If you want to create a timeless wardrobe, ensuring you can always be fabulous, you may want to buy vintage pieces, rather than opting for the latest trends. Helen Beaumont reveals five tips for getting the vintage look.
Avoid unflattering clichés
The Wearing History Blog advises you to pick vintage pieces based on your own sense of style. There’s no definitive style for each decade, as typically numerous trends are popular at the same time, so choose pieces that work for you. For example if you’re a tomboy looking to embrace ‘50s fashion, don’t wear poodle skirts just because they were popular, as you won’t feel comfortable wearing them.
Go for authenticity
You should conduct as much research as possible, to determine how to wear retro clothing and make-up authentically. You can find advice on this subject from major publications such as the Huffington Post, Stylist and Chic Fashionista online. You can also find clips which demonstrate how to do retro make-up like a pro online, such as Make-up Designory’s classic 1930’s make-up tutorial on YouTube.
Pick statement pieces
When it comes to wearing vintage clothes, do the same thing you would do when mixing high end/high street clothing. Frame your outfit around one statement piece, so you can create a winning look, without overcrowding your outfit. Let’s say that you’re going for a Victorian vibe – you could select an ornate broach as your statement piece, going for more sedate-coloured clothing to hit the right feel.
Check your items
You can buy retro clothing from your local charity shops and vintage clothing retailers quite easily. But the items you’re dealing with may have experienced wear and tear over time. It’s important to check them over for holes, missing buttons etc., to ensure you buy quality. Remember that clothing sizes are completely different now, so you should always try vintage pieces on in-store before purchase.
Be careful online
You can buy retro pieces online, but tread carefully, as you can’t check clothes over or try them on. Reputable brands should inform you of any issues with clothing. For example, the ASOS-promoted Vintage Street, which specialises in 80s and 90s brand sportswear, lists clothing issues e.g. small holes in product descriptions. Remember to consult the retailer’s sizing guide, which should appear on somewhere on their website, e.g. ASOS places them on product listings, to ensure the clothing fits.
These tips should also come in useful if you’re researching period costumes, while working on a production. The key to developing historical outfits is authenticity. By keeping these measures in mind, you’ll be able to create accurate period costumes, which carry viewers away to the past.
About Helen Beaumont
Helen Beaumont’s career started at Camberwell College of Art, where she studied the History of Art and Design, specialising in costume during her final year. After completing study, Helen became a costume buyer for theatre and opera. She has since become a professional costume designer, with a keen interest in period clothing. Throughout her career, Helen has created authentic costumes for prestigious companies such as the Universal Studios, Disney, BBC, Tiger Aspect and the Young Vic Theatre.