Falling in love with vintage blogs and vintage outfits
Reading vintage blogs is a joy, source for inspirations, an opportunity to marvel at bygone fashions. We will never go back to the time when you could walk down the street and every woman would be neatly hatted, wearing gloves and high heels. These days if you saw that you’d think that a wedding was happening round the corner.
But glance at a vintage blog post and you can bury yourself in that world again for a while. And maybe if you are going to that wedding or special event, a chance to pick fabulous dresses or a style that looks great on you.You will get ideas about which vintage dress to pick.
How can vintage blogs spark inspiration?
Perhaps you came to vintage blogs through a love of music. Seeing your favourite performers all dressed up and watching their videos, you thought about how much you loved Etta James’s dress, or how great Diana Ross looked performing. Perhaps you wanted a sharp suit like Grace Jones, or you fancied yourself a New Romantic, a la Adam Ant.
Others come from watching old films. Perhaps vintage clothes take you back to a black and white age, an age of glamour, where women reclined in long dresses or always looked sharp in tailored suits. If a blog posted about femmes fatales and you love a vamp, you could probably spend long hours reading all about them.
How could you wear vintage?
And some vintage trends are more wearable than others. Claudette Colbert looked ridiculously chic in “It Happened one Night” which was made in 1934 – her chevron patterned top, little white blouse collar and sleek dark skirt wouldn’t be blinked at today. But the dress which Joan Crawford wore for “Letty Lynton” in 1932, which at the time sold hundreds of copies and was really very popular, well, you just couldn’t wear that today.
Even if you were to wear it to a vintage event, the massive shoulders, the layers of frills and foll de rolls look like a wedding dress gone mad. Nobody could pull that off. Far chicer are the goddess gowns that stars like Carole Lombard rocked – slinky satin gowns that moulded to the figure. Yes, you need some chutzpah for the job but these gowns are seriously stunning, and will transform you into the most gawped at woman in the room, for all the right reasons.
What about the images?
A blog that posts vintage photos is to be treasured. A picture paints a thousand words, they say, and when you can peer yourself at the way a dress falls or the exact angle of the hair combs that go with it, you will learn what you need. Of course, that explanation also helps. The background about a trend or fashion will tell you why the dress looked that way. It can tell you about the creativity of those who created it, the character of the one that wore it. It can tell you about the social and political situation at the time it was worn.
Vintage blogs are great because they can point all of this out. Just make you stop and think for a while. Or, if you don’t want to think too hard, daydream instead. And if you’re interested, blogging vintage could be a path for you. The good thing about blogging is that it’s free to start. You can write about your passions, your area of expertise, or your own vintage wardrobe. Just start with what moves you.
What and when?
Discover your own niche. Your posts can start in january move on to february and october – that is january 2016 or january 2014 whenever you like.
Interior vintage blogs
And it’s not just clothes that vintage blogs are about. Have you seen vintage interior blogs, all about homes and how to make them look chic, too? In a time before Ikea, things were different. It’s not that things were necessarily better or better made “in the old days”, but depending how far back you go you’ll find more wood, more solidity. I personally like wood and solidity, but back in the mid-century people were throwing out what they thought of as that heavy, dark old Victorian stuff and often replacing it with cleaner, modern items, in plastic, aluminum tubing and chipboard.
A company called G Plan was all the rage. People just really wanted something different to what had gone before – now Victorian furniture and G Plan are both considered antique or vintage and a whole blog style built up around them.
Recreate vintage homes
Fans try hard to recreate vintage homes, either using exactly the materials and objects of the time or copies. They research the colours that were popular and the prints. Sometimes you can source vintage, unused fabrics. They are them made up into curtains and soft furnishings. Or, many companies make facsimiles. Modern copies of old instructional charts are popular too. Sometimes educational charts of sea life or different animals look good framed. Other times it could be old botanical or even anatomical charts. Vintage drawing from different eras, especially commercial illustrations, have a certain style to them that you can recognize. You can usually tell an Edwardian print from one from the 1950s, as the lines grow simplified later on.
Vintage fashion illustrations
Fashion illustration is also a very popular topic for vintage blogs subjects. Some fashion illustrators have become famous and collectible. But even the unknowns have a certain charm. Look for old magazine covers. Perhaps you’d like a collection of old Vogue covers on your wall? Or a print from inside. Some very old prints are called pochoir prints, and they were so well made they are like artist’s prints. If you can get hold of some of those you will be very lucky indeed. The colours are bright and vibrant. They are very pretty and seductive. But they are rare.
However, other types of print are not so rare and still charming. If you don’t want to cut things out of a magazine you can always scan the image and get a high quality print of it.
While we are talking about images, what else? And then there’s fashion photography, of course. Big London galleries are dedicated to just fashion photography, where glamorous images evoke bygone days. And while you might not be able to get an original silver gelatine print (or maybe you can) you can get a magazine featuring the image. Or, you can look for images on vintage blogs, that’s what they’re there for. Pinterest is also an excellent source for these images. It’s a lot cheaper than art books… Although there’s something wonderful about balancing a heavy art book on your knee or spreading it out on the floor and gazing, wholly consumed, at the images.
Reproductions in vintage blogs
Some fashion bloggers are very good at re-interpreting things in their collections. They take their 1940s trousers and make a pattern from them, then they sell that pattern online to people who are enthusiastic about that style.
The patterns are not necessarily accurate though. Because trouser styles have changed so much in the years, the style that looked good in 1942 might just look strange now. The fashion blogger changes it subtly to look more modern. They might make the legs less tapered, the bottom more fitted, the waist lower or the crotch higher. The whole effect is still noticeably 1940s even though the details have changed.
You see this in 1960s clothes too. From films set in the 1960s, you get an idea of 1960s fashion, of the shift dresses and the miniskirts. But when you look at actual examples, mini skirts are never so short as you would think, knickers are so much bigger, and the fabric is quite stiff usually. So a reproduction of a 1960s dress is more appealing to some people than the dress itself.
What is appealing?
It’s all down to personal taste. It’s like asking what kind of book is the best book – there’s all sorts. What many love, some may not like, and your taste might also change. One moment it could be about writing, and later on you might prefer pictures.
People look for different things in vintage blogs, and you’ll soon settle on your favourite few. Blogs that appeal to you the most. Maybe because of the writing, maybe because of the images. A post might catch your eye because of the way it styles vintage clothes, perhaps putting them in a strictly vintage context, or updating a piece for the contemporary world. A blog might start to seem interesting because of the viewpoint of the writer. Or perhaps the site itself is interesting to you and you like the blogs as an offshoot.
Chasing down seductive writing
Sometimes the writing itself is enticing. There are some blog post writers who are very poetic. They have a certain turn of phrase that does wonders for the material. Many people who have started as bloggers have gone on to become novelists, and it’s not hard to see why. They practice and practice over thousands of words. And in fashion blogging, their research leads them to become immersed in a time and place far away. They can start to wonder about that time and place, not just the present. Perhaps they’d like to set a book there.
Or perhaps they use their knowledge to become fashion historians, or fashion designers, illustrators or photographers.
How do you find vintage blogs?
Ask your vintage friends for a recommendation. Join vintage fashion groups. Get obsessed with a certain actor and her style, and in googling her, discover an amazing new writer. You will find the best fashion blogs when you start looking.
Set up a subscription
A good idea is to subscribe to blogs you like the most, and then they will send you notifications when new vintage posts are uploaded. Some blogs post weekly, or monthly – at other times blog posted irregularly. Sometimes it is nice to check back to see if there’s a new one, or at others, a reminder comes in handy.
Using ideas for styling vintage clothing from retro and vintage blogs
When it comes to inspiration for your retro wardrobe, turning to your favourite vintage blogs can provide you expert guidance and practical ideas on styling your period wardrobe.
Vintage blogs are a great resource to consult when looking for style ideas for retro and period clothing.
Whether you are a retro clothing connoisseur, or whether you just enjoy wearing period pieces for special occasions, vintage blogs are a great place to turn to for inspiration. However, when it comes to embracing vintage styles today, you need to exercise just a little extra caution to ensure that it doesn’t appear as though you are dressed in a costume!
Of course if it inspires you and makes you feel fulfilled, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with putting on a costume. But most writers that are blogging vintage recommendations today, aim to offer advice on how to pull off that “non costume-like” look.
Vintage blogs Ideas and inspiration
Vintage blogs can truly inspire you down a path of beauty and practicality, when trying to create personalised vintage styles. The idea behind reading and following a blog is that you don’t need to take all that’s recommended literally. In fact, the beauty of many a retro post is that you can use those ideas as starting points, and then embellish and interject them with anything else that inspires your fashion senses.
When it comes to creating that genuine period look of the day, here are a few gorgeous suggestions that many vintage blogs recommend:
- Be current-like in your picks: When it comes to vintage styles, “current” is often the new “old”. Many retro designers and stylists take inspiration from dresses and accessories that were once popular during the 1920s, 30s and 50s. They simply apply fabrics of the times, and styles of the day to give these garments a more contemporary face lift.
If you follow popular vintage blogs, then finding a garment just like that shouldn’t be difficult. Firstly, it will flow nicely with other popular modern vintage styles; but it will also help to give you that “non-costume” look which you should aim for.
Makeup and hair styling
- Makeup and hair styling is key: Unless you are a die-hard vintage buff, chances are that in all likelihood your hairdo and makeup is already pretty contemporary. Once again, there’s nothing wrong with sporting a post 1950’s hair style while wearing vintage dresses or accessories. However, if it’s a genuine period look that you are aiming for, nothing inspires you like simplicity. Some attention to the top can add grace and beauty to your retro.
Most vintage blogs will tell you that, when it came to styling their hair, ladies of those times took a rather simplistic approach. A subtle smoky-eyed application, paired with simple black Edwardian skirts or dresses and white blouse, is a great way to quickly get the period look that you desire.
Experts that are blogging vintage recommendations also suggest a ballerina style bun at the top, and pairing that with dresses or skirts from the 1940s and 50s…or even vintage 80’s for that matter, to create authentic vintage styles that don’t necessarily give you that “costume look”.
You may also love going with a modern loose and wavy look, with an application of natural makeup; and pair that with a 1950s vintage style sundress to give you a gorgeous look from the past!
- Accessorise for today: Most vintage blogs will agree that styling your getup with the appropriate accessories is a vital part of pulling off the period look. However, while shopping at specialist shops for such accessories may lead you to success, finding accessories to match modern vintage styles may be a bit challenging.
You could opt for a canvas bag or an Edwardian sun umbrella – but in times like today, are those accessories really practical? Instead, pair your otherwise toned-down dresses with modern bags, sunglasses or leather shoes, to give you that non-costume look.
Popular vintage blogs also recommend that, when it comes to accessorising, you be color-conscious when pairing beauty with practicality; making sure your accessories and garments are synchronised. Some ideas may include choosing an accessory that has a splash of the same color as your dress or skirt.
- More on accessories: While modern accessories of the day can accentuate your wardrobe, vintage blogs sometimes suggest two strategies to picking what inspires you the most.
The “Vintage Basics- Modern Accessories” strategy suggests that your styling approach centre around mixing basic vintage pieces in your wardrobe, and then drizzling then with a few modern day accessories to give you a gorgeous non-costume-like look. Accessorise with pieces like statement clutch purses or platform sandals that add beauty and practicality to the entire ensemble.
A flip version to that look is the “Modern Accessories-Vintage Basics” approach. Experts, blogging vintage recommendations with this strategy, suggest a combo of modern and back to the basics. Popular blog ideas include taking plain white shirt dresses, for instance, and pairing them with retro floral handbags, round tortoise sunglasses or even a pair of gorgeous lime green pumps.
- Mixing periods: Something that inspires many writers of vintage blogs is how pieces from various eras can be pulled together to create wardrobe ideas that will stun and amaze onlookers.
The beauty of 1970s textiles, combined with 1960’s retro designs and patterns, capped with 1930s era accessories like purses and belts, and rounded off with footwear of the times, can end up giving you that seamless vintage-contemporary look that feels its made-to-order, and not something out of a costume pack!
- Bringing focus: Writers who are blogging vintage subjects sometimes recommend creating stunning vintage styles by making specific period pieces as the focal point of your getup.
The strategy here is that, you take something like eye-catching red boho dresses with multi-colour prints, and make them the centre of your retro ensemble. Then, add some simple basic pieces to compliment the dress. Choose simple pieces of silver or gold jewellery, a statement necklace, or go with modern wedge shoes – perhaps something in black that inspires you – to tone down the look just a bit. Rounding that look with a gorgeous patent leather belt will take focus away from the dress, while highlighting your figure.
Most vintage blogs recommend that, to pull off the focal-point look, you combine beauty and practicality in equal measure. Many post writers suggest going for a 50:50 approach. So, for example, if its period dresses that you want to wear, then perhaps pairing them with a set of modern high-heel shoes might provide the balanced look that experts recommend.
Alternately, if you love a neat looking 1960s blouse, then rather than choosing another vintage piece to compliment it, try some pants of the times – something sleek and modern. Or you may find something else at contemporary fashion shops that may inspire you – like a modern-cut skirt that goes well with your retro blouse.
Don’t blow your budget
Vintage blogs are full of cost-saving tips too!
While beauty and practicality are a must in order to pull off that genuine non-costume-like look, the combination of the two doesn’t necessarily have to be a costly affair.
There are scores of shops where you can buy period pieces for your wardrobe. If you shop at specialist stores, and you find something that truly inspires you, perhaps you can afford to splurge just a pit and buy it. However, browse through online vintage blogs to find some great tips to help you save money by stretching that piece of splurge-buy!
For example, to compensate for your splurge-purchase, you can create any number of vintage styles around it by pairing that one piece with several inexpensive accessories or complementary pieces. Pricey dresses can be worn in multiple combinations, using less costly jewellery, modern footwear or head-gear like sunhats or glasses.
A fab find from local thrift shops, like that genuine 1970s style pair of jeans, can be paired with any combination of relatively inexpensive contemporary tops or blouses; and accented with gorgeous, but less pricey statement necklaces.
If you follow vintage blogs regularly, you’re bound to get any number of such ideas on how to take a single, somewhat costly vintage piece, turn it into a thing of beauty by creating multiple ensembles from it.
Similarly, if you have an expensive contemporary piece in your wardrobe, vintage blogs are filled with ideas on how you can use that piece with period accessories to create inexpensive, yet very practical getups.
A costly contemporary blouse, for instance, can be paired with an inexpensive gorgeous retro scarf, and a modern skirt. When styling scarves to match modern day wardrobe pieces however, think 50s style polka dots, or paisley or floral prints that will go with most plain blouses or skirts.
Look for vintage blogs to get inspiration on head wear too, to help you save money while aiming for that genuine retro look. In the event that something slightly costly catches your eyes at one of the specialty period shops, go for it!
You can save money by mixing and matching, and wearing it on several occasions with other less costly headwear from your wardrobe – like a less costly but equally gorgeous fedora paired with a slightly costly boho. And if you pair that boho with another hat, say a 70’s style panama, you can create variations of vintage styles around a single, slightly expensive piece, without blowing your budget.
Even more savings!
You may find some vintage blogs that specialise in vintage-like wardrobe tips and recommendations. These are great for people who want to embrace vintage styles without actually wanting to own the “real thing”. And why wouldn’t you want your period styling to comprise of authentic period pieces?
Well, there’s the cost, of course! But at times, you’ll also meet people that don’t like to use second-hand wardrobe pieces. Perhaps they may associate them with wearing clothes from a diseased person; or the timeless “scent” of dresses and blouses previously worn by someone else might make them feel uncomfortable.
Well, if the contemporary is what inspires you, then you can still pull off that non-costume vintage look by including relatively inexpensive modern garments with vintage-like features.
Think Checkers, Floral patterns, Lace, Flap, Pleats and Ruffles, Polkadots, Leopard prints, Ribbons and Bows, flared top sleeves, skirts and pants. These were hallmarks of vintage styles sported during the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s, and some of them even influenced styling ideas of the 1970s and 1980s. Even modern day designers are using some of these elements to produce wardrobe pieces seen on catwalks across the world today.
Many vintage blogs will show you how you can combine these period elements with contemporary pants, skirts, blouses and shirts, to produce vintage styles that are made up predominantly from non-vintage wardrobe pieces. At the end of the day, you’ll not only save money by following this strategy, but your ensemble will have beauty and practicality, and won’t have that “costumey” look either!
Personalise and experiment with vintage blogs
If you review any number of vintage blogs online, you’re sure to come across many other gorgeous suggestions and ideas that you can experiment with. The fundamental thought process is: If it makes you feel good, and if you are comfortable that you can pull it off – then go for it!
Trial and error is also vital to personalising vintage styles that are just right for you. If at first you don’t succeed – try again. Perhaps that retro pencil skirt that you thought would go well with your modern-day blouse isn’t working – so what! Save it for next year, when you may get an appropriate pairing top, and try something else.