While The Curious Menagerie's Sarah Keen's work as a taxidermist is rooted in Victorian taxidermy (and has her raiding antiques markets for Victorian curiosities like vintage glass domes, frames and bottles), her day-to-day style is more mid-century, with feminine silhouettes and vibrant patterns from the 1950s and early 1960s dominating her colourful wardrobe, sourced from charity shops, car boot sales and online, which she'll team with contemporary finds.
A self-confessed "sucker for accessories," she loves the bold, early plastic jewellery pieces of the 1940s and 1950s and finishes off her outfits with contemporary footwear in vintage silhouettes and a gorgeous hair flower from pal and designer Rosie Alia. She also has an adorable cat, Gizmo, who also happens to wear vintage...
What got you interested in vintage fashion?
As a teenager growing up in a small town there was VERY little choice in clothing shops, pretty much just one teeny tiny Topshop and if you bought something from there you knew 10 other girls at school would already have it. Instead I took to the charity shops and started rummaging to find some really interesting pieces, or went to neighbouring towns to visit vintage shops. I found shopping like this so much more inspiring, and a great way to get hold of something unique.
What are some of your tips for styling vintage outfits?
I think the most important thing is to feel confident and comfortable in what you are wearing, and have some fun with it!
Try on things you never usually would to find a style or era that really suits your body shape. You might be surprised at the things you fall in love with.
What's the most you've spent on a gem from the past?
To be honest, I rarely spend large amounts on clothing. I generally spend a lot of time browsing the internet and popping into shops, and I just wait for the great deals to crop up.
That's one of the great things about vintage – if you're prepared to wait and spend some time looking, it can be cheaper than shopping on the high street.
What are some of your top tips for scouring the best vintage pieces?
Be prepared to do lots of searching and trying on/measuring! Even in a shop with lots of quality vintage there will only be one of each item, so if you have something particular in mind you may have to have a good hunt – but that's all part of the fun of vintage. I often enjoy all the browsing more than the final purchase! Also, if there aren't too many vintage shops in your area, measure yourself properly and shop online – Etsy is a goldmine where many hours can be lost!
Interested in trying your hand at taxidermy? Check out one of the popular taxidermy courses (Butterflies! Squirrels! Birds!) run by Sarah and her team at The Curious Menagerie
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See inside the best vintage wardrobes here.
Find the best vintage shops, salons, bars and diners in your area with our shopping guide Find Me Vintage.