Lily the International Fashionista’s Diary! #6 - Vintage
Tuesday 12th July 2016
Alice and I went to see Absolutely Fabulous on Saturday. I thought it would be funnier but admit I did still laugh out loud quite a few times. A rib-tickling 4/5!
Alice is the only one of us with children, 4-year old Daisy. She is a single mum after her husband was in a terrible, terrible accident but both sets of grandparents help out a lot and of course she’s got us girls. She was in pieces at the time of course and still misses him awfully, but as a whole Mum and Daisy are happy just being the two of them together.
I also had a serious sit-down with a map, a calculator and the internet over the weekend and my international fashionista plans are coming together very nicely indeed, thank you. Everything is written in the back of my diary so I can refer to it easily and keep on track – leaving some room for spontaneity of course ;-)
I decided that I am going to try and get a proper Aloha shirt or a Muumuu (think Lilo & Stitch or ‘King-Size Homer’ Simpson) to wear at the Reading Festival which is at the end of August. I thought that would be slightly eccentric and make everyone smile – hopefully with me, not at me. To get the best I obviously need to do a Magnum PI and go to Hawaii.
New lady in Downing Street
It’s all going on this week in the Conservative Party. After some thoughtless and hurtful remarks made by Andrea Leadsom at the weekend, she stepped aside from the leadership race, leaving Theresa May as our new prime minister. Finally, we have somebody who wants to sort out this Brexit palaver, even though she voted against it herself.
It might even give the value of the pound a boost. I just checked exchange rates quickly and they are nowhere near pre-Brexit levels but right this second the euro has gone up about 1.5% against the pound since Friday and the US dollar around 1.65% - hopefully that will keep pushing up before I buy my currency for Hawaii.
Theresa May will be formally appointed by the Queen tomorrow and I can’t wait to see what funky shoes she wears – she is renowned for her quirky wild-side footwear, anything from animal print kitten heels, flats embellished with studs, lips, bows or flowers, pink satin stilettos and even her ‘lucky’ sequined Union Jack plimsolls. A different signature style altogether compared to our previous lady PM Margaret Thatcher who was all pearls and Launer handbags.
14th July 2016
I have finally done my vintage clothing research, which is just as well considering I only have two weeks until Glorious Goodwood Ladies’ Day.
The first question was what exactly is vintage? I should be looking for an authentic (not a reproduction) piece between 25-100 years old - anything older than that is apparently classified as antique. It should be a one of a kind item that makes me feel unique. Perfect, just what I was hoping for!
The older generations must have cared for their clothes better if they can last up to 100 years – no fatal ketchup accidents for those ladies. They made things to last and took their time to sew by hand rather than employ low-paid, mass-producing factory workers.
How to buy vintage
So here we go, tips I have picked up from the internet before I hit the shops:
~ Choose an era. See what the movie stars were wearing to get a good idea. Pre-1960 articles will be tailored and better-made, but the 60s era onwards can be easier to wear. A quick synopsis of the style from the decades:
1920s – flappers and art deco
1930s – Parisian elegance and glamour
1940s – plain woolen suits and simple button-up tea dresses
1950s – rock & roll full skirts or Audrey Hepburn-esque simple chic
1960s – tailored suit dresses or psychedelic mini skirts
1970s – floaty hippie dresses, disco or punk
I won’t go on from there as it brings back images of me wearing my ra-ra skirt and Wham! t-shirt when I was 5 years old.
~ High-end designer or not are both equally vintage so it is worth looking in official vintage stores but also second-hand shops or even a garage sale in an affluent village. I could get quite a bargain, save the environment (recycling) and give to charity all in one go.
~ Newcomers to vintage fashion should perhaps start with something simple and classic that will get a lot of wear, and not spend too much if they don’t fully understand or appreciate the vintage market.
~ Try it on. Dress sizes have changed over the years so ignore the labels and just find a good fit. And if it is not quite the perfect fit don’t be afraid to get it altered.
~ Examine the fabric thoroughly. If it is brittle, fading or smelly leave it on the hanger. Designs began to be mass produced from the 60s onwards so clothing from the latter half of the century might be of lesser quality. And check fastenings are all in place and functioning.
~ If you are settled on one particular era, research renowned brands from that time and see if there are any vintage stores or websites specifically dedicated to that genre. If you do buy online, check the company is reputable, be very precise about your measurements and do not be afraid to ask questions.
There are a few vintage shops in Brighton, only an hour door to door on the train, so I’m taking myself off there for a day out tomorrow. It’s supposed to be dry and about 19°C so I might even sit on the beach for a bit!
Friday 15th July 2016
Mission accomplished. This fashionista has only gone and bought a vintage dress. YES!
Beyond Retro was my shop of choice, I looked at them in more detail on the internet last night and they seemed to have a wide range of clothing and useful guides for cleaning, sizing etc. like they know what they are talking about. Reasonable prices too.
So what did I get? A 1950s floral day dress made in California. It’s in shades of blue, fitted on the top half and fuller at the bottom with lovely waist detailing. Really cute, and only £35. I had been prepared to spend more so… I bought a vintage mother of pearl handbag to go with it for £30. It’s a neutral colour so should get a lot of use as a unique fashion accessory.
And I ate doughnuts on the pier to celebrate, yummy!
I had a great idea for Ryan too, he could wear a panama hat. I read this great article about their history and think he could definitely pull one off. I will text him and see if he is up for it.
In today’s news
What else has happened this week before I sign off? Theresa May is officially in, BoJo has a new job as foreign secretary (really PM what were you thinking?), the pound to dollar exchange rate has gone up again another 1.7% since Tuesday, which is good for my imminent Hawaii trip, Jennifer Aniston is still not pregnant but she is fed up with body shaming, and the lowest of the low – Nice has been terrorised.
Crowds of people were along the Promenade des Anglais celebrating Bastille Day last night when a lorry smashed through the crowds, the driver mounting the pavements and deliberately swerving to make sure he hit people. 84 have been killed, including children who were watching the fireworks. He was eventually shot, leaving several bullet holes in the windscreen, and police found grenades and other weapons in the vehicle, so who knows what else might have happened if he had survived. President François Hollande has said it was undeniably a terrorist attack and that “All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism.” It is absolutely disgusting and so very sad.
Until next time, dear diary.
(To see Lily’s previous diary entries simply enter ‘lily currency solutions’ on your search engine or visit the Currency Solutions page)