right thing. Period.)
- If needs major work, don’t buy it. (This applies to stains, holes, bad zippers, etc. Hemming is okay, major structural alteration is not.)
- If you don’t have an occasion to wear it, don’t buy it. (It has to work for MY life, not somebody else’s life.
- If it looks like a costume, don’t buy it.
Even with those rules, I found two dresses, two coats, and an evening gown. The evening gown did not make an appearance, but I’m going to a fancy Christmas party soon and I promise I will post a picture when I wear it!
Day 1: Gingham Dress
This dress is cute, comfy, and practical. I think it would look better without tights, but I needed tights on Monday. Because it was cold. Here are the reasons I bought this dress:
- It combines two big trends for this year: western details and gingham. I could have bought this exact dress at a funky boutique somewhere. What goes around comes around!
- The material is good quality – stretchy, thick, and soft.
- While it is a shirt dress, only the top actually buttons and unbuttons. The skirt does not unbutton and this prevents gapping and other wardrobe malfunctions. I appreciate that kind of concern for my wellbeing.
- It fit beautifully. It was made with curves in mind.
- It was eight dollars. SCORE.
I don’t think this is the best styling for it. I picture this as a standalone spring / summer dress with some flats or chunky heels. This dress is pure fun and it definitely looks better on than it does on the hanger. That’s why it’s important to try things on!
Tuesday: Western Jacket
This jacket is my new favorite thing. According to the tag it comes from Pam Layne’s Sage In Bloom – apparel wear – Ft. Worth Texas. This thing is legit. It’s quality wool, a fantastic cut, plus it has BIRDS ALL OVER IT. I could find this jacket at Anthropologie right now, but I wouldn’t be able to afford it. This jacket was around twenty dollars, but to buy something comparable new would probably be around two hundred dollars. That’s why I was over the moon to find this one. Even if nobody else loves it as much as I love it, I feel like I won a treasure hunt.
I did modify this one slightly, because there were beaded tassels coming off the buttons. It was definitely a look, but it’s easier to wear it without. Also, the lining fabric is incredible. Lining fabrics go a long way with me. I appreciate designers who spend time on a part of the garment that may only be seen by the wearer.
Wednesday: Red Skirt
I was considering wearing the other dress I bought, but it was too summery. I would have frozen to death. So I asked my friend Sara to loan me a vintage skirt, so I could try styling it in a modern way.
This is probably my favorite outfit this week, just because there were a lot of moving parts. Skirt, t-shirt, sweater blazer, necklaces, ankle booties. A red skirt may seem intimidating and hard to pair with things, but it can be really beautiful. It just requires some boldness.
The best part of the skirt was the fit and flare shape. The waist hit right at my narrowest point and then went out from there. The sweater blazer buttons at the natural waist as well, so it was just a great day for that waist. I wanted to mix prints and to do an unexpected color scheme (red, white, peachy-pink, and black), because trying to match would be impossible and the mix is what makes the outfit look modern. Matching makes outfits look more retro/vintage.
Since Wednesday’s outfit was all about trying to make the mix look modern, I want Thursday’s outfit to look vintage, but with modern clothes. The only vintage element is the necklace. My grandma gave it to me and I think it’s the coolest thing. Very graphic and sleek and modern.
If you want a vintage look, but don’t feel confident hunting down vintage pieces from thrift and antique stores, you can still achieve a vintage look that doesn’t look like a costume. Look for dresses that fit on the top, flare out at the bottom. Look for fitted jackets. Look for unique prints or interesting details. The main thing to keep in mind if you want a vintage feel is to go for pieces that look ladylike. Not necessarily super fancy or cutesy, but the clothes need to make you feel like a woman. Bows and lace and frills may make you feel girly, but a great fit will make you feel womanly, and that’s more important.
Friday: Tan Coat
This wool coat is beautiful in its simplicity. The lines are good, the wool looks pristine, and the neutral color will never go out of style. It is a little bit loose, but that allows me to layer sweaters under it, so I’m up for that.
My favorite part of this outfit was the mix of neutrals in the sweater and the coat. They don’t match, but they go together really well. The outfit is comprised of basics, but basics with personality and great fit.
Turns out, I really love vintage. I’m going to keep my eyes open for vintage pieces that mix with the rest of my clothes and add that little extra zing to an outfit. Raid your grandma’s closet. Look in thrift stores. Hunt around. There are beautiful treasures to find!