As you know All Vintaged Up is all about helping women to #CHOOSEVINTAGE. It is something that I feel so passionately about. Vintage is such a great choice to make for so many reasons, one reason I would like to talk about in this blog is using vintage clothing to create your own individual and unique style. I wanted to write a personal blog to share with you how my own style has developed and how this has reinforced my passion for wanting other women to #CHOOSEVINTAGE.
Firstly, I have to admit that it is only very recently that I can actually say I am happy with my style and my wardrobe, well better late than never I suppose. My own unique style is something I have always tried to achieve, but not very successfully in the past. Looking back through photos I cringe at some of the outfits I wore! What was I thinking? is usually what springs to mind.
In the last few years I have taken much more interest in fashion and tried to learn how to buy clothes that actually suit me. A big change in the way I shopped came after I took part in a ‘Colours workshop’ which gave me a palette of colours that were suitable for my skin tone, hair and eye colour etc. This helped enormously with shopping trips as it focused my mind on a smaller selection of clothes and made me feel less daunted by the rails of clothes in front of me. I also attended some fashion workshops run by a personal stylist and friend who really helped with advice on the right styles for my body shape and height. So armed with this knowledge I had made a breakthrough but I was still not 100% happy with what I was wearing.
I have always had a strong interest in vintage and loved vintage clothing. I had visited lots of vintage shops in the past but never had the confidence to buy anything, I left thinking it wasn’t right for me and only a certain type of person could wear vintage. Instead I bought a lot of 1960s inspired/style modern dresses as the next best thing, as I just love 1960s fashion.
Then last year my friend invited me to her vintage themed hen do and I decided to go for it and try and find an authentic dress to adhere to the dress code of the occasion. By chance around the same time, I read an article in a local paper about a Reading based business called Alexandra Vintage winning the National Vintage Award for Best Online Vintage Shop – Fashion & Accessories. I had also seen the Alexandra Vintage studio on Dawn O’Porter’s Channel 4 series This Old Thing. So I booked a personal styling appointment with Alexandra in the hope of finding a dress and also meeting a fellow vintage business owner that I could chat to about my new business venture.
I can honestly say that my personal styling session with Alexandra was one of the best things I have ever done. Not only did I get a dress for the hen do and two other dresses, I learnt that I could wear vintage clothes and that they suited me! A revelation! Alexandra said that once you start collecting and wearing vintage clothes it becomes addictive and she was right! 19 dresses later (lots from Alexandra Vintage) and wanting more, I am definitely addicted.
Thanks to Alexandra and the magic she works in her styling sessions I now have the confidence to try things I never would have looked twice at, experiment with different eras, mix eras and integrate my vintage wardrobe with my modern clothes (of which they are now far less). I love going out in a dress that is totally unique and knowing that no one else will be wearing it. It’s also really cool to think that someone else wore it out years ago in a totally different era and created their own memories in the same dress.
Below are photos of the three dresses that I bought from Alexandra Vintage following my first styling session. The first is a 1950s St Michael (Marks & Spencer) tea dress. I never would have picked this out for myself, but once Alexandra showed me how it would look with a petticoat to make the skirt fuller and a belt to nip in the waist I was sold on it and wore it to the hen do. This year I will be wearing it to Henley Regatta in July. The 1960s flower power mini dress is now one of my favourite dresses in my wardrobe. I can wear it in the day with flip flops or in the evening with wedges and it looks great with a denim jacket. I had this dress altered to sit above my knees and a belt made out of the material taken off the bottom, so I have the option to wear with or without a belt. The third dress is a ‘Mr Douglas, My First Away’ 1960s smart shift dress. It has gorgeous faux pearl buttons and a pretty white lace edging. I wore this dress to a wedding and felt great in it.
Since my first personal styling session last year I have stayed a loyal Alexandra Vintage customer but also become a buyer for Alexandra Vintage. Initially buying accessories and jewellery to sell through the Alexandra Vintage website and more recently I have expanded into clothing. As part of my role I regularly meet up with Alexandra at the studio to deliver items that are listed for click and collect etc. This is one of the best parts of the role for me as I get to see all the new stock that has arrived from other buyers and of course I cannot resist trying some of it on, it would be rude not to, right?!
Below are some photos from one of my recent visits, of me getting ‘all vintaged up’! Each outfit was expertly styled by the talented Alexandra. I ended up buying the beautiful 1970s 50s-style pheasant skirt which looks great with or without a petticoat, very versatile. I then needed the 1980s chunky St Michael belt as it goes so well with the skirt. I also bought the 1960s denim apron dress (now I feel like I am confessing all at a vintage addicts meeting!) It does go with a lighter colour denim jacket too I think, although many frown on the double denim look, I like this one. Moving on to the yellow towelling beach dress, well I had that too. That is where this spending spree ended as I thought I had better leave some stock for other customers. However, I was tempted by the 1960s smock style mini dress that would make a perfect festival dress, the green and peach striped playsuit and the amazing 1970s outfit (last photo).
So that’s my personal vintage styling story shared with you all. I hope it has inspired you to think about your own style and consider booking a personal styling session to get some expert advice to help you to #CHOOSEVINTAGE.