Lena Weber-Reed loves to blog about all things vintage, but when it comes to her personal style it's all about the 1960s and 1970s: think floppy wide-brimmed hats, Chelsea boots and lots of shift dresses. Jen Barton gets a lesson in how to make vintage look effortlessly modern...
German-born Lena Weber-Reed discovered vintage as a teen when she saved up to leave her small town and spend summers in London, where she realised "you could just wear whatever you wanted." Combine that with her obsession with The Beatles (which began at age 13) and Pattie Boyd, and Lena's enduring passion for all things 1960s was born.
The founder and editor-in-chief of The Vintage Guide to London and QueensOfVintage, Lena's personal style teams the bold prints of the 1960s and 1970s, revival Victoriana and Art Deco silhouettes and repro and modern pieces for a look that's chic and comfortable (even in pregnancy!) Have a rummage through her fab wardrobe below (we need a floppy felt hat ASAP)...
What are your favourite vintage eras and style icons?
The mid-1960s to mid-1970s are definitely number one in terms of design, although I love elements of pretty much every decade, from Victorian blouses to 1920s cloche hats, 1930s Art Deco gowns, 1940s turbans and 1950s beatnik style. In general, my interest is more in casual style than formal fashion and I'm really interested in subcultural style like 1940s hipsters, Mods, Ton-ups, 1960s skinheads and psychedelia. My style icons are French stars of the Sixties like Françoise Hardy, Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve, as well as Beatles and Stones 'Wags' like Marianne Faithfull and Pattie Boyd.
What do you need to watch out for when buying vintage? Any top vintage-scouring tips?
If you're shopping in person, try on everything. Even if you know your measurements, sometimes garments you thought wouldn't fit actually do.
I think a real novice to vintage should start out at a vintage fair. London has so many very excellent ones that hand-pick their sellers, so you're guaranteed a good level of quality and fair prices.
Unless you know how to alter garments, I would steer away from buying items that "just need a few adjustments" - I have a whole box full of stuff that needs simple alterations but that I haven't had the time to sort out yet.
When buying online, always check the measurements very carefully, and if a seller hasn't provided them, ask. In general, if something sounds too good to be true, it often is. A lot of vintage has become very rare – if you think about it, 1920s fashion is now nearly 100 years old – so will command a corresponding price tag.
What are your three top tips for styling vintage outfits?
1. You must feel comfortable: make sure whatever you wear still feels like "you" rather than a costume.
2. Don't be afraid to mix old and new. Some of my best pieces are modern takes on 1960s or 1970s fashion, that look perfectly authentic when styled with vintage accessories.
3. Love what you wear. If you happen to love big 1950s circle dresses, then go off and wear big 1950s circle dresses! Don't listen to the whole "styles for your body shape" rule book. Do you love what you wear? Do you feel great when you wear it? If so, perfect!
Any tips on how to do vintage when pregnant?
Asos Maternity has some really good vintage-inspired dresses. Also, 1970s dresses - kaftans, empire-line dresses and smock dresses - often have very pregnancy-friendly cuts.
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