Saturday, April 9, 2011
Discovering My Vintage Style
Alot of people ask me if I enjoyed vintage style when I was a 'youngern'...you know, WAY back in the day. ;) Yes, I enjoyed it...but no, I didn't wear vintage clothing or even vintage STYLE clothing as a kid. For one thing, I didn't know HOW to shop for vintage things and I'll be the first to admit that I despised the smell of mothballs, so I avoided thrift shops. I had a huge display of classic film stars on my wall and I really loved their style...but as I've mentioned before, I never knew there was such a thing as retro reproduction clothing. My style was largely influenced by the fads of the days, supplemented with tailored things that my mom encouraged. Still, looking back through these old photos, I can see hints of my love for vintage style-misguided though my fashion choices may have been.
Circa 1987. Notice the hot pink and 'baby pants'? These were very popular, inspired by the movie 'Dirty Dancing'. If you look closely, you can also see the iridescent blue eyeshadow, worn all the way to the brow bone. You can thank Aziza and their mosaic eye shadows for that...every teenage girl had them.
Around 1990. I was really thrilled when a friend of mine loaned me this purple taffeta dress to wear dancing. About this time, the hair got very blonde, very 'hot-rolled', and very big. I was trying to do a Marylin Monroe thing...not quite successful.
1992. Still blonde, just a bit shorter. I loved this dress. Not sure why.
December of 1992. Visiting my cousin in Fl. Still blonde, and slightly more stylish than usual. I was finally getting into classic, tailored stuff at this point...as you will see, that soon goes horribly awry.
For those of my younger readers who weren't around to see the arrival of the beast called 'Seattle Grunge' in the early 1990's-the following fashion choices will be especially puzzling. I think it was the music...we all wanted to look dirty when we listened to it. But I plead my case by encouraging you to look up photos of Kate Moss during this time...even runway fashion was going through a slump.
The above photo was taken at a 'Celebration Station' (go-cart/game center) in 1993. It was taken as a joke. Notice the center parted long hair and Adidas shirt? I was also wearing mens' jeans, about 10 sizes too large.
Hiking in the mountains, 1994. Boyfriend's 'boggan, thrifted coat (At this point, I had long since gotten over my distaste for mothballs. The Goodwill was the ONLY place to shop...specifically in the mens' and little boys section. Tightly fitted tee shirts were a wardrobe staple as well as mens' work shirts w/ the sleeves cut off, worn over the top. If said work shirt was monogrammed w/ someone else's name, it was considered especially worthy.), flannel shirt, mens jeans, and Doc Martens.
April, 1995. This is my lingerie shower, just before my wedding. My hair was newly red, super long, and constantly in braids. I was 19. Baby doll dresses in plaid 'flannel-ish' prints were popular, as were knee socks and 'mary-janes'. I had finally gotten away from dressing like a man- in favor of a little girl.
May 1995. On my Honeymoon. Fitting that we went to Disney World for our wedding trip, no?
Over the next few years, I floundered about aimlessly, when it came to style. I remember owning a pair of bell-bottoms, lots of filmy peasant-style skirts, and several mid-rift baring tops. Towards the end of the nineties, my clothing was universally very fitted and sometimes not as modest as it should have been. For the duration, my hair was usually long and unstyled. Even on special occasions, it seems:
Suddenly, in 2000 (newly a mom) I remember finding a gorgeous Mandarin style dress in a glorious shade of royal blue. I loved the dress because it fit like a dream and reminded me of 'The King and I'. I felt so glamorous in it and wore chopsticks in my hair. I cut my hair to my shoulders and started styling it more often. I also sold Mary Kay at this time, so I was really beginning to experiment with makeup application:
In 2004, I discovered 'Stop Staring', and soon after that Pin Up Girl Clothing. A whole new world opened up to me. I guess I COULD have been the girl that searches out vintage clothing at thrift stores or online, but I never had much luck with that. Mainly due to my lack of patience. Therefore, retro-reproduction was my new best friend.
I placed a few orders and began to experiment with 'Bettie Bangs'. At first, they were all wrong...cut straight across instead of in a 'u' shape, as they should have been. But I was beginning to gain some confidence in my decision to sport a retro inspired look. Most of the time, I went w/ simple styles...side combs, loose waves, a ponytail...I also went platinum blonde, for the first time since I was about 16 years old.
I was definitely a late bloomer, when it came to discovering my style. But once I found it, I'm happy that I haven't done any back-sliding. I am very passionate about recreating the styles I've been watching in films, for my entire life.
I adore discovering ladies online who have the same passions as myself. And I am consistently inspired by all of you.
No, I didnt have it together at 17, like darlin' Miss Amethyst of the Pink Retro Powder Room. But I firmly believe that you should not EVER be ashamed of who you were, when it comes to style or anything else. Just make sure that from here on out, you got some idea of where you're going.