Getting Started

So you want to go Vintage but don’t know where to start? We all have to start somewhere since none of us today live in the 50’s. It can be a struggle juggling Vintage ideals with modern expectations. What areas of this lifestyle mean the most to replicate for you? If you have a family it may be cooking meals everyday and sitting down to eat; the simplicity of casual entertaining. If you work in a modern and progressive field it could be having a home set up as a retro sanctuary. Or it could be your personal look; having the pin curled hair, regardless of the environment around you, makes you feel at ease. Ask yourself what is it you like about vintage? What of that brings you the most joy?

Where ever you choose to start….

  1. Start small.
    There is no need to run out and buy tons of new products, or raid every thrift store in the city. Start collecting things as you see them if they really speak to you. Don’t just buy something because it’s vintage. Have a theme and subject in mind so your life doesn’t quickly become chaotic and cluttered (unless that’s what you’re going for). If you have a relative who is willing and able to gift you some of their vintage items it is even better.
  2. Think about structure.
    It may be of interest to begin your journey with some staples such as seamed stockings, garter belt, well fitted bra, and any other shape wear you may think you’ll need and feel comfortable in. A versatile skirt, a simple cardigan. Seek out quality pieces you can use time and time again and build around, be it furniture or fashion.
  3. Practice.
    On your days off take the time to learn how to pin curl your hair or practice your winged eyeliner. The worst that will happen is your ends get too fluffy or the curl falls out. You can dampen your locks and start again if such misfortunes befall your do. Practice speaking in a pleasing manner that makes you feel vintage and glamorous. Walk with poise or research 1950’s recipes for dinner. Take time to explore everything this era has to offer.
  4. Education.
    One of my most favorite pastimes. I love searching Youtube for old PSA’s and infomercials. It gives you a good idea about the techniques and etiquette taught in that time, many which are still useful today (especially in a vintage lifestyle). Regular viewing of vintage movies, I find, helps recharge my retro battery and give me inspiration for decor and outfits. It also helps familiarize yourself with famous faces of the day and their work. There are many books that illustrate the life and times of the 1940’s-60’s which will not only astound but open your eyes to a lot of nuances of the era (both good and bad). It is important to be aware of both while you expand your vintage library.
  5. Do what pleases you the most.
    For me it is establishing a retro routine: every morning I use a vintage-inspired beauty regime, spray on my Guerlain, brush out my curls and throw on a silky or lace robe to join my family for breakfast. I have always loved corsets so I incorporate them into my daily dress. These things make me feel pampered and glamorous so I make it a point to do it everyday. Your vintage experience shouldn’t be daunting but should invigorate you every day. When I make bread I do it by hand, without a machine, much like my grandmother did. I feel connected to what I’m doing and allow myself to enjoy the work. This is why many vintage people choose to do chores the “old fashioned way”. When we stop thinking about things being a chore and start focusing on the connection we become happier with our work and lives.

Quick Tips

  • Regardless of where you start remember that the goal is to make this a lifestyle. Very few women of the era left the house “photo-shoot ready”. It’s not necessary to pack the makeup on everyday.
  • Wearing a full skirt without a petticoat may help a dress feel less like a costume and more like a piece. Or choose a petticoat that is not as fluffy.
  • Most women used only a vanishing cream, powder, eyebrow pencil, mascara, and a red lipstick with a matching liner for their everyday look. Today we have the option of mineral powders, BB creams, and tinted moisturizers for a skin base. Looking everyday vintage is as easy as putting on your makeup like you would normally to run errands and adding a sharp red lip.
  • Vintage and most retro clothing is made to have structured undergarments. They look best with longlined bras, griddles, and other shape-wear. Personally, depending on the outfit I will wear my corset and a Spanx high-waisted mid-thigh brief. Other times I will wear a vintage longline bra, corset, and garter belt.

Suggested Reading

Sex and the Single Girl Helen Gurley Brown. 1962.

Sex and the Single Girl is a 1962 non-fiction book by American writer Helen Gurley Brown, written as an advice book that encouraged women to have a stable job and casual sexual affairs with different sorts of men.

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One comment on “Getting Started

  1. Just found your blog. I’ve recently decided that I need to add more glamour to my life. Planning on starting to learn to do my hair.

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