vintage

For the love of vintage….


Cast_of_WPC_56

I have been enjoying a real gem on the BBC iplayer called WPC 56, there are currently three series to enjoy – hop over and take a look you can only see them for a limited time (just over 16 days!).  I found them absolutely divine, not just for the interesting stories but the beautiful 1950s details, and clothing!  (I am a fan of call the midwife too).

WPC 56

However what I loved about it mostly is the secretary who appears in the last two series: she is simply gorgeous, admired by the men but she is also a buxom woman. Oh how blissful to see the beautiful pencil skirt worn by a woman with hips, boobs and a bottom! It was so refreshing, and it made me see myself a little more kindly.  Mad Men might have also offered some pretty eye candy, but the actresses were definitely of this era of size zero. WPC 56 then is outstanding, delivering a far more attractive and authentic look in my opinion.

The 1950’s is a great period for me – I remember at one of my health checks where I was bemoaning my figure – the Nurse told me I wasn’t overweight just born in the wrong era!

I know that it is all too easy to wear rose tinted spectacles about the past, but the popularity of Artists such as Jack Vettriano where women wear polka dot dresses, hats, and bight lipstick and the men are in shirts, ties, braces and trilby hats seem such a vivid optimistic time.  Its an age where women looked different from men, dressing up was something you did on a Saturday night. For me it epitomises Glamour – and inspires me.

It has a full half skirt and is lovely to wear - you feel a domestic goddess as soon as you tie the bow!
My 1950’s inspired apron is lovely to wear – you feel a domestic goddess as soon as you tie the bow!

Where I live the clamouring for vintage is very popular, Brighton has a very active Vintage/Retro scene with Vintage Style Boutiques selling British made dresses  in Retro style. Alongside a very busy swing dance scene that offers a chance to dress up, put flowers in your hair and dance with a smart looking man in shirt and tie several times a week. I might not live in the 1950’s but I can step back in time now and then: great fun it is too.

ttfn.

 

1940's, sewing

Forties style

 

Dresses used fabric economically
Dresses used fabric economically

Remember that wonderful dressing up box we used to have as children? Well the great thing is that we can have this feeling every day. The wave of Vintage style I believe is our desire to go back to dressing in a feminine way, and possibly some of the old fashioned values.

I go dancing to a wonderful venue in Brighton, it is set up just like a 1940’s dance and I really enjoy dressing for the occasion. I am at heart an old fashioned girl, I love to look feminine, I love hats, wool coats and summer dresses and I find it so wonderful that at last we can all dress in this style and for it to be accepted. I still get some rather odd glances at times but mostly I am thrilled that many people will compliment me in the street!

The difficulty I have is deciding what style I like, I do enjoy the victory rolls and fabulous music of the 1940s and love swing dancing, but I also enjoy the upbeat notes of the fifties which leaves me smiling just listening to it and the sheer joy of spinning with a circle skirt! Then again, I’ll watch Downton Abbey and swoon at the gorgeous cloche hats….

Being able to sew opens up a whole heap of possibilities, there are many wonderful retro stores available now, but I find its the detailing that really hits the note for me. So after that rather lengthy introduction here are some elements that might help you to ‘revamp’ a modern dress and introduce elements that can give you a more authentic look.

 

Single breasted, four gore skirt
Single breasted, four gore skirt

As you can see from this pattern the jackets were single breasted, skirts were made up of several pieces, often with seams at the front sides and back, this cut allowed the maker to cut more economically, as the pieces would be smaller.

 

 

A big feature of forties fashion was a yoke

A big feature that stands out in most of the forties fashion was the shoulder yoke, it reflected the male shirt, but was softened by details like bows and cuffs. Dresses had shorter sleeves (also an economy of fabric) finishing just above the elbow.

Use of drape
Use of drape

Forties fashion diverges – American Patterns was cut off from the influence of Paris, did not have the same restrictions as in Britain so you can often see more generous cuts and elements of the 30’s bias cut in US patterns at the time.

If you want to make your dress have an authentic forties feel, look to the sleeve cap, often this was full giving the sleeve a boxy look (a good balancer if you are pear shaped). You can see it more in the knitwear designs from that period.

What ever you decide, the important thing to remember is to have fun

ttfn xx