In recent years it seems like we’ve been transported back to the middle of the 20th century in terms of style. Some call it the Mad Men effect; there’s no denying that the hit drama set in 1960s Manhattan has had a major influence on both clothing and interior design fashions. Whether women are wanting to emulate Joan Holloway and Betty Draper, or are subconsciously wishing to return to a period of economic prosperity (neatly sidestepping the rampant misogyny of the day!), there’s no denying that the retro styles have come back in a big way.
What are the benefits of this? Well, the shape and cut of dresses and skirts from the era are certainly aesthetically pleasing. Both flared and pencil skirts, the two main silhouettes are universally flattering – and the shift dress, undeniably the quintessential style of the youths at the time – has maintained its popularity thanks to its simplicity and true innovation. Before this time women were discouraged from showing off their legs, but with the sexual revolution and second wave of feminism, the girls were ready to be in charge of their own bodies, and that included what they wore.
If you would like to join in with the trend but are worried it’s already on the out, brush away those concerns! At London Fashion Week, everybody’s favourite punk grandmama Vivienne Westwood, displayed a collection which has been described as ‘fifties housewives on acid ‘ – in the best sense, of course! Perfectly fitted dresses, neat blouses coupled with pencil skirts, and retro bikinis reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe were seen on the catwalk to much excitement. Westwood showed us that you can keep the classic shapes of the mid-century pieces, but update them in other ways – thru color, prints and accessories. Fanciful plaids, brave baroque and kooky berets were all in tow, confirming that for this lady of the fashion industry, it’s still all about having a great time.
The better part about vintage style is that you do not have to splash out to jump in on the look. Yes, there are always folk content to max out their credit card on the designer threads, but there’s actually no requirement if you’re more budget conscious.
Thrift and Consignment stores are treasure troves of vintage clothing; you won’t always find something perfect so be prepared to put in the time and visit them often. Get to know the staff and tell them the types of pieces you love – if you get on well, they may even put things aside that they know you will appreciate. Scour eBay and etsy for bargains and play with the search terms incase things are misspelled or important details are omitted.
Not forget to keep a watch on the high street as designer influences are appearing their faster and faster each year. It’s never been easier to find your dream vintage dress so get to it and make your buddies envious ; when they ask you where it’s from, say ‘It’s Vintage ‘ with a grin and be safe in the realization that they can’t copy your superb look!