Let’s talk about personal style. I mainly wear vintage dresses and accessories, but I tend to incorporate multiple eras into my look. I have no problem wearing 2014 hair with a 1960s dress and my everyday 1950s eyeglasses. My style is much more about color and pattern matching, and I tend to wear what makes me feel good as opposed to being into the period authenticity of the look. I admire and respect people who put the time and energy into perfecting that VLV pin-up perfect vintage style. Learning how to style the hair and makeup is not easy – when ladies would say they couldn’t go out because they had to wash their hair, they meant it. Washing and setting a classic 1940s or 1950s hairstyle is something that can take quite a bit of time and attention, even if you’re in the habit of doing it. The next time you look at an old yearbook, think about all the hours those young ladies spent setting their hair! So in my day to day life, I am much more casual. I don’t usually wear makeup, and you’ll always find me in flats.
Yesterday, I tried to clean out my closet. I’m still working on it. Do you know those faux nut containers that are full of spring snakes? I dislodged a wide brim hat and the whole top shelf jumped out at me. There are so many goodies in the world, but never enough space! Many of the items I own I really do tend to view as collectables, and I don’t usually wear them. But standing there looking at all the hats, shoes, scarves, stockings, and petticoats that had fallen down around me I decided that instead of putting them away, I should just put them on.
So following a quick wash and set and some hasty makeup, here’s my best vintage look made up of favorites from my collection. The green velvet hat with feathers I got from my friend Becky – it was her mother-in-law’s. Perfect. The glasses are my regular pair – aluminum Art Craft frames. The dress is a handmade cotton with a great novelty pattern featuring Buddhas. I love wild patterns and extravagant necklines – this one has a big sassy bow. I have another dress in a different cut made of the same fabric in a different shade, also handmade, though by someone else. Amazing. The shoes are a pair of 1940s Arthur Murray dancing shoes – size 10! I bought these from a woman who had lost her mother, the original owner of the shoes. She sent me a handwritten letter telling me of the fun her mother had wearing them dancing, and asking me to take care of them. They’re very special to me, I love hearing about people’s personal connections to particular items. They’re beautiful shoes!
I rarely dress up, but when I do it is always a pleasure to take off the heels, wash off the makeup, and become myself again. I’m much more comfortable. But it was an important reminder to appreciate the things we do have in our collections – I really have to wear more of these hats! I’m going to go finish cleaning my closet, and rotate my wardrobe while I’m at it. Here’s to enjoying what we have, wearing what we love, and occasionally taking the time to set our hair.