Monday, January 23, 2012

The Number One Rule of Vintage for the 21st Century Woman

I am not one for absolutes. I generally think that when it comes to fashion and clothes, you have to establish rules for yourself.  But the question remains - are there rules to wearing vintage?  Is there a right way?   And I have to say "Yes"  - I believe so.

For instance, I have heard it said, seen it written, and have even written it myself that you should not wear or be styled in one era of clothing from head to toe.  I get it.  This rule is to keep many of us from looking like extras from Mad Men or Saturday Night Fever instead of  fresh relevant women of the 21st Century.

Yet, there are women who refer heavily to a past era and who fashion themselves after the likes of Bettie Paige or Marilyn Monroe and -- to be honest it works.  For them.

Bettie Page

Which leads me to my number rule of wearing vintage for the 21st Century Woman.

Wear vintage clothing and accessories to ehance and express who YOU are.

The women I mentioned before, even though they may break  the "don't wear one era" rule, it works for them while proving disastorous for others.  Why? Because these women are inspired by the pin-ups and starlets of the 40s and 50s like Paige and Monroe.  They reference these iconic women and fashion trends, to enhance and express thier own styles.   They are not mere copy-cats.  That is why when we see one of these women in a restaurant or walking along, we don't see them as look-a-likes or facsimilies of the real deal. They still appear fresh and authentic.  We get a sense of who these women are even though they carry with them an essence and beauty of the past.

When wearing vintage you want travel through time, reach back to capture the beauty and inspiration from the past and apply it to who you are  - right here - and right now.   Wearing vintage is appealing to those who want their style and clothing to make a statement about who they are.  Any and all clothing can do that - it is not limited to items 20 years or older.  However, with vintage - you are less likely to see 20 versions of your outfit walking down the street.

I think one of the greatest mistakes women make as it relates to fashion, (vintage or otherwise) is to use clothing, accessories and styling as a way to hide who they are.  We can be so brainwashed and poisoned by the commercial media to style ourselves after the likeness of others, that we end up with no style of our own. We end up putting on the personalities of others by way of labels and trends. 
In fact, the question of the red carpet sums up this fashion dis-ease well, "Who are you wearing?"

Well, when we use vintage appropriately, when we allow what the clothes represent inspire us, they become one of the most powerful ways we communicate to the world who we are.  Then when asked, "Who are you wearing?"  We can say, "I am wearing ME.  But the dress is vintage Haslton."


  1. I totally agree with you... especially about looking like an extra in a movie, I see that all the time. Vintage touches can go a long way.

  2. I love vintage, but i never feel like i can pull it off. : (
    New follower from MBC.

  3. SleightGirl, it's true Vintage does go a long way. One great piece of clothing can carry your outfit really far! Thanks for the comment.

  4. Jessica -
    Thanks for the follow and comment. However, not true that you can't pull vintage off. Many of my friends who are not vintage-nistas like I am buy one or two pieces. A great vintage coat is a great place to start. You get higher quality in the fabric and generally a good vintage coat is a wonderful statement item.