Monday, January 18, 2016

Life in Vintage Land

Welcome back!
Lets have a natter about me and my association with Vintage. I have always been interested in the second world war, ever since I was a little girl. As I
write this I am watching “Glorious 39” an incredibly fantastic film about the events running up to the war.
This film has given me a lot of inspiration for
my scripts and also for outfits for 1940's

The first question I always get asked “why do you like the 1940's so much?” I had never really thought about it until a few years ago, I just think that there's something  more romantic to the 1940's and World War 2 than any other historical era. I do like the  1950's but from the letters and stories I have read about or from the war are just beautiful  a particular favourite of mine is “The Grafton Girls” by the late, great Annie Groves on the  cover of the book there is a girl who is the spitting image of me! 

What do you think? Could that be me third
from the left?

But another reason I like 
the 1940's and Second World War because it was when women really came out of that  feminist shell and proved that they COULD do it. On a slightly cheekier note I believe there
is something slightly naughty about the era itself! With seamed stockings and red lipstick.  Also the things that the people did in the blackout are rather intriguing.

The second question “How did it start?”. Well like I said at the beginning I have always  been interested in the War but I started embracing my inner 1940's in Year 8, I was sadly 
being bullied, but I spoke to my friend the 1940's singer Heather Marie who told me that 
they're only jealous because they can't do what I do. Nobody wants to have big back  combed hair and false eyelashes, I needed to be strong and independent like the women 
of that era and show the bullies I could do it. Then came the opportunity, a disco! I  searched for days looking at modern dresses when I happened to stumble across the 
delightful ebay shop “Sirens and Starlets” and I purchased my first ever vintage dress, and
from then on I was hooked.

That's me on the Mall (London) on VE Day last year for the
I want you to imagine a modern girl's wardrobe... it'd probably be full of jeans, shorts and short dresses, I have nothing wrong with this but wardrobe is a stark contrast. My wardrobe consists of 100 vintage dresses including (I  must confess) a 1940's wedding dress and a few ball gowns, 1 pair of Jeans I have cut to make into 3⁄4 length jeans so they look more vintage, and 50 skirts, and obviously a couple of tops and shirts.

Another thing that makes me happy about dressing vintage is the  effect it has on others! It never fails to make people smile, the other week I was in the  shops and a World War 2 Army Veteran stopped me and complimented me on how I  looked, saying that I “take him back to his youth”. My friends also are learning to embrace it, I did my friends hair in victory rolls, she loved them so much she had to come by a couple of days later so I could do it for her when she went out! 

An example of me with my Victory Rolls!
I'm also a regular at  local 1940's and vintage events. My diary is full of vintage events! Grassington 1940's  Weekend, Haworth 1940's Weekend, York Festival of Vintage and Lytham 1940's  Weekend just to name a few! I'm hoping next year to attend Twinwood Festival for the first  time! 

Another thing I am into is Period Drama! I was hoping they'd do a 1940's version of “Downton Abbey”. However this was not to be but I am writing my own 1940's Downton Abbey we just need it producing and I would love to star in it! 

My advice for all of you vintage girls out there or all of you girls wanting to dress vintage. Go for it! People will learn to love it! We can show those vintage hating  people out there who give us funny looks that “We Can Do It”!

I decided to speak to some of the members of the 1940's/1950's Most Marvellous Meet Ups Group about their love of vintage and why they love it.

Karen, Tony and Coco at Pickering 1940's
Weekend 2015
Karen Sedgwick

Karen's story began in October 2001-
My Late mum Mary was watching BBC Look North and it featured Pickering War Weekend, she really wanted to go so told Tony we were all going. Tony replied with "What is that?". Then Mum decided we should dress up and Tony was going "No way!". We went off to the fancy dress shop to hire outfits and we all got one.
Coco at Ingleton 1940's Weekend

We got ready on the day and off we went and it was brilliant, we didn't have a computer back then so had no idea these other events even existed. My Mum died 11 years ago and went to Pickering with us three times so we owe it all to my mum. When she died, we bought a computer and discovered 1940's events happen all through the year! And we discovered eBay (Happy Days!). We have always taken our two chihuahuas to events and dress them up. Sadly we lost Woody 8 years ago and Nugget last year but we still have Coco.
Karen, Tony, Coco and the late great Nugget
at Grassington 1940's Weekend 2015

Karen and Tony got married at Eden Camp in Yorkshire in 2014, having a 1940's wedding with a 1940's dress and even a 1940's style cake! 
Karen and Tony on their wedding day- 2014

Miriam Wallerius
 Miriam is just in the vintage scene in Germany! One of the many Marvellette's from another country!
There is not "The one story", but I think in some way it has to do with my father's love for old movies like the Marx brothers, which I love. I have grown up with them and so they were around me my whole life. I think my sense for aesthetics in clothes was built in this time so I loved everything about the late 1930's. But this was in the early 1990's so you can imagine that there were no clothes like this to get for a teenie like me (I was thin though so it would have been easier) especially without the internet. So all I could do was dream about this. But my love for this time started then and this holds on until today, where it is easier to get the clothes. I am very thankful for my father who unknowingly introduced me to the whole thing.
Miriam's beautiful vintage hair.
 I started to research for hairstyles in the last summer but only because of the 1940's/1950's Most Marvellous Meet Ups group and Vintage Updos For Modern Girls I had the courage to try- and to buy the dresses! I am very thankful for this! I already  wrote about why I love vintage styling: it is elegant, I can feel more like myself and it looks awesome on my curves. And I love it because it is a kind of time travelling (....and I love this- Victorian Times, too, for example).
 Pat and Brian
Pat and Brian at a Murder Mystery weekend 2015

I met Pat and Brian when  I went to the Christmas Ball we stayed in the same hotel and they are lovely people!

When asking them both why they like vintage. Brian said;
I have got into it because my partner Pat loves it. I do like dressing smartly, vintage or modern. It can seem a bit superficial but it is fun. We often think it is a shame that folks don't bother to dress up in restaurants etc these days.. You even see that with couples on Valentines Day and even at funerals now. It does seem to be older folk who don't bother rather than the young ones which is probably opposite to what you might expect. . I have got into the music of the 30s and 40s as well.
Brian seeing in the New Year in Cyprus
I then proceeded to ask Pat about her love of vintage;
Well as a little girl I always watch the Black and White film's and love the way ladies were dressed. I always felt that I was born too late for me. I have a great interest in the big band's I.E. Glen Miller and the song's from the 1930's 1940's. The ladies clothes were very feminine they knew how to dress, and of course you had a dress for day time one for cocktail's , evening or ballroom dances . There was also a suit to wear as well, ladies did not go out without a hat or glove's on. Men always had respect for ladies then with good manner's, I.E. would hold a door open , pull out chair for her, hold her coat so she could put it on, open a car door for her. Stand when a lady walk into a room, tip their hat when passing a lady in the street and last of all would walk on the out side near the road, which I believe comes from when men carried sword to protect a lady from any harm. I still believe in old fashion manner's and wish that to day's men where a bit more like that. When I meet my partner he was not into the vintage 1940's but now he will dress in his 1940's clothes every chance he can and love's it. Meeting other with the same interest is great for both of us. That is why I like VINTAGE and the people we had meet because of it. Let's keep it going and enjoy the get together we have like the meet up's and the ball's and social event's that we have 

James Taylor

James has been my friend since were tiny kids and I somehow managed to work my magic on him.
My love for vintage started when we went to the Festival of Vintage in York. The glitz and glamour is so appealing to me I just fell in love. I don't usually dress vintage but when I do it's for special occasions such as 1940s/1950s Most Marvellous Meet Ups Christmas Ball in Manchester.
Me, James and Holly at the Ball.

Carrie-Ann Cooper

Carrie-Ann in one of her lovely dresses.
Carrie is a fellow Marvellette and shares the same love of vintage as us all!

I’ve been interested in the 1940s and 1950s for as long as I can remember – any family holidays to Kent always involved a trip to Dover Castle’s famous World War II tunnels, and I read anything I could that was about, or set, in the eras – but it was volunteering at the Glenn Miller Museum during Twinwood Festival that encouraged me to embrace the fashion. Everyone would come in looking gorgeous, with perfect pin curls and beautiful outfits, and something in me just clicked, and I thought “I’d like to dress like that”.

Looking fabulous at Twinwood wearing House of Foxy

I now wear 1950s-style dresses almost exclusively, with the odd 1940s outfit thrown in for good measure; in the past 5 years I’ve worn jeans once, and that was only because I was helping out at a conservation centre and they wouldn’t let me wear a dress. I always feel so comfortable and confident in my clothes now, and it’s led to some lovely chats with complete strangers, who want to talk to me about what I’m wearing, or how I’ve done my hair.
Wearing the gorgeous and  lusted after
Pearl coat from Collectif.

Much of what I wear is reproduction, solely because I wasn’t sure where I could buy vintage outfits in my size. But joining groups like 1940s/1950s Most Marvellous Meet Ups on Facebook has really opened my eyes to the sheer amount of vintage beautifulness that’s available. My collection of vintage accessories is now building nicely, and I’ve now got my eye out for a Lilli Ann princess coat!
If you’d like to find out more about my love of the era (and learn all about planning a vintage/Doctor Who-themed wedding) please visit my blog at

Liv Grace

Liv is a friend off Facebook who has just got into the vintage scene.

I'd always loved vintage but I never really had the confidence to wear it. Unfortunately my nan passed in February last year she was everything to me and during that period I was in a very dark place I wasn't eating properly and I didn't want to do anything and other personal problems like my health issues as I have hydrocephalus and a brain tumour I was told in January that I may need further treatment so I felt like I was in a black hole so to say. That was until my mum took me to London on my 18th birthday to see CATS my favourite musical that I stumbled upon the collectif clothing shop in Camden markets and I was instantly in awe of the amazing clothes I decided that I was going to dress vintage and began getting my confidence back as well joining online communities of fellow vintage supporters I finally started to get my life back together and feel comfortable in my 40s and 50s style.
The Lovely Liv.
The vintage community is by far the most accepting and supporting community I have ever been a part of. Not only is it about looking good it's about feeling confident in the body you're in it's about helping other people regain and maintain a positive image of themselves in whatever body they are in.
In front of a Vintage Ice Cream Van

Around early March last year would mark when my love of vintage began. I know that it isn't long at all but it's been one of the best years of my life finally discovering who I am as a person it's made me so happy.

The Vintage Ladies of Madrid

I also got the chance to speak to a group of Vintage Ladies from Madrid,
I first got into vintage scene ten years ago, when I was 17. I moved to Madrid where I met the most wonderful friend I ever had; Merche.
We both loved the 50s fashion and music and used to go to vintage shops and gigs together. Old Hollywood movies and new cool friends did the rest.
The elegance and the distinctive look can easily act like the most adictive drug, the fact of wearing a nice dress and show off your flawless hair makes you feel great. Everything feels better when feeling as if you were in a movie where everything feels just as classy and sparkly as yourself... It's a matter of self-confidence, it can even make people treat you differently
To me, “vintage” it's not only a lifestyle but also an amazing journey to the past where the sweet smell of nostalgia revives the flame of the good old days.
I have been into the scene for so many years, slowly proving my taste and finally finding an special inclination for the 40s, although every decade between the 20s and the end of the 60s captivates me.
A way to release my passion towards retro lifestyle was starting a blog dedicated to retro inspired make up and beauty called “Merche Atómica Retro Beauty”, as well as specialising in vintage make up. Then I started working in another similar project with some of my dearest friends -and also vintage lovers- called Madrid Vintage Ladies, which I am glad to say is bringing along some really amazing times to everyone involved, and also leading to an incredible opportunity to know lovely people who share our same interests and passions!

 Follow Merche's Blog
Personally speaking the retro lifestyle hasn't always been part of me, I've drifted around looking for that particular thing that could really show off how I am and feel.So I've gone from the most eclectic to the most classic style as well I've mixed both together.I consider myself a creature away from standards and that's where it all starts. My passion about being different and unique is what brought me to where I stand. My very first oddity came up when I was 3, I had an atypical inclination to decorating everything around me... It all went in crescendo and ended up getting pierced and tattooed at a very early age, as well as shaving my head in so many different ways... I've just polished up all those styles I've been into an absorbed the very best of them all, so nowadays I'm a mixture of my tough days where tattoos were my way to express strength, a great musical taste and beliefs of community that come from my days as a skin byrd, and the lovely clothing, style and make-up of a classic era. The outcome might result crazy for some and inspiring for others, however I've become the best version of my own self and I hope to keep improving. Check out my personal Instagram profile: spread_your_gospel 
As well as my retro inspired shared Instagram/Facebook/blogspot/YouTube account: MADRID VINTAGE LADIES
The Vintage community is very welcoming and I would love to see your own personal journeys and adventures! So remember- don't be afraid to try something new- and if you need any help, I am here to guide you!

Keep Adventuring

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