When it comes to old-school partying, no one does it better than Jeni, Fleur and Bethan, aka The Vintage Mafia. Same goes for their enviable vintage wardrobes. Jen Barton had a look...
Vintage-loving friends Bethan Gwenllian, Fleur de Guerre and Jeni Yesterday bring the glamour and gorgeousness of eras past into their present-day style. While vintage may not be their day job, by night the trio make up The Vintage Mafia.
A DJ and events collective (check out their club night, The Ric Rac Club) in London, they are known for their old-school soirees, penchant for gin and Forties-era fashions. You can imagine our excitement as we snuck a peek into not one, but all three of their vintage wardrobes...
Tell us a bit about your style.
Bethan: I like to be a bit of a vintage fashion chameleon! My preferred style leans towards the Forties - I could spend hours perfecting the hairstyles from the era. However, I'm a big fan of the Thirties, too, and love a bit of Victorian bohemian style.
Fleur: I'm a huge fan of early Forties clothing and hairstyles. The cuts and shapes are just the pinnacle of chic to my eye - so fun and elegant! However, in reality, I rarely wear top-to-toe authentic Forties. I have a lot of cotton dresses from the Thirties to the Sixties and I mix and match them with other pieces from the same time. I also adore the Forties gypsy/peasant look. In winter, I wear high-waisted jeans and lots of knitwear plus repro and vintage coats. I do also wear a lot of contemporary streetwear and modern with a vintage twist.
Jeni: It's constantly changing and developing, I guess the same as anyone interested in fashion, old or new. At the moment, when I'm relaxing on the weekend I'm really into the more casual looks of the beat generation. Slim-legged trousers, quite plain and dark fabrics, looser, less-coiffed hair and flat pumps. However, I also love the sculpted lines of the mid-late Fifties and early Sixties. Swing coats, long pencil skirts, kitten heels, and a fabulous pointy bust! This look is really suited to office work and makes me feel very neat and well put-together.
What are some of your tips for styling vintage outfits?
Bethan: Be free and have fun! Although there are some key pieces to define a vintage style, I don't think anyone should be prevented from having a bit of vintage fun with their outfit, be that red lips, seamed stockings or some lovely Forties styled hair.
Fleur: I'm obsessed with colour-coordination! Matching shoes and handbags, hats and earrings, hair flowers, etc - having a big range of accessories in different colours means you can dress up outfits and never look the same. They also make for a striking and more authentic look (if that's what you're after). Hairstyling is important too - the right 'do makes a modern outfit look vintage and vice versa.
Jeni: If you spend enough of your time looking at images in books or online, trawling through Pinterest for inspiration or reading vintage blogs, after a while it will come naturally to you. You will know that the pieces you are putting together are from the same era and things will begin to slot into space. I would say, though, that when you first start getting into vintage, getting it accurate and right can be daunting – however, it is OK to mix eras slightly. We all do it.
It's nigh on impossible to dress authentically from head to toe every day. Don't be scared to add in modern or repro items, too.
What are some of your top tips for scouring the best vintage pieces?
Bethan: Patience - it will take time to find things when shopping online. I would also learn to sew or knit as there are a wealth of amazing patterns out there.
Fleur: Set eBay alerts and put the time in looking. It's getting harder to find good stuff.
Jeni: Check the condition carefully before you buy. I have a pile of things that need repairing because the condition of the item was pretty poor when I bought them, and they therefore ripped/deteriorated quite quickly.
It's a false economy to buy something fab because it's cheap if you aren't going to be able to restore it.
Check armpits for staining, hems, fabric under buttons, discolouration/fading (hold up to the light).
How does your Vintage Mafia wardrobe differ from your everyday style?
Bethan: Anytime we're working we like to match! We also usually just wear repro when working as it would be super tricky to find three vintage matching outfits! If you see a set for us, shout!
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MORE! See inside the best vintage wardrobes here.