Desert Island Vintage with guest Hollis Jenkins-Evans



Today I'm thrilled to welcome Hollis Jenkins-Evans of Past Perfect Vintage to Desert Island Vintage.

Hollis in a 1940s suit jacket

Hollis in a 1940s suit jacket

In my early days of searching for vintage fashion online, a few sellers stood out. They knew how to sell to me—a Virgo through and through—with good photos and information about the garment, its construction, fabric, and the label. My favorites also consistently had vintage that made me swoon, at prices that didn't make me pass out. 

Not too many of my favorites from nearly 20 years ago are still around, but fortunately, Hollis and her Past Perfect Vintage are going strong. I have gotten to know Hollis through the Vintage Fashion Guild, where I have found her one of the most knowledgeable and helpful people in an elite membership. The lady knows clothes. She has been a seamstress and draper/pattern maker for decades. She is one of my long-time favorite people in the realm of vintage fashion, so I was excited to see how she'd answer the Desert Island question.

Like the other castaways on Desert Island Vintage, Hollis had a big challenge in winnowing down her list to a mere eight.

("This is overwhelming. Only 8 garments? Really? How can I possibly focus? I have trouble picking my 8 favorite 1880s bustle dresses, or my 8 favorite 1920s beaded party dresses, or my 8 favorite 1940s felt hats.")

Like some others, she imagined herself on an actual desert island, musing on what she would need to live there. Unlike anyone else though, Hollis' desert island doesn't come with sand and palm trees. Read on:

"Here it is. My list of 8 favorite vintage garments to take on my Desert Island. That's Mount Desert Island, Maine, where I hope to live soon. Once there I will need:

1. "Sweaters. This Pringle cardigan is a glorious color, and since I can't wear wool, the cashmere will work and it would be so warm and soft. Up there, cashmere is three-season wear.


2. "This Helen Bond Carruthers cardigan will be warm and perfect for both casual and dressy times. It's pretty casual on my island.


3. "49er Jackets. You can't have too many wool 49er jackets. This is a favorite one—for a while I had two identical of this jacket. I have five more 49ers in my closet, but this is the one that's going!


4. "A Wool Jacket. This Louella Ballerino appliqué jacket would just make me happy to look at as well as wear.


5. "A Long Coat. I love the color of this plaid coat—I'd feel so crisp and stylish in the snow.


6. "A Skirt. Not much call for a skirt on a wooded Maine island, but I'd have to take this skirt with appliquéd skiers on it.


7. "I love sporty knits, so this 1920s set in my favorite purple looks good, right? It's practical, right? I'll wear the cardigan as a separate, I promise.


8. "And because I must have one thing to remind me of how beautiful clothing can be and how it approaches art: This early 1920s silk velvet dress with the most glorious beaded tassel. I'd just hang it on the wall, or store it in an acid-free box and take it out and look at it occasionally. But I would know it was there.

All photos courtesy of Hollis Jenkins-Evans

All photos courtesy of Hollis Jenkins-Evans

"...one thing to remind me of how beautiful clothing can be and how it approaches art"

I love that thought, and that dress! I love the skiers skirt, the Helen Bond Carruthers cardigan, the 1920s knit set, and, and, and. I love all of Hollis' picks, and can envision her out hiking on Mount Desert Island in her pink plaid 49er jacket. 

Many thanks to Hollis Jenkins-Evans! Be sure to check out her website for vintage that belongs on anyone's short list. You'll also see her offerings on Etsy and Instagram.


What would you want if you could have just eight vintage fashion pieces? If you'd like to be featured here, let me know!



Are you in the "Vintage You" Gallery?

If not, please join the gang! These women all sent me photos of themselves showing how they wear their denisebrain finds. 

I've heard from many people that they are inspired by these, so why not send your photo in so I can show you off?: margaret@denisebrain.com

(There's always room for more!)



One year in sales benefitting Save the Manatee Club

Manatee on my mind. Illustration of me by Anna Davies.

Manatee on my mind. Illustration of me by Anna Davies.

I am a manatee hugger, pure and simple. Years ago, when I stood with my husband on the banks of the St. John River and watched a rehabilitated manatee being released back into the wild, I fell in love with these gentle giants. 

It was at this time last year that I decided to donate 10% of my earnings to saving manatees. Before September 2016, I ran fundraisers here and there...but I felt it was time to take the plunge and make this a full-time relationship. 

According to Save the Manatee Club, I have been able to donate $1665.00 since September 2016. I couldn't do this without my customers, who have told me so many times how much they care right along with me. 

At nearly the same time, I created the Pink Heart Shop section of my Etsy store, the shop-within-a-shop with 100% of sales going to Dress for Success. I'll update you soon on total sales for that great cause.

What can I say? Denisebrain has the best customers.

My warmest thanks and appreciation to you!



For Houston

Today, September 1st, I'd sincerely like to be writing...

How was your summer? 
Welcome back to school and work! 
and (of course)
Look how you can interpret modern fall fashions with vintage!

...but my heart is too heavy with concern in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the terrible damage it has done to Houston and the region. 

Photos of donations being delivered to the George R. Brown Convention Center, from Dress for Success Houston's Facebook page. 

Photos of donations being delivered to the George R. Brown Convention Center, from Dress for Success Houston's Facebook page. 

As a response, I am directing all sales through September 6 from The PINK HEART Shop of my Etsy store (usually heading to Dress for Success Worldwide) to Dress for Success Houston. The organization is on the ground, doing crucial work, right now. They will also be there as people try to get their lives back in the aftermath of the hurricane.

I've stocked up the PINK HEART Shop, and am adding new every day.

It's a small contribution from my customers and me—but huge contributions are made up of small contributions, right?


We can get back to talk of school, work, and fall fashion in good time.



Vintage Mixing


Vintage Mixing

Recently I took a stab at four general vintage-wearing personas, modes of style that you might choose for every day, or flit between. One of these styles, The Vintage Mixer, generated a lot of comments. It seemed to need expansion.


First, a quick review. In that previous blog I proposed that there are— 

1. Wear-with-alls:  Not driven by vintage, just looking for a unique, quality vintage piece here and there 

2. Time travelers:  The total look, hat-to-shoes right out of a vintage Vogue

3. Walking works of art:  Creative and bold, using vintage but not necessarily all vintage

4. Vintage mixers: Mostly or all vintage, put together from various eras


That last type? Too broad. I'm now proposing these four distinct types of vintage mixing personas:

All-vintage Mixers

Era mashing

The Era Mashing Mixer is a purist about wearing mostly vintage, but as to which era, she is an iconoclast. For one outfit she may mix a 1940s jacket with 1970s wide-legged trousers, a 1950s blouse, and a 1960s bag. This might be done with purposeful harmonizing, or ironic wit.

Zara wearing  a 1940s hat and belt, 1950s sunglasses, a 1970s polka dot dress, and a 1980s marabou jacket. I love that #justbloodywearit is her constant hastag and motto! Courtesy of @zeebeezsazsa on Instagram

Zara wearing  a 1940s hat and belt, 1950s sunglasses, a 1970s polka dot dress, and a 1980s marabou jacket. I love that #justbloodywearit is her constant hastag and motto! Courtesy of @zeebeezsazsa on Instagram


Showcasing collections of specific vintage pieces

The Specialist Mixer might see herself as a collector, connoisseur, and wearer of certain favorite vintage items in particular. She may tote vintage handbags, or cuff herself in vintage Bakelite bracelets, wear vintage modernist-print Vera scarves or pieces from the 1970s by Yves Saint Laurent. Her wearable collections may be estimable.

Just two of the many amazing vintage bakelite bracelet stacks the vintage maven Sandi of @lorrelmae has shown on Instagram. (Also, check out her Etsy shop!)

Just two of the many amazing vintage bakelite bracelet stacks the vintage maven Sandi of @lorrelmae has shown on Instagram. (Also, check out her Etsy shop!)


Interested in vintage, but interested in modern fashion too

Modern/Vintage Mixer types may seek out vintage that interprets new styles, or new styles that echo vintage. Not one to set aside the present state of fashion, but also fascinated by the past, the Modern/Vintage Mixer is a creative blender of the old and new.

People that I know in this group are sometimes motivated by the green side of vintage, being anti-fast fashion, careful to be sure their modern fashion purchases are ethically and sustainably made as often as possible. Sometimes their contemporary pieces consist of the basics, and they use vintage as the mainstay of their wardrobes.

Stop and ask! says Nicole, @theartyologist on Instagram and blogging (about vintage, sustainable fashion, art, and photography) at theartyologist.com 

Stop and ask! says Nicole, @theartyologist on Instagram and blogging (about vintage, sustainable fashion, art, and photography) at theartyologist.com 


The goal is the total look, sometimes using vintage repro clothing

This mixer contingency may not be able to find what they need in good shape and in the right size (at the right time), or simply want to wear something that looks vintage that they needn’t worry about if jitterbugging or pruning the rosebush. Often these mixers are close to Time Travelers, their full-on vintage look created with a certain amount of repro vintage-style clothing. The Inspired-by-vintage Mixer might, for instance, wear repro shoes and jeans with an authentic vintage sweater and scarf. 

Photo from the account of Instagram's @missharlowdarling; also be inspired by the Harlow Darling blog

Photo from the account of Instagram's @missharlowdarling; also be inspired by the Harlow Darling blog

What do you think? Do you wear your vintage like any of these stylish mixologists?




Manatee fundraiser

If you follow my blog, my Facebook page, my Tweets, my Instagram feed, or have spoken with me in person, you know I love manatees. 10% of my sales go to Save the Manatee Club year round.

Right now I've intensified my efforts. Through August 7, 25% of my vintage fashion sales will go to Save the Manatee Club, along with 100% of donations made directly on my YouCaring page set up for this special fundraiser.

Why the fundraiser at this moment? The reason is that I (along with countless others) am heartbroken by the tragic accidental death of Snooty, the world's most famous manatee. Perhaps you heard about his death, just a day after his 69th birthday was celebrated with thousands of people singing and cheering for him.

Having been born in captivity on July 21, 1948, Snooty was known by generations of visitors to the South Florida Museum, where he lived in a special aquarium. He contributed greatly to what is known and thought of manatees—and his personality stole our hearts. 

Snooty's aquarium at the South Florida Museum also hosts and rehabilitates wild manatees that have been rescued. The Museum states that they will continue this important program.

In memory of Snooty, my hope is to raise $1,000 by August 7, 2017, to be donated to Save the Manatee Club specifically for the rescue and rehabilitation of these beloved animals. Raising this much money in two weeks, I admit, is pretty ambitious. I only dare set such a goal because so many people have expressed their love for manatees to me. So many seem eager to help.

If you've had your eye on any items in my Etsy shop, know that you will be helping this cause a bit more than usual with your purchase through August 7, 2017. If you see nothing to tempt you right now and still wish to contribute, my YouCaring page is there for you too.

Thank you so much for your help! No way could I do this without you.


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Desert Island Vintage with guest Theresa Campbell McKee



Today's castaway on Desert Island Vintage, Theresa Campbell McKee, is the brains (and the beauty!) behind Blue Velvet Vintage. Anybody who knows the Blue Velvet Vintage look (and you really should know the BVV look) realizes it is all about classic glamour. As Theresa writes on the Blue Velvet website:

Like Coco, we believe "A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous."  We dream in black and white love stories, swoon for hourglass silhouettes and never leave the house without our signature red lipstick.

I anticipated Theresa's Desert Island choices would be glam, but I was delightfully surprised by how she has made these fabulous bombshell items seem all quite practical and appropriate for being stuck on a deserted beach. I'm almost convinced that one would need a sequined evening gown..." just for some variety." 


"When Maggie approached me about an article naming my eight favorite vintage pieces I’d want to have with me if stranded on a desert island, I must admit my mind initially went into some serious overdrive. There are just way too many eras of gorgeous vintage fashion to choose from—How would I ever be able to decide on just eight pieces? Being as I am really bad at picking a limited amount of favorites of anything I truly have a passion for, I knew this would be a challenge for me. It’s like asking me to pick my eight favorite things to eat! [Food is another passion—Theresa is a former personal chef and caterer.]

"That was until I decided that the best way for me to narrow it down would be to focus on the location for which I was choosing—a tropical desert island—and then have some fun with it.

"So by combining my love of both vintage tropical fashion and the glamorous outfits worn by actresses of classic film and TV, I was able to come up with my select Desert Island wardrobe, which includes my 'I can only dream' pieces. 

"The first two items are in my own wardrobe, and being as I live in Florida most of the year, I get a lot of wear out of them. They’re both by famous Hawaiian screen printer Alfred Shaheen. These two would have to be with me on any desert island. The original owner of the dress actually wore it for her wedding in Hawaii in the 50s.


1. and 2. "1950s Alfred Shaheen dress, and skirt

Then Theresa turns to her fantasy picks—

3. "I’d take this Edith Head sarong dress, worn by Dorothy Lamour in The Jungle Princess, because it would go perfectly with the orchids and hibiscus flowers I'd be wearing in my hair.

4. "For as long as I’ve been collecting vintage I’ve wanted an original 1930s beach pajama jumpsuit, so something in a bold floral print like these worn by the young Ginger Rogers would have to come with me for sure. They’d be so comfortable, I could even sleep in them.

5. "And of course, one can’t be stranded on a desert island without some swimwear, so I’d take this outrageous beaded gold bathing suit worn by Esther Williams. Its shimmer is sure to alert any passing ships.


6. "You never know when you may have a need for a chic evening dress as a castaway. It’s always best to be prepared should a stray cruise ship pull up and invite you to dinner at the captain's table. So I’d take a cue from Tina Louise, queen of the stylishly stranded, and bring this leopard print one-shoulder Nolan Miller number. Animal prints are a timeless look and especially appropriate for a desert island!

7. "And just for some variety, I’d also take this glam bombshell gown by William Travilla that Jane Russell wore in the film The Revolt of Mamie Stover which was set in Hawaii. I’d probably reserve this for the most special of occasions, like the day I was rescued!

8. "And last but not least, I'd take these Salvatore Ferragamo bejeweled red, gold and silver wedge sandals from 1938 because you can’t run around barefoot in the sand all day...it would be murder on your pedicure!


Well now, if you had Theresa's picks to wear, being stranded wouldn't be too bad after all! A wardrobe that's appropriate for a captain's table dinner? shimmering to alert passing ships? and for the day one is rescued? —I like the way you dream Theresa. And until you find your fantasy pieces, you will be a splendid beach comber in your Shaheens!

Many thanks to Theresa Campbell McKee for sharing her Desert Island Vintage wardrobe with us. Make sure to have a look at all the classic glamour at the Blue Velvet Vintage website, and Theresa's blog, Vintage Style Files.

What would you want if you could have just eight vintage fashion pieces? If you'd like to be featured here, let me know!


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Lemons to lemonade

Anna Bond painting

Anna Bond painting

Yeah, I know it's a well-worn (perhaps even a bit threadbare) vintage slogan, but it seems apropos


Until recently, I have always managed to carry out my vintage fashion business as a solo act, a one-woman sourcing, selling, and marketing department...even the modeling, photography, and shipping departments, all rolled into one. I don't know how many of you are entrepreneurs, and among those, how many are solo entrepreneurs, but I have a piece of advice from one previously solo act to another: Build a team.


Let me take a step back.

The hopeful type, I am one of those with a perpetually half-full glass. Still, it hasn't been as easy to see things in that rosy-tinted light with my as-yet-to-be-controlled autoimmune disease, psoriatic arthritis. Some days I don't feel like getting out of bed from exhaustion and pain. I have great doctors working with me to find the right combination for improved health, but it takes time and trials. For now, it is so very much harder to be who I want to be for myself, my business, and for my friends and family.

Denisebrain needs a team. Actually, it took a certain amount of disability to admit I already have a team, and then to add to it.

My husband is a graphic designer, the art director of a magazine. Guess who has always helped me with (among many other things) my websites and branding? Then there are the wonderful people who have consistently sourced vintage fashions for me over the years. There's my seamstress, who at 80 years of age is an inspiration to me with her vitality and creativity. I have been working with an editor to prepare my book for publication (I highly recommend my editor, Amy Scott of Nomad Editorial).

I probably get more comments about my photos than anything else about denisebrain. I have loved photographing vintage portraying the sort of happiness and healthiness you see in old magazines and movies. 

Right now, though, I can't find either the ease or the energy to take many photos. So, lemons to lemonade, in walked another person for my team.

Fay Ripley photo

Fay Ripley photo

Fay Ripley is an experienced photographer who takes artful narrative photos.

Fay is also a vintage lover who sells vintage fashions at Chosen Vintage in Spokane (her shop within Chosen is Red Leaf Vintage). Fay offered to help set up a photo shoot using her studio and equipment. She did so much more than help though—she truly brought everything and everyone together, including Marc Harvey, another great photographer with whom she shares the studio, and four of the five models.

Fay and Marc created a lighting set up that perfectly emulates my home studio setup. 

A couple weeks ago we had a photo shoot. I had no idea how it would go, never having dealt with so many people and moving parts before. I was very pleased—I think this is going to work for me.

So, after 17 years of photos of and by just me, myself and I, there will be some new faces. I will still make appearances too, just not all of the time. 

Every single one of the women who modeled for me recently gets vintage, and that makes a big difference. Trying to summarize how I wanted them to look for the photos, I said "not like you think you're cool—more like you're someone's sister or best friend. The Girl Next Door. Happy, healthy, having fun, smiling." They all pulled this off beautifully. 

A good friend suggested that I introduce these women to you, and, with their permission, I will. I may not be so lucky as to get the same group again, but at least for now you will see these smiling faces:


Victoria is an aspiring medical student with a love for the French horn and fashion. Yes, French horn, my instrument, which is how I got to know her. She was my student, and I've known her parents (her dad's another horn player) since forever ago. Victoria and I always snuck in conversations about clothes during horn lessons, so I knew she'd be great for this. Plus, I'm always overjoyed to see her, because she is one of my favorite people.

Grace is a model, and it absolutely showed; I love the attitude she brought to all her photos for me...she is a true pro. Bonus: She's (obviously) adorable and so sweet.

Kendra calls herself a filmmaker, graphic designer and vintage lover who is fond of travel and tea drinking. I'd say she understates her talents a bit; have a look at her website sometime. Kendra not only oozes talent and enthusiasm, but has an irrepressible smile. She fits right in with the denisebrain vibe, if I do say so myself.

Hayley is an Inupiaq Eskimo who comes from Shaktoolik, Alaska, a village on the Bering Sea. She is in college as an aspiring photographer, saying she has a lot of fun being in front of the camera but she also has her eye on being on the other side of the lens. I'd say that whatever side of the lens she is on, Hayley is going to be great, because she is so fun to be around, and super kind and helpful too.

Gianna is a yoga instructor (she owns a local studio) and paralegal, as well as a a vintage-specializing model. She says she loves to capture the essence of classic film stars when she models, "bringing life to a beautiful and elegant era past." Gianna has it all going for her: The knowledge to strike a pose that is pure vintage elegance, the just-right figure to show off clothes, and the obvious love of fashions from the past. Plus, she is a lovely character to work with. All that yoga is paying off, Gianna! 

Real women wear vintage. I've said that so many times, and now I get to show you.

Real women also need help at times. After all, it's a fine time of year for lemonade!


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Desert Island Vintage with guest Carol Baker



For the latest installment in my series Desert Island Vintage, we check in with Carol Baker of Dandelion Vintage. I've known of Carol and Dandelion for as long as I've been paying attention to vintage fashion online; her first vintage website was in 1997. She is known not only for having lots of great vintage available at the fairest price around, but for her lovable sidekicks, two English bulldogs by the name of Gus and Betty Boop.

Carol's eight vintage picks make a fine, wearable collection from the 1930s through 1950s, and her choices are all quite feasible—all that is except number eight. But a girl's gotta dream, right? Carol loves to beachcomb along the New Jersey shore, and her desert island wardrobe reflects her love of the beach. Come to think of it, Carol would be exceptionally well-equipped for a trip to a desert island...as long as her pups could come along too!


Here are Carol's choices:

1. "Fabric purses with wooden handles. They’re not really very good to carry to be honest. You can’t get them on your wrist, and your stuff just jumbles all around inside. But they look so good! These are two of my own.

2. "A tailored 1930s/40s jacket or suit with fancy little details. This is a very favorite of mine. I love the plaid, love the silver buttons. I bought it in a stock purchase many years ago. I no longer wear it because it’s fraying on the ends of the sleeves and has some holes in it, but it hangs on my bedroom door. It’s super special to me because I wore it when we went to get our pup Boris [a previous much-loved bulldog family member] in 2001. I remember him sitting on my lap and biting the buttons.

3. "These are a dream item because I’ve never found a wide legged pair of pants that fit me. I don’t like anything high on my stomach, and of course these are cut wide. ‘Desert Cloth Sunback Overall’—that just sounds fantastic. I also like things with little nautical touches, like the pocket on the far left pair.

4. "Playsuit with matching skirt. I don’t know why I haven’t found a set like this that I like yet. They’re out there—again the fit is an issue for me because I have a long torso.

5. "Curvy oxfords. These are 2 pairs from my own closet. I love a nice, solid heel, not too high. Cute & sensible.

6. "To me, the perfect Summer dress is a Swirl. Everyone loves Swirls! This is one from my closet. They are just so comfortable, adjustable, cute.

7. "And for the cold weather—a sweater dress or sweater and skirt set. This was a purge from my closet that I sold on Etsy. Why did I sell that?? I think that it was a little too snug under the arms.

8. "The totally unattainable, extravagant, splurge-y dream item would be something worn by Myrna Loy. I just love her. Everything that she wore was fantastic. Suit, casual wear, evening gown, lingerie—I’d take anything! Goddess.


You can find Dandelion Vintage's Etsy shop here, and website here. You can follow Dandelion Vintage on Facebook and Instagram, where Betty and Gus make cameo appearances.

...And if Carol ever does manage to find something worn by Myrna Loy, you'll have a front row seat!


Many thanks to Carol Baker for sharing her wonderful Desert Island Vintage picks!


What would you want if you could have just eight vintage fashion pieces? If you'd like to be featured here, let me know!

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What's your vintage-wearing persona?

I'm busy working on my book about getting started with wearing vintage, and my editor suggested I need to add a section to fill out my comments about how to style vintage clothing. I agree with her, it isn't always obvious how to put vintage wearing into practice. 

I don't like do's and don't's, so this added section wouldn't be about rules, but I also don't want to fill pages with words that give no guidance. So, meet the Vintage-Wearing Personas, modern vintage-wearing styles that you might choose for every day, or flit between.

You can help me with this by letting me know

  • if you think there is a vintage-wearing persona I'm missing
  • which of the personas fits you and how closely you relate to it
  • who are some of your choices for your persona's heroines


Not driven by vintage, just looking for a unique, quality vintage piece here and there

Do you want to wear vintage but not broadcast the fact that you are? You may be a wear-with-all type.  Your natural style may be bold or reserved, elegant, flamboyant or grungy—wearing vintage is not your driving motivator. 

For the wear-with-all persona, you may want to find vintage replacements for the modern components of your wardrobe. You might find something that is in style right now, only in the better-quality, better-priced, and unique vintage original version. Start with just one piece mixed in with modern clothes and accessories from your closet. 

What’s easy about this style persona is that you almost can’t seem costume-y. You can blend into your work setting, take the dog for a walk, go to a party…and feel attractive but not conspicuously “vintage.” You are more likely to hear “I love that!” than “is that vintage?”

The hard part may be coming up with the vintage items that work well for you with your present wardrobe, in the right size. (That’s why I am writing my book, coming soon!) Really, the hardest part may be showing restraint once you get going with vintage!

Wear-with-all heroines

Kate Middleton

Michelle Obama

Amal Clooney

Instagram wear-with-alls: notdeadyetstyle, sustainableelegance

Wear-with-all Quote

It's not about the dress you wear, but the life you lead in the dress. —Diana Vreeland



Time travelers

The total look, hat-to-shoes right out of a vintage Vogue

This is the easiest and hardest vintage fashion personality, rolled into one. The simple part is that you don’t have to figure out if a style works, you just need to recreate a look that you admire. You can choose your outfit and styling literally from a vintage magazine editorial or advertisement, a movie…you are the costumer and actor in your own period drama.

Difficult may be finding and putting together the details of the look you want, and then carrying off the look with aplomb. Your look could be seen as costume-y, and you will need to be ready to answer questions about the style and why you are so "dressed up."

Some women pull off this look daily, even in a workplace environment, others dress from hat to shoes in one period look for a vintage fashion event. This is a persona you might take on here and there...or all the time.

Time traveler heroines

Dita Von Teese

Paloma Faith

Instagram time travelers: isabelmusidoralost_in_the_50'snoaccountingfortaste

Time Traveler Quote

She's a three page love letter in a world of relationship status updates. —J.M. Storm



Walking works of art

Creative and bold, using vintage but not necessarily all vintage

#justbloodywearit, is a hashtag I always find on the Instagram feed of a vintage fashionista named Zara (@zeebeezsazsa), who wears a rainbow of color, clashing prints, 1940s with 70s, 60s, 30s, 80s. A doctor, Zara thinks of her fashion as an escape from all the life and death emotional decisions that need to be made daily. Her litmus test for choosing something to wear is that she likes it and that it expresses how she feels. She doesn’t follow rules or strive to look like anyone else. 

This persona is easy for a small percentage of people, the types who might see their bodies as a canvas for being sartorially creative. Dressing with vintage will give this type the maximum possible options for self expression.  

Maybe this is the look you really admire but it seems difficult to you. First you have to decide what works, then you have to let go of your inhibitions. The one commonality I see between the protagonists of this style are their signature touches—wearing fluffy pink pieces, giant bracelets, a turban—whatever seems to most suit their style. I also think it takes a sense of humor. A bit of a smile never hurts when you’re being noticed by everyone. 

Walking work of art heroines

Iris Apfel

Anna Piaggi

Instagram walking works of art: zeebeezsazsa, purelypatricia

Walking Work of Art Quote

Fashion should be a form of escapism, not a form of imprisonment. —Alexander McQueen


Vintage mixers

Mostly or all vintage, put together from various eras

Do you want your wardrobe to be mainly vintage yet not feel like you are time traveling from another era? Vintage mixing is the art of putting together an outfit from various vintage components that may date from different decades. You might put a 1940s jacket with 1970s wide-legged trousers, a 1950s blouse and a 1960s bag. What might bring the decades together is some sort of harmony, in color, print, fabric or style.

On paper, this might seem the persona box you'd like to tick. After all, it is all vintage, but creatively harmonious. What's difficult is making this mix-and-match work. 

When you mix vintage things up, consider matching certain elements:

• Color across eras

• Patterns that relate to one another

• All one era but in an unexpected way

• Textural combinations that work across decades

• Timeless elements

Vintage mixer heroineS

Tavi Gevinson

Zooey Deschanel

Kate Moss

Instagram vintage mixers: crocodilelightning, sophiamzell

Vintage Mixer Quotation

Fashion has always been a repetition of ideas, but what makes it new is the way you put it together. —Carolina Herrera


So what do you think? Can you relate to any of these vintage-wearing personas? Please let me know in a comment!