Hi there friends! I was a little horrified when I saw that my last post had been in October – where on earth has the time gone?? That seems to have been a theme for me for sure this year; life is pretty great right now but continually getting busier in a trend that doesn’t seem like letting up any time soon! But for now, I’ve managed to come through the end of year uni/exam vortex and finally enjoying my hard-earned break. I’ve been making the most of them so far, and sewing up a storm of projects that I can’t wait to share with you all, but I have something a little different to share with you all today (and it’s not just my hair)!
This time of year certainly lends itself to reflection, and I’ve certainly been thinking about the past year a lot recently! I’ve also really enjoyed reading Erin’s posts on her personal style search over the last couple of months, and thought I’d share a bit about my own style journey this year! I’m pretty comfortable and confident in my personal style now, and am very settled in my retro and vintage ways – but that doesn’t mean that my style is no longer evolving! There are always new preferences to discover, and so many new styles and ideas to try, that I doubt anyone ever really finishes perfecting their personal style. I know for myself, I’ve recently become more adventurous with doing my hair in pin-up styles (and even temporarily dyed it pink!), and choosing to dress in a more overtly retro style on a day to day basis.
Dressing vintage style on the daily can be very daunting to even the most passionate lover of retro designs; so I often I see in blog comments, forums and Facebook groups people repeating their fears of looking “too dressed up”, “costume-y” or standing too far out from the crowd. So what I thought I’d write about today is some tips for dressing retro in a more casual, easy-to-wear way – given that this is something I feel I have only started to get the hang of more recently, I hope it will coax some more vintage devotees to embrace their preferred style on a daily basis!
My number one tip for a more casual but vintage vibe is, separates! While gorgeous swing dresses and petticoats are often the most beloved and obvious look that springs to mind when one thinks “vintage”, it’s not one that lends itself often to daily wear. But a stylish vintage look is easily achieved with a few practical and stylish separates which are well-suited to almost any every-day activity, from a casual shopping trip to the workplace. I’m still slowly working on building up my own collection of retro separates, so to give you some inspiration on how to style them, I took a trip to Christine’s in Brunswick Street for a bit of a day. Christine’s is an absolute delight for any retro-loving lady; and as the Aussie stockist of beloved repro brand Vivien of Holloway, it’s a favourite of those of us Down Under. I’ve recently started doing some promotional work and modelling with the shop, and Christine herself was lovely enough to help my pick outfits and play photographer on this occasion 🙂
The real secret of styling vintage separates is that it’s scarcely any different from styling more modern casual wear! It’s all about discovering what cuts and fits suit you and make you feel good, and then trying different combinations to see what goes well together. For example, take this top and shorts combo – two items of clothing present in almost anyone’s wardrobe, but the high-waisted fit of the shorts and the halter-neck straps of the top give them a delightful classic charm, but one that is still casual and comfortably suited to beach trips or summer barbecues 🙂
It’s much the same deal with jeans: an undeniable staple of the modern wardrobe, but simply by choosing the right style (in this case, high-waisted and with a side-zip instead of a front fly), your casual outfit retains the classic 50s hourglass silhouette without looking like you’re on your way to a fancy dress party! And the same can be said of pretty much any pants – pick a pair that sit on your natural waist (like the capris below!), and you’ll nail the retro look easily. Modern trends can easily be incorporated into vintage-inspired outfits too – off-the-shoulder tops and dresses are very on trend right now, as well as being a very classic look – you can easily have the best of both worlds 😛
Circle skirts are often a favourite with retro enthusiasts (certainly with this one!!), largely for their twirly-ness and the wonderfull poofiness they get when worn with a petticoat. Even just by wearing a circle skirt and separate top you can get a much more casual look that wearing a swing dress – but if you’re worried about looking like “too much” some days, just forgo the petticoat and you’ll still get a lovely, but much more casual look (thought it should be said that I am always and at all times an advocate of petticoats).
Wearing vintage style outfits to work can be the biggest challenge to many – no one wants to look over-the-top or inappropriately dressed when in a professional capacity. This has definitely been a factor for my outfit choices at placement this year; it’s especially important for health care professionals to make sure they’re attired appropriately for both practical reasons and for the comfort of their patients (there’s a reason why I waited for the holidays to turn my hair pink…). But separates are again here to save the day! Wardrobe choices obviously depend greatly on your work and what is comfortable for you, but it’s hard to go wrong with classic choices like trousers or pencil skirts paired with a nice top or blouse. Again, simply by choosing a high-waisted cut and other vintage details like a feature collar or neckline, you’ve got an outfit which is both work-appropriate AND an expression of your personal style 🙂
Well, I hope that was helpful for anyone who’s been wanting to embrace a vintage style but been anxious about dipping more than a toe in! And I think you can easily apply these principles to many other styles too – find versatile separates in your preferred style and mix-and-match until you find what works for you 🙂
And of course, another big thanks to Christine and her lovely shop for her help with this post! Whether you’re a do-or-die retro gal or just looking for a cute vintage-style piece or two for your wardrobe, I’d definitely recommend paying a visit. I would never recommend a brand I didn’t love, but I can do so confidently in this case: as someone who makes the majority of her own clothes, I can vouch for the quality of these garments (and the fact that they’re all made in the UK!). And for those of you in Australia but not in Melbourne, check out the online store here! If you’re a fan of Vivien of Holloway who lives Down Under but you’ve not discovered Christine’s yet, this going to be life-changing – you can now shop the brand you love with free shipping and easy returns, and even try on things in store! 😀
Christine has also been kind enough to provide me with a discount for my readers – use code word PINK for 20% off in-store!
It’s so nice to be back blogging! I look forward to writing again soon with some of my latest me-made projects 🙂
Until next time,
Miss Maddy xx
Disclaimer: I do promotional modelling work for Christine’s and I got to take home one of these fabulous outfits with me after my dress-up day, but there are no affiliate links in this post and all opinions expressed here are my own 🙂