Polling women over 40 and beyond on the topic on vintage and most of them will say that it doesn’t appeal as you can never be sure of sizing and trying on in a makeshift fitting room at a market stall or dusty old vintage isn’t something they want to do so it is no surprise that the older woman is less inclined to strip down and pull on a vintage frock.
The most common argument I hear is – it won’t fit me. But it is actually an older and curvier woman who is likely to unearth a gem at a bargain price.
Kerry Taylor of Kerry Taylor Auctions regularly sells lesser known designer vintage pieces for under £100. Larger sizes are often sold cheaper simply because they are harder to sell. Older women exclude themselves from the market Kerry says because they are of the mindset that vintage doesn’t work on them but you can find pieces that will work on every shape and size. Think of a classic hourglass figure with hips and boobs perfect for 40’s and 50’s suits.
Don’t be afraid to have a piece altered to make it fit your shape – better to be sustainable and give these beautiful pieces a new lease of life rather than sitting in a dusty shop. Most women over 50 just can’t fling on a vintage frock in the same way a 20 something could but with a bit of tailoring it can look amazing. And many vintage pieces are perfect for an older lady that needs a touch of coverage in the upper arm area – think of all of those glorious balloon and chiffon sleeves from the 1970’s?
The other excuse I hear all the time is – it will make me look frumpy or like my grandma.
Designers draw inspiration from the past all the time and there only so many ways that you can re-invent a frock therefore many vintage pieces are classic items that are always on trend – think of a navy blazer or a pussy bow blouse – study the trends and see where the influence has coming from.
Colour and texture are the first things to look for – you can’t beat the intensity of vintage colours; look at the shapes next – 60’s coats are the ultimate in chic when thrown over a pair of jeans, 70’s shirt dresses are perfect for summer just add a pair of modern shoes or belt. Try a Chinese jacket or velvet opera coat from the 1920’s that can be given a contemporary look.
Take a classic pleated or A line skirt which were all over the runway this season from Chloe to Gucci, Victoria Beckham and Mulberry – wear it with a polo neck in winter paired with knee high boots or a simple white shirt and loafers.
The key to making vintage look modern is to mix it with contemporary pieces rather than wearing everything from the same era, don’t get me wrong there are some fabulous 50 plus women who wear full on vintage every day and look amazing but for the majority of more mature women not looking as though you stepped out a BBC costume drama is not the look we are going for.
Vintage jewellery is an excellent way to embrace the vintage trend. Statement pieces, layers of pearls a la Chanel who wore them in vast numbers right into her 70’s, try an armful of vintage bangles – channel the extremely chic Iris Apfel or find a great pair of vintage chandelier earrings. Vintage silk scarves are a perfect option too – invest in a few that you can wear in so many way – in your hair, around your waist as a belt or just throw on around you neck for a pop of colour.
One advantage of buying vintage is the quality of the fabric and the way the garment is cut – you just don’t get that with high-street pieces and as you get older is all the more important that your clothes look and feel good. Think of it as investment shopping and to get the quality of fabric found in vintage clothing you are talking designer prices.
So if you think you are too old for vintage think again – vintage can and should be worn at any age.
And if you are still unsure – watch this space if you are local to Norfolk because launching for next Spring Summer or possibly Autumn depending on lockdown rulings a new way to shop for Fabulous Miss K Store collections – invite only shopping soirre with cocktails, styling advice in the privacy of a private venue.