Tuesday, March 22, 2011

~Tips for wearing vintage...

Skirt:  Thrifted Ralph Lauren, Blouse:  Vintage Thrifted, Shoes:  Franco Sarto, Necklaces:  Thrifted Vintage, Belt:  Husband's

Now Ralph knows how to treat a girl!  Nooooo....not Ralph Macchio, though back in the day, he DID make my heart swoon!  However, as a grown WOE-man, it's Ralph Lauren and his uber feminine details that sets my heart a flutter.  Yes, I AM aware that this skirt is a bit Laura Ingalls circa western expansion.  However, it matters not to me!  As you can see from the pictures above, I'm so happy in this I'll even do a hoe down!

When we last spoke, I mentioned that I would be giving tips on how to incorporate vintage pieces into your wardrobe.  My great friend, Paula of Fashion over Fifty, commented that Stacy and Clinton made over a young woman who was apparently a vintage wearing fiend!  It makes me wonder how many fashion bloggers they would see as needing a makeover.  I say, if the woman is happy wearing all vintage or even all PURPLE....who am I to judge?  Having said that, I really am not interested in looking like an extra from a period movie set.  You know what I mean?  Basically, I want to have the vintage flavor without all the unflattering calories (in a manner of speaking).  So, as my rule of thumb is that whatever I put together, there has to be a sense of elegance about it; here are some tips to help you see wearing vintage as an option.

1.  WEAR WHAT YOU LOVE:  Have you turned away a vintage piece that you really love because you felt like you might look foolish?  Go back and get it and wear what you love WITH love.  It really is the first step in defining your own personal style.  Discover what you love.  There is NO ONE who truly is into fashion that has not worn something only to turn around soon after and say to themselves, "Oh. MY. GOSH!!!  Was I HIGH????" It's okay.  That's how you learn about your tastes. So, if you love it, get it!

2.  START OUT WITH A LITTLE.  You don't have to go full out vintage when you vintage.  Start with a piece that you love and add it to a pair of slacks.  Or pair a vintage skirt with a much more modern top.  Dip your toe in a little first to test the water.

3.  PAIR VINTAGE WITH GREAT SHOES.  I think it's just the most fabulous look to take some gorgeous grandma dress and pair it with some really cool shoes.  It modernizes the entire look!  Invest in a couple of really great shoes, preferably a black pair and a brown pair.  I promise you, these will go with ANYTHING!  And when I say "invest", I mean, take about $40; go to TJ Maxx or DSW and get the funkiest pair of shoes that you love!  I've worn these Franco Sarto shoes I got two weeks ago just about every other day.  I have yet to find something they don't look FABULOUS with.

4.  DON'T BE AFRAID TO ALTER.  Sometimes, you find some really great fabric or style that's vintage; but maybe it's just too long.  Maybe the sleeves feel dated.  Girly, snatch out those scissors and get to altering!  Now if you spent alot of money on something, by all means, take it to a professional.  But you'd be surprised what a difference taking out sleeves makes on some blouses!  I mean, seriously, it's a RADICAL change.  Grab that 25 year old crazy patterned Lesley Faye dress and take it above the knee.  What once looked old ladyish, now looks like something you'd find in Anthro.  Again, you have to love it.  If you find something you love, then it's worth a compromise to feel good in it.

5.  LOOK FOR QUALITY.  There's a difference between vintage and just plain old and beat up.  Be sure that you check for holes, arm pit stains (ewwwwwww), or rips.  I've had to pass up some BEAUTIFUL things because frankly, they just were too far gone.

6.  MIX AND MATCH.  If you're carrying an obviously vintage purse, then wear it with something more modern.  If it's the skirt or dress you're wearing that's vintage, then try for modern accessories.  Head to toe vintage is definitely NOT for the faint of heart.  But anyone who really loves older treasures will feel comfortable incorporating them into their daily wear if they're part of a mixed outfit.

I hope these tips help!  If you are a vintage wearer, please add to these tips.  What are your rules of thumb?  Do you have any rules?  Please share! 


  1. Your blog today is right on target. But I will say that the way you wear vintage is not the same as throwing on something that is old but doesn't fit and doesn't look right. I also saw that show. Her take on vintage struck me as just wearing old clothes and not worrying about how she looked. Not every person would look good in vintage, even as you wear it. You look wonderful in it because you have put thought into it and you've made sure the garments fit and work with each other. I've seen vintage wearers who pull it off with ease, and those who don't. It seems fit is the key.

  2. Well, I love the tip on wearing what you love! It kind of relates to my post about dressing purely for what 's most flattering versus having a little fun with your clothes. You're right about your comment in response; That's just THE MAN! haha, thanks for your perspective, as always!

  3. You do look wonderful in it...I agree with Judy!! I also liked the suggestions Stacy & Clinton gave that lady...she was a bit clownish and you have never been clownish! I like your suggestions..they make good sense and are great guidelines for any vintage shopper. I personally love to mix vintage with modern! You look marvelous in this skirt...I would love to find one and wear it with Cowboy Boots!!

  4. Judy, thank you! thank you! I actually do give a good bit of thought to what I wear (embarassingly so!). Usually as I drift off to sleep, I'm putting the next day's outfit together in my head. I discovered that I love vintage and want to feel good about wearing it. To be honest, I didn't see the WNTW episode. Stacey and Clinton are a hoot! I just like to see some rules done away with and see people's personality shine through their clothes.

    Vanessa, as a woman(and girl) who has spent most of her life trying to make her butt look smaller, I'm thrilled to do away with the rules. Honestly, I know if something looks like crap on me. And I know when I feel like a million bucks in something. At the end of the day, it's my opinion on my style that's the most pertinent.

    Pam, That is a bit of what I was trying to express in my post. I don't want to look like I'm wearing a costume. If people start giving me candy everywhere I go, I may need to rethink what I'm wearing! I thought about the cowboy boots. I have a fabulous pair, but wanted to keep the skirt looking a bit edgy. It's just such a GREAT skirt. Can't wait to try it as a dress!

  5. This is sound advice! Lately I've really been liking accordion pleats. A year ago I wouldn't have touched them...because I thought it was old-ladyish! I love the way they feel when I wear them.

    One thing though that can distress me about vintage is when my daughters think something is antique and it is merely something I wore as a younger woman. There's lots of looks I won't do just because I've done them before.

    I love this Lauren skirt!

  6. Sound advice. I'm a big fan of vintage.

  7. you are right on evrey point-wonderful advice for wearing vintage.
    When I mentioned the show, I thought of the lack of presence that women had in her clothes also. She wasnt feelin' it--there was no love. Unlike Desiree over at Pull your socks up, who I think can pull off the head to toe vintage because she does it with LOVE.
    But for most of us, the mix of modern is the way to go.
    Brilliant post, baby! Love Paula

  8. You are beautiful!

    I love your tips and as always love the one about wearing what you love! You have got to have guts right?:) I think fashion rules are mostly nonsense...why limit someone's creativity?:)

    You are an inspiration Serene! Have a lovely lovely day!

  9. These are fabulous tips Serena.
    I am in love with you skirt, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

  10. I have several Ralph Lauren skirt and they are timeless!!!
    You look great!
    I hope you think this is as funny as i do, but i was referring to the death of Liz Taylor , when i mentioned 'Maggie the Cat' on my blog ;)
    That was what Paul Newman (Brick) called her in that play/movie :)
    LOL, most of the comments i got were about how sorry that my cat died. She's still hangin in there!
    I love you guys!!!!!!

  11. ps, GREAT ADVISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You said what i think, but haven't the thought process to pull it together like you did!
    You should definitly send this over to IFB Links a La Mode!


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! ~Serene