Sunday, October 2, 2011

Slow Fashion: A Working Vintage Wardrobe

It's October, and that means the thrift shops that don't usually have older vintage clothing will pull iconic pieces out of their storage and hang them for sale in their costume section. I can see why - sometimes older clothes can look very costumey - but styled with modern pieces, or even vintage pieces from other eras, they look chic instead. Older pieces also usually have the advantage of having been carefully constructed by skilled seamstresses in unionized North American workshops from high-quality materials.

I'm starting to build a respectable wardrobe of basic vintage pieces to mix with my modern clothing. So far for accessories, I have a great navy blue '50s frame bag, a porkpie hat and a wool felt beret, a solid collection of brightly-coloured '20s-to-'70s bakelite and lucite bangles, and some older necklaces and brooches that came my way from my mom and grandmothers. Most of my 'vintage' clothes are less authentic: a 90s-repro mod dress that looks fab with leggings, some sweet velvet or tweed blazers of indeterminate age, the 30s-style knit accordion pleat skirt and 40s-esque high-waisted trousers I bought at Winners this week. When I'm thrifting, I mostly shop for my kids (because I have them with me), so my daughter has a much more impressive collection than I do (with her 60s and 70s sundresses, embroidered Portuguese peasant blouse, full-circle square dancers' skirt trimmed with ricrac, and pink multilayer tulle petticoat). However, the other day I scored these two beauties:

...a Canadian-union-made Edwardian-style ruff-neck puffed-sleeve blouse that can be worn as intended, or back-to-front for an interesting keyhole effect, probably made in the 1970s; and a 1960s-or-70s-era full-length swiss dot slip. Both are super soft poly-cotton blends. I think I'll try to find a way to wear them to today's Tweed Ride. (Yes, it's hours away and I have no clue what I am wearing for it!) (Update: I ended up not wearing these because they're better suited to warm weather - I'll keep them in mind for the planned springtime Tweed seersucker social.)

To make all of these part of my working wardrobe, of course, I need to actually find ways to wear them for everyday, as well. Of course there's a whole world of vintage fashion blogs out there to explore for inspiration, and I'm just starting to dive into it. Here are a handful of resources I think I'll find pretty useful; the first few talk more about classic vintage shapes and how they were worn back-in-the-day, and most of the rest talk more about fitting them into a modern wardrobe. (I've updated this list as I've found more great information; newly added links are in italics.)

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