Retro online stores
Lots of fashion enthusiasts turn to retro online stores for their fashion fix. They are a good idea. Because trends come around, go around. This is what your granny says and it is true. She will see you wearing a crochet hat and say, I used to wear one like that in the 1970s. And you should say, granny, give me your hat from the 1970s. I need it more than you. And she will say no. Because it was knocked from my head in the Greenham riots and I never got it back. And you will say oh. But in any case she will feel sorry and knit you a replica. That’s what family is for.
Knitting the hat
Crochet was popular in the 1970s, and you could crochet just about anything. Crochet bikinis were possible, and bibs. Little crochet dresses were so cute. Crochet is not hard. Mostly it is used nowadays for blankets. You could crochet blankets for horses or for the local greyhound rescue team. Greyhounds get cold so it is nice to wrap them in blankets. But they don’t care about the colour. So you can use up old oddments of yarn or something you find in a charity shop. It doesn’t matter. A lot of people find crochet soothing. Lace-making is like a more complicated version of crochet that is also a way to lose yourself. And you could try tatting, thumb knitting, or using string of different widths and materials. Incorporate beads.
Crochet a collar
A trend that has been massive is the delicate collar. They are detachable and you can wear them on top of a plain black dress. This is actually a traditional way of doing collars so that they can be washed. Try a crocheted or embroidered collar. Lace collars used to cost thousands of pounds. This is before machines could make lace, so it was all done by hand. There was a huge amount of skill involved. Lace collars were popular in Victorian times right up until he 1970s, after which craft and handiwork was eschewed in favour of machine-made items. Now it is coming back in as people cherish things made by hands.
Knit socks too
Some things that are small but complicated are socks and gloves. You need very slim, double ended needles to make these. They come in sets of four or five. Search retro online stores to see if they have some sets. It is not difficult to find beautiful ones. Recently I discovered self patterning yarn. This is wool that has been dyed in a way that as it is knitted it comes out in stripes. Sometimes in checks or other patterns. It is hugely effective and an easy way to knit an impressive looking sock. If you want to, you can finish your sock with tassels or embroidery.
Gloves are for giving
Gloves are the same, you need to consider what colour you want and then get some fine wool to knit it in. Some people are slow knitters, and some just get faster and faster. I am one of the slow ones. I do one glove and then that’s it. I lose my place on the pattern, or miscount. Or I just get bored. I like to find patterns and then get other, better knitters to do it for me. Sometimes I will buy the yarn though.
Some of the shapes in clothes are really easy to make at home. You can buy patterns online to download. Look in an online retro shop to see if they have vintage patterns. There are a surprising amount still around. Sometimes the paper patterns have been used, sometimes not. But it is interesting to see how the style of pattern changes. A dress historian could tell you more. But things like font and design also look different, as well as the garment itself. People used to buy patterns for a dressmaker to make. They didn’t always make them themselves. They would pick the fabric and the colour and someone else would make it up. It wasn’t expensive as it is now.
Now it is just much easier to get a ready-made item. It won’t fit you as well. But it will be cheaper. If you are worried about waste you could try a retro online store for copies. This is one way to be environmentally conscious. Plus you are very likely to find something that no-one else has. If you don’t want to get things nobody else has worn before, it’s no problem. Some retro online stores sell dead stock, which is things that nobody ever bought or wore. they just stayed in storage all this time. Some dead stock to so sweet, still in its original packaging. You will find hair clips on the original card, or stockings still in packets. Smaller items like this tend to have lasted longest.
To see how to combine these vintage things, have a look at magazines from the era. They will show you original styling. Of course, then as now the styling might be a bit outré. Some fashion magazines how clothes only a model could wear, and that would look strange on an average man or woman. But it gives an overall picture. If you’re looking for magazines like this, some retro online stores have them. Depending on the quality, they can be different prices. Or some websites offer scans.
Another way to view original magazines is to visit specialist art libraries. There are places where you can see the periodicals of the time and make copies. Or if you are not allowed to take photographs or photocopies you can study them and see for yourself. You can copy out the text by hand. There is a library like this in London. It is worth visiting for any fashion fan. You will get new tips and the way they are written is amusing and unusual.