Is there a vintage era for each body shape?

One of the things I genuinely don’t understand when it comes to vintage is the styling advice that certain eras are for particular body types. Twenties and Sixties, as is often suggested, is only for the boyish figure, the Thirties look great on athletic bodies or pear shapes and for the curvaceous girls it’s Fifties all the way. Really?

Well, not really. I’m a firm believer that any period look is perfectly adaptable to any silhouette, and to think a whole decade could be reduced to one silhouette, fails to do justice to the true versatility of fashion design.

Point in case, the Fifties. Dior designed his New Look – all corsetted waists and big crinoline skirts harking back to 19th century dress – for a slender, regal looking woman like Grace Kelly. In contrast take Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for example. All big-boobed and big-hipped they wear tight dresses that emphasize – not distort – their hourglass silhouettes. It just shows that there is plenty of Fifties vintage out there for you, regardless of your body shape.

And this is something I find true for the other decades too. Don’t have the boyish body to pull off a Twenties drop-waist dress? Then opt for separates instead.
Can’t do Sixties mini? Go Jackie O in a waisted dress suit.

What do you think? Is there such a thing as a vintage era for each body shape?

Mad Men competition: win a 60s vintage dress

We’re giving away this amazing Sixties vintage dress over on my other site. Dress up as your favourite Mad Men character, send us the picture and this little black number – worth £170 –  could be yours.


For the hep cats: Black Eyewear sunglasses

Every once in a while I get sent a press release that really excites me. This morning it was one from a brand I hadn’t heard of before: Black Eyewear.

The label’s glasses and sunglasses are designed by 67 year-old Robert Roope, a jazz fanatic who was born in Hull and managed to travel to different parts of the world, accumulating over a thousand vintage frames along the way. All of the frames for sale are inspired by and named after jazz musicians of the Forties, Fifties and Sixties. 

I’ve not seen such a brilliant range of sunglasses in ages, and with prices starting at £70, these are now on top of my spring wish list.

Buy online from Retrospecs.

My favourite 60s couple: George Harrison and Pattie Boyd

Jacobs, stop tempting me: this time – the Bianca Jane bag

God damn you Marc Jacobs and your ridiculously amazing bag designs. This time I’m seriously tempted by the Bianca Jane on a Chain messenger clutch bag.

It’s £220 so nearly affordable. If I start saving now.


How to recreate a 1920s look – part two: evening wear

Following on from my guide to Twenties day wear, here’s part two – how to dress for the evening.

I’ve written about my slight obsession with Otto Dix’s paintings before, but I have to return to his magnificent ‘Grossstadt’. The main scene, set in a Berlin club, shows a couple dancing along to a jazz band with several onlookers smoking and drinking. The woman about to step onto the dance floor, with her orange-yellow dress, slick Easton crop hair cut, pink feather fan in hand, to me perfectly embodies Twenties decadence and what Twenties evening dress is about: glamour, exoticism, magic, enchantment, excitement.

Against contemporary stereotypes, Twenties evening dresses weren’t short, certainly not above knee-length, and full-length gowns remained popular throughout the decade. Monochrome dresses in black and white, creme or  pastel tones were often worn with exquisite art deco shawls in geometrical or oriental prints.

Just as with daywear, the silhouette was boyish and dresses – always sleeveless – were straight up and down or cut to a drop-waist. Cape or cut out back details were very en vogue as were luxurious fabrics such as silk and fur.

Scalloped seams and heavy embellishments using embroidery and pearl details became popular on dresses as the decade progressed – leading up to the fringe detailing that we now associate with a typical flapper dress.

Similar to the daytime look, hair would be cropped in a short bob or Eaton cut and worn straight or set in Marcel or finger waves. Alternatively small curls would be piled up tight on the head. Tiara-esque silver headbands or elaborate crown-like head pieces were popular, often decorated with pearls and feathers.

For accessories women wore pearls or silver jewellery, plume fans were popular too.

To recreate the look:
If you’re based in London, do head to the Vintage Emporium just off Brick Lane for the most incredible Twenties vintage dresses and accessories. Online shop Dorothea’s Closet Vintage also stocks incredible Twenties vintage, even if you can’t afford it, get inspired by her stock. Again, check out Etsy, which harbours incredible treasures such as this emerald green Twenties gem (it’s nearly £600…).

Don’t be put up off if you can’t afford to buy any Twenties vintage – just be creative, improvise, make your own: a simple white, sleeveless, ankle-length dress dressed up with a stole and a homamade feather fan will work wonders.

When can I move in? Mid-century time capsule house

This is my dream home. Seriously, it has a pool, tulip chairs, an orange bar, wood panneling AND an avocado bathroom. Holy shit.