On Vintage & Other Musings

June 11, 2012
10 Tips On How To Wear Vintage For The Woman of A "Certain Age"

This past weekend I attended a dinner party where the hostess and one of her guests were both wearing gauze maxi skirts.  After commenting I didn't get the skirt memo (yes, me, nerd central with a lame joke)  I asked about the skirts.  My hostess' skirt was new and her guest was wearing a skirt she has had since the 70's.  I was truly impressed that the guest  had kept the skirt for over 30 years, that she still fit into it and that she felt confident enough to wear it to a party. Both women looked fantastic and it got me wondering why more women in their 50's don't wear vintage, their own or purchased.  I've decided it's a matter of not wanting to look old so I've come up with 10 tips (in no particular order) to help women of a "certain age" feel comfortable buying and wearing vintage.

Tip #1:  Wear what makes you feel good.
Actually this is true for any outfit, the key to confident dressing is to wear what makes you feel good about yourself.  If you like the way you look so will others. 

Tip #2:  Keep your hairstyle and makeup current.
80's hair with an 80's dress will just make you look dated.

Tip #3:  You don't have to be a purist.
Have a great 60's suit or 50's frock, pair them with contemporary accessories; shoes, handbags and jewelry. 

Tip #4:  Buy a girdle.
Sounds awful, but most vintage material does not have any give so a good girdle can keep you tucked in all the right places.

Tip #5:  Buy a vintage slip.
Not only are they pretty, many vintage dresses really require slips. Plus, should a seam burst or garment rip (vintage clothing is fragile) you have an extra layer of modesty protection.

Tip #6:  Know your measurements.
Sizing with vintage can be really confusing. If buying online most sellers recommend you measure a garment that fits you well and compare it to the vintage garment's measurements. It's always a good idea to factor in a few inches for wiggle room.  Don't be offended when your normal size 10 is considered a vintage "plus size".

Tip #7: Don't be afraid to have a garment altered.
Many vintage dresses were tailored for their original owners and seams can be taken in or let out. Hem dresses to a length that looks good on you. Just be sure alterations are handled by a knowledgeable tailor or seamstress.

Tip #8:  Stay away from decade defining trends.
Unless you are going to a costume party the 80's punk rock look might be a bit much.  Forgo the 50's poodle skirt for a more classic full circle skirt.

Tip #9:  Buy a vintage negligee.
Because they are beautiful and sure to make you feel young.

Tip #10:  Have fun with it!  For as I always say, "Vintage is a state of mind, buy old live young".

Speaking of having fun you might enjoy visiting this Etsy shop for some fantastic, all ages, vintage:

Did We Really Dress Like That?

Yes, we certainly did!
Hair and all
{photos from Burde Moden October 1986}

Bring Back the 80's

Having recently purchased my son his first adult blazer and tie {maize and blue of course} in anticipation of grad school and job interviews I got a kick out of  the former president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers,  comments on the Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame,

"One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o'clock, there are two possibilities.

"One is that they're looking for a job and have an interview; the other is that they are an [a--hole]. This was the latter case"
Boys, stop suing Facebook and fight for your right to dress Preppy.  Preps around the world unite! Pull out those vintage Brooks Brothers blazers and Lilly Pulitzer dresses, Father's old Rolex and Mother's heirloom ring! and wear them with pride any time of the day.

Brooks Brothers Blazer
{notice the maize & blue tie}
Newton Street Vintage on Etsy

Lilly Pulitzer Dress
Treasure Chest 01 on Etsy

Vintage Rolex Watch
Eternus Venustas on Etsy

Art Deco Diamond and Sapphire Ring
Patina Jewelry on Etsy

A Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Its been so hot this week I've been looking at the lovely 1960's vintage peach slip hanging on my closet door and pondering whether I could wear it as a dress.  Images of hot women {as in overheated} lying around in slips flooded my brain; Elizabeth Taylor in a Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Blanche DuBois in a Streetcar Named Desire (I must admit that Marlon Brando looks pretty hot {as in spectacular} in his sweaty tank) or the steamy women of Night Of The Iguana.  Is it any surprise that all characters were the creation of Tennessee Williams? 

Elizabeth Taylor
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Hot Slips on Etsy

Vintage 1960's Coral Slip
Stelma Designs 

Vintage Harpers Bazaar Advertisement
Paper Doll Girls

1960's Full Slip in Midnight Blue

1950's Vanity Fair Full Length Slip
DreFinds Vintage

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