My Vintage Wardrobe: Violet Naylor-Leyland, Founder Of Violet's Box

14/08/2014 16:36 | Updated 22 May 2015

Violey Naylor-Leyland's love of vintage began rummaging through her great-great-grandmother's old trove and has resulted in her building her own amazing wardrobe. Jen Barton takes a peek inside

When it comes to envy-inspiring designer vintage loot, we've got our eye on Violet Naylor-Leyland. The stylist and founder of online fancy dress boutique Violet's Box – the most wonderful boutique for tasteful party-wear – has a dressing-up box of her own at home, filled with vintage treasures (we're talking 1960s Dior and 1980s Chanel).

Violet's been a vintage lover since she spent her childhood swooning over Edwardian waistcoats and dressing gowns she discovered in the attic from her great-great-grandmother's trove and all these years of vintage-finding have resulted in one amazing personal collection.

Sarah Lucy Brown

What are your top vintage-sourcing spots?

My favourite London vintage shop is Vintage Modes in Grays Antiques Market. They have hoards of brilliantly sourced designer pieces from 1950-2000 and other delightful delicate children's nighties and vintage wedding dresses from the late 1800s. It's very fairly priced too and run by a wonderful group of people.

Lucy in Disguise do great wearable party dresses from 1960 upwards and have the odd amazing designer gem. I love a local charity shop in a little village or town in the middle of the countryside. There's usually something no one else has spotted worth buying.

What are your top tips for styling vintage wares?

Don't wear top-to-toe vintage separates or you'll look like you've raided your Granny's wardrobe (even if you have - "LOOK AT ME! I'M WEARING SECONDHAND CLOTHES!" isn't the look you're going for).

Mix and match your brand-new designer or high street piece with the vintage and it's more likely to work. The aim is for people not to know it's vintage, then be surprised (and pea-green hopefully) when they find out it is.

What are your favourite vintage eras? Any style icons?

Fifties silver-screen really is so inspiring, feminine and all about the waist, which is after all one of the things that gives a woman her femininity. So many things Grace Kelly wore still make me "properly old-fashioned swoon" when I watch the movies she's in – think Rear Window. And her figure looks so beautiful in everything. She had the most lovely proportions.

Also, check out Bruce Oldfield's Pinterest page and blog (if you don't need to get any work done for the rest of the day.) It's filled with THE best and MOST beautiful pictures of old dresses that inspire him, and the alluring people who wore them.

How can you tell if a vintage piece is worth investing in?

Firstly, check the condition; secondly, try it on. Vintage clothing is often cut differently as people were a different shape and size (often a lot smaller) back then. Not only that, but lots of pieces were made to measure.

If it's in good nick, then it's likely to stay in good nick for a bit longer. If it fits then lucky you, but the real test as to whether it's worth investing in is whether you absolutely LOVE IT or not. If you don't - don't buy it.

What's the most exciting piece you recently bought?

About four months ago (when I say bought, I mean properly splashed out on and felt very guilty about afterwards) a midnight blue satin Chanel skirt from the 1980s - my first piece of Chanel!

It is perfect for my figure as I have quite high hips, a decent-sized bum, a small waist and big boobs and this skirt just says YES to all of them! It's cinched in at the waist with a flap of material spilling out over the top and it works like a Wonderbra for the arse - scooping it up into a perfect peach - with flattering ruched pleats fanning out from a panel at the front and a curved hemline.

It gives me quite a Kardashian-esque bum, which my husband is terribly bad at keeping his hands from slapping when I wear it. Although as it's satin, and Chanel, and he knows how much I paid for it - he's now aware he's in serious trouble if he does...

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MORE! See inside the best vintage wardrobes here.


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