15 Feb 2020

Wearing (Modern) Vintage: Tips and Tricks

With an amount of vintage clothes that inhabit my closet growing larger, I decided to talk about my passion that I've been kindling for years. Here are some tips and tricks on how to curate your wardrobe with clothes that are (or look like they are) from another decade or even a century. 




My style is always changing and one day I can look like this and the next one you'll meet me in the street looking like this. Basically, the way I dress usually depends on my mood and if I feel like slaying monsters in the Continent of The Witcher 3, sure you wouldn't see me in a dress. However, for quite some years I've been silently admiring people who dress in vintage clothes and gathering the courage myself (I guess that my work at the archives also has something to do with it). Last year I discovered that there are some amazing youtubers, bloggers, creators (e.g. Rachel Maksy, Karolina Żebrowska, Bernadette Banner, or the one and only Zack Pinsent) who share their stories, talk about fashion history, and educate on how to dress vintage, even with modern clothing. Naturally, more and more often I've found myself stepping over the threshold of the second-hand stores to look for vintage clothing or going to the stores to look for modern equivalents. I am a real newbie in this kind of thing, but since I am eager to learn more, I decided to write down some of the steps that helped me in this particular quest so far.


Tip No. 1 - Visualize What You Like


Be it endless scrolling of Pinterest, reading magazines, or visiting galleries and museums, first of all you should narrow down your aesthetic inspirations. At least, that's what I did. Feel like that skirt is the most beautiful thing you have ever lied your eyes upon? Pin it. That blouse is just divine? Cut its picture out and glue in your bullet journal. Those shoes are to die for? Take a picture of them. Later comes the research part, when all that stylistic mishmash can be classified into the centuries and decades, just to see where your affections lie. For example, I am mostly interested in clothing from the late Victorian era, early 1900s and 1935-1945, so I've been looking into them more, trying to grasp what those particular styles consisted of. It's always rewarding to go to museums and exhibitions that are related with fashion. If you're lucky with the guide, you might hear some interesting stories and facts! This week I went to an exhibition "Aristocracy at the Helm of Fashion: 18th–21st Century" from the collection of Alexandre Vassiliev at Museum of Applied Arts and Design, where I took some pictures of clothes that caught my attention with their general design or particular details.









Tip No. 2 - Thrift Shops Are Your Friends



When you narrow down your favorite periods and decades, it's time to go to hunt for some clothes. As I have mentioned before, second-hand stores are the first place where to look for vintage clothing. Sure, it's a miracle to find there something older than from the 1970s, but there are lots of clothes that are similar to the decades that you might be interested in. This can help you to experiment with your style, add that vintage vibe to your current wardrobe. It's not necessary to jump straight to dressing in vintage clothes from head to toe, sometimes one piece of clothing is just enough to create your look.


Tip No. 3 - Be Attentive in Modern Stores



Sometimes there are real gems in the collections of Reserved, Zara, Lindex, H&M, Promod or other (fast) fashion brands. Although I am cautious and conscious about buying from these stores because of how they produce clothes, there is no misdemeanour in buying a clothing piece that you are going to wear for years to come. Sometimes it's the right shape and colour, or just the general feeling that the item will perfectly suit something that you already own. 



Tip/Trick No. 4 - Mix & Match



This is what I usually do. Most of my inspiration comes from Rachel Maksy's videos, where she shares her tricks on how to mix modern and vintage clothing. As I mentioned before, sometimes just one item, or some elements are enough to create this retro look. For example, in the picture above I have curled my hair, constructed a turban out of a vintage silk scarf, did my makeup, and chose a modern blouse and a skirt (which is, sadly, out of the picture) that were pretty clearly inspired by 1930s-1940s fashion and off I went. 


Tip No. 5 - Indulge Yourself in Various Activities



And by this tip I mean that if there's a chance to participate in an event that has something to do with the history, traditions and what-not of the fashion periods you like, engage in it. This week I have attended an event by a private house theater, that was dedicated to the XIXth century's traditions of St. Valentine's Day, where we drank tea and hot chocolate, made some cards for our Valentines, as well as listened to poetry and historical facts on this particular celebration. It's a splendid occasion to escape from everyday life and lift one's spirits. 



I am constantly thinking that now is the best time to live, since you can dress the way you like and nobody will bat an eye (well, most of the times). As my work colleagues say, it's nice and comfortable to wear jeans and sweaters, but sometimes you just need a little celebration in your life and dressing up, even a tiny bit, just might do the trick. 


Have the most wonderful discoveries!




Photos © aesthastic

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