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vintage clothing New Year's resolutions


Learning from my 2014 Vintage Resolutions

At this time last year I vowed to work on a vintage resolution each month, and I can say with some happiness I managed them all, some better than others. I also found out some things.

January 2014: Edit out and recycle everything that is not being worn in my closet. I would like to make it as happy, bright, inviting and wearable as I possibly can.

And it still is! This is a great way to start a year. I admit I didn’t edit out much but I certainly organized and made my closet inviting. I found out that even in a tiny closet there is space above. I may take that revelation on to other rooms in our small but high-ceilinged home. Here’s my closet inspirations board on Pinterest. And here is one of my favorite pairs of shoes hanging on a high ledge:

February 2014: Dress like a star at home. 
I found out I love wrap jackets, dresses, robes, tops. Elastic is not the only way to achieve comfort, and there is just something so elegant about a wrap. I learned to search for brunch coats and housecoats as well as robes and day dresses. I collect the images, and occasionally the clothing that makes me feel good even if all by myself.

Wouldn’t you rather get the door in this than in sweats?
March 2014: Wear a color I don’t usually wear. 
Who knew I’d go with an acidic spring green...what I call Zing Green? And I chose it like a proper Virgo, quizzing others on what worked for me. My color of the year, on Pinterest.

April 2014: Mend and clean clothing and improve skills.  
Hugely helpful! My mending and cleaning pile was greatly reduced and I got into the habit of working on things to keep the pile down. I have a collection of techniques gathered on Pinterest which I keep referring to.

May 2014: Supplant my search for basic clothing with vintage basics. 
Not so good for me. I acknowledge the need for basics, but I have a hard time settling on which matter to me and finding the items. I want to keep exploring this. I think I might be lacking in elegance, or maybe just love color and detail too much. Maybe I shouldn’t use the word basic. 

June 2014: Wear scarves.
Not only did I make my scarves viewable in the closet overhaul, but I found all kinds of new ways to tie scarves.
Darn, where did I park that convertible?
July 2014: Look for vintage style inspiration. 
Really great for me and something I’m stuck on. Ahoy Pinterest!

August 2014: Find or decide upon the perfect go-to black dress.
This was hard. I find myself questioning whether I really need such a dress. I saw beautiful vintage dresses, and loved this one especially much. Would it be a go-to in my closet? Not so sure. Maybe if not during August of the 2nd hottest summer on record!

September 2014: Wear hats. 
So much fun, this is something I simply have to keep up. When I asked on Facebook if anyone would let us see her in a vintage hat, the response was beautiful and inspiring!

Some of you in your vintage hats
October 2014: Wear an era that I don’t usually wear. 
Surprise! I fell cloche over platforms for early 1970s retro styles!

November 2014: Wear something meaningful to me every day.
Another real joy to do...I located and thought about meaningful items. I could do this every day.

My great grandmother and me, wearing her locket
December 2014: Find at least one vintage item to give for Christmas. 
Too easy! I gave mostly vintage items, wrapped in vintage paper. The reports back have been favorable. :)

  Will there be a 2015 list of vintage resolutions? Maybe yet...



Wear something meaningful

Care to join me in my November vintage resolution?

November: Wear something meaningful every day. I have plenty of interesting family items, souvenirs from long-ago vacations, gifts from my favorite people and other items with great karma. I resolve to wear at least one of these each day in November. 

I know many of us have on a wedding ring, locket or some other meaningful item every day, but I’m thinking of the sorts of things that are not usually used every day. I want to seek those items out, think about their history and appreciate them.

I have always been a hoarder of the tiny things that don’t slow down a move—from jewelry to hair clips, socks to scarves—so many smaller items are with me from quite awhile ago.

Today I’ve pulled out a barrette from the 1970s that says VOTE.

My mother caucused for her candidates and went door-to-door for causes she believed in. She took my brother and I with her to watch her vote and never EVER missed voting. This barrette reminds me of her...and reminds me to vote!



October resolution: Wear an era I don’t usually wear

You may recall that I decided to tackle one vintage resolution per month this year, and I’ve come to October: Wear an era that I don’t usually wear. 

At the beginning of the year I thought about wearing 1930s items. I love the prints, the lengths, the jewelry! However, I know it isn’t easy to come by genuine vintage clothing from the 1930s that is actually wearable for more than special occasions.

Then I thought of the retro-inspired fashion that came into vogue around the early 1970s. There were wide-legged pants, platform shoes, turbans, veils, puffed sleeves, cloches, little sweater vests, berets, empire waists, flippy skirts, romantic florals and deco prints, big lapels— inspirations from the 1920s through 40s.

I have something to confess. The ONE vintage dress that I sold that most haunts me and I really wish I still had: A retro-inspired early 70s dress in bright blue polyester with Mr. Natural printed all over it.

Mr. Natural
I guess you kind of had to be there to get why I loved this dress. It was just so cute and odd with this polyester print and early 40s-style puffed sleeves, back tie and shirring at the shoulders. I even asked the good customer who bought it if she would tell me if she ever wanted to sell it. I'm sure it was homemade.

I guess I love the new/old juxtaposition at the time. Some was terribly elegant...and some had Mr. Natural!

Tomorrow: Some favorite fashions of 1973



September resolution: Wear hats

My September vintage resolution, as I wrote in January:
I have some beautiful vintage hats and I tend to wear them for special occasions if at all. Everyone tells me they love hats, but just can’t bring themselves to wear them. Maybe they need someone to lead the parade?
So here I am.



July resolution: Look for vintage style inspiration

Have you been keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions? I actually have taken a healthy swipe at all of mine...of course it doesn’t hurt to have resolutions related to vintage clothing and style!

For July, I’ve been looking for style inspiration, especially from modern women weaving vintage style into their day-to-day lives.

I love to see men and women in head-to-toe vintage, as if stepping out of the past. If done really well and with confidence, just seeing such sartorial splendor is transporting. For myself I prefer to mix vintage eras and vintage and modern style. My wardrobe will always be mostly vintage, but I like to put it in a modern context. To that end, I am collecting images on my Pinterest board Modern Vintage Style Inspiration. These are a few:

Some of these images do not feature any vintage clothing, but I can imagine vintage taking the place of the modern items that are shown. The point is not the item but the vibe and how to achieve it. In each case these women have a vintage vibe while looking modern.

Is this your style too? Or do you prefer the head-to-toe vintage look? I’d love to see and follow your style inspiration board on Pinterest if you have one.



Tie one on

...a vintage scarf that is!

I’m doing just that this month, and I already love the habit.

Here are a few beautiful/interesting new and vintage ideas I’ve seen online (and pinned on my Scarf Tying Pinterest board):

(Images credited where possible on my Pinterest board)



Wear scarves - Bianca Jagger edition

Yesterday I was inspired by Grace Kelly’s iconic wrap, today I am tying my scarf à la Bianca Jagger.

I know you will recognize her white jacket, but here is the inspiration for my scarf tie:

To emulate this, I took a small square scarf, folded it in half diagonally and rolled it to make a band. Because the fabric is on the bias, it has some flexibility and makes a comfortable choker. I added a pin to the front and tied the scarf in back. 



June resolution: Wear scarves

I have been looking forward to this. Since I-don’t-know-when I have loved and collected scarves.

At the beginning of 2014, I made a list of vintage resolutions, one per month. June is Wear Scarves.

Today? The Grace Kelly wrap...just add sunglasses and convertible!



What do I really mean by basic wardrobe?

Considering that I don’t wear some of the things most modern women would consider basic, I feel the need to define what a basic wardrobe means to me. Finally this morning I came to my own definition.

My most basic clothing is: Something I feel comfortable in; suitable to wear for my daytime work and events; not at all difficult to coordinate; cleanable and durable; possible for me to at least walk briskly in if, say, late for a bus; and something I have worn for many years and/or can imagine wearing for many more.

The black clothing I have often fits at least some of these categories.

Here is a fine washable knit 1950s black sports top and a 1980s knee-length taffeta skirt with an elastic band at its waist. Those are probably 1970s-era U.S.-made dance shoes. Everything here fits my definition of basic. Once a friend asked if she could buy this black top from me when I was through with it—It has been 12 years and I’m afraid I lost touch with that friend but still have the top!

I have found it hard to find interesting basic vintage items looking around online. It helps to have a handful of keywords, and you might find those as you go along. Some more tips?

  • Don’t be afraid to try searching menswear for certain basics, like a fine cotton button-down shirt.
  • Consider decades you don’t regularly consider. A classic can look timeless from any era and can be of very good quality. Searching 1990s clothing suited my penchant for longer fitted black blazers.
  • Basic and classic doesn’t have to mean boring. Look for stylish and interesting elements as well as good quality.
  • Consider outfits that you can wear as separates, like a jacket and skirt suit with great cuts for going solo. 
  • Try lightening photos of black items if you can’t see the details.
  • You might have some luck looking at thrift and second-hand shops because so often these items are overlooked as being too ordinary.

I’ve learned something about myself while thinking about vintage wardrobe basics this month: I fall down every rabbit hole looking for basic items I know I need. If there is one flower or one color or one row of beading I get distracted and want to search for the more glamorous or ornamented. I end up finding everything I don’t need and few things I do need.

I did manage to find quite a few eventually. Here are some vintage basic items I am considering. These and more are on my Pinterest board, Vintage basics.

Got any good tips of your own for finding vintage basics?



Could my basic wardrobe be more vintage?

A couple of posts ago I made a list of items I really want my closet to have. If you have followed some of my blog posts you know I don’t have much room in my closet, but I have enough room for the right things.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my wardrobe is more icing than cake.

Some of my wardrobe basics list I have in spades. I find, love and often keep vintage handbags. 

Ditto printed full skirts.

Here are three of something like six vintage white blouses, now back in service since I managed to get stains out of them.

Coats are a happy way to get through winter in a northern town like mine. Here’s a warm one and a dressy one...I ♡ my vintage coats!

Vintage day dresses and occasion-y dresses? I couldn’t live without them. 

You can see I like details, prints and color. I really kind of hate to look for, but know I need the grey knit shirt, the comfortable black pumps that aren’t boring, the black flaring skirt, the black blazer...  Can I find these more basic basics in vintage?

I imagine that basics might have been worn to the worn-out stage in the past, making a great basic a little harder to find. Perhaps vintage shops don’t consider them exciting enough to offer. Have you ever seen a rack in a vintage shop that was labeled wardrobe basics? Me neither.

Do you find vintage equivalents for your most basic clothing?