IF YOU COULD HAVE JUST EIGHT VINTAGE FASHION ITEMS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

 

My third guest on Desert Island Vintage is Helen Mae Green, who has been writing the personal style blog Lovebirds Vintage since 2012. She has mused about her vintage style being inspired not so much by stars as by everyday people. Even though I'd argue to the contrary, Helen claims she isn't glamorous. Certainly her style seems classic, timeless—and real. I can see her stepping out of one of the vintage photos she cites as inspiration. 

 Helen in a favorite 1950s dress

Helen in a favorite 1950s dress

Although in the thick of studies, she graciously took the time to answer the Desert Island Question: 

IF YOU COULD HAVE JUST EIGHT VINTAGE FASHION ITEMS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

What does this studious English rose fancy? Read on:

 

"I decided to start off with those items of vintage I currently own that I couldn’t do without, either because they’re very hardworking items in my wardrobe or because they’re just too pretty.  As I’m limited to 8 items in total, I narrowed my selection down to three absolute favourites and two items where I own the modern repro version but would really love to have the real thing. The remaining items are all fantasy items because a girl’s got to dream! They’re all items on my ongoing “to buy” list, so hopefully they’ll eventually make their way into my wardrobe.

 

 

1.     "1940s blue floral dress

The first item I’ve chosen is this gorgeous original 1940s dress in a blue floral rayon. This dress is what my 1940s dreams are made of, and I really wish I had the money and the lifestyle to add more genuine 1940s pieces to my wardrobe. As it is, I don’t often get the opportunity to wear my most precious vintage pieces at the moment, but as long as this dress is in my wardrobe I can’t feel too bad. The fit is perfect on me, and I love the way the dress hangs and moves. The ruffles on the front add an extra special touch, and there’s even a pretty belt that fastens at the back. I really feel like a princess every time I wear this.

2.     "c. 1970s wool skirt

This skirt is the ultimate “workhorse” item in my wardrobe. It’s vintage from the 1970s or 80s but I often wear it in a 1950s inspired style. I live in England so it gets pretty cold over the autumn and winter, so the medium-weight wool helps to keep me nice and warm, especially when layered over an underskirt and some knitted tights. It’s a great neutral colour so it’s very versatile, and it even has pockets. Winner!

3.     "1980s boots

What can I say about these boots? They’re a bit steampunk, a bit cowboy, and a lot fabulous. I love the Victorian-inspired shape of them, and although the pattern looks a bit crazy, they still seem to go with a lot of different outfits. I bought them when I was on a quest to find boots without a zip up the inside as they tend to cause me to trip over my own feet, but I also prefer lace-up boots for aesthetic reasons. I get no end of compliments when I wear these and they’re so unique and great fun to wear.

4.     "Original 1940s or 50s jeans

For this next item we’re getting slightly more into the fantasy realm. I have several pairs of reproduction vintage jeans that I wear regularly, like those shown in the picture, but I’d really like to own some original ones. I went through a phase of not wearing jeans because I thought they could be a bit scruffy or unflattering, but vintage ones are a completely different beast. They’re still a casual item but aren’t completely unstructured, and the high waist divides the body across its narrowest point rather than its widest point like modern low-rise jeans. I find this much more flattering as it doesn’t create a muffin top where there otherwise wouldn’t be one, and is much better at hiding problem areas if you do have them. Overall, jeans are now an integral part of my wardrobe, and I’ll definitely be looking out for an original pair to add to my collection.

5.     "White 1940s blouse

This is another item where I have owned various reproduction versions, but would really like to own an original one. I’m of the belief that every girl needs a nice structured white blouse, and mine always get lots of use. I like the shoulder pads and wonderful sharp collars.

6.     "Quilted circle skirt

I’ve been looking out for a quilted circle skirt in my size and price range for a long time. I think they’re very stylish but also they appeal to me as being something a little warmer for the winter, as it’s always my winter wardrobe that seems to be lacking.

 1950s novelty print quilted cotton circle skirt owned and worn by Janey Ellis of the  Atomic Redhead  blog

1950s novelty print quilted cotton circle skirt owned and worn by Janey Ellis of the Atomic Redhead blog

7.     "1940s suit

Ah, suits. So stylish, so versatile. I have a great 1950s suit which gets a lot of wear, both as a whole suit and with the skirt and jacket worn separately, but I’d really love a beautifully fitted 1940s suit to wear as well. Something about the fit and style of 1940s clothing despite the rationing really shines through in suits for me.

 War-era woman wearing a suit (Flickr Commons)

War-era woman wearing a suit (Flickr Commons)

8.     "1950s New Look coat

Another thing I’ve had on my to-buy list for a long time, and my last Desert Island item, is a wide-skirted 1950s coat in a New Look style. I wear a lot of full skirts (or full-skirted dresses) and am forever frustrated by how coats in the wrong shape squash the skirts, and how modern ones are almost certainly too short to cover the skirt which can look odd. If I had a coat like this, I’d wear it a lot and probably have a lot of fun swishing about. A must-have for sure.

 J. Paul & Sons Mannequin Parade, 1949 (Flickr Commons)

J. Paul & Sons Mannequin Parade, 1949 (Flickr Commons)

Perhaps she will wear such a coat on a case once she gets her degree. Oh didn't I mention? Helen is currently working on her PhD in forensic entomology. I like to imagine her future employment could rather handily place her in a 1940s film noir—and she would probably enjoy wearing the clothing! 

Many thanks to Helen Mae Green for sharing her Desert Island capsule wardrobe with us all!

Besides her Lovebirds Vintage blog, be sure to look for Helen on Facebook and Instagram (including some of her glorious recent modeling photos!).

 

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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