Having style and being fashionable are two very different qualities. It's pretty easy to be fashionable, the high street stores see to that, just copy the mannequin and away you go. But to tweak those outfits and make them your own takes confidence.
Style isn't about how much your dress cost or what the label says. It's how you wear it - how you define your individuality. Adding a few vintage and second hand items to your current wardrobe will give you that edge...
In the past few years, vintage has become 'the' buzz word for those connected with the fashion industry. Of course, many of our canny sisters have worn it for decades. Now wearing vintage has hit the mainstream and become a very acceptable and eco-friendly way to shop. Lets face it, fashion designers and stylists have always looked to the past for their inspiration. Without it, we wouldn't get the regurgitation of looks over the decades - all with a slight twist on the previous! You can pick up a 50's 'Mad Men' look dress in Jigsaw (and so can your mate and your sister) or you can hit the vintage boutiques and dress agencies and nab yourself an original for a fraction of the cost AND buy yourself a ticket to coolsville!
Speaking of which, the 50's dress can be really versatile. Add biker boots for a dress down look, denim jacket for a day shopping and heels and a fur cape for a dinner party. Betty Draper eat your heart out. To get the most out of wearing vintage on a daily basis, mixing and matching is the way forward. It's not about head to toe costume or looking like an extra from Breakfast at Tiffany's - you have to be incredibly creative and stupendously brave to get away with that!
In times of austerity, wearing second-hand garments is not only great for the wallet but massively friendly to the environment. How much of our unworn clothes goes to landfill sites every year and what happens to the heaps and heaps of unsold clothes from the high street retailers? They don't sell it all as we all know. Wearing a 50's dress, an 80's jacket or a coat from 2 seasons ago won't save the planet quite yet but in the words of Tesco - every little helps!
Another great reason for buying top quality second hand clothes is the 'copy factor'. I used to find it irritating if I bought something new to wear, only to have a friend recite how much it cost and where it was from, and probably go and buy it! Think of how many times you have been caught out at a wedding or social event in the same outfit as another guest? Wearing vintage makes individuality a whole lot easier: your item is a one off and will be much harder to replicate by the masses and saves your blushes at parties.
So to start off with, take baby steps to get you into the vintage vibe. Trot off to your nearest vintage boutique, get online - EBAY or vintage sites such as Lovelys or My Vintage or go to a recommended dress agency. Buy yourself a little piece of jewellery - what about pinning a classic 1940's brooch to your jacket, coat or dress? A silk pyjama jacket would look classy over a plain tee and skinny jeans for a night on the tiles. Sod the High Street, if you need a new handbag what about buying a beautiful 1950's skin bag (croc, lizard or eel are all fabulous) and use it day or evening to add instant glamour to your outfit.
I can't tell you the amount of times I have been stopped to discuss the provenance of my handbags...they are stories for another time maybe.....
Remember too that trying on, touching the fabrics and discussing its provenance are a really enjoyable part of the vintage experience, so check out Anita's vintage fairs - there maybe one coming your way! Go armed with cash (credit card in your knickers just in case....) and prepare to barter. I rarely shop at vintage fairs with an idea of what I need in my wardrobe - which can be a bitch and can lead to lust-have purchases.....but then you may be far more disciplined than this old fashion sucker!