Vintage clothes have always been on trend, whether they are inspiring new designs or being worn at awards ceremonies by film stars. In Bristol shops such as Billie Jean, Repsycho and La Freak Boutique mean the vintage look is easy to acquire. However, there may be one place you have overlooked on the hunt for the perfect vintage dress, and that would be your Grandma’s wardrobe.
Nan, Granny, Grandmother, Nana: whatever you call her she probably has a goldmine of clothes waiting to be discovered in the back of her wardrobe. Despite the fact that my own elderly relative only ever seems to wear the same three worn out dresses, I have been pinching her clothes, scarves and shoes for years. Dresses from the 80s that have been passed between mother, daughter, sister and cousin often seem to find their way into the care of my Nan, who always looks baffled when I ask to try them on.
And the best thing is that there are so many benefits of pinching some of Grandma’s cast-off’s (emphasis on ‘cast-off’s’: I am not implying that you rip the vintage shirt off her back). For starters, you can probably get said cast-off’s for free which is always a bonus. Not to mention the fact that not only will your garment have a history, but you’ll have someone on hand to tell you all about it. You granny will probably have kept her clothes in good condition and stored them carefully, not covered them in cider and black on a night out before throwing them on the floor. Finally she will almost certainly be; a) flattered that you’ve asked her in the first place and b) really rather chuffed that you want to wear her clothes.
So, once you’ve got you hands on the goods, what should you do with them? Well, one of the easiest things to do is accsessorise with your own jewellery, belts, bags and shoes to make the look your own, above.
If you get landed with a print that you love in a style that just isn’t you. A vintage purist would tell you not to cut up a dress or skirt but if you think that you can rework it into a style that you wear all the time then I say go for it, though if in doubt of your sewing skills consider taking it to a tailor. If you don’t want to involve a pair of fabric shears then try wearing those dodgy polyester skirts with elasticated waist bands as a dress, above.
There is no way I would have worn this pleated skirt in its original state but I loved the pattern so slipped it on like a bandeau and used a waist cinching belt to give it some definition. Add some leggings, a fitted cardigan and some jewellery and voilà, a dress fit for day or night. This is a look that I have been wearing for a few years now and have seen other similar outfits in Cabot Circus for twice the price.
If you’re interested in these looks then pop round to see your grandma/great aunt/elderly friend for a cup of tea and ask to rummage through their wardrobe. Who knows what hidden treasures you might find…