Thursday, February 5, 2009

Find Your Vintage Style

Have you ever been curious about vintage stuff, but have no idea where to begin? Do you want to know your vintage style?

I can help. Having grown up in a family run auction and estate sale business, I have been surrounded by things of the past my entire life.

The first thing you need to do is decide what era or time period from the past resonates with you. Personally, I love the 1940's, but feel a bit overwhelmed and turned off by leftovers from the 1980's. You may feel the exact opposite.

Here is a run down of vintage style:

Victorian, fancy, bakelite plastic, marcasite and silver, ornate, cut glass crystal, gold gilded and hand painted china, cameos on velvet chokers, this was a time when people dined every meal with about 7 different eating utensils in front of them; and a person could not eat a type of food without a special type of plate. I think people were starting to get bored and, without realizing it, yearned for an industrial revolution. Search for Charlotte Bronte in Wikipedia and you will see and learn of a wonderful Victorian woman.
30's (prohibition, flapper, the great depression):

Think of long cigarette holders, bobbed hair, Edwardian flapper hats, crystal chandeliers, top hats, platinum wedding rings and depression glass. A time for rebellion. Think of Greta Garbo.

1940's and 1950's (won the wars, American golden years):

Romantic Bling! Women loved costume jewelry with rhinestones and faux pearls...especially brooches and cardigan pins. Look for names like TRIFARI on pieces of costume jewelry to find a mid century treasure. The 1940s were full of color. Homes were wall papered and ladies of leisure decorated with beautiful linen tablecloths for the Friday night Bridge game. Kitchens welcomed cherry red linoleum. Think of Lucille Ball and June Cleaver.

Love your mini skirts, lucite bangle bracelets, big and gaudy choker necklaces, enameled butterfly pins, psychedelic flowers. Do you remember Gidget? This was such a funny decade. People went from peace - loving, long haired hippies to appearance obsessed disco - dancing - queens. I was born in the early 1970s and still remember my dad's goatee, my mom's thick - rimmed glasses and everyones strange obsession with cheese fondue and the color rust. Honestly, brides would actually dress their bridesmaids in high necked, rust - orange colored gowns, ( which were polyester none the less). And don't forget the bell bottoms...I believe we call them "flare pants" nowadays. When you are thinking of 1970s vintage style, just picture Charlies Angels and Miss Farah Fawcett herself.

1980's (the ugly era): is just my opinion. I mean Molly Ringwald was as cute as a button, but what was her character thinking when she made over that cute 1960's prom dress in the movie Pretty In Pink? Oh, and the 1980s loved PINK! Pink bridesmaids, pink leg warmers, pink and gray sweater dresses with a belt of course. But Molly and her pink was the "good girl" side to the 80's. Let's not leave out our naughty girls. How about Madonna with her jelly bracelets and mini dresses. Or Cindy Lauper with her florescent, mod-punk look. The 1980s rebelled against bell bottoms and went the tapered leg route: not a great look for the curvy ladies. In fact, I think all my friends that are fans of the 80's are,(coincidentally), my skinny friends. And let us not forget shoulder pads! AH, the 80's.

So, now that you have a little view of style through the different vintage eras, think about what your personal style already entails. Do you love pop art, skinny jeans and lots of bangle bracelets? If so, you may need to be on the hunt for 1980's vintage items. Do you love Audrey Hepburn? Well, then maybe you are a 1960's gal.

Once you know which era or eras are your favorite you can begin collecting. Start with a collection of jewelry or create a theme decorated dinner party from a certain era. Have fun!

If you want to start shopping check out my vintage shop at