"Vintage style is the ultimate test of how well you know yourself, because there is a lot less guidance out there for buying vintage than there is for buying new clothes or current trends. That said, creating a great look using vintage clothes is the ultimate coup ... It's the fact that you found it, you chose it, you decided it was right for you, and most exciting is that it is highly unlikely that anyone else will ever have the same thing."Hello friends! Though I've got a handful of half-written posts and comments to catch up with due to Blogger unfriendliness, I've got a Finished Object on my hands and couldn't wait to share it with you!
—Amanda Brooks, I Love Your Style
I've been thinking a lot lately about style. There are so many style guides out there, many of which suggest you "pick a decade" or "find your decade." While I think something as complex as your "personal style" can't be subsumed into a singular decade, I love the idea of understanding what decades in style you're attracted to and why.
I know there are many different approaches to this. Some people fall full tilt into a decade, pin curls and all. Others hopscotch through decades, with a wardrobe that is as varied as it is fun. Some choose the decade based on their body shape. I'm more staid: I'm a contemporary gal interested in incorporating pieces that are evocative of my preferred eras into my daily life.
For my time and money, it's the Sixties. Part of this might be the infectious Mad Men Madness, but I was one of those pre-teen Audrey Hepburn worshippers. And between the classic American elite looks of Jacqueline Kennedy, Brigette Bardot's bombshell-ness, and Twiggy and all that leg, the era feels like it can encapsulate my ideal wardrobe. Classic, slim fitting looks that never go out of style. And in the late 1960s, it's the youthful, more drapey clothes that hint to the 70s-to-come. Classy without being matronly, casual without being pre-pubescent.
Distinguishing between decades has come from logging many an hour drooling over patterns online. Though I always come back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, here's a gem from the early 60s:
Basic but lovely. Can't you imagine floating stylishly through your days with similar wears?
So seeking a quick and fun project, I pulled out this mid-1960s skirt pattern from my stash and cut up a bit of polyster I scored at a thrift store with Jessica from A Yen for Craft. I'm learning to love these colors: khaki, beige and taupe. They play nicely with so much of my closet.
McCalls 7498, I selected view "B," the blue wrap skirt pictured in the pattern. It was such a dream to sew. Everything fit together. It was also so easy that I didn't feel exhausted during the final stages. This is my first piece where the waistband doesn't look embarrassingly awful on this inside and I'm learning how to use the blind hem stitch on my machine -- a major game changer. Love it.
I left off the pockets and cut the skirt by 5-3/8 inches, both of which are preferences for my frame. I am 5'4" and nearly always wear flats so the longer and more cluttered the skirt, the shorter I look.
I was dubious about the wrap, but I love it. A full skirt makes me feel so feminine and that little bow gives it a bit o' flair. Here's the front.
And the side, with a buttonhole for one of the ties to come through. Not perfect, but I did do a sway back adjustment.
With Me-Made-June on the horizon, I've been thinking about making a mini-Sixties-inspired wardrobe. Beginning with this beige skirt, if I add a pair of slim ankle-length khakis, an A-line navy dress with a centerpiece pleat, a denim mini dress, a peter pan blouse and a boxy statement jacket, I think I could get through June in style. Then, with great basics completed, it's color, color, color.
'I, Ali of The Wardrobe, Reimagined, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-June '11. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each day for the duration of June 2011'
What's your decade?